GWN's Wahine Whetu 2020 logo

GWN was excited to mark Matariki again this year by recognising 9 Wāhine Whetū, rising women stars in the public sector. Join us in celebrating these outstanding women and their achievements.


Ramya Rajendran, Information Systems and Business Support Leader, KiwiRail

“Being brave is not about being afraid but rather having the strength to move forward. Tomorrow is always a new day with new thoughts and new opportunities.”

Nicola Ngawati, Kaiwhakahaere matua (Director), Mana Wāhine, Ministery for Women

"Tae atu ki nga purapura whetū, me tae atu ki muri – mauria ētahi atu ki a koe – Reach for the stars, as you reach behind to bring others with you.”

Erin Gough, Senior Advisor, Office of the Children’s Commissioner

“It always seems impossible until it’s done” (Nelson Mandela)

Safia Afrin, Programme Coordinator, MFAT

"Not everyone is running the same race. Give some of your light to those who are less fortunate so that they can also shine brighter."

Dr Katie Elkin, Deputy Chief Executive, System Leadership, Crown Law

“The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.” (Mother Teresa)

Kesta Dennison, Supervising Customs Officer, Child Exploitation Operations Team, NZ Customs

“’Prove it privately’… have a vision, make a plan, work on it every single day.  Invest your time and energy wisely into things that add value to your life.”

Utufaasisili Rosemary Mose, Chief Advisor Pasifika, NZQA

“A fia vave o’o lou va’a, alo na o oe, ae a fia tuli mamao le taunu’uga, tatou ‘alo’alo faatasi.” “If you want your canoe to go fast, go alone; if you want to go further, let us go together.” (Samoan proverb)

Rebecca Magdalinos, Squadron Leader, Lead – Operation Tangata Kanorau, RNZAF

"To achieve success and diversity for New Zealand we must weave together a network of networks that support our young people. That’s what drives me.”

Priscilla Wehi, Incoming Co-Director, Te Pūnaha Matatini & Rutherford Discovery Fellow, Landcare Research

"Have enough courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.” (Maya Angelou)


To find out more about these inspiring women, visit our LinkedIn page or download our Matariki Wāhine Whetū-Rising Stars 2020 list

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