Diversity Statement

New Zealand Ecological Society: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement 2023


Progress in science (and ecology in particular) is enhanced by the range of perspectives that come from diverse, heterogeneous collaborations. To address our greatest challenges in ecology, we need a highly diverse and socially inclusive workforce to enhance creativity and innovation. We also need to make sure our science is relevant and accessible to all parts of society.

An analysis of diversity in NZES was presented as a poster by Wehi, Anderson, Lee, and Wilson at the 2015 conference in Christchurch. Notably, at the time, only one of 23 life members was female, there was a strong male gender bias in winners of the Te Tohu Taiao award, and presidents have predominantly been male, while secretaries are predominantly female. Of 994 papers in the New Zealand Journal of Ecology, only 16 included the terms ‘Māori’ ‘culture’ and/or ‘mātauranga’. There has been some progress since this poster presentation. For instance, a second female life member, Shona Myers, was elected in 2016, Jacqueline Beggs and Sarah Richardson each received the Te Tohu Taiao award in 2015 and 2019 respectively, and both a Special Issue and a Virtual Issue of the New Zealand Journal of Ecology on mātauranga Māori in New Zealand ecology were published in 2019. However, there is still much to do to address the issue of a lack of diversity.

The NZES council has prepared a diversity, equity and inclusion statement and action plan to address the issue of underrepresentation of minority groups in our society. We welcome member feedback on this document and we look forward to working with the membership to enact this strategy.


Diversity statement

For the best outcomes for ecology and conservation in New Zealand, the NZES is committed to active enhancement of equity, diversity and inclusion within the society and more broadly.


Our commitment

The New Zealand Ecological Society aims to promote the study of ecology and the application of ecological knowledge in all its aspects. The society also strives to foster an inclusive and supportive culture for students, scientists, professionals and other people interested in ecology.

As a Society, we embrace the rich heritage of Māori culture in Aotearoa New Zealand and we recognise our obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi. We acknowledge the wisdom of mātauranga Māori and pūtaiao Māori and the role that it plays in protecting and restoring our unique ecosystems.

We welcome participation by all individuals regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, physical- and neuro-diversity, politics, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, subculture, and other forms of diversity. The Society is committed to actively supporting women, Māori, and Pacifica, and other under-represented groups. We will actively work towards enhancing opportunities for under-represented groups by doing the following things:

  1. We encourage all members to nominate those from under-represented groups for awards and prizes.
  2. We will ask organisers of our conference to consider diversity when inviting speakers and session chairs. We will aim for at least 50% of panel members to be female and there should also be an ethnic mix on all panels.
  3. We will actively seek members from underrepresented groups to serve on Council, especially in leadership positions.
  4. We will develop a code of conduct for conferences and other events.
  5. We will establish a mentoring scheme for members who identify as underrepresented minorities.
  6. We will collect data on gender and ethnic diversity of our members and we will publish this annually as anonymised data.
  7. We will continue the NZES mentoring scheme.
  8. We will develop a database of speakers that can be used to help identify suitable invitees from under-represented groups and update links to similar databases.
  9. We will endeavour to support a Māori student with a travel award for our conference.
  10. We will do a stocktake of diversity of academics, students and scientists in crown research institutions in ecology on a regular basis.
  11. We will review this diversity statement and action plan every five years.