Meet the people behind IOPNZ

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Shay Singh

Co-founder and Chair

He/Him

I am passionate about creating a safe space for the Indian origin rainbow community – something we desperately need. I want to connect with our community to help make sure we all feel connected and supported. As the Chair of Indian Origin Pride New Zealand, I will lead a team that puts rainbow people of Indian origin in Aotearoa at the forefront of our work. We will strive to make sure we can be proud of our genders, sexualities, cultures and heritage – so these things do not have to exist in isolation.

I was born in Fiji and moved to New Zealand when I was 13 years old. I lived in Auckland until my mid-20s and I have spent most of the last 20 years in Australia. I moved back to New Zealand in early 2021.

I have 15 years’ experience across the fields of sustainability including green buildings, sustainability finance and working with local governments. I have worked in senior management roles for the past five years, focusing on organisational development and growth as well as working with and advising boards.

Arrun Soma

Co-founder and Secretary

He/Him

Welcome to Indian Origin Pride New Zealand, whānau – I am so excited to help to support our rainbow Indian people in Aotearoa.

I went through an identity crisis and brain battle in my teens and twenties as I navigated accepting being gay and also being proud of my Gujarati heritage. A decade on, my family’s experiences saw me launch Wellington Indian Pride in early 2021.

Today, I am proud to be gay and Indian -  and my family is wonderfully supportive. I will say though, it took us time to get there. I live in Wellington with my husband Jake, son Niko who was born via surrogacy, and our two small Maltese pups Snow and Minnie.

My passions lie in working to support people who are navigating journeys like mine, as well as raising up Indian communities in New Zealand to support our rainbow people. Professionally, I spent 12 years working as a television news reporter and producer, and I now work in communications and media management contract roles.

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Vinod Bal

Advisory board member

He/Him

I am a 23-year-old Indian man who is passionate about making positive change for our communities.

I grew up in Ngaruawahia and completed my primary, secondary and tertiary education in the Waikato region.

I am passionate about ensuring our communities get the outcomes they deserve, whether that is greater visibility or better material outcomes. Indians, statistically speaking, are the second largest LGBT+ group on earth. Yet, if we were to look at popular queer culture we would be hard pressed to see this reality.

I am part of the Indian Origin Pride New Zealand team because I want to change this and ensure that LGBT+ Indians in New Zealand know their identities are valid, and that their stories deserve to be told.

I have a Bachelor of Laws with Honours (First Class) and a Bachelor of Social Science (Political Science and Sociology) from the University of Waikato.

I co-founded Adhikaar Aotearoa, a charity that advocates for better outcomes for LGBTQIA+ South Asians.