HeForShe launches in New Zealand

Last month, November 2015, HeForShe launched in New Zealand.

The 22 committed New Zealand HeForShe champions are diverse, from CEOs to politicians to entertainers  – include two from Global Women investment partner organisations: Mike Bullock, chief operating officer of ANZ New Zealand and Leo Foliaki, senior assurance partner and diversity and inclusion leader of PwC New Zealand.

HeForShe is a solidarity campaign for gender equality initiated by UN Women. Represented globally by Emma Watson, its goal is to engage men and boys as agents of change for the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights, by encouraging them to take action against inequalities faced by women and girls.

How did it hit New Zealand?

Gina McJorrow, senior HR business manager of ANZ which hosted the launch, says ANZ was asked by UN Women in September if it was interested in being involved.

“Then along with PwC, Vodafone, Accor Hotels and Schneider Electric we formed an advisory committee to find male CEOs and senior leaders who could influence their organisations and New Zealanders to become champions for HeforShe,” says McJorrow.

The committee also asked Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue, Minister for Women Louise Upston and Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy to support the initiative. Sue Kedgely made a speech at the launch as well as an RNZ interview. 

“The goal is to give men opportunities to have a voice. There are lots of female groups saying ‘how can we change this situation’ but HeforShe is about men standing up and giving voice to the issue of inequality. At the launch the men talked about why they are doing this and why it is important to them,” says McJorrow.

Launching by storm

“The launch was an incredible day,” says McJorrow.

“Their speeches brought tears to the audience when they talked about the future they wanted for their children. For example, Justin Lester, the deputy mayor of Wellington talked about what he wanted for his daughters – and Gareth Morgan talked about motor biking with his wife through Iraq, being pulled over by the police and being shocked at how they treated his wife in that situation.”

The objective of the launch was to kick off a social media wave.

Internationally, #HeforShe was trending internationally at number 7 on the day of the launch (“Considering most countries were asleep at midday Friday, we claim that!” she says).

Vodafone has set an internal goal of 1000 champions, Gareth Morgan has posted a “Whiteboard Friday” on the gender pay gap,


“The launch was about prompting people into action,” says McJorrow.

The organising committee will continue to meet to discuss on-going steps and maintaining the positive momentum.

“Please encourage all your fathers, uncles, grandfathers, cousins, brothers and sons to join this movement,” says McJorrow.



List of HeforShe Champions: (those with asterisks were present at the launch)

Jerry Mateparae: Governor-General of New Zealand
Gareth Morgan: Economist, public commentator and philanthropist *
Jack Tame: New Zealand television/radio journalist and presenter (based in New York)
Jeremy Elwood: New Zealand performer who combines rock guitar and comedy.
Peter Boshier: Chief Ombudsman and White Ribbon Chair *
Wallace Chapman: Radio New Zealand Sunday Morning Host
Symon Brewis-Weston: Sovereign New Zealand Chief Executive Officer
Mike Bush: Commissioner of New Zealand Police *
Russell Stanners: Vodafone New Zealand Chief Executive Officer
Mike Bullock: Chief Operating Officer, ANZ New Zealand *
Leo Foliaki: Senior Assurance Partner, and Diversity and Inclusion Leader of PwC New Zealand *
Chris Sedgwick: Senior Vice President for Accor Hotels New Zealand, Fiji and French Polynesia
Ray Dunn: Schneider Electric. New Zealand Country President *
Justin Lester: Wellington Deputy Mayor *
Richard Wagstaff: NZ Council of Trade Unions President *
Kelvin Davis: Member for Te Tai Tokerau, Labour Party Associate Spokesperson Justice (Sexual and Domestic Violence)
Richard Randerson: The Reverend Richard Randerson *
James Shaw: Green Party Co-Leader
Mike Tana: President, The New Zealand Public Service Association *
Grant Guilford: Vice-Chancellor, Victoria University of Wellington *
Guy Ryan: CEO, Inspiring Stories, Young New Zealander of the Year *
Andrew Lumsden: Te Radar, Entertainer


EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue *
Minister for Women Louise Upston *
Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy