About diversity, equity and inclusion


Diversity is about harnessing our individual differences and acknowledging the unique blend of skills, experiences and insights people bring to the workplace.

It can refer to:

  • ethnic and cultural backgrounds
  • race
  • gender
  • sexual orientation
  • socioeconomic status
  • disability
  • age.

It can also refer to factors such as age, location, language, working style, and life experiences.  


Equity recognises that each person has different circumstances and needs.

As opposed to ‘equality’ which proposes that everyone receives an equal portion of resources, the goal of equity is to allocate the resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.  


Inclusion is about building a culture where everyone is valued, treated with respect and able to contribute fully. Leaders set the tone and everyone across the organisation shares the responsibility for upholding the cultural standards. 

Inclusion is the key to unlocking this potential and is associated with higher engagement, better organisational performance, retention, and improved employee wellbeing. 

Why it is important

Diversity helps us innovate, find new solutions to the barriers we face as an organisation, and improve the quality of our work (provided we build a culture that enables it). 

Inclusion is the key to unlocking this potential and is associated with higher engagement, better organisational performance, retention, and improved employee wellbeing. 

Building trust with Aotearoa New Zealand, as stewards of te taiao, requires us to reflect the population we serve. 

It is the right thing to do. We acknowledge that we all have a responsibility to ensure we’re working towards a fairer Aotearoa where every person can flourish – and that starts with us. 

Tui Raumata

In 2021 we developed Tui Raumata, our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategy, to build a more diverse, equitable and inclusive organisation.

In 2022 we updated the plan with:

  • progress made
  • some deeper analysis into our employee experience and organisational landscape
  • direction set by the public service in Kia Toipoto [PDF, 953 KB].

Tui Raumata reflects four broad organisational goals that we strive to achieve: 

  • Harness diversity of thought:
    • we ensure diverse viewpoints are represented in decision-making at every level and we constantly work to build the skills to manage the tension that comes with this. 
  • Embed organisational practices that make the most of our diverse talents:
    • our policies, practices and processes are rigorously tested to ensure they are free from bias, that they do not unintentionally discriminate and that they support our goals of retaining our diverse workforce.  
  • Continue to build an inclusive culture:
    • we have strong cultural capability, continuously build and embed our te ao Māori capability and we support and enable our employee networks to thrive.  
  • Diverse and inclusive leadership:
    • Diversity exists across all teams and levels of the organisation including leadership. Our leaders understand the value in diversity, are skilled at building inclusive teams and are accountable for ensuring we uphold our cultural goals. 

Gender and ethnic pay gaps action plan 

Our new gender and ethnic pay gaps action plan is an important step in addressing the root causes of gender and ethnic pay gaps that exist within our organisation.

Gender and ethnic pay gaps are the differences between the average pay of people of different genders and ethnicities. Pay gaps are a measurable outcome of ingrained inequalities in the workplace and broader society. They are driven by deeply embedded views, norms and values.

Pay gaps are measured at MfE by looking at average salaries across the whole organization and within bands, to measure whether people are paid differently for doing the same or similar jobs.

Gender and ethnic pay gaps action plan


In building a diverse equitable and inclusive environment at MfE we look to external specialist expertise to benchmark ourselves against and inform our plans and work programmes.  

Through the process of securing external accreditations we can: 

  • identify our strengths and opportunities  
  • improve our systems and capabilities to foster an inclusive environment
  • engage with key stakeholder groups to better represent the needs of Aotearoa’s diverse population.

MfE has the following accreditations with others to follow

About our Rainbow Tick certification

MfE has been Rainbow Tick certified since 2020.

The certification process evaluates our level of LGBTTQIA+ inclusion in five areas:  

  • policies 
  • staff training 
  • staff engagement and support 
  • external engagement.

Through this process, we work closely with our RainbowStaff Network to implement key pieces of work such as: 

  • running regular Rainbow Inclusion information sessions for all team members
  • updating our Bullying and Sexual Harassment Policy to specifically address gender and Rainbow-based bullying and harrassment
  • introducing a Gender Affirmation and Transition Policy to support transgender and gender diverse team members.

We closely monitor and review our progress in this space alongside the certification which is reviewed and validated annually. 

About our Gender Tick accreditation

MfE secured our first Gender Tick accreditation in June 2022. 

Gender Tick accreditation aims to:

  • provide independent advice and assurance that we are a gender-inclusive employer
  • ensures policies and practices align with best practice
  • ensures our work culture is positive and gender inclusive
  • demonstrates our commitment to gender equity to employees, customers, and Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Through the process of securing the Gender Tick accreditation we have made a number of key improvements including:

  • reviewing our internal policy landscape to ensure we are communicating in a way that is gender neutral
  • strengthening our advice and guidance to employees and people leaders around parental leave entitlements, practices and available support
  • introducing a Gender Affirmation and Transition Policy to support transgender and gender diverse team members
  • working with our Women’s Network to ensure that we are actively promoting conversation around key gender-related issues – such as supporting working parents, gender transition, and menopause. 


MfE wins the Matauranga Māori award at the 2021 Diversity Awards NZ

Video: Diversity Awards NZ 2021

In 2021, we entered the annual Diversity Awards NZ™. It is the most significant awards programme in Aotearoa New Zealand for celebrating excellence in workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion.  

Organisations showcase innovative initiatives and celebrate their progress in building work environments where everybody is safe to bring the best version of themselves.  

MfE received the following awards. 

  • Mātauranga Māori Award – supreme winner 
  • Inclusive Workplace Award – finalist 

Read about the 2021 Diversity Awards winners and their submissions [Diversity Works NZ website]. 

mfe rainbow banner

Employee-led networks

About employee-led networks

Employee-led networks (ELNs) are groups of like-minded people from public sector agencies that promote and support the goals and needs of diverse communities employed in the Public Service.  

See Employee Led Networks - Te Puna Huihuinga Kaimahi 

They help employees connect, share ideas and support each other in reaching their potential. With a range of objectives, the networks help to foster communities and a culture of inclusion, acceptance, and mutual respect. Networks play an important part in bringing Aotearoa New Zealand’s public sector workforce together. 

MfE and employee-led networks 

At MfE, supporting ELNs is an important part of our diversity and inclusion work programme. They help us build an inclusive culture. Supporting tthe work of ELNs is one of our obligations under Papa Pounamu mandatory requirements [Public Service Commission website].

Employee-led networks at MfE 

  • Asian Staff Network 
  • Neurodiverse Employee Network 
  • Pasifika Network 
  • Rainbow Network 
  • Te Kāhui Rangatakapū |Māori and Pasifika Youth Network 
  • Te Rōpū Māori 
  • Women of Colour Network 
  • Women’s Network 

Affinity groups at MfE

  • Faith network 
  • Book club 
  • Ngā Manu Taiao - Waiata group 
  • R user group 
  • Ronald McDonald House cooking programme 
  • Social club 
  • Sports teams 
  • Sustainability group 
  • TeamRed