Diversity and inclusion Kanorau me te whakawhanaungatanga

Diversity and inclusion Diversity and inclusion

Kia toitū te tangata – We care for our people, clients, and communities.

Empowerment, diversity, and inclusion

Our firm’s culture is built on waka eke noa (respecting individuality and working as one). Empowerment, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) is at the centre of this value and our EDI Committee of elected partners and staff focus on diversity in all its forms (e.g. age, background, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation) to enhance our unique and inclusive culture.

We have taken deliberate steps to drive sustainable change within our firm and the broader legal industry, focusing on the following key areas of EDI – each with its own programmes to drive awareness and inclusion capability across the firm.

Reporting our gender and ethnicity pay gaps

We are committed to building an inclusive workforce that reflects the diverse communities of Aotearoa New Zealand. We believe this is vital to achieve our firm’s purpose of helping shape our country’s future.
We are proud of our work to encourage greater inclusion and diversity in the legal profession and creating a positive and sustainable impact remains a focus for our firm.

Below we set out how our firm measures gender and ethnicity pay gaps and share some of the ways we are working to close our gaps.

Understanding our firm’s pay gaps

Our firm’s gender pay gap is a percentage measure of the difference between the median hourly earnings of all women and the median hourly earnings of all men.

The ethnicity pay gaps are a percentage measure of the difference between the median hourly earnings for everyone identifying as a specific ethnic group and the median hourly earnings of all other employees (using the same calculation as Statistics New Zealand).

The data below shows employee pay gaps. Due to our partnership model, we remunerate employees and partners differently.


Our pay gaps
  2024 2023 2022   2024 2023 2022
Employee gender pay gap: 4.8% 4.0% 8.0% Legal staff gender pay gap: -9.5% -9.4% -11.1%
Employee ethnicity pay gap*: Māori: -1.5% 5.0% 12.4% Pasifika: 17.4% 24% 4.1%
New Zealand’s average pay gap: 8.6% 9.2% 9.1%        

*Using all other ethnicities as the baseline.

Our gender pay gaps

Our all-staff gender pay gap increased slightly in 2024, due in part to the closing of the gap for our legal staff salaries (where the female median salary is higher than males). 

Our gender pay gap continues to reflect the higher number of women in lower paid administrative roles than men, though there has been positive movement in this area. It also reflects the higher number of females in our firm. Our firm comprises 65% female / 35% men, (excluding any person that has identified as ‘another gender’ or chosen not disclosed their gender identity).

Pay gaps are different from equal pay (which compares the pay of people in the same or similar roles). We review salaries annually to ensure that we do not have any non-compliance of equal pay.

We acknowledge that we still have work to do and are committed to progressing our diversity and inclusion initiatives (including providing more career development and opportunities for growth) throughout our firm.

Our ethnicity pay gap

Our ethnicity pay gap reflects the progress we are making towards achieving our diversity and inclusion recruitment objectives.

We are pleased with the gains made in closing the pay gap for our Māori and Pasifika employees in the past year. We consider that this is largely due to our overall increase in staff who identify as Māori (up from around 6% in 2023 to 7.1% now) and Pasifika (up from 4% in 2023 to 5% now) at all levels within our firm. It is important for us to continue with our diversity initiatives, including increasing representation in all parts of our firm. Our work partnering with external communities and initiatives with Māori and Pasifika students as part of our graduate recruitment programme are key initiatives to support this goal.

Using the median (rather than the mean) also significantly impacts the ethnicity pay gap for our staff. 

How we’re closing the gap

We believe diversity in all its forms (gender, ethnicity and thought) delivers better outcomes for our firm and our clients. We are working to close our pay gaps by creating more diversity at all levels of our firm, for example:

  • Supporting women in leadership through our partnership with Global Women
  • Challenging business leaders to accelerate inclusive and diverse leadership as a founding partner of Champions of Change
  • Partnering with OnBeingBold to empower and inspire women at all stages of their careers
  • Mentoring secondary school students to encourage career pathways into the legal profession
  • Committing to 40:40:20 by 2025 for gender in our Sustainability Strategy
  • Analysing our annual remuneration review process to ensure not just equal pay but pay equity
  • Supporting equality in parental leave
  • Celebrating the strength of our diversity at all
  • Committing to increasing ethnic representation through our recruitment objectives


Further information on our data

New Zealand’s national gender pay gap is based on median hourly earnings, so for comparison we used the median for our analysis. Stats NZ and mindthegap.nz also use median – as do other professional services firms.
All employees were included in the gender pay gap data (regardless of whether they provided an ethnicity).

We respect that gender is not binary. For this report we have calculated our gender pay gap only as the difference between those who identify as male and female.

For ethnicity, we used all other ethnicities as the baseline. We recognise that many people identify with more than one ethnicity. For the purposes solely of our ethnicity pay gap calculations we have included the first ethnicity our people identified.

All calculations for ethnic pay gaps are based on the population that provided an ethnicity (self-identified), not our entire employee population. Where an ethnicity wasn’t provided, we made no assumptions and therefore they were excluded.

We included all permanent employees.

As at June 2023, New Zealand’s national average pay gap is 8.6% (Statistics New Zealand).

Gender equality

A founding partner of the Global Women’s Champions for Change initiative, we support diversity in the workplace and lead the way with 34% of our partners and 69% of our senior lawyers identifying as female. We are also one of 15 New Zealand workplaces to sign the NZ Law Society's (NZLS) Gender Equality Charter.

We are committed to leading from the front, taking action, measuring and reporting on our progress. We support the NZLS's Gender Equitable Engagement and Instruction Policy, which assists with women’s career progression through the fair allocation of work and lead roles on major matters. We offer coaching support to our female lawyers seeking advancement and promotion, through our performance review process and through our annual mentoring programme. We also regularly host sessions with successful women on their career paths, to motivate women within our firm to achieve their vision of success.

LGBTTQIA+ inclusion

It’s important to us that everyone of our staff feel the belong and are empowered to bring their whole self to work.

We are proud to be Rainbow Tick certified, demonstrating our commitment to a LGBTTQIA+ inclusive culture and systems, and showing that we are a safe and welcoming workplace for employees who are members of the Rainbow community. MinterEllisonRuddWatts Pride, our Pride and Allies network, supports a range of initiatives to ensure we continue to actively embed inclusive principles, including online modules for all new staff, workshops, use of pronouns, and celebrating Pride events such as Pink Shirt Day and Pride Month.

We aim for even greater diversity and inclusion throughout our firm by 2025, including a 40:40:20 (women: men: any gender) gender balance.

Safe workplace

We pride ourselves on providing a safe workplace free from discrimination, harassment, and bullying, all of which are supported by policies. Our ‘Walking the Talk’ Policy expresses how we should behave, to speak up against any conduct that doesn’t fit with our values, and to provide avenues of support to our staff.

Cultural diversity

Our staff come from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences and bring with them a unique mix of skills and expertise. As such, we foster a culture that embraces individual differences and actively support cultural celebrations such as Māori language week, Diwali and Lunar New Year and Te Reo language classes are offered to all staff.

Additionally, we support TupuToa, an organisation that seeks to grow Māori and Pacific leaders, by offering students fully paid internships and employment opportunities during their tertiary studies. Our firm’s leaders also participate in TupuToa’s Cultural Intelligence training.

We are proud to be involved in some great initiatives that encourage and support diversity including:

  • TupuToa scholarship programme
  • Mentoring programme – Kelston Girls’ College
  • Student360 Employment Partner – providing paid work experience for college students through ICE Base
  • Internal learning and development activities such as unconscious bias, and targeted cultural training; and
  • Major partner of Global Women

Our commitment to advance diversity and inclusion also been recognised by:

  • Asia Women in Business Law Awards – Best New Zealand Firm for Women in Business Law
  • Australasia Women in Business Law Awards – Best Mentoring Programme Diversity Works NZ – Highly Commended in the Empowerment category
  • New Zealand Law Awards – Community Service Law Firm of the Year