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NZTech chief hopeful for greater diversity in tech sector

14 Sep 2020

NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller (pictured above, right, with Mitchell Pham, left) has released a statement describing the not-for-profit’s perspective on the future of Aotearoa New Zealand’s tech industry, addressing the need for diversity in the field.

“Thanks to COVID we are in the middle of a digital revolution that is changing the way the world does business. Technology is supporting the industries and people that are being disrupted right across society. Yet the tech sector fails to reflect the diversity of the world it is enabling,” Muller states in his statement.

NZTech brings together 20 tech associations and more than 1500 member organisations which collectively employ more than 10% of the New Zealand workforce with the goal to improve the economy through technology.

“NZTech campaigned hard for more diverse candidates to consider standing for its board. The message was well received and NZTech’s new board is the most diverse the sector has ever seen,” the statement explains.

The new board members are Delphine Ducaruge from Orbica, Duane Grace from Edusystems, Jannat Maqbool from Ecosystm360 and Mahsa Mohaghegh from AUT.

They join Anand Ranchord from Kiwibank; Anthony Watson from ANZ; Belinda Allen from Orion Health; Eva Sherwood from Deloitte; Kaye Maree Dunn from Āhau; Mike Smith from IBM; Nicole Upchurch form Centrality; and Mitchell Pham from the Augen Software Group and chair of the Digital Council for Aotearoa New Zealand.

“With three Maori tech leaders on the board -  Kaye Maree Dunn, Belinda Allen and Duane Grace - the organisation is well placed to evolve to support better inclusion in the sector. The NZTech board has seven women with three in their thirties spread across New Zealand including Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch.

“Maori and Pasifika tech success will be a critical driver of economic well-being for all New Zealanders in coming years, presenting opportunities for the development of new tech businesses, new jobs and the creation of a globally unique approach to New Zealand tech.”

Muller goes on to highlight the opportunities for the Kiwi workforce that the tech sector has to offer as it has found growth in the face of COVID-19 which has had a negative impact on many other industries. 

Last month saw a spate of news reporting that 90% of those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic were women, and that young people and Māori were also disproportionately hit. 

“Tech exports are likely to be the second biggest export earner for New Zealand in 2020, generating more than $12billion in revenue last year for the top 200 tech exporters,” Muller explains.

“We are always looking for more diverse and inclusive participation from those who have Maori, Pasifika, Asian and other ethnic backgrounds but this new board is a massive win for diversity and inclusion in our tech sector.

“NZTech is working with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment on the development of an industry transformation plan designed to further increase the growth of the tech sector so it can help economic recovery with increasing exports and jobs. We would love to see more people from right across New Zealand getting involved in these initiatives, so if you believe in the opportunity for tech to create a prosperous New Zealand, reach out and get involved.”