Our stories & events

Better understanding of rainbow community

7 April 2021
CARN Conference 2021

The second Cross Agency Rainbow Network (CARN) conference was held over two days in March at Parliament, Wellington.

The aim of the sold-out conference was to equip Public Service decision-makers with a better understanding of the experiences of our rainbow communities. Organisers also hoped the conference would help drive sustainable actions that meet the needs of our communities and enhance our safety and well-being.

More than 250 delegates attended the conference, which had a diverse range of keynote speakers, panels and presentations.

National Commissioner Rachel Leota presented on a panel along with speakers from Police, the Defence Force and the Security Intelligence Service. Their presentation discussed ‘Putting it into practice,’ referring to findings from the We Count survey on the LGBTQI+ people in the public sector.

Senior Advisor Inclusion and Diversity Theresa Peters chaired the conference organising committee and also delivered a workshop on ‘Activities for training staff around unconscious bias and learned stereotypes’.

Some 34 staff from Ara Poutama Aotearoa attended the conference. Theresa says feedback has been extremely positive with many staff reporting feeling energised and wanting to progress a range of initiatives.

“Some of the highlights from the conference were the keynote presentation from the Human Rights Commission on the Prism report, the Counting Ourselves survey of trans and non-binary health and wellbeing, the interactive workshops, and the panel on Aged Care and the Elderly, which received a standing ovation!” says Theresa.

“The CARN conference is an important initiative to help create a more Diverse and Inclusive Public Service. By creating a safe and accessible space for Rainbow whānau to celebrate their unique voices and perspectives, the conference encourages kōrero on issues and priorities for our Rainbow colleagues. With 48 agencies in attendance it is a key component to building a Public Service that reflects and understands the communities we serve.”

Peter Hughes, Public Service Commissioner/Head of Service Te Kawa Mataaho.