Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Superdiversity; a lecture delivered by our very own superwoman

Tonight, Ahmed (Mohammed Mohammed) and I attended a public lecture that the wonderful Mai Chen gave on 'Superdiversity' and the implications of 'demographic disruption' for business, social relationships and the ongoing development of New Zealand's identity as a nation.
I've raved on about Mai in the past, having attended her book launch 'the Public Law Tool Box' in 2014, the work she did with the Bilingual Leo in petitioning parliament to have Pasifika Languages recognised, with ample resourcing in early childhood education. Today I also learnt about the fantastic work she does as the chair NZ Asian Leaders (could a Pasifika model ever work? - which I pondered as I marvelled at what this woman has achieved over her 30 year career in law).
Anyways, I am still trying to process what I heard tonight. Mai's intellect and passion for her work is phenomenal and she said a lot of things that got me thinking about identity, space, place and time and (super) diversity in this country and how NZ's social and financial success really depends on how we nurture and enhance the 'diversity dividend' by making sure that our laws and policies and business practices reflect superdiversity in our society.
Mai will later this year be releasing a book jointly with The University of Auckland; a 'Superdiversity Stocktake', which will look at the importance of:
• Understanding that New Zealand is already a superdiverse society, and that trend will accelerate over the coming years;
• Securing the ‘diversity dividend’ by making sure that our law and policy and business practices are fit for purpose in a superdiverse society;
• Identifying the eight key law and policy and business challenges posed by superdiversity; and
• Undertaking a stocktake of our current law, policy and business settings to manage the transition to superdiversity.
She spoke a lot about 'demographic disruption' and the significant influence migrants and non Anglo Saxon communities play in this i.e. 50% of Auckland being Maori, Pacific and Asian by 2020 and the inherent challenges these communities currently/will face, and why NZ as a whole needs to respond to superdiversity to survive. She did not frame her talk using terms like 'equity' and 'social justice', and If I heard correctly she refrained from pursuing that path and preferred to appeal to peoples self interest saying - 'at the end of the day we all want to do well'.
Another thing I noticed was that she didn't mention or talk about any of the issues she highlighted from a gender perspective..... nor was gender issues/diversity a primary focus or concern in her summary.
Anyways the book is being launched at the end of the year I will keep those who are interested posted lol.
Randomly, here is a picture of the wonderful Mai. You know how you can have academic crushes - like be totally in love with someone's brain - I think this is my first lawyer crush.

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