More than an awards show

The Hunter Diversity and Inclusion Collective (HDIC) promotes equity and opportunity for all.

There’s the beat of drums reverberating along Watt Street in Newcastle East, a red carpet with fairy lights above it – and the pièce de résistance, an illuminated, golden pineapple suspended in mid air. A diverse, festive crowd starts to gather, clearly in high spirits. It’s the night of nights for the HDIC, their annual Golden Pineapple Awards gala.

It is a celebration of diversity, equity and inclusion in the Greater Hunter region and the night when the HDIC’s broader mission comes alive. Across seven categories, outstanding individuals, teams, companies, and events will be honoured with a Golden Pineapple, a symbol of friendship and hospitality.

It’s a night that is hilarious and thoughtful, quirky and serious, but above all it’s an event that unconditionally welcomes everyone with an open mind and a big heart. “We aim to promote equity and opportunity for all peoples of the Hunter, irrespective of their cultural background, faith or demographic,” says HDIC co-founder and chair Bill Armstrong.
“We seek to remove traditional barriers of prejudice and bias to ensure inclusion in every aspect of lifestyle, self-expression and prosperity in our region.

“We collaborate closely with community groups, charities, and other independent associations. “We guide local organisations in the development of their diversity, equity and inclusion employment programs and promote practices and methodologies that support access and inclusion for all peoples.”

If that all sounds a little bit dry, head to iTunes (or wherever you get your podcasts) and take your pick from the episodes of HDIC’s Talking Inclusion podcast. You will find stories that are not often told, from a diverse and rich ensemble of people who share their stories and experiences.

There are episodes with Declan Edwards, founder of BU Happiness, a personal happiness coaching and workplace happiness consulting firm, with Michelle Crawford (an insightful discussion about the prevailing goodness of human beings, chaos theory and the failings of control leadership) or Hunter-based songwriter Stuart Fleming about his life’s journey that has been impacted by bipolar disorder and schizophrenia – and plenty more.

HDIC’s latest project is the launch of People Libraries beginning with a pilot program of events across the Lower Hunter. With the goal of fighting prejudice and encouraging empathy, People Libraries offer a chance to “loan” a person instead of a book and to listen to their life’s story. It’s the ultimate proof that you should never judge a book by its cover.

Winners of the Golden Pineapple Awards 2022
Outstanding DEI Media – ABC Love on the Spectrum
Community Initiative Award – Connor Wink
Outstanding Leadership – Sue French
Employer of Choice – Early Links
Outstanding Team- Making Waves Foundation
Outstanding Event – Ngarrama Awabukal
Person of the Year – Leigh Creighton

For more information go to HDIC’s LinkedIn page.