New Zealand is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world. We have a total of 213 ethnicities represented, over a quarter of us were born overseas and Auckland is more culturally diverse than London or New York.
New Zealand’s cultural make up looks very different to how it did just fifteen years ago and it is increasingly important that we are able to create a society and workplaces where cultural differences are embraced and understood alongside more traditional Kiwi values.
So how can you become a cultural champion for New Zealand?

It is easy to scratch the surface of understanding other cultures by celebrating significant events, sharing traditional food and learning key greetings.

This is a great start in demonstrating willingness to appreciate that there are other ways to doing or seeing things than simply the way we were brought up. Being aware of, appreciating, and valuing differences give us richer experience and a broader outlook.

Here are 5 Actions to adopt to Build your Cultural Competency:

  1. Never assume.  Not knowing how to approach the subject of cultural differences is not the issue–the issue is not being willing to try to understand. Be courageous and curious and ask the questions.

  2. Get educated, read, talk, share.  Lead the process and become more culturally competent: 

  3. Embrace bi-culturalism and become competent in our understanding of our indigenous culture.  In doing so, we create a protocol and become more inclusive and accepting of the other cultures represented in NZ.

  4. Have a clear sense of self.  Know your own whakapapa.  Being self-aware of your place in New Zealand provides context and a sense of belonging which can help build empathy, understanding and commonality with others.

  5. When creating policies and practices, Whakataukī (proverbs) play a large role within Maori culture.  Consider using these as a reference to integrate culture into your workplace.