Celebrating diversity on International Mother Language Day

Image of Mercury staff front row seated and back row standing in front of tables.

Energy company Mercury has nearly 300 people in its Greenlane office, and this month it celebrated the strong diversity in its team on International Mother Language Day.

The day celebrated the 20 or more ethnic groups within the Commercial Operations team; the people who make sure Mercury’s customers are well looked-after.

The team that organised the day included a Maori-speaker and a European Kiwi, along with people from Korea, India, China, Sri Lanka, Tonga, the Philippines, Samoa, Russia. Each member of the committee spoke at least two languages, with one person able to speak six!

“We all have common factors, but we see things through different eyes so we want to celebrate that,” said Tricia Tautali-Ah-Sei, who is proud to be Samoan (pictured standing centre).

“We wanted to appreciate each other’s cultures and languages and where people come from and what they bring to work. This extends to our customers and understanding how to look after them too.”

The day included a welcome and karanga from tangata whenua, a display of greetings boxes and flags, a quiz, a lotu (prayer), and shared morning tea with different foods provided by the committee.

The diversity celebrated on 21 February is part of every day life at Mercury. “It makes work really enjoyable,” said Tricia. “I notice in the lunchroom how people sometimes talk in their mother language – good on them – I also sometimes like to speak in my own language.”

Mercury’s contact centre has agents who can speak to customers in Samoan and Tongan, and uses a third-party provider to provide interpretation for other languages.

Community Relations and Investment Manager, Helen Tua, strives to get to know and understand our diverse communities in Auckland, where most of Mercury’s customers are based.

“It’s important that we understand and embrace our wonderful diverse ethnic communities’ needs and that we engage effectively and culturally appropriately,” said Helen.

“We actively engage in our communities so that they know who we are, and so that we understand what’s important to them. We support many different community events for the Pacific, Indian and Asian communities, and we look for project opportunities across cultures (such as with the Office of Ethnic Communities).”