We were honoured to be the keynote speaker sponsor at the Taituarā Conference 2022. The event finished with four different perspectives on thriving communities with Rt Hon Sir Bill English, Former Prime Minister and Former leader of the National Party; Dr Ganesh Ahirao Nana, Chair of the New Zealand Productivity Commission; Brian Coffey, Director of the New Zealand Office for Disability Issues; and To’osavili Nigel Bickle, Chief Executive of Hastings District Council - Te Kaunihera ā-Rohe o Heretaunga.
Sheffield Wellington Director Katy Anquetil introduced the final keynote speaker Ezra Hirawani, who is the founder of Nau Mai Rā, an electricity company that allows you to direct a portion of your power bill to a kaupapa of your choice. Katy shared her thoughts, and the impact of vulnerability:
I had the privilege and honour of hearing Ezra Hirawani speak at this year's Taituarā — Local Government Professionals Aotearoa conference.
Here is a picture of him and his nan, who inspired him to start Nau Mai Rā (https://www.naumaira.nz/). Nau Mai Rā is an electricity company that enables those who are privileged enough to not worry about paying for their electricity, the opportunity to pay for our electricity, for the same or less than what we already pay and Nau Mai Rā uses a percentage of that to help another whānau who is affected by power poverty to pay for their electricity.
In listening to Ezra, I was struck forcefully by the power of vulnerability in leadership. This extraordinary organisation that is doing extraordinary things for Aotearoa is a direct result of Ezra’s willingness to lean into the things that were most vulnerable for him. That same vulnerability for which Ezra stood so boldly in on the stage yesterday, we and I say we because the entire room was gripped, felt moved, felt inspired and more than ever felt compelled to act. I have spoken to 12 people in the last few days who have switched their power over to Nau Mai Rā.
I often speak to leaders about the power and strength in vulnerability. When a leader steps willingly into their vulnerability, it enables them to connect organisations, communities, strangers and the world to their purpose.
Before Ezra took the stage, I was recovering from a moment on stage where I felt vulnerable. My instinct was to cover up the vulnerability and then hide away. You hear about people wanting to disappear. That is exactly how I felt. This vulnerability pales in comparison to that in which Ezra spoke about but the irony of watching a leader stand so profoundly in their personal and professional vulnerability whilst I was having these thoughts was not lost on me. So I leaned into my vulnerability and owned it. So a massive kia ora to Ezra Hirawani for not only his amazing korero but also for the leadership lesson he affirmed for many that was not spoken. We are strongest as leaders when our authentic humanness is as the fore in all that we do and all that we be.
“The great leaders are not the strongest, they are the ones who are honest about their weaknesses. The great leaders are not the smartest; they are the ones who admit how much they don’t know. The great leaders can’t do everything; they are the ones who look to others to help them. Great leaders don’t see themselves as great; they see themselves as human.” (Simon Sinek)
Taituarā Conference 2022 Gallery
Master of Ceremonies Miriama Kamo interviews Keynote Speaker Ezra Hirawani from Nau Mai Rā.
Discussion panel featuring Rt Hon Sir Bill English, Former Prime Minister and Former leader of the National Party; Dr Ganesh Ahirao Nana, Chair of the New Zealand Productivity Commission; Brian Coffey, Director of the New Zealand Office for Disability Issues; and To’osavili Nigel Bickle, Chief Executive of Hastings District Council - Te Kaunihera ā-Rohe o Heretaunga.
Taituarā Conference 2022