Army Officer Major Tim Ewing-Jarvie’s leadership style and commitment to including and empowering his Company has helped him win this year’s New Zealand Defence Force Squadron Leader Peter Rule Inclusion Award.

The award is for outstanding and positive contributions to diversity and inclusion by NZDF personnel, and goes to someone who demonstrates inclusive practices and attitudes, and values diversity and inclusion.

Burnham-based Major Ewing-Jarvie, of Delta Company, said it was an honour to be part of the legacy of Squadron Leader Rule, a pilot who had a distinguished career with the Royal New Zealand Air Force before he was forced out because of his sexuality.

Major Ewing-Jarvie said he had had friends who had been persecuted or disadvantaged because of their sexuality, gender or perspective, “so I’m happy to be part of an ongoing discussion around organisational change”.

 His citation noted that over his two-year tenure in charge of Delta Company there had been a remarkable change in members’ sense of belonging and inclusion, and to their drive and focus. 

“The face of the infantry is changing. Delta Company is comprised of first generation personnel from about 15 countries,” Major Ewing-Jarvie said.

“We’ve had women in both officer and enlisted positions, and members of the LGBTQI+ community serving openly. Within our ranks have been atheists, Christians, Muslims and representations across a broad spectrum of spiritual and philosophical beliefs.”

But Major Ewing-Jarvie said inclusivity was about more than just including people of different sexualities and genders; it was about different ways of thinking around such things as making mistakes.

 “The Company command team spent time talking with all ranks, describing the outcomes and purposes we wanted. We were careful to build an environment which was a safe place to make controlled mistakes.

“Making mistakes ultimately generates trust and cohesion, which does require social facades to broken down. We were setting out to create both cohesion and high performance in our team. Good teams have a strong sense of belonging. Inclusion and respect for diversity just come from there.”

Major Ewing-Jarvie said he felt uncomfortable accepting the recognition for outcomes and initiatives which ultimately belonged to his team, but it was great to be a part of celebrating success.

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