Multiethnic Young Leaders NZ Launches 3 Kapu Kawhe™ Mentorship Programme

Auckland, New Zealand – Multiethnic Young Leaders NZ is thrilled to announce the launch of its 3 Kapu Kawhe™ Mentorship Programme, which was officially unveiled last night at Deloitte New Zealand. The launch event showcased the inaugural mentor lineup, featuring an exceptional array of leaders from across New Zealand’s government and business sectors, all committed to supporting this kaupapa as mentors.

The short-term mentoring programme pairs ethnically diverse young leaders in the formative years of their careers (mentees) with experienced New Zealand executives and directors (mentors) for three life-changing conversations.

Mentees pay it forward by having three cups of coffee with a student leader in tertiary education or their final year of high school (student mentee), creating a ripple effect that supports the development of young, diverse leaders across multiple generations. The programme purposefully connects mentors and mentees from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, introducing individuals who might not otherwise cross paths otherwise in life.

The lack of institutional support, mentoring, and social capital Lack of institutional support, mentoring and social capital is a significant obstacle for Māori, Asian, Pacific and Minority Ethnicity (MAPME) aspiring leaders. 

Many young pepople from MAPME backgrounds enter the workforce as first-generation professionals from historically underrepresented communities. They often lack established networks in their chosen fields, and the absence of visible role models – “people who look like us” – at the top of organisations makes it even more challenging to connect with potential mentors and build meaningful relationships.

“As our population demographics rapidly evolve, it’s crucial to nurture and maximise all talent available to us in Aotearoa to build a socially cohesive society, globally competitive economy, and world-leading organisations.”

“These 11 executives and directors exemplify senior business and government leaders who have demonstrated a personal and professional commitment to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion, strengthening social cohesion, championing ethnic and intersectional diversity in leadership, and empowering diverse young New Zealanders.”

We are proud to announce this year’s cohort of mentors, listed alphabetically by first name. Their dedication and passion for fostering the next generation of diverse leaders will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on the mentees and the wider community:

  1. Andrew Poole – Chief Executive, MinterEllison RuddWatts
  2. Craig Hudson – General Manager of Export Customers, NZTE
  3. Jo Avenell –  CEO, Russell McVeagh
  4. Kellie Coombes – Secretary for Women and CE, Manatū Wāhine – Ministry for Women
  5. KP – Chief Executive, Institute of Directors
  6. Marc Rivers – President & CFO, Bridgewest Perth Pharma | Chair, Audit and Finance Committee, Te Whatu Ora
  7. Matt Prichard – Executive Chair, KPMG
  8. Mike Horne – Chief Executive, Deloitte
  9. Rob Campbell – Director
  10. Tracey Taylor – CEO, Yellow New Zealand
  11. Vanessa Stoddart – Independent Director


Applications for the inaugural 3 Kapu Kawhe programme are now open. To learn more and apply, please visit

About Multiethnic Young Leaders NZ

Multiethnic Young Leaders NZ (MYLN) is a network of ethnically diverse young leaders between the ages of 18 and 35 who are committed to strengthening social cohesion, championing ethnic and intersectional diversity in leadership, and empowering diverse young New Zealanders.