The Religious Diversity Centre Trust is currently in the process of establishing various Committees to oversee its work. These include a Consultants Forum, the Centre Management Committee, the Programmes Committee, the Finance Committee, and a Media Committee, as below.


Purpose: An advisory forum, consisting of community representatives and lay leaders from various faith and belief communities throughout Aotearoa New Zealand, is currently being formed as a reference group to advise and direct the work of the Religious Diversity Centre. The Consultants Forum is expected to be fully representative, allowing both religious leaders and lay members from their respective communities to participate in the work of the Religious Diversity Centre. The RDC Trust Board, under the direction of the Centre Management Committee Chair, Bhai Verpal Singh, is currently undertaking a series of Sunday afternoon Community Consultations, from which we hope to gather potential members for this Consultants Forum. The RDC plans to have the Consultants Forum selected and in place soon.

Current members include:

• Aarif Rasheed, Barrister, Mediator, Just Community

Law: Aarif Rasheed has a science and law background and practices as a community lawyer with an focus on dispute Resolution and social justice. He is an arbitrator and mediator, and previously sat as a Disputes Tribunal adjudicator in the courts. His legal interests include criminalization of the underprivileged, rehabilitation and therapeutic justice, including restorative justice. He presently works on resolving a range of individual and community legal issues.

Faith: Aarif has been the co-President of the Council of Christians & Muslims for numerous terms since its formation in 1996. In 2010 he launched the Charter for Compassion in New Zealand in partnership with New Zealand Jewish organisations. Aarif sees practical civic collaboration amongst major religions as critical for building a genuinely healthy inclusive society. Aarif also has a particular interest in eastern religions and their spiritual traditions, and their comparison with the spiritual Islamic science of Sufism. Aarif has been a cultural trainer for practitioners in various fields on dealing with Muslim clients. He provides introductory lectures on the practice of the Islamic faith in New Zealand and assists academics and others in providing normative information on the Islamic religion as understood by its adherents throughout its intellectual tradition and history.

Aarif has recently returned to Auckland from Warkworth with his wife and two sons. He is a second generation New Zealander of Indo-Fijian descent. He cherishes the therapeutic features of the New Zealand outdoors and gets out with his boys as much as possible.


Purpose: To oversee governance systems and structures for the smooth operations of the Religious Diversity Centre that are accountable, sustainable and flexible. Current Members of this committee are:

• Bhai Verpal Singh, Chair

• Dr Jenny Te Paa Daniel, Deputy Chair

• Ricky Waters, RDC Trust Board member and Treasurer

• Jocelyn Armstrong, Ex-Officio; Chair, RDC Trust


Purpose: On behalf of the RDC Trust Board, in respect to the Centre’s activities in education, research and community engagement, The Programme Committee is established in order to support the work of the Centre Coordinator, and to engage in appropriate planning and oversight of programme development. Current Members of this committee are:

Dr Edwina Pio, Chair

• Jocelyn Armstrong, Ex-Officio; Chair, RDC Trust

• Dr Zain Imtiaz Ali, Islamic Studies Research Unit, University of Auckland

• Dr Nicholas Thompson, Senior Lecturer, Theology, Auckland University

Nicholas is currently a Senior Lecturer in Theology in the Faculty of Arts at Auckland University. From 2001-2009, he was a Lecturer in Church History at the School of Divinity at the University of Aberdeen, UK. Nicholas’ current research interests include: the thought of the Strasbourg reformer Martin Bucer (1491-1551), Religious irenicism and tolerance in the Early Modern era,
Religious coexistence and sectarianism in 19th century New Zealand and the British Empire, The Reformations in Scotland, France and Rhineland Germany, and Christian pilgrimage – especially the routes to Santiago de Compostela.


Purpose: Terms of Reference and membership are currently being established.

• Prof Douglas Pratt, Chair

• Jocelyn Armstrong, Ex-Officio; Chair, RDC Trust

• Ricky Waters, RDC Trust Board member and Treasurer


Purpose: Terms of Reference and membership are currently being established.


Deputy Chair: Jill Shaw

Ex-Officio: Jocelyn Armstrong, Chair, RDC Trust


Purpose: Terms of Reference and membership are currently being established.

page last updated: 4 October 2018