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Russell Brown - Moderator

Russell Brown

Russell Brown is a broadcaster, journalist and web publisher.

He is the host of Māori Television’s Media Take, the founder of the Public Address group blog website and a member of the Digital Media Trust Board, which oversees the cultural heritage websites NZ On Screen and Audioculture.

He has been writing and publishing internet content for 21 years.


Georgina Beyer

Georgina Beyer

Image supplied

Georgina Beyer is an internationally sought after speaker. She became the first transsexual Mayor in the world when she was elected Mayor of Carterton District Council in 1995.

In 1999 she became the first transsexual member of any parliament in the world when she was elected Member of Parliament for Wairarapa. She was a Labour MP for Wairarapa from 1999-2007 and resigned as Mayor of Carterton in March 2000.

Her book Change for the Better- the Story of Georgina Beyer published in 1999 and reprinted again in 2002 by Random House chronicled her amazing story of personal triumph. In 2002 her documentary Georgie Girl screened to an audience of 250 million on CBC Canada, Channel 4 in the UK, Scotland, Ireland and SBS in Australia.

Georgina is an entertaining, high energy, dramatic speaker and entertainer. She is a patron of Frontier & Western Shooting Sports Association and Rainbow Youth.

Richard Pamatatau

Richard Pamatatau

Richard Pamatatau is a journalism academic at AUT University. He teaches media law, ethics, identity, writing and public affairs and Pacific reporting. His research interests pivot on how identity, story-telling and truth are mediated by technology.

He is working on death narratives as history and recently returned Ohio University where he studied media, politics and identity following the 2016 US election. His visit to the White House was cancelled on the day President Trump’s business council resigned.

Julia Amua Whaipooti

Julia Amua Whaipooti

Guy Ryan

Julia Amua Whaipooti (Ngāti Porou) is a passionate advocate for positive systemic change. She is a Senior Advisor at the Children’s Commission and a spokesperson for Justspeak. She sees many of the issues within our criminal justice system as reflecting the social justice failures in broader society. Julia believes in the power of young people’s experiences and voices to be visionary, hopeful and impatient for change.

She has been involved in the Community Law movement over the past 8 years as a volunteer, advocate, lawyer and National Māori Co-ordinator. She is the proudest aunty to five and imagines an Aotearoa where her nephews, future generations and all children have an equal chance to reach their potential.

Tāwhanga Nopera

Tāwhanga Nopera

Tāwhanga is an artist and scholar in the final stages of the first Kaupapa Māori creative practice PhD, through the Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies at the University of Waikato. Identifying as transgender, the research and art Tāwhanga practices, explores the potential of being in-between.

Grounded in te pā harakeke and raranga – the flax plantation and traditions of under and over Māori weaving, Tāwhanga creates through digital image, digital video, creative writing and performance art, and has exhibited extensively locally and internationally.

Having contracted HIV at 22, Tāwhanga has sought positive ways to overcome stigma, poverty, addiction, rape, racial discrimination, transphobia, depression and suicidality. Tāwhanga has a particular interest in ways that people are impacted upon by notions of power, and seeks out ways to transform from traumatic experiences; in particular theorising Māori social practices, transgender identites, sexuality, and ways that raranga can shift negative perceptions of these.

Tāwhanga is of Ngāti Whakaue whakapapa and lives in Ohinemutu, Rotorua.