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A Word from the CEO

Talofa Lava, Tena Koe

I wonder as you come to the close-out of 2017, how has your integrative year of leadership been? Have you been able to use integrative leadership to more skillfully navigate the polarities, ambiguity and tensions of wicked problems in your team, organisation, or sector?

Integrative leadership is about applying an adaptive lens and developing our leadership literacy, leadership competencies to enable us to constructively handle, deal with opposing ideas in a way that creates new solutions – both/and - rather than being reduced to either/or choices. To dream, aspire and create new realities and opportunities.

Our Leadership Programme Class of 2017, have had a transformative year exploring integrative leadership. We celebrated their Graduation in style at Q Theatre in mid-November, and we wish them well and they continue in the life in leadership; and we reinforce what Anjum Rahman said in her graduation speech to the cohort of 2017: “I have faith in us. I have faith in our compassion; our depth; our experience and experiences; our warm, generous hearts; our wisdom; our friendship. I have faith that if and when we choose to take up the challenge, individually or collectively, we will commit and we will make a difference.”

Through our year, in a variety of forums we have witnessed and heard from a number of integrative leaders and considered how, through integrative thinking and leadership, we can be better leaders.

Our country certainly has had its fair share of challenges this year and we were called in September to decide on the kind of leadership we wanted for Aotearoa. We saw MMP really come into its own. Citizens voted for change. The results required political parties to really think differently about how to shape a government from the diversity of votes. It meant that any new government would need to be capable of negotiating and bringing a coalition of diverse parties to come together.

It took the skills of an integrative leader – our now Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Jacinda Ardern – to work across political borders to establish the Labour-led government that is now in place. She is the youngest female Prime Minister and, in my view, a new breed of politician. Made for C21st leadership, made for MMP – she is able to work in an authentic and open way across the political divides – and go beyond identity politics. Jacinda is direct but non-combative, has a collaborative partnership orientation, is confident and strong, empathetic, and strategic. This bodes well for the success of the coalition with NZ First and the Greens – and a more integrative political model of leadership to move New Zealand forward.

An integrative and charismatic business leader we met on the signature leadership programme in May is Wayne Norrie (World Class New Zealander, Chairman of the Hi Tech Association, Online Republic, and former Chair of the New Zealand Beachheads advisory board of NZTE). From his 30+ years’ experience working with NZ companies on the global stage he feels there is still too much command and control style in leadership and too much time spent looking backwards to the past. If companies really want to innovate and grow, Wayne believes true leaders must look outside themselves - they must have a diversity of people, diversity of thought at the table – people who are future focussed, who can work in a more integrated way if we are going to build more successful global companies.

And in December, we launched our Inaugural Mana Moana Experience – a Pasifika leadership programme and beginning a journey of exploration of a unique kind of integrative leadership – that looks at how, as Pacific leaders in Aotearoa we can successfully navigate two vastly distinct cultural worlds. Specifically, Mana Moana is the vitalisation and mobilisation of indigenous Pacific language, knowledge, values, culture, ways of knowing and viewing the world.  It operates on the understanding that Pacific ancestral resources are fundamental and essential for optimal contemporary living and leadership, and we focus on how Pacific cultural resources can be a source of advantage, pride, competitive edge. It is about leadership for a new era that calls on us to integrate our poly-cultural capital into our leadership as a way of contributing to the diversity dividend so needed in all contexts of our diverse nation.

The eighteen Mana Moana navigators in this first programme were privileged to spend a morning hearing from two chiefly giants of Oceania – His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Tai’si Efi, and Maualaivao Professor Albert Wendt: wisdom elders whose lives in leadership have shaped post-colonial modern Samoa, the Pacific region, and Aotearoa. They reminded us that our Pasifika leadership is founded on family, village, and indigenous values, cultural fa’avae (foundations); on the legacies of our ancestors. As we continue their legacy and fight for what we believe in, to create a better New Zealand for our peoples we must also lead with love and compassion. We must use our intellect, knowledge, skills and experience in conjunction with our heart, our soul (mauli, mauri).

Tui Atua and Maulaivao articulated what is at the heart of our LeadershipNZ kaupapa: a fundamental belief that relationships of influence are at the core of leadership – that as interdependent humans in an interconnected world, leadership is love, alofa, aro’a, ‘ofa, aloha, aroha. Dr Karlo Mila says “Leadership is about taking responsibility for the quality of our relationships with all others beings – not just interpersonally (human level) – but with all living things, with all that is living and beyond. It is a multidimensional concept of relatedness.” It is about the Va - the sacred space between, about the flow of love and mana.


As we leave an integrative 2017 and look ahead to a new year unfolding, we wish you and your whanau, fanau, aiga – at work, at home, in community – much aroha, hope and joy.  We thank you for all the love and support you have given us in the past 12 months; we are grateful for the diverse Leadership NZ family of supporters, partners, programme speakers, alumni and leaders right across Aotearoa and the world that make it possible for us to do what we love to do, and to serve and fulfil our vision.

We hope you get some well-deserved rest and relaxation over the summer with your loved ones, and we look forward to seeing you again soon.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Ia manuia le Kirisimasi ma le Tausaga Fou (Samoa)

Mele Kilikimaka Haouli Makahiki Hou (Hawaii)

Kilisimasi Fiefia e Tau fo’ou monu ia (Tonga)

Me Nomuni na marau ni siga ni sucu dei na yabaki vou (Fiji)

Monuina a Aho Kilisimasi mo e Tau Fo’ou (Niue)

Kia Orana e Kia manuia rava i teia Kiritimeti o te Mataiti Ou (Cook islands)

Meri Keirihimete me te Tau Hou (Maori)


Sina Wendt