World Class New Zealanders are high achieving New Zealanders who are making their mark on the world and defining NZ’s image internationally. These Kiwis are all outstanding and have worked hard for their international success. Kea sat down with World Class New Zealander Lady Pippa Blake for a Q&A about her journey, being a New Zealander and what advice she has for New Zealanders going forward.
How has your New Zealand background contributed to your journey/success?
I first arrived in New Zealand at the age of twenty five having sailed half way around the world. I’d just spent three months on a racing yacht with Kiwis and there is no better way to find out about people than living in close confinement onboard a boat. I guess that initial journey and previous to that having spent several months racing with the same guys in the UK & USA helped me realise that determination and resilience along with a deprecating sense of humour were vital in getting through life. My connection with New Zealand and New Zealander’s certainly propelled me into an adventurous life that I would never have dreamed of before. Also learning to deal with teasing and being the butt of jokes for being a Pom and giving back as good as you got.
What are some stand out failures/problems you faced on your journey and how did you overcome/learn from them?
Clearly the most important issue that I have had to deal with is the tragic death of Peter, coping with that and learning to live with grief at the same time as really getting on with life and making the most of it. I am constantly overwhelmed with the respect people still show to Peter since the the time of the tragedy. I saw from early on how Peter didn't let failures get him down and always looked on the positive so that was an initial lesson and I soon realised that life had to continue in the best possible way you could live it.
What in your professional career or personal life are you most proud of?
Raising my two children to be the people that they are with the knowledge that they lost their father in a very tragic and public way and to encourage them to be their own people and to pursue their own passions and dreams. My artistic career has been very important to me all my life as it’s given me the ability to express my emotions, enabled me to have clarity of vision, determination to keep going and has been a strong focus for my life.
What’s an important issue which needs attention in your industry?
I am industrious but cannot say I have an industry as such. However the future of the planet seems to me to be a pretty important issue which I would say needs universal attention from everyone whether in industry or not. One the most important issues I can see is the use of plastics and fossil fuels and to look for alternatives. We cannot afford to hide our heads in the sand over this issue.
How have you used global New Zealand connections/networks to help achieve what you have?
Being the Co-Patron and a trustee of the Sir Peter Blake Trust means that I am constantly on the look out for resources and people in the environmental leadership space that can inform and support the great work that the Trust is doing in and for New Zealand
What is one key lesson you want to share with New Zealand entrepreneurs/businesses/SMEs
We need to wake up to the fact that sustainability is the key issue in the future of the planet .Put simply it is impossible to carry on with a system where growth is infinite and resources are limited .
In your experience what do Kiwis excel at in the eyes of the world?
In my eyes it is their perseverance, indomitable spirit, a very strong work ethic and a can do attitude which is why you find so many Kiwis all over the world doing well and being praise. Their candour and down to earth approach to life is legendary as well as an unique sense of humour.
What are the biggest growth challenges and potential opportunities for New Zealand companies/businesses/SMEs
I must confess this is an area about which I am not well informed but as an artist and citizen the earth to be investing into green energy and keeping in the forefront of innovation and technology.
What will be New Zealand’s biggest strength in 10 years
New Zealand has a strong culture of innovation and advanced technology in many areas and I hope these will remain strong factors in an otherwise uncertain world . Above all you cannot under estimate the unity and patriotism of Kiwis which gives the country a tremendous foundation for the future.
An artist by trade, Lady Pippa Blake moved to New Zealand in 1979 when she married Sir Peter Blake. Following his death in 2004, Lady Pippa established the Sir Peter Blake Trust, which is dedicated to inspiring the next generation of Kiwi leaders, adventurers and environmentalists.
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