Ia Ara Transporting New Zealand has announced today the inaugural group of diversity champions who will take part in Te ara ki tua Road to success Driving Change Diversity Programme. The 10 nominees from within the industry come from diverse backgrounds and work in different roles, from truck drivers to managers and business owners.

The programme is an initiative sponsored by Teletrac Navman and proudly supported by Transporting New Zealand and the Australian Transport Association to address what the industry recognises is a workforce that doesn’t accurately reflect the diversity of New Zealand and New Zealanders today.

Te ara ki tua Road to success Driving Change Diversity Programme brings a two-fold approach to creating a diverse and inclusive transport business. First, it showcases diversity stories to the transport industry and wider community. Honest life stories of participants promote a positive perception of the industry and encourage new entrants into the workforce. Second, through a dynamic network of like-minded individuals and a valuable package of professional development opportunities to build the right skills for participants, the programme teaches them how to embrace and celebrate a unique workforce.

David Smith, Chair of the ATA, says: “When done properly, diversity can be a game-changer in the professional world. It’s increasingly important for transport companies realise diversity as an asset that they should rely on and embrace. We’re pleased to partner with Teletrac Navman and Transporting New Zealand to launch a meaningful initiative to enact positive change in the industry.”

Megan Duncan, Director of Director of Global Marketing Operations, Teletrac Navman, has high hopes for this year’s cohort. “As the programme promotes diversity, it’s a joy to see a diverse group of participants. It shows that awareness is getting better and better with time, and there have been more transport companies trying to make genuine commitments to equal opportunities.”

Biographies of the program participants are below.


Joshua Hart
Class 5 driver, Hart Haulage
Joshua is a young driver and an anti-bullying ambassador whose story has been covered by TVNZ’s Seven Sharp. Previously a victim of bullying, Josh now drives a unique pink truck with courageous slogans to spread joy and positivity. Josh believes neither race nor academic ability should be a barrier to entry, and a safe, bully- free environment is the right start allowing changes to be made. The trucking industry was the first industry to accept him and his authentic self when others wouldn't. To pay it forward, today he goes above and beyond to listen to and help others, as well as raise better awareness of mental health issues.

Lisa Gibson
Customer Operations and HSSE Lead, Z Transport
Over a decade ago, Lisa started working in the café of Z Transport’s Wellington head office with no background in the transport industry. Interestingly, her passion and work ethic have helped her progress into her current role as Customer Operations and HSSE Lead on bulk fuel delivery activity. Today, Lisa plays an important role in managing operational service and delivery issues, as well as contracting assurance and annual HSSE audits. Her success story in a traditionally male-dominated industry proves that diversity at work is all about respecting differences and recognising people based on their contributions alone.

Marthe Lutu
Health and Safety Advisor, Alexander Group
Marthe initially came to Alexander Group as a new graduate on a contract basis over school holidays. She proves her skills and aptitude in no time, and with training she is now Health and Safety Advisor for Alexander Group. In a transport company that demands a high level of compliance and risk assessment, Marthe can get key safety messages across a wide range of people and effectively deliver the onboarding classroom-based training modules to new drivers. A high-performing team member who works hard to continuously improve the company’s H&S performance, she is a role model to lots of people. Having moved to New Zealand from Samoa at 12, she is also a champion for her culture and gender. Marthe strongly believes in breaking down culture, age, and gender barriers to establish a supportive work culture welcoming people from all backgrounds.

Mickayla Kerr
CEO, Heagney Bros
Running a family-owned transport company in a male-dominated environment, Mickayla is always ready to stand up for what is right and what could be better. She works hard to bring out the best in every driver, whether it's supporting female applicants in obtaining Class 5 licences, giving people with physical limitations career opportunities or providing school hours to working parents. In her 15 years in the military, she was one of the first females to lead within the combat arms, and was actively involved in recruiting female soldiers into the artillery. Mickayla deeply appreciates diversity at work – for her it’s about bringing together a team that everyone can contribute in their own ways and offer different perspectives.

Sheana Martin
Vehicle Recovery Operator, Parks Garage
To Sheana, diversity means respecting others’ beliefs, cultures and backgrounds, and accepting them for who they are. Being a Maori female driver, Sheana has extra empathy with customers and coworkers. She is passionate about her work and always keen to help other staff improve their performance. Her positive can-do attitude has earned her the respect of everyone in Parks Garage. She aspires to meet like-minded individuals to have more discussions about diversity in the workplace and have a better understanding of how she can make a difference.

Brianna Wilson
Class 5 driver, Philip Wareing
One of the few female drivers at Philip Wareing, Brianna started as an apprentice driver. She never shies away from challenging work, like bobby calf lifting, and just simply delivers with a polite, cheerful and positive attitude. Knowing that she is in the minority of an environment that sometimes can seem like a ‘big boys’ club’, she is interested in talking to young people, especially young women, about how they can get one foot in the door. Brianna strongly believes in equal opportunities, as she knows that women can work well in the transport industry.

Chelly Balasbas
HR Manager, Allied Concrete
A HR manager of Filippino ethnicity, Chelly finds that sometimes she is stereotyped that she favours Filipinos/ Asians from the viewpoint of managers, and supportive of the managers from the viewpoint of some staff. For her, there is a lot more to diversity than surface differences in any organisation. Diversity means accepting, valuing and giving equitable treatment to people regardless of their social class, beliefs, cultures, age and gender. She is mindful of her own unconscious biases, and has a flexible, collaborative approach to ensure that she responds well to different cultural norms. Chelly believes that diversity and inclusion shouldn’t be just a superficial marketing tool, but an authentic priority for transport companies.

Jodi McNamara
Driver Trainer, H.W. Richardson Group
Jodi identifies as non-binary and believes there is a spectrum for everything. They enjoy driving trucks and have been a driver trainer for the past two years. They suggest that to attract new talents, transport companies need to embrace diversity and open the door to all people. By recognising individual strengths instead of casting differences aside, companies can move forward a lot faster. Having a real passion for helping others thrive in the transport industry, Jodi would like to see the industry become more inclusive in the near future.

Jacqueline Smith
Managing Director/Co-owner, Renwick Transport
One thing that Jacqueline particularly loves about her work is that she runs a diverse company, from age, gender to work variation. Every day is a chance for everyone to learn new things and strive to do better together. Jacqueline sees diversity as moving with the times and being open to embracing change. She also believes in challenging the ‘just a truck driver’ mindset, since they are qualified professional drivers with great responsibility, and should be treated with respect and dignity. Joining the programme, she is looking forward to being a part of a larger network, which allows her to develop more ideas of how to promote diversity at work.

Hayley Alexander
CEO, Alexander Group
A progressive leader of a family-owned business with diverse workforce, Hayley focuses on putting thoughts into action and putting people first. She is also a member of Global Women, an organisation whose mission is promoting diversity. Her colleagues describe her as an influential leader who simply sees each person for what they bring to the table and who they could potentially become. Seeing past traditional biases like race, gender and level of education, Hayley treats everyone with the same respect and attention. She thinks that breaking down barriers to diversity not only helps the transport industry meet capacity demand, but also provides fresh perspectives that can be key to addressing current challenges.

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