Breaking Through in 2024: Inspiring Change and Empowering Women

Courage, bravery, strength and unity 

For the world to see 

So, rise and lift the pace 

Global women take your place 

Tū mai rā, e hine mā 

Sacred we are 

He taonga kāmehameha 

Tū mai rā, e hine mā 

Sacred you are 

Nō Hine, Hine-ahu-one e 

Together weaving diversity 

Our many voices speak up for equity 

As we lead, create and innovate 

A new history 

Global Women stand in unity 

In March 2024, a group of highly accomplished and purposeful women gathered on the shore, looking out to the line of the horizon. The place where the sea meets the sky. Each, in their own way, feeling the winds of change gathering behind them, around them. Seeing it whip the surface of the water, the line between ocean and cloud disappearing. 

Each of these women have heard the call to adventure in 2024, the whisper of a more hopeful future, the invitation to step into their agency and influence as the leaders Aotearoa New Zealand needs. On the Breakthrough Leaders programme they will encounter extraordinary leaders who will share their stories about ‘breaking through’. Breaking through as aunties, descendants, daughters, leaders of learning, the economy, innovation of all kinds, positive social change, leaders of their organisations and communities. 

Between now and November, our group will gather around the country and in the Pacific. The programme will inspire, nourish, support and challenge participants to connect their leadership to the future they want to co-create for those generations yet to come. We’ll travel cloaked by the Breakthrough Leaders korowai that was visioned by our māreikura, Agnes Naera, and made physical by the clever hands of Wendy Naepflin and Trent Bell. 

Our journey began in Tāmaki Makaurau, with a programme launch attended by alumnae, executive sponsors and ngā manu tīoriori o Kahurangi who sang Global Women’s waiata, He Taonga Kāmehameha, to the cohort. The next day, we travelled up to the whenua where Kupe first set foot on these lands, and concluded in Waitangi where we explored the birth of this nation. 

On this retreat we took a deep dive into our organising questions: 

Ko wai au?                       Who am I?
Ko wai koe?                       Who are you?
Ko wai tātou?                       Who are we? 

From their beginnings as a group of purpose-driven and accomplished individuals, the cohort have become a connected expression of “kotahi te wairua”. The experiences that generated this shift were shaped by mangroves, karanga at Tāne Māhuta, a welcome into the warmth of Te Whakamaharatanga Marae at Waimamaku, paddling as one on the rippling waters of Hokianga Whakapau Karakia, and being storied into the legacy of Kupe. Together our sense of “tātou” expanded as we explored the promise of Te Tiriti o Waitangi with speakers Tania Simpson (Tainui, Ngāi Tahu, Ngāpuhi), Kahurangi Dame Jenny Shipley, and Karleen Everitt (Te Iwi Morehu, Te Aupouri, Ngapuhi). The future is bright for these women, and it’s brighter for their leadership, connection and sense of commitment to future generations.  

Breakthrough Leaders is one of the world-class leadership development programmes offered by Global Women. Our leadership programmes have accelerated the careers and personal leadership impact of over 400 women. If you or someone you know is interested in building your agency and influence as a leader, in service of a gender equitable Aotearoa New Zealand, we’d love to chat.