Jacinda Ardern to take stage with Natalie Portman, Ruby Tui at Auckland speaker event

Dame Jacinda Ardern will join US actor Natalie Portman on stage in August.
Dame Jacinda Ardern will join US actor Natalie Portman on stage in August. Photo credit: Getty Images

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Dame Jacinda Ardern is to take the stage with Star Wars actor Natalie Portman at an upcoming Auckland event discussing equity for women.

The Equalize: State of Play forum will take place at the Aotea Centre on August 14.

Black Ferns star Ruby Tui and FIFA General Secretary Fatma Samoura will join Ardern and Portman on stage.

The event is one of many speaker series happening across the motu during the FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 in July and August.

Portman recently co-founded the Los Angeles women's Angel City Football Club, which was inspired by her dream to change women's sport, starting with making women's football as valued as men's football throughout the world. 

Tui said she was honoured to join other inspirational women for this event.

"As a female rugby player, I have seen a lot of doubt from others just because we are women. But I believe our job is to show the doubters that we aren't the inconvenience; we are the opportunity," she said.

"I want to show young women that despite the doubters, us wāhine in the sports sector won't give up. We're determined to create solutions and a better world for all girls and women which in turn means a better world for all. We will continue to break stereotypes, speak out against inequality and ensure change."

Portman, Ardern, Samoura and Tui join 50 women from New Zealand and around the world speaking at EQUALIZE events. 

The likes of Dame Valerie Adams, Chelsea Winstanley, Angel City FC president Julie Uhrman, Paralympian Holly Robinson, Michele A'Court, Georgia Lines and Bic Runga will also appear at events in July and August.

They kick off in Hamilton on July 21, followed by Dunedin on July 23, Wellington on July 26 and Auckland on August 1 before the EQUALIZE: The State of Play finale event at the Aotea Centre on August 14.

Research conducted in 2022 found on average men earn 9.2 percent more than women in New Zealand. When it comes to sports, there is a consistent decline in participation as women get older - from age 15, the number of physical activities a young woman participates in drops by 29 percent, compared to 18 percent for young men.

All EQUALIZE events are free of charge and open to everyone. No tickets are required, with the exception of the August 14 event for which a limited-number of free tickets can be secured in three releases from TicketMaster. 

Phase one tickets are available from 9am on Wednesday, July 5.