Katya’s time at St Hilda’s (2007-2011) inspired a love of poetry, painting and art history, and a fascination with languages and physics. Wanting the world to be fairer and more aware of global issues, she got immersed in social justice/political related activities while at St Hilda’s, such as Youth Parliament, Model UN, Sir Peter Blake Trust and UNICEF. She was a Sacristan in her final year and won the public speaking cup.
Upon finishing school, she moved to Auckland to study politics, international relations, philosophy and law. There, she discovered new relationships, experiences and learnings. In finding that law wasn’t the path for her, she encountered the world of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), including representing NZ in a global mediation competition in Paris.
Since graduating university, she has managed a small business, undertaken a community research project in a conflict-affected Pacific nation (Bougainville), travelled, worked for an international peacebuilding charity (Peace Direct), and lived in Berlin and London.
Returning home as the pandemic began, she worked as an Employment Mediator with MBIE, helping people to resolve workplace disputes.
Katya now works as a Mediator and Senior Human Rights Advisor at the NZ Human Rights Commission in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland. She says this work is varied and gratifying.
“A mediator is essentially an impartial person who helps people in conflict to share their perspectives, understand each-other and find ways forward in a non-adversarial way. It often involves guiding people through difficult experiences and communicating to bridge divides”.
Witnessing conflict in many areas of society – within families, throughout communities, between nations – Katya is passionate about ADR and peace-building. “Conflict is inevitable; it’s how we approach it that determines whether it’s destructive or constructive.”
She encourages anyone who is similarly intrigued to consider a 5-day mediation course with Resolution Institute or to connect with individuals/groups working in impactful spaces. “The world needs intelligent, empathetic people from all backgrounds, in all fields, to put their energy and insight towards forging peace.”
Katya maintains a love of learning. She also enjoys music, the ocean, good coffee, writing, genuine connection and expansive conversation.