ASPIRE is the Chamber’s annual conference, designed to inspire, enthuse and inform. This year, be ready to PIVOT.

Thursday 13 June 2019, 8.45am – 5.15pm
Rutherford Hotel, Nelson.

Open to members and non-members. Click here to register now!

These are times of increased business disruption with impact from climate change and natural disasters, fast-changing business models, new trends in buyer behaviour and the effects of legislation. Now more than ever, local communities – and businesses as the economic vitality of those communities – need to be agile, flexible in their approach and quick to pivot. This is more than being resilient and protecting business as usual, this is about having a clear view of the threats that face the status quo and the ability to refocus thinking – quickly.

ASPIRE 2019 is a one-day conference that will look at this in the context of the Nelson Tasman region. What are the real issues we face as a region and as the business sector? What does a dynamic, climate-resilient, buoyant CBD look like? How do we grow and retain a flexible talented workforce?

Join business commentator and award-winning journalist Rod Oram for a programme of engaging and relevant presentations. Rod will set the scene, lead the day, provide attendees with a summary of insights gained and, most importantly key action points. The day will include 2 keynote speeches and 8 short case studies – think TED Talks.

If you run a business, work in a business, have any connection to this region – this is one event you will not want to miss. 


We are delighted to introduce our confirmed speakers.

Rod Oram

Business commentator and award-winning
Business journalist Rod Oram contributes weekly to Newsroom, Nine to Noon, and Newstalk ZB. He is a public speaker on deep sustainability, business, economics, and innovation. Rod is a member of the Edmund Hillary Fellowship, which brings together people from here and abroad who seek to contribute to global change from Aotearoa.
Rod was a founding trustee and the second chairman of Ākina Foundation, which helps social enterprises develop their business models in areas of sustainability. He remains actively involved with the foundation and the ventures it supports.

James Griffin

Sustainable Business Network Project lead on the low carbon circular economy
James Griffin is the Sustainable Business Network’s Projects lead on the low carbon circular economy. He has extensive commercial experience having worked in large corporates and owned his own business.
His circular economy ‘aha’ moment came when he first learnt about the practice of ‘built-in obsolescence’ in at school. “Hold on a minute sir, companies are doing what?!”
James has been working in this space for years and is a key contributor to The Circular Economy Opportunity for Auckland report. The report identifies how Auckland could be $8.8 billion better off in 2030, if it installed a low carbon circular economy.

Kauahi Ngapora

Ngāi Tahu (Ngāti Kuri), Waikato-Tainui (Ngāti Hauā/Ngāti Mahanga)
Kauahi is General Manager of Whale Watch Kaikōura (WWK) one of New Zealand’s leading and most recognised Māori tourism experiences and a multi-national and international award-winning nature-based tourism company.  Kauahi was first employed by WWK as a fifteen-year-old. He has moved through the ranks from his entry role as a caregiver (spew bucket emptier) rising to learn all facets of the business to guide, guide trainer, skipper, skipper trainer, supervisor, frontline manager and Chief Operating Officer. He considers himself a proud product of the tourism industry, apart from his first paid job which was mowing the lawns at Takahanga Marae he has developed through the tourism and maritime industry’s.

When Kauahi was promoted to lead the organisation back in late 2009 it was a challenging time and the tourism industry as a whole was entering an uncertain period with the on-going repercussions of the global financial crisis. These effects were further exacerbated regionally by the Christchurch Earthquakes in 2010/11, and then the 2016 Kaikōura Earthquake occurred which effectively halted operations and severely impacted tourism across the Kaikōura district. Despite a succession of significant economic shocks Kauahi has provided exemplary leadership, dedication and drive to help ensure the business continued to trade on through successfully particularly when responding to the impacts of the Kaikōura Earthquake, and now driving the effort to fully recover the business which has been through one of its most challenging periods since it was established in 1987. Kauahi is also a Director on the Tourism New Zealand and Tourism Industry Aotearoa boards, a Member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee the Kaikōura Marine Guardians, a panel member of the Governments Tourism Infrastructure Fund and a Trustee of the Marlborough-Kaikōura Trail Trust.

Kauahi was awarded the Outstanding Māori Business Leader Award at the 2018 University of Auckland’s Aotearoa Māori Business Leaders Awards.

Jo Martin

General Manager, Brand New You New Zealand

The way we do business has changed.  At BNY, they believe that people buy from people, not organisations.  People work for people, not organisations. All around us we hear people talk about ‘purpose’ or why you do what you do.  Artificial intelligence is enabling us to create individual products and services based on our own unique purchasing behaviour and needs.  At the same time, social media enables us to project our brand broadly and openly – to the whole world.  The lines between what business and private lives has blurred.  For the first time in history, individuals are in control of their own PR.  If your success comes down to your ‘personal brand’ – what does that even mean? 

Jo Martin from Brand New You will discuss what a personal brand is and how you can start thinking about yours to increase your business’s impact and influence.

Jo Martin joined Brand New You as a personal branding consultant in Australia in 2009. Jo helped to build the business to be Australia’s leading personal branding agency and in 2019 returned home, to open BNY in New Zealand.
Jo has experience in public relations in the technology and banking industries in London and New Zealand with clients including SAP, Foundry Networks and the Westpac Banking Group.

In New Zealand, Jo worked as a consultant to NZ Fashion Week, managing major sponsor relations, international media and VIPs and domestic broadcast media. Jo worked as a print and broadcast journalist, as a documentary researcher and production manager for New Zealand’s leading television production company, Touchdown Productions.

Alan Gray

City Centre Development Programme Lead – Nelson City Council
Alan Gray is a landscape architect and urban designer based in Nelson, New Zealand. Prior to joining Nelson City Council as its City Centre Development Programme Lead at the end of 2018, Alan spent ten years helping lead the transformation of Auckland’s Waterfront with Waterfront Auckland, Panuku Development Auckland and the Auckland Design Office.
A native of the United States where he graduated from the University of Georgia and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, Alan has had the honour of serving and residing in Aotearoa as an urban designer since 2004

PRESENTATION TITLE: Data, Facts (and a Grin) – How to Advocate for a Smart Resilient City
ABSTRACT: City Centres worldwide have always been destinations where people live, meet, work, recreate and celebrate life. As such, they hold special meaning for all of us. The challenge is an approach to changing or transforming urban centres to adapt to the pressures cities face today, be it retail trends, climate change, housing and transportation.
Given the emotive and political forces imposed on City Centre’s to change- often in opposing directions- the requirement for factual, data-driven advocacy that moves our Cities toward great places for people is a necessity.
Looking at examples from places such as Auckland, Vancouver, London, this presentation will reveal how urban professionals are utilising data- through ‘info-graphics’, memes and cartoons- to build advocacy for decision makers to make great and resilient places like Nelson for people and business.

Richard Brudvik-Lindner

Whakatu Intellectual Capital Kohanga [WICK]
When one spends a good portion of their professional life “engineering consent” for video game companies in the public policy arena, the only just penance for this is to spend days locked in a room with teenage boys. Richard has done both of these, the latter in his role as a Social Sciences teacher, and leader of the school’s program for gifted and talented students, at Nelson College. The former in his role as an executive in charge of public affairs, communications and lobbying for Sega, Nintendo, T-Mobile USA and Microsoft Consumer Division. Somewhere in between those two things he had roles in product management and product marketing in gaming. Richard was the Chief of Staff for the world’s largest communications and public engagement consultancy, Edelman, before re-training as a teacher and moving to Golden Bay. Richard is the convenor of WICK, Whakatu Intellectual Capital Kohanga, a grass-roots organisation designed to promote Nelson as a hub of intellectual capital in New Zealand.

ABSTRACT: There’s always been something special in the air in Nelson/Whakatu and all of Te Tau Ihu [the Top of the South], and it is not just the warmth of the ever-present sunshine. Nelson has long been a place of ideas, a place of innovation, a place of creativity, and a place of intellectual capital – think Lord Rutherford, The Cawthron Institute, Dame Suzie Moncrieff. Te Tau Ihu is a hub of intellectual capital, much of it hidden down long driveways and otherwise incognito in our midst. It is our hidden superpower, but hiding this strength is not in our best interest. We must be strategic: we are hemmed in by hills and the sea, our destiny as a community is to grow up…and to grow vertically. That means seeing our strength and making it our economic engine, while protecting our natural environment and quality of life. Nelson as the capital of intellectual capital in NZ: our heritage and our future.

Paul Bell

Managing Director – Intepeople

The pace of digital advancement in businesses globally and locally are having a major impact in the way we need to think and how we will shape our companies and the way we will get work done in the future. Paul will talk to us about the ‘future of work’, how companies globally are responding to changes in workplace composition what it means to us locally. He will cover new thinking in the way organisations engage their people emotionally and contractually to get the work done and the leadership and people strategies to get the best out of your people and create high performance teams. Lastly he will cover the challenges and opportunities that present in responding to the need to create more agile and adaptive companies, leveraging the best out of increasingly multi-generational work forces and global and national HR trends in terms of attracting, retaining and remunerating key people.

James Stainton
General Manager – Datacom

LeanAgility – Leadership learnings from NZ’s fastest changing sector

James Stainton leads the advisory and strategic consulting business for New Zealand’s largest tech exporter and IT services provider, Datacom. He will share lessons in organisational agility and lean enterprise from across Datacom’s customer base and inside their own organisation as they’ve grown and adapted to succeed in the dynamic and fast-changing tech sector. James will also draw on his own small business “disruptor” experience, gained early in his career leading two New Zealand tech startup businesses from genesis through to competing in global markets.

Paul Morgan
Chairman of Wakatū Incorporation

Te Tauihu Intergenerational strategy

Wakatū Incorporation have a strong history of developing leadership capabilities and commercial success across generations. They have a 500-year plan called Te Pae Tawhiti and are passionate about realising the potential of Te Tauihu as a region. That’s why Wakatū is leading the Te Tauihu Intergenerational Strategy in collaboration with all three councils, industry leaders, whānau, hapū, iwi and businesses across Te Tauihu.

Paul as the Chair of Wakatū and the leadership group for the Strategy will discuss the history and thinking behind the intergenerational approach and introduce the Te Tauihu Intergenerational Strategy project.