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Nau Mai, Haere Mai Elizabeth And Aaron! Vodafone Appoints New Head Of Māori Strategy And Cultural Capability Lead

Press Release – Vodafone

Two newly created roles mark the next iteration of Vodafone’s Māori development strategy, with one external hire and one internal promotion

Vodafone New Zealand is delighted to announce the appointment of Elizabeth Richards to the role of Head of Māori Strategy and Aaron Astle to the role of Pou Ahurea – Cultural Capability Lead. Elizabeth and Aaron will work closely to deliver on Vodafone’s five-year Māori Development Strategy with a focus on building enterprise partnerships and increasing cultural capability within the organisation respectively.

Elizabeth and Aaron

Elizabeth (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāpuhi) joins Vodafone from the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development with previous experience at Waikato Tainui and EY including EY Tahi.

As well as her impressive corporate and government experience, Elizabeth brings a wealth of cultural knowledge and experience as the Chair of Ngā Kaitatau Māori o Aotearoa and working relationships with many iwi, hāpu and pan iwi organisations across the motu.

Vodafone Chief Enterprise Officer, Lindsay Zwart says she can’t wait for Elizabeth to join the team and foster new and existing relationships with iwi and the Māori sector. “Elizabeth has an impressive track record and I can’t wait to see what she’ll do at Vodafone to add to our existing mahi. This is a new role and I’m excited to see Elizabeth make it her own.

“We were looking for someone with not only business acumen and cultural intelligence but relationship management as well and I’m so pleased she’s joining the Vodafone whānau to further progress our kaupapa. Her leadership will be integral in continuing to deliver on our Māori development strategy, and build more long-term relationships with iwi, hapū and Māori katoa.”

Elizabeth says: “I’m passionate about working alongside Māori, building trusted and enduring relationships to provide positive outcomes for Māori. I look forward to bringing my knowledge and understanding of tikanga and mātauranga Māori to Vodafone and am so pleased to see the organisation embracing Māori as strategic partners and the work being undertaken to acknowledge and adhere to the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. I can’t wait to start and connect with the team.”

Aaron Astle (Tainui, Ngati Whatua ki Orakei) has moved into his new role as Pou Ahurea – Cultural Capability Lead after almost 8 years at Vodafone, most recently as a Solutions Architect in the Wholesale & Infrastructure team where he played a pivotal role in the rebrand of Vodafone Infrastructure Partners, and creating their vision of Tūhono ki te Paerangi.

Vodafone Chief People Officer, Jodie King says she’s thrilled to have Aaron join her team as part of the haerenga to lead Vodafone to further increase its cultural capability.

“We’re so pleased Aaron has stepped into this role, as he has a huge amount of industry and organisational knowledge and has been a mainstay of our culture and of tikanga Māori events for years, often leading karakia and waiata for pōwhiri and Matariki celebrations. Building cultural capability internally is integral for us and I’m excited to see how Aaron will continue to build mana in this role, working with Vodafoners across the business.”

Aaron says he’s excited to take on a new challenge and to connect with customers and colleagues in his new capacity, “my father showed me just how impactful sharing and embracing mātauranga Māori can be through his mahi. It’s awesome that I get to follow a similar path and share my passion with our Vodafone whānau.

“I’m really excited to welcome Elizabeth to Vodafone on 7 December, even if it’s by way of a virtual whakatau for now. Once the doors of our Auckland office are safely open, we’ll be sure to have a pōwhiri to welcome her warmly to the whare as well.”

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