About Us

The Courageous Conversation® South Pacific Institute (CCSPI) was established in Tāmaki Makaurau in 2016. Over the past eight years, we have worked with numerous organisations throughout Aotearoa and Australia, including government ministries and agencies, hospitals and health services, city councils, schools and tertiary institutions, NGOs and corporate entities.

The Courageous Conversation® Protocol is designed to engage, sustain, and deepen intra and interracial dialogue about race. As such, it is an essential foundation for examining and addressing institutionalised culture and structures that promote racial disparities. Our commitment to the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Tikanga provide us with a blueprint that offers unique solutions. A Te Tiriti led Aotearoa benefits everyone living in this land, creating a model for other nations to follow.

Having this conversation is not only the right thing to do; it’s the bright thing to do. The Courageous Conversation® Protocol creates an environment where people of every race and ethnicity can achieve at their highest levels. When everyone thrives, the result is a dynamic and empowered team that works effectively together to achieve extraordinary outcomes. 

For me, racial equity, rather than functioning as a program or initiative, is a value that we foster. Having a belief in the importance of achieving equity, and having the courage to apply passion, practice and persistence to such a belief, is what fuels success. The essence and hallmark is our passion; demonstrated by our heightened engagement and our willingness to change. We derive little honour from holding back, limiting our participation, accepting mediocrity, and finding comfort in the status quo. With passion, we engage our mind, body and soul in this work. With passion, we reclaim our hope and belief in the possibility of a future devoid of racial injustice—a future governed by racial equity and a true quest for human equality.

Glenn E. Singleton
Founder – Courageous Conversation

Meet The Team

Dr. Mathew Farry 
Managing Director

For 25 years, Mathew’s personal and professional purpose has been building meaningful connections between individuals, organisations and communities that transcend historical, national, ethnic, racial and religious differences. His focus has been partnering with individuals and organisations to build equitable inclusion through systemic transformation. He has supported numerous leaders and organisations to unearth and navigate the historical, cultural and racial differences that make a difference in people’s lives. He has worked extensively, as a leader, educator, researcher and consultant in the field of migration, settlement and resettlement, intercultural communication and relations, anti-racism, and equity and inclusion in organisational development.

After obtaining his PhD in cultural anthropology from the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, in 2000, he relocated to his ancestral homeland, Lebanon. During his time there, he held positions at the Lebanese University (Institute of Social Sciences), American University of Culture and Education (Director of Communication) and at the Lebanese American University and Notre Dame University in Beirut (Assistant-Professor in the Division of Social Sciences and Education). On his return to Aotearoa New Zealand in 2006, Mathew worked at the Office of Ethnic Communities in the Department of Internal Affairs establishing the intercultural advisory team. In 2009, he joined Unitec to establish Equity and Diversity Services. During his tenure at Unitec, he also held the positions of Associate Dean International Education and Head of Postgraduate Studies in the Te Miro Trans-Disciplinary Network. In 2013,

Mathew authored Scattered Cedars: stories from the Lebanese Community in Dunedin. In 2014, Matthew received the International Racial Equity Leadership Award for his work with Courageous Conversations about Race, and in 2016 he and his colleagues were awarded the Diversity Works NZ Cultural Celebration Award. In 2016 and 2017, he co-led the international think tank on achieving racial equity in higher education at the National Summit for Courageous Conversations about Race in Austin, Texas (2016) and Detroit, Michigan (2017). In 2020, Mathew was the lead facilitator for the Ministry of Ethnic Communities National Interfaith Dialogue programme. In 2021, Mathew established Courageous Conversation Aotearoa Foundation so that the ground-breaking, transformational Courageous Conversation Protocol could be shared with youth and community. Mathew is co-editor of Race and Indigeneity, Courageous Conversation in Aotearoa, soon to be released.

Kat Poi
Programme Manager/ Lead Equity Transformation Specialist – Indigenous

Kat Poi (Tainui; Te Arawa; Tonga) is an educator, speaker sovereign story-teller and emotive intellectual. She has leadership and governance experience in mainstream higher education, prison education and training, and Māori-medium primary and secondary education settings. Currently, she is Programme Manager and Lead Equity Transformation Specialist – Indigenous for Courageous Conversation South Pacific Institute and co-director of the Courageous Conversation Aotearoa Foundation. Her specialist areas of work are in racial equity transformation, anti-racist adult professional learning, development and coaching and anti-racist programme design and delivery.

In 2016, she and her colleagues were awarded the Cultural Celebration Award at the New Zealand Diversity Awards for their work in bringing Courageous Conversations about Race to New Zealand. In 2017, she was awarded the Maharaia Winiata Prize for her pūrakau-approach to writing into the intersection of whiteness and te ao Māori. Also in 2017, she was awarded a Blue Award for her sustained contribution to racial equity transformation in the South Pacific. In 2021, she was chosen to be featured in Qiane Matata-Sipu’s best-selling book, NUKU: Stories of 100 Indigenous women. Also in 2021, her racial autobiography was published in Glenn Singleton’s international best-selling book, Courageous Conversations about Race, 3rd edition.

She can be heard on various podcasts including NUKU and Down to Earth
Conversations. Kat maintains a belief that the type of systemic and transformative leadership needed to facilitate racially equitable outcomes must be activated at a deeply personal level.

She holds a Masters in Indigenous Studies from University of Auckland and is currently completing her PhD.  Kat is co-editor of Race and Indigeneity: Courageous Conversation in Aotearoa, soon to be released.

Sonya Collie
Lead Equity Transformation Specialist/Business Operations Manager

Sonya grew up in South Africa where she completed her Masters qualification in Medical Anthropology at the University of Cape Town. She then travelled extensively, living in Ireland, Britain, and Australia, before moving to Aotearoa New Zealand.

Sonya’s expertise includes collaborating to lead anti-racism, intercultural communication, equity and inclusion programmes. She has been working with Courageous Conversations About Race® methodology since 2014 and is a Lead Equity Transformation Specialist and the Business Operations Manager for Courageous Conversation South Pacific Institute®. She is also a coach and a facilitator for local and international Courageous Conversation® workshops and Affiliate programmes and has presented and co-led sessions at the National Summit for Courageous Conversations about Race® since 2017.

A focus of her anti-racist practice is engaging and working collectively to raise racial consciousness, primarily with people of European ancestry. Her hope is that by doing this, a new way of being in conversations about race will emerge leading to more effective transformation.