Group photo of Lineage Auckland team members in New Zealand, gathered outdoors, showcasing diversity with various team members holding flags and wearing safety vests, reflective of a multicultural workplace.

How Lineage Auckland in New Zealand Harnesses the Strength of its Diversity

May 09, 2024

With more than 450 facilities around the world, Lineage is, at its heart, powered by a diverse global team. Given the diverse backgrounds and perspectives of our team, we believe it is critical for our team leaders to sustain an inclusive workplace culture where every single member of the team feels seen, heard and valued every day.

One Lineage team that is truly getting it right can be seen at our facility in Auckland, New Zealand. For a team of around 50 individuals, Lineage Auckland has a surprising level of diversity. Members of the Auckland team have roots spanning an array of countries and territories in Asia, the Pacific Islands and Europe.

Recognizing that each team member brings their unique heritage and culture with them every day they come in to work at Lineage, the team saw an opportunity to share, learn and celebrate with one another across these cultural differences. Accordingly, over the last three years, the team has developed ways of working, sharing and celebrating that enhances a sense of shared community and makes Lineage Auckland an example for building a culture of inclusion in the workplace.

A Diverse Team Inspired by Lineage's Shared Purpose

Lineage’s Auckland facility is a nearly-perfect portrait of New Zealand’s richly diverse population. The team members of this facility form a melting pot of different cultural backgrounds, with Samoan, Māori, Tongan, Fijian, Indian, Sri Lankan, Niuean, Cook Islander and European heritages.

Each of these cultures is unique in the holidays they celebrate, the food they eat and the languages they speak. But they all come together at Lineage with a common purpose: to transform the food supply chain to eliminate waste and help feed the world. It was this common goal and the shared compassion, respect and curiosity for one another that drove the introduction of cultural celebrations at the site.

Empowering Team Members to Share Their Cultural Story and Celebrate That Heritage Together

Lineage Auckland team members in traditional Pacific Islander attire participate in a cultural ceremony outside the facility, featuring a leader with a flag and others in ceremonial dress.The cultural celebrations at Auckland began three years ago, with the inaugural Samoan Language Week. This initiative sparked something in the team, fostering a deep sense of community and collaboration while setting the stage for more celebrations to come.

Unlike typical corporate events, these celebrations have always been driven by the team members themselves. “We put the day in the hands of the people,” says Kevin Tracey, General Manager at the site. “It was amazing, and that was the lightbulb moment, knowing that it made such an impact with the team.”

With management acting primarily in a support role, Samoan team members took the lead in organizing and executing the event, showcasing their cultural heritage through traditional dances, food and clothing as well as lessons on the history and language of their homeland.

The impact of these celebrations was immediate and inspiring. It brought the team closer together but also set a precedent for future cultural recognition for the other groups in the team. When Kevin and the leadership team suggested holding celebrations for other cultural traditions, the answer was an enthusiastic “Yes!”

The Samoan Language Week was such a success that it became an annual event and created a ripple effect of inclusivity and cooperation. Leadership reinforced the idea that they were simply there to facilitate and support, ensuring that resources were available, but it was the individual team members who drove the process, making each event unique and authentic. Not only was the team engaged, excited and respectful, but the Samoan team members who worked on the original celebration offered their heartfelt support of the groups who shared next.

The celebrations have been so successful that their 2023 Samoan Language Week was even picked up by the local news station. Their model for inclusion and celebration is also getting picked up in other nearby Lineage facilities. In Hawkes Bay, another New Zealand Lineage facility is putting on their own Samoan Language Week later this month, in line with Auckland’s own event.

Enhancing Workplace Dynamics through Diversity

A Lineage Auckland team member stands next to pallets of food donations ready for delivery, marked for the South Auckland Christian Food Bank, inside a Lineage warehouse.The cultural celebrations have significantly enhanced workplace dynamics at Auckland. These events and the deep cooperation they incited became a cornerstone of the site's culture. The open communication and empathy promoted an environment where team members feel valued and respected. They know they can bring their authentic selves to work and that their voices will be heard.

Recognizing the power of the team and its diversity has also sparked several meaningful changes in how the site functions from day to day. Understanding that English is a second language for many of the team members, Kevin and the leadership team took it upon themselves to introduce multilingual signage and messaging throughout the facility. Even the leadership team itself is made up of representation from many of the different cultures in the facility.

The inclusivity doesn’t stop at the facility doors either; it extends into how the team shows up within the broader community–including its partnership with local food banks, like the local South Auckland Christian Foodbank. Stepping up in this way not only supports the local community, where many of the team members and their families live, but also strengthens bonds among the team as we work together to help put food on the table for our communities and families in more ways than one.

The Auckland Model: Diversity as Strength

The Auckland site is a potent example of how fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace can be truly transformative. Building a culture where we honor and celebrate our differences enhances team morale, drives collaboration and allows us to engage richly in the work we do every day. And when you're here to help feed the world, like we are at Lineage, you can't afford to settle for anything less. Embracing diversity is not just about recognizing our different backgrounds; it’s about celebrating them and integrating them into the DNA of an organization’s culture. The Auckland team serves as a role model for not just the greater Lineage network but the cold chain as a whole.

If you're interested in joining our diverse team around the world, check out our careers page today.