The Bay of Plenty Times' masthead has turned rainbow today, to celebrate parent company NZME becoming the first Kiwi media company to be awarded the Rainbow Tick, acknowledging its effort to be a diverse, innovative and inclusive organisation.

NZME's other mastheads and brands - including The New Zealand Herald, Rotorua Daily Post, Newstalk ZB, the Northern Advocate, Hawke's Bay Today, Wanganui Chronicle, ZM, The Hits, Coast, Mix, Hauraki, Hokonui, Flava and GrabOne - are also turning rainbow coloured.

The Tick is awarded to organisations that are making their workplace a safe environment for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation. Rainbow groups encompass people in the LGBTI+ community who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, takatāpui and intersex.

The certification is a result of NZME's wider diversity strategy, which encompasses all aspect of having a multicultural workforce as, well as encouraging individuals to 'bring your whole self to work' and truly harness their differences.

To receive the validation, an evaluation was held across five key areas that involved significant work and collaboration to ensure that the company paid more than lip service to diversity; Strategy and Policy, Staff Engagement and Organisational Support, External Engagement, Organisational Development and Monitoring.

NZME chief executive Michael Boggs says the company is proud to be certified with the Rainbow Tick. "NZME sets itself apart by having talented people who can make a difference for our audience and our customers. Diversity and inclusion is key to attracting and engaging the best talent and we work very hard to make sure that everyone not only feels safe, but looks forward to coming to work. We're committed to continuing to develop our inclusive culture."

Michael Stevens, Programme Director at the Rainbow Tick said his team are delighted to certify NZME with the Rainbow Tick. "NZME has made a public statement and commitment around what is expected in terms of professional behaviour and inclusive practice in its workforce, and we applaud this.

"The symbolism of such a New Zealand icon as NZME and its brands adopting rainbow branding to celebrate getting certified cannot be underestimated. We are a population that is largely invisible, and any signs that acknowledge we exist and give us a chance to see ourselves represented in the wider world are not just welcome, but also immensely powerful and supportive."