Meet our amazing line up of women speakers for KSPW18

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Nadine Anne Hura

Nadine Anne Hura is an accomplished writer of Ngāpuhu, Ngāti Hine and Pākehā whakapapa. With a background in Social Policy and Sociology she is passionate about exalting the voices of the underrepresented, and specifically Māori. Her work examines the dynamics of ethnic and national identity through the scope of biculturalism, and she was recently awarded a prestigious Michael King Writers’ residency which will allow her to further her writing. One of her projects is "He aha tō kōrero" - a series of first-person narratives from the periphery of Aotearoa. She grew up in South Auckland, but has spent much of her life living and working overseas including Chile, Argentina, Samoa and the United Arab Emirates. She is a contributing writer to e-Tangata, a Māori Pasifika magazine, with essays appearing in print in The Best of e-Tangata (BWB) Texts) and Ora Nui 3, a Māori Literary journal published by Oranui Press.

Twitter: @nadineannehura

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Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw is a Kiwi researcher and communicator, good science advocate and influential contributor to conversations around the nexus of population wellbeing and policy. Jess’s substantial and significant work in science is predicated on three things;  shared values, equity, and evidence, and it spans the breadth of the social, economic and political spectrum. Jess got her PhD in Health Psychology from Victoria University and has over a decade’s worth of experience working on applying science and evidence to public policy. You can find her writing as Dr Jess at The Spinoff and Radio NZ.

Twitter: @DrJessBerentson


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Julia Amua Whaipooti

Julia Amua Whaipooti (Ngāti Porou) is a passionate advocate for positive systemic change. She is a Senior Advisor at the Office of the Children’s Commissioner 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.”

Twitter: @jubes11

Photo credit: Guy Ryan

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Scottish Kiwi Susie Ferguson has led an incredible career as a war correspondent and co-host at what’s been called NZ’s “most important news programme”, Morning Report. Recently, Susie has further blazed a trail as she very publicly went on leave to recover from a hysterectomy following years of pain from endometriosis. Her transparency has led to a widespread conversation around the condition which affects nearly 120,000 New Zealanders.

Twitter: @SusieFergusonNZ


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Judy O'Brien is a New Zealand based speaker, educator, artist and community advocate. Her performance work has explored her personal experience of gender transition, catholicism, spirituality and the demystification of transgender bodies and identity. Judy is the co-founder of the Toronto-based queer art collective The House of Filth. As a performer and transgender content consultant she has worked with  Canadian art institutions ( The Art Gallery of Ontario, VideoFag, Huntclub Gallery), award winning Canadian writers and directors in theatre, film, and cabaret and recently had her work published in Moynan King's anthology of queer women's performance, Queer/Play. Her most recent film appearance is in Venus, (directed by Eisha Majara and won best female-directed narrative at the Whistler film festival in December 2017), a story of cultures, genders and generations collidingwhich is set for it's Canadian theatrical release on March 2nd 2018.

As the Programme Manager for the Sexual Abuse Prevention Network, Judy works with schools, businesses and groups in our community to educate and create open dialogues about sexual violence and teaches strategies and skills to prevent it. She is a trustee of the board for OuterSpaces, which operates as the parent organisation for four LGBTIQ+ youth groups based in Wellington, as well as being a facilitator for the OuterSpaces group Tranzform, a peer support group for gender questioning and gender diverse young people. Judy is passionate about cultural change and strongly believes in a community responsibility approach to fostering a safe and civil society in New Zealand.

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Burundi-bred Adorate has called New Zealand home since she was three years old. As a documentarian and an aspiring journalist, Adorate has often explored subjects that deal with marginalization and the identity politics of being an asylum seeking refugee. She recently graduated from the University of Auckland and has previously spoken at the Human Rights Commission Diversity Forum.. Adorate is passionate about minority representation in New Zealand and much like the rest of us, thinks that photos of Oprah gardening are the purest thing in this world.

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Vivien Maidaborn

Vivien is the Executive Director of UNICEF NZ, where she seeks to combine the best of technology innovation, fundraising expertise and systems management with the long standing United Nation’s brand credibility, ability to scale social change, and - with muddy boots at the table - deliver better outcomes for the World's children.

She’s been CE at Relationships Aotearoa, and CCS Disability Action. And has also founded Lifetime Design, an accessibility qual-mark for houses and is the co- founder of the Loomio Cooperative.

She loves to work in places where the best of business, social change and community come together to increase social justice, and with people who are engaged in social innovation that is aimed at healing inequity.

Twitter: @Maidaborn

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Brough johnson

American born Brough Johnson is an accomplished multihyphenate. Having seen significant success as a film and television editor, researcher and even wedding officiant, Brough now hopes to indelibly impact the media landscape by giving a platform to women creatives with her website Narrative Muse.

Twitter: @BroughJohnson


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Dr. Neda Salahshour

Dr. Neda Salahshour is a Wellington based researcher and Programme Manager at the Multicultural Learning and Support Service where she champions opportunities for ESOL learners and new migrants. Having recently completed her doctoral studies at Victoria University in her field of linguistics and applied language studies, Neda aspires to work at the intersection of qualitative research and immigrant rights to ensure fair, accurate and proportionate representation in media underrepresented communities.

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Pallas Hupe Cotter

Pallas Hupe Cotter is a communications maven, badass entrepreneur and our Hostess with the Mostest for #KSPW18. Pallas helms POP,  a consultancy firm that tackles  personal and professional development, as well as strategic messaging, all while inspiring clients to bring their whole selves to the spaces they occupy.

Pallas is a New Zealand Brightstar Emerging Speaker of the Year, a writer (with by-lines in HuffPost Australia and The Spinoff), and a radio host. She was also an Emmy award winning former TV news reporter and anchor in the USA.

She spends her spare time walking in the Botanic Garden with her dog, traveling with her family and lending her voice and sparkling personality to Kate Sheppard Place Women as an emcee.

Twitter: @pallas_life

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Andrea VANCE

Andrea Vance,  a Northern Ireland native, is a sensational voice of New Zealand politics through her work at  TVNZ. Named Reporter of the Year for 2014 at the prestigious Canon Awards, Andrea champions transparency and integrity in journalism and a staunch dedication to the craft of reporting (even if it means bolting on her own honeymoon to cover Mandela’s funeral). Andrea is Wellington based.

Twitter: @Avancenz

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Hera lindsay bird

Wellington based poet Hera-Lindsay Bird is a poetic wunderkind. Her first poetry collection  - Hera Lindsay-Bird - won the Jessie Mackay Best First Book Award at the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. She rose to prominence when her poem “Keats is dead so fuck me from behind” exploded all over the internet. She has featured in the Guardian, Vice and ID. Just recently British author Jon McGregor put Hera on his “radar” of cultural highlights. Also her Twitter feed is hilarious.

Twitter: @HeraLindsayBird