Afio mai – Welcome, Julia Arnott-Neenee

We are delighted to welcome Julia Arnott-Neenee to the Emerge Aotearoa whānau as our new National Manager of Transformation.

Julia will lead a team of project and business development managers focused on ensuring we are delivering services that meet the long-term needs of our communities. She says, the team will work with all key stakeholders and support kaimahi to introduce a range of mana-enhancing transformation projects to the organisation.

 “Creating a new transformation team is a really bold statement by Emerge Aotearoa,” she says. It will guarantee we are continuing to evolve by proactively planning for our future and responding to the changing needs of whānau and the communities that we operate in.”

 “Transformation isn’t about changing for the sake it, it’s all about taking a human-centred design approach, looking at everything we do with a user and community lens, and with a deep focus on empathy.”


Julia says, it is easy to get so caught up in the busyness of our daily work that we run out of time to step back and think about what could be done differently. The transformation team will help Emerge Aotearoa create that space to consider new ways of working.

 “Having the freedom to be in a state of curiosity, creativity and innovation is a privilege and luxury,” Julia says. “We are in the fortunate position of being in control of our future and we need to take advantage of that, rather than wait for it to happen to us.”

 The transformation team will focus on three key stages, including: Inspiration (understanding the needs of the people we serve by using research and data); Ideation (incorporating brainstorming, workshops, and co-design); and then Implementation.

 “It’s a very iterative process built with collaboration and empathy at the heart of it,” Julia says. “Everyone at Emerge Aotearoa deeply cares about the people they serve. We want to meet the needs of whānau and ensure we are delivering on our vision in ways that reflect the values of the organisation.”

 “We are definitely not the solution. We will work with you as facilitators to provide support through innovation and creativity.”

 Julia joins the Emerge Aotearoa whānau after building her career in the technology sector in Sydney, London, and California. Among her career highlights has been working for computer hardware company Hewlett-Packard (insights and strategy), and in health care for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. However, during her time overseas, Julia felt a strong pull to return home to serve her community, driven to make a difference in the lives of Māori and Pasifika people. She moved back to New Zealand in February 2020.

 “I had started to see there was more inequity and inequality in the technology space around the digital divide, so my compass started to direct itself home,” she says. “It was a calling to come home and serve.”

 “This new role with Emerge Aotearoa has been a blessing for me. My three driving forces are justice, people/community, and futures, so it aligns incredibly well to my values and what I want to see in Aotearoa New Zealand and the world.”

Julia and her aiga were warmly welcomed to Emerge Aotearoa in January. “I’m really grateful to be here at Emerge Aotearoa. I’m excited to work with everyone and support them in whatever way they want to see change defined.”