Embracing Diversity

8:30 AM
4:15 PM

ENLIVEN Central, 1 Prosser Street, Elsdon, Porirua, Wellington 5022 Wellington


Professional Development Day on Embracing Diversity and celebrating our differences - join either for the full day or half day, all tickets include a lunch. Marriage focused workshops in the morning, funeral focused workshops in the afternoon.

Event Description

Join us for a day of enlightenment, connection, and celebration at "Embracing Diversity: Celebrating Our Differences" taking place on Sunday 23rd June, 2024 at Enliven Central, Porirua, Wellington.

Set against the backdrop of inclusivity, this unique event invites you to delve into the rich tapestry of cultural and gender diversity, exploring new perspectives on marriage (morning session) and funerals (afternoon session). Fascinating presentations are on the LGBTTQIA+ RAINBOW communities, perspectives from the cultural panel of Muslim, Indian and Te Ao Māori Celebrants and seeing how doing funerals differently in an eco-friendly, natural way can leave less of an impact on our environment.

The morning ‘Marriages Session’

Immerse yourself in the vibrant world of Rainbow communities with the workshop ‘RAINBOW Inclusivity 101 – Affirming our Rainbow Clients’ presented by dynamic Andi-y Harness The RAINBOW Celebrant. See more info further below

This is followed by The Cultural Panel. 3 Panellists will share wisdom on the rituals and traditions that enrich marriage ceremonies across different cultures and religions. Their presentation is followed by a Q&A opportunity. Our esteemed cultural panellists are all Celebrants: Tahir Nawaz (Muslim), Vandna Patel (Indian), and Tau Huirama (Te ao Māori).

RAINBOW Inclusivity 101 – Affirming our Rainbow Clients’

You’ll be learning (or refreshing your knowledge) in an environment of encouragement, positivity, and safety. The following topics will be demystified, to help support you when engaging with LGBTTQIA+ people:

  • Gender Identities
  • Sexuality
  • Terminology (i.e. LGBTTQIA+ and more)
  • Pronouns
  • Gender Inclusive/Neutral Language
  • Tips re Rainbow Marriage Clients

We’ll also touch upon discrimination, stereotyping and labelling to uncover common misconceptions.  Bring your curiosity and openness and leave this workshop with newfound awareness and the tools to create an inclusive environment for all.

As the day unfolds, enjoy a catered lunch, fostering connections with like-minded individuals who share your passion for diversity and inclusivity.

The afternoon ‘Funerals Session’

The Cultural Panel (Tahir, Vandna and Tau) return and focus on the realm of funerals from their 3 cultural and religious perspectives. Their presentation is followed by a Q&A opportunity.

Industry leader Fiona King of Broadbent & May, will enlighten us about a different way to say our final farewells with eco-friendly, natural funerals that leave a gentle footprint on our environment. We’ll also hear about what the future holds in the funeral sector. There’ll be a Q&A opportunity following her presentation.

Ross Hughson of My Trove informs us about his newly formed business which greatly assists those who’re tasked with the daunting job of closing accounts and finalising affairs on behalf of their departed.

Presenter bios

Andi-y Harness she, they (Rainbow Workshop)

Andi-y identifies as Queer, is a Marriage & Funeral VCANZ Celebrant and is CHAIR of Wn-Wairarapa CANZ Branch. She has attained the NZ Diploma in Business, Leadership & Management, Certificate in Celebrant Studies, and studied at the prestigious Toi Whakaari NZ Drama School towards a Bachelor of Performing Arts Management.

Her background includes event management, show production, stage and film performance. Historically she’s enjoyed a 20 year stint as a Drag King, performing with gender-bending, comedy troupe ‘The Drag Kings Aotearoa’ who’ve travelled throughout NZ and Australia.

Tahir Nawaz (Cultural Panellist)

Tahir Nawaz is a distinguished figure in Muslim affairs, renowned for his dedication to community service and advocacy for equal rights. Based in Wellington, he serves as a senior analyst and holds pivotal positions within various organizations, including the International Muslim Associations of New Zealand and the Federation of Islamic Association of New Zealand.

His remarkable journey is shaped by a commitment to promoting understanding, dialogue, and inclusivity, making him a beacon of inspiration and leadership within his community and beyond.

Vandna Patel (Cultural Panellist)

Based in Lower Hutt, Vandna Patel is dedicated to education, philosophy, and community service. As a Teacher-Aide at Eastern Hutt School and a lecturer at the School of Philosophy, Vandna's passion for learning and teaching shines through in all her endeavors.

Beyond the classroom, Vandna is a respected figure within the Indian community, serving as a Marriage and Funeral Celebrant. With her warm demeanor and cultural sensitivity, she conducts ceremonies that resonate deeply with her community, celebrating love and honoring life's transitions.

Vandna's commitment to education, philosophy, and community enriches the lives of those around her, embodying the spirit of service and cultural celebration.

Tau Huirama (Cultural Panellist)

With over two decades of professional experience as a cultural supervisor, mentor, and facilitator, Tau Huirama is a respected Kaumatua and trusted advisor (often to Government) renowned for his wisdom and cultural expertise. Specialising in providing insightful advice and support to both Māori and non-Māori communities, Tau is committed to delivering exceptional results for his clients and stakeholders.

Tau possesses the unique ability to recognise strengths, broaden perspectives, and create opportunities for growth and development across diverse cultures. His profound understanding of indigenous culture and spirituality enriches his work, fostering understanding and collaboration among individuals and organizations.

Known for his spiritual healing abilities, Tau is sought after by individuals, families, and organisations seeking to restore balance and nurturing energy in their lives and surroundings. His innate wisdom and perceptiveness make him a beacon of healing and transformation, inspiring those around him to embrace their spiritual journey with courage and authenticity.

Ross Hughson (My Trove)

Ross Hughson is the visionary CEO behind MyTrove, a pioneering platform revolutionising the way individuals manage end-of-life affairs. With a wealth of experience in navigating the complexities of estate management, Ross is dedicated to providing innovative solutions that ease the burden for those tasked with closing accounts and finalising affairs on behalf of the deceased.

Ross's passion for simplifying end-of-life affairs stems from a deep understanding of the emotional and logistical challenges faced by individuals dealing with loss. Through MyTrove, he aims to provide peace of mind and support to families and loved ones as they navigate the practical aspects of estate management.

Fiona King (Broadbent & May)

Fiona King is the compassionate force behind Broadbent & May, a modern boutique funeral company nestled in the heart of Aro Valley, Wellington. With a commitment to providing eco-conscious options and personalised care, Fiona and her team are dedicated to guiding families through the sensitive process of arranging a farewell that honors their loved one's wishes and values.

Fiona is dedicated to environmental stewardship, providing families with eco-friendly options and enabling them to make informed choices that align with their values.

Whether you're a celebrant, industry professional, or simply curious about embracing diversity, this event promises to be a day of inspiration and education. Don't miss your chance to be part of this transformative experience—secure your tickets now and join us as we celebrate the beauty of our differences.

Please see the full event programme for more information.

We’ll have the morning Marriages session, followed by lunch for ALL (morning & afternoon attendees) and then the afternoon Funerals session. You can attend one session or the whole day. We look forward to having you with us!

NON-CANZ Members: To register your attendance, buy tickets and give your dietary requirements, you’ll need to ‘sign-in’ (i.e. create a sign-in) via our CANZ website. Please be assured that by ‘signing in’ you will NOT be joining as a CANZ member (as that is a completely different process).