NZ Rainbow Excellence Awards
Winter Pride
Winter Pride

Building Towards Excellence

The New Zealand Rainbow Excellence Awards celebrates workplace leadership, innovation, best practice and collaboration with organisations committed to rainbow diversity and inclusion. We are the only rainbow focussed awards programme of our kind in Aotearoa.

The Pride Pledge is the lead rainbow organisation, proudly supported by Platinum Sponsor Partners Life, behind the New Zealand Rainbow Excellence Awards.

The awards began as a collaboration between The Rainbow Tick, the organisation that developed and leads the Rainbow Tick Certification system, and South Pacific Pride Ltd, the organisation behind the Pride Pledge. The partnership ended in early 2024.

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Who is invited to participate?

The awards are open to all New Zealand organisations, including not for profits, businesses large or small, government and SOEs.

Organisations are invited to enter multiple categories on their entry so that the diversity of their work can be recognised.

Categories aim to affirm a wide range of achivements and projects, so whether your organsiation is at the start of their rainbow journey or really advanced in the depth and complexity of their work, this could be a place to celebrate their progress.

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Keen to attend?

Reserve a table or seat for you and your crew now for what will undoubtedly be a great afternoon out, celebrating excellence in rainbow inclusion and diversity.

Join us, Friday 30 September 2022, 12 noon at Auckland's Crowne Plaza Hotel for a full lunch and beverage service throughout the celebrations.

Book your tickets on Humanitix below.

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Who are the New Zealand Rainbow Excellence Awards?

The awards are a collaboration between:

  • The Rainbow Tick, the organisation that developed and leads the Rainbow Tick Certification system, synonymous with improved inclusivity and safety in New Zealand workplaces; and
  • South Pacific Pride Limited, the organisation behind Winter Pride and the Pride Pledge, led by Martin King who is recognised as a leading diversity and inclusion champion in New Zealand.
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Martin King (he/him): Awards Director and Judging Convener 2019-2023

Martin King, Director of South Pacific Pride Ltd and Awards Director brings over 20 years Human Resources and Diversity and Inclusion experience to the team. Recognised as one of New Zealand's leading Diversity and Inclusion practitioners, and accomplished speaker, Martin has worked across many of New Zealand's Best Places to Work and has taken organisations on transformational change journeys culminating in award-winning people programs. Martin lead the team at Coca-Cola Amatil NZ to be the first business in NZ to sign up for the Rainbow Tick and the second to receive certification.

Many of the teams Martin has lead have had their work recognised through earning the following awards : UN Women Empowerment Principles Supreme Award, YWCA Equal Pay Awards, Diversity Works Awards, Health and Safety Leadership Awards, AON Hewitt Best Employers, Australia and New Zealand, LEAD 2018 Top 20 Global Best Leadership Development Programs, and the Randstad Most Attractive Employers multiple top 20 positions.

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Koroninia Dickinson (he/him): Chief Executive Officer Poutama Trust, Awards Judge 2019 - 2024.

Ngāti Kahungunu ki Te Wairoa, Kāti Māmoe, Kāi Tahu, and Kuki Airani (Cook Islands) descent.

Koro is senior leader, an executive producer, government relations expert, a former diplomat, and a New Zealand age group triathlete.

He is the Chief Executive Officer of Poutama Trust a Māori Charitable Trust that supports Māori businesses across Aotearoa. He is also the Executive Producer at the Auckland-based TV & film production company - The KOHA Project Ltd.

Prior to this, Koro was an Executive Officer at Auckland Council. Here he also led Auckland’s international relations work as the Head of Global Partnerships, as well as council’s external partnerships as the Head of Strategic Partnerships. As a diplomat, he worked for NZ’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade based in Wellington, Australia and Canada.

He lives with his husband in Maungakiekie (One Tree Hill).

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Mary Haddock-Staniland (she/her): Global Senior Vice President of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging [DEIB], EverCommerce, Awards Judge 2021 - 2024

Mary Haddock-Staniland, a highly respected DEIB & People Executive, has been a judge of our awards since 2021. She is dedicated to creating a fair and inclusive world in both business and society. In 2020, she made history in New Zealand as the inaugural Chief People & Inclusion Officer at Timely, a groundbreaking move in the realm of c-suite roles. Currently, she holds the position of Global Senior Vice President of DEIB at EverCommerce, following its acquisition of Timely in 2021. In addition to her role at EverCommerce, Mary serves as a board member, advisor, and judge for various organisations. She is also a Lifeline New Zealand Ambassador and is highly sought-after as a keynote speaker, MC, and panellist, sharing her expertise and wisdom with audiences worldwide.

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Martine Hartley-Parsons (she/her/ia): Inclusive Leadership specialist Pito Mata Consulting Ltd Awards Judge 2021-2024

Arriving in New Zealand as a pre-school child with a strong Northern English accent, growing up in small rural community in a non-farming family that was different from other local families and coming out as queer are just some of Martine Hartley-Parsons’ lived experiences of the importance of inclusion, and the damage of exclusion. She has been known to refer to her family as “not a Wattie’s family” to capture how outside Pākehā NZ culture she often felt.
Martine began challenging heteronormativity and societal expectations of family configuration in her post-graduate research before embarking on a career as a social worker. Visible leadership role models at all levels are critical protective factors for many of us. From the outset of her career, Martine made a conscious decision to be ‘out’ and worked towards building social work practice that was inclusive and response to the needs of LGBTIQA+ young people.
She is a former senior leader in the New Zealand Public Service, where she led the development and implementation of the Diversity and Inclusion work programme for the public service, including the first survey of rainbow-identifying public servants in New Zealand which generated international interest. Martine led a workshop at the inaugural rainbow public service conference in 2018 and was a keynote speaker at the 2021 Cross-Agency Rainbow Network (CARN) conference held in the NZ Parliament Buildings.
She has long contributed to and supported workplace rainbow networks and was the initial co-creator and convenor of the gQ (government Queer) network, a pre-cursor to the Cross-Agency Rainbow Network. Martine is a former national network delegate convenor for the Out@PSA network and the Out@PSA representative on the Out at Work Council with Te Kauae Kaimahi | the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions.
She has worked with the Leadership Development Centre (LDC), where she has built the inclusive practices capabilities of the workgroup and led the infusion of inclusive leadership throughout all programmes offered by the LDC to senior leaders across the public service.
With her husband, Martine established Pito Mata Consulting, a boutique consultancy providing specialist organisational development services, including leadership development coaching. Martine uses visibility to create safety for others and believes that even small actions can make a big difference. One starfish at a time.

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Lizzi Whaley (she/her): owner & director of Spaceworks Interior Architecture, Awards Judge 2022 to 2024

Lizzi Whaley won The Newmarket Business Association Executive Leadership Award in the 2021 NZRE Awards, and The Westpac SME Rainbow Inclusivity Award for Spaceworks Interior Architecture.

I am beyond thrilled at such an honour to be a judge. I am also looking forward to seeing all the entries and their commitment to Diversity & Inclusivity with a Rainbow focus. Wishing the best of luck to all entrants.

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Judy O’Brien (she/her), Culture, Diversity and Inclusion Manger, New Zealand Rugby. Judge 2023 and 2024

Judy O’Brien (she/her) is a passionate workplace culture professional with 16 years of experience developing and driving initiatives for gender equity. Her expertise is in the field of sexual harassment prevention in New Zealand, and at the intersections of diversity, inclusion and primary prevention of interpersonal harm. Judy serves as head of the Culture, Diversity & Inclusion team at New Zealand Rugby, where she oversees the implementation of NZR's Equity, Diversity and Inclusion strategy, Pasifika Strategy, and Harm Prevention Framework. Her career has included time as an entertainer, educator, community advocate and a consultant to leaders in the public and private sectors. As a champion for Rainbow inclusion, Judy steered the merger of two of NZ’s essential LGBTQ+ youth organisations and in 2022 led NZ Rugby to win the Emerging, Innovation and Supreme categories at the NZ Rainbow Excellence Awards.

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Brad Poulter (he/him), NZDF Senior Advisor, Diversity and Inclusion , Te Ope Kātua o Aotearoa | New Zealand Defence Force. Judge 2023 and 2024

Brad Poulter (he/him) works within the New Zealand Defence Force Directorate of Diversity and Inclusion. Previously in the Royal New Zealand Navy from 2001 – 2019, he now has a strategic role focusing on the current and future direction of the NZDF with regards to operationalising diversity and inclusion efforts. Brad has served on a number of HMNZ Ships in a number of roles including as a Military Police Investigator, Flight Deck Officer, and Maritime Operational Evaluator. Additionally he also worked within NZDF Leadership Development as a Senior Instructor. Brad has deployed on numerous operational deployments including the Gulf of Oman, and a deployment to the Bamian Province in Central Afghanistan. He continues to be a reservist for the Navy.

Prior to his current role, Brad was the Chair of the NZDF Rainbow Network OverWatch and continues to support the network and outcomes of rainbow inclusion within the NZDF in his current role. He is also the NZDF representative for the Cross Agency Rainbow network (CARN). Brad has previously been a trustee for Rainbow Charitable Trust NZ.

Brad is the programme lead for the NZDF Tāne Toa programme of work aimed at valuing and including those who identify as men, this programme operates in partnership with the broader NZDF Directorate of Diversity and Inclusion’s gender equality work programme (that also includes NZDF’s Wāhine Toa programme and Rainbow Inclusion programme)

Brad is passionate about championing diversity and inclusion and supporting the NZDF to be an inclusive and respectful organisation, and an exemplar for other organisations. In his spare time you can find him in the gym, spending time with friends and whānau or walking Wellington’s South Coast, where he lives.

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Shayde Young (she/her/ia), Relationship Manager, Village Collective. Judge 2023 and 2024

Shayde Young (she/her/ia) won the Chorus Ambassadorship Award at the 2022 NZ Rainbow Excellence Awards for the mahi she spearheaded at Foodstuffs North Island; she was also instrumental in Foodstuffs North Island winning the Pride Pledge Innovation Award in 2023 for their first Gender Affirmation Policy.

Shayde now works for a Pasifika youth organisation in South Auckland called Village Collective as their Relationship Manager and leads their Community Fale, whose mahi includes their ‘Umata Network, which is a peer support group for the MVPFAFF+/Rainbow community and their Teu Wardrobe, which provides free gender affirming clothing to rangatahi.

Shayde serves on the RainbowYOUTH General Board as an Executive Advisor and was appointed by the Mayor of Auckland as a panel member for Auckland Council's Rainbow Advisory Panel.

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Kendall Farmer (she/her), Music Licensing Manager & DEI Lead, Les Mills International, Awards Judge 2024

With a particular focus on LGBTTQIA+ inclusion as a proud queer tangata tiriti wahine, Kendall works at making the fitness and music industries safer, more celebratory places for our people to thrive. She is a passionate advocate for measurable progress against tangible DEI initiatives and believes in championing solidarity over charity. When she’s not at work (or at the gym) you can find her chanting at your local protest, volunteering in safe spaces at your local music festival, or sharing ideas and learnings with our wider community. Winning the Chorus Ambassador Rainbow Excellence Award in 2023 is something she describes as both an honour and a responsibility, and she’s incredibly excited to be a part of this year’s judging panel to see the quality of mahi achieved by our community over the past year.

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Wikitoria Gillard (she/her), Programme Director/Pou Hautū Kaupapa | Rainbow Tick, Awards Judge 2021-2023

"Nga puhi me Niue toku iwi.

Ko Takatapui ahau.

Ko Wikitoria Gillard toku ingoa.

I am the Programme Director of Rainbow Tick.

I live in central Auckland with my wife and I love delicious food and visiting the Pacific Islands."

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Falencie Flilipo (she/her): Risk Specialist, ASB Bank, Performing Artist, Awards Judge 2021-2023

Lencie is a well-known figure within the rainbow community. She is a big believer in equality for all in the workplace & education being fundamental in the survival and success of a trans woman of colour. She is an employee of the ASB Bank in the risk division working in various risk roles over the past 4 years and has 9 years experience in the finance industry.

Outside the corporate world, Lencie is a performance-based artist emoting body positivity and sovereignty in her Siva Samoa and vogue femme (femme queen performance in Vogue ballroom culture). She is part of the laureate art recipients 2020 queer indigenous collective FAFSWAG and a pioneer for the Auckland Ballroom Vogue Scene (active since 2013) that has graced the stages of New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Canada, USA and soon England. She is the house mother of Fale (House) Aitu and continues to create and offer safe space in community events for the ballroom community, hosting (MC) at vogue balls and ensuring her "children" reap the benefits of dedication to their art practise.

2022, Lencie continued being out of the spotlight carrying over from 2021, championing young trans folk that challenge and take control of their narrative that is often misled and a false reality pushed by those who subscribe to anti-trans rhetoric.

When she has zoned out from the corporate world, she finds joy in giving back to her community by mentoring, guiding and offering advice such as reconciling accounts to those who may be financially illiterate or informal workshops for trans women in preparing for job interviews.

She has taken a recent interest in intersectionality introduced to her at the Multiethnic Young Leaders Summit 2022 where fellow lambily (Mariah Carey die hard fans), Patrick S. Thomsen generously deconstructed intersectionality. Lencie believes intersectionality is hugely important in truly embracing diversity and inclusion in training our minds to consciously be aware of our unconscious bias that is directly attributed to intersectionality.

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Barbara Chapman: Patron 2019-23

“I’m delighted to be the Patron of the New Zealand Rainbow Excellence Awards. Improving business performance through a focus on improving diversity and inclusion is great for the team, great for shareholders and brings a real sense of satisfaction and achievement in the workplace.”

Barbara was the Chief Executive and Managing Director of ASB Bank Limited from 2011 until February 2018. Barbara has extensive business experience gained through a successful career in the banking industry, commencing with the Commonwealth Bank Group in 1994.

During her career Barbara has held a number of senior and executive roles in retail banking, life insurance, marketing, communications and human resources. She is passionate about people, culture, diversity and inclusion. In 2018 Barbara was awarded the inaugural INFINZ Diversity and Inclusion award, recognising her longstanding involvement and advocacy in these areas.

Barbara currently holds directorships with Genesis Energy, NZME, The New Zealand Initiative, and most recently Fletcher Building. In 2017 she was named the New Zealand Business Leader of the Year.

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Michael Bennetts (he/him): Chief Executive of Z Energy Limited, Awards Judge 2019-2022

Michael is presently the founding Chief Executive of Z Energy Ltd, the company that purchased the downstream (refining and marketing) business of Shell in New Zealand in April 2010 and Chevron in June 2016. As a result of an IPO in August 2013, Z is now dual listed on the ASX and NZX and ranks in the NZX10.

Michael has accumulated 30 years of experience in the global energy industry with his expertise in supply, trading and marketing businesses, covering both consumer and business to business segments. In 1983 he joined BP in New Zealand to take on roles based in sales, marketing, information technology and finance. From 1992 to 2008 he served in various senior leadership roles in South Africa, China, Singapore and the United Kingdom.

Michael has served as a Director of various private and public companies and joint ventures in Singapore, China and South Africa. He is presently a Director of Loyalty New Zealand Limited and the Chair of Punakaiki Fund Limited, a $40m investment fund that makes long term investments into high growth, revenue generating New Zealand companies.

Michael holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Corporate Management. He graduated as a Bachelor of Business Studies majoring in Management from Massey University where his academic record led him to be recognised as a Massey Scholar.

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Alison Mau: NZRE Awards MC, 2019 - 2022

The incredible Ali Mau has hosted The NZ Rainbow Excellence Awards since 2019.

With more than 20 years at the top of the Television news and current affairs in New Zealand, Ali Mau is one of the country’s most recognised and respected faces. In two decades at TVNZ, Ali hosted shows across the spectrum including Newsnight, TVNZ Breakfast, One News At Six, Fair Go and Seven Sharp. Ali is a former talkback radio host on RadioLIVE Drive.

Mau currently leads a team of journalists at Stuff and is a lead journalist in the recently launched national #metoonz investigation into sexual harassment in New Zealand. The#metoonz project - which references the celebrity#metoo social movement - is for people who wanted to have a voice but didn't know where to go. Ali heads a team of journalists who help investigate these emerging stories.

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Beatrice Clarke, Programme Director, Rainbow Tick, Awards Judge 2020

Beatrice Clarke (Ngāti Awa, Pākehā) is the Programme Director for Rainbow Tick, leading the Rainbow Tick team nationally.
Beatrice has a background working in education and using human-centred design methodology to address social issues. She is well-placed at Rainbow Tick to combine her passion for diversity and inclusion with her knowledge of continuous improvement. In her new role as Programme director she brings her experience in project-management and service design, and we are excited about her leadership of Rainbow Tick into the future.

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Catherine Smith, Auckland Museum, Director of People and Organisation, winner of the Westpac Supreme Award 2019, Newmarket Businesses Association Executive Leadership Award 2019 and The Lion Innovation Award 2019. Awards Judge 2020.

Catherine Smith is Auckland Museum's Director of People and Organisation - the kaitiaki of the organisation's people and unique Tāmaki Paenga Hira culture. Last year she led the Museum to win the Rainbow Excellence's Supreme Award, Innovation and Leadership awards. She is passionate about social change and authentic leadership and was awarded the Walk the Talk award at this year’s Diversity Awards.

Her passion for social change, began when she was a social worker working with individuals to change behaviours and outcomes. She was attracted to HR because of the opportunity to support human change on a large scale. She has fifteen years of experience in Human Resources and organisational development roles and is committed to creating sustainable, high performance workplaces where people experience enriching work and are inspired to innovate.

She holds a Bachelor of Social Work, a Postgraduate Diploma in Business, a Master’s degree in Human Resources and Organisational Development and has won several academic excellence awards for her postgraduate studies.

I am thrilled to join the judging panel this year and I can't wait to hear about all the amazing work that is being done across Aotearoa to support our LQBTQI+ communities in our workplaces.

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Allan Lennie, Fletcher Building, winner of the 2019 Inaugural Rainbow Tick Ambassadorship Award, Awards Judge 2020

Former Chair of Fletcher Building’s Pride Network, Allan grew up in a small farming community in the Orkney Islands, Scotland. He started his career in the Oil and Gas Industry and in 2012 he set sail for Australia where he was based in Sydney. He worked in the construction industry before moving to New Zealand in 2015.
When Allan arrived in New Zealand, he started with Fletcher Building and has since developed his career and become comfortably open about his sexuality in the workplace. He has a very pragmatic approach to balancing his strong sense of social justice and incorporates this into his work with his team and superiors, always striving to find mutually beneficial outcomes.
Outside of work he is a passionate hiker and enjoys learning history and culture.
Allan’s moto is: “Never give up. Determination, love and hard work are the key to success”

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Candice Collier, Customer Experience Lead, Westpac and Mentor of Westpac’s Pride Network (GLOBAL), Awards Judge 2020

Candice has 23 years experience working across multiple disciplines in the UK and New Zealand. She has a passion for customer and people experience with nearly 15 years’ at Westpac, leading customer, brand, inclusion and sustainability focused strategic initiatives. A mentor of Westpac’s Rainbow Network, she has been an active of member of the Rainbow Executive Committee since 2014, developing and implementing the Rainbow Network’s strategy to increase workplace inclusion for LGBTIQ+ employees and create genuine and positive connection to local communities.

Proud achievements include, Westpac New Zealand being the one of the first organisations to be awarded the Rainbow Tick, growing the ally network internally by 80% in one year and leading Westpac’s first entry in the Auckland Pride Parade, resulting in 70+ team members marching alongside the CEO.

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Kirstin Te Wao – Diversity & Inclusion Lead, Vodafone New Zealand, Awards Judge 2019

“I consider it a privilege to be part of the judging panel for these inaugural Rainbow Tick Awards. In today’s socially vulnerable society it’s important - now more than ever - that we recognise people and individuals who stand up for humanity. I’m proud to be part of an initiative that celebrates the people who stand up in our communities and our businesses for a more inclusive and colourful Aotearoa.”

Kirstin Te Wao is Vodafone New Zealand’s Diversity & Inclusion Lead, appointed to the inaugural role in May 2014. Kirstin is responsible for the development and execution of the Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, and programmes that focus on Vodafone’s strategic priorities.

Kirstin comes from humble customer service beginnings and in 2011 led Vodafone’s inaugural celebrations for Te Wiki O Te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week), which triggered the beginning of her career journey from Customer Service and Technology into Human Resources. Kirstin’s current portfolio includes: developing authentic relationships with Māori, increasing gender equality and growing visible support for Vodafone’s Rainbow community.

During Kirstin’s time in the role, Vodafone have launched various programs including the launch of the Rainbow Whānau in 2016 who went on to lead the company’s acquisition of the Rainbow Tick, Pride Parade participation and Winter Festival. In addition to her business role, Kirstin is also a Director on the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation Board whose purpose is to help young people live lives that they value.

Born and raised in the Tāmaki district among the whānau of Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrākei, Kirstin’s tribal affiliations are also connected to Te Arawa and Tainui. Kirstin has two children and is currently completing a Post-Graduate Business Diploma in Māori Development at the University of Auckland.

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Rachel Hopkins, Chief Executive, Diversity Works New Zealand, Awards Judge 2019

Rachel is committed to equity and empowerment for all New Zealanders. In addition to her role at Diversity Works NZ, she is an independent director of crowdfunding platform PledgeMe and is Chair of the Ministry for Youth Development Partnership Fund.

Rachel has degrees in Law and Feminist Studies, is a Chartered Member of the Institute of Directors and studied Design Thinking at Stanford University. She sat on the Board of NZX listed AWF Madison Group as part of the Future Directors Programme and was the recipient of the 2016 IOD Emerging Director Award for Auckland.

Rachel has owned her own marketing business in Sydney and worked for the world’s largest law firm in London. In New Zealand, she has held various executive leadership roles in professional services, education and training. She was the Executive Sponsor of the Competenz Māori and Pasifika Steering Committee and founding Chair of collaborative industry training initiative Got a Trade? Got it Made? designed to promote trades careers to young people, particularly young women.

Rachel’s volunteer work includes sitting on the Establishment Board of the Auckland Foundation’s Women’s Fund and the New Zealand Committee of the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles.

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Michael Stevens, Programme Manager Rainbow Tick, Awards Judge 2019

Michael has a long history of involvement with New Zealand’s Rainbow communities. He is a former Chair of the NZ AIDS Foundation, and has been a lecturer at the University of Auckland and is a published author on the subject of human sexuality. He was the founding director for the Rainbow Tick. (Auckland)

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