The power of half a million Kiwis united

craig 2014Kea CEO Craig Donaldson writes about Kea’s achievements in 2014.

It’s inspiring to reflect on the achievements of the many talented New Zealanders who are part of Kea’s community. This note is a ‘call to arms’ to make sure you are connecting to the World Class talent who can help take your aspirations global.

Growing from a community of 200,000 to over 500,000 this year, Kea’s global network is our ‘Borderless Nation’ of New Zealanders working to support Aotearoa wherever they are.

It has been absolutely inspirational this year to meet New Zealanders all over the world who are doing truly amazing things in their own fields, yet still have the generosity of spirit to lend a hand to help their fellow Kiwis realise our own ambitions. See below to meet some of these people and learn how you can tap into their networks and expertise.

I’m very proud of the Kea team, who have connected, inspired and enabled thousands of Kiwis to thrive through over 30 top-notch events held worldwide, and built the largest digital community of any diaspora including a mobile app which other countries are asking us to learn from. It’s little wonder New Zealand is starting to be held up as a case study in how to connect a global population.

Here are some highlights of 15 truly inspirational world changing New Zealanders I have had the privilege to meet this year, from a diverse range of sectors who are united in their excellence and their desire to help New Zealand. These are the kinds of people you can connect with through the World Class New Zealand connection service, which you can find out more about here.

3dcb840Anthony Hoy Fong
Culinary CEO, Celeb Chef and Restaurateur
Sectors: Culinary, Food education, Nutrition

Anthony is a household name in the US, his work includes advising the Whitehouse menu & cooking for the president. Kea connected Anthony with fellow World Class New Zealander and celebrity chef Josh Emett, and the two are now taking Kiwi cuisine to major global influencers.


3440f7aBrian Monahan
Tech / Start Up CEO
Sectors: Information and Communications, Technology, Start Ups

Having sold his last venture to, Brian and his brother is taking the Valley Tech know how to Wellington. Kea introduced Brian to NZ Immigration as part of their high net worth investor migrants programme, which encourages the next generation of innovators from America to help New Zealand prosper.


craignm_headshot_2Craig Nevill-Manning
Head of Engineering at Google
Sectors: Digital Engineering, Technology

Craig’s ideas and technology know how is rapidly changing our world. As one of Google’s top people, Craig employs 10 acres of Google programmers. Literally, 10 acres of staff. Craig is a great friend to and often works with Kea and the World Class New Zealand network.


KW_WindTunnelDr Karen Wilcox
Professor at MIT
Sectors: Aeronautics, Astronautics and Education

Karen’s MIT research on the future of education (presented to the President of the United States) will change the way our future generations learn. Kea has connected Karen with New Zealand education outlets so she could present her innovative ideas for the future of Kiwi kids’ education.


16b5b61Helen Klisser Durring
Art Director
Sectors: Film, Arts

Not only can Helen make a mean Vogel’s sandwich (her family founded Vogel’s), her works on display at the Westpost Art Gallery (CT, USA) is award winning. By working with philanthropists such as Helen and other Kiwi influencers in the arts world, Kea is making sure our diaspora can find connections in more than just the traditional business realm.


f904434bd7ac7dbe0243Hilary Timmins
CEO at Dream Catchers, TV Presenter
Sectors: Media, Film

Hilary’s upcoming work on Dream Catchers reminds us all to dream big and portrays how successful Kiwis offshore can be. Kea worked with the Dream Catchers team to support their launch in London this year. Read a guest blog Hilary wrote for Kea about Dream Catchers here.


623074-130518-bJosh Bayliss
CEO at Virgin Group
Sectors: Investment, Lawyer

Josh is an inspirational low key Kiwi managing one of the world’s most high-profile group of companies for Sir Richard Branson. Earlier this year Kea held an event at Virgin’s head office in London where Josh spoke to and met with Kiwi entrepreneurs in the UK. Watch a video from the event here.


kevinroberts_0Kevin Roberts
CEO at Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide
Sectors: Advertising, Marketing and Communications

Kevin’s vision on the power of brands, his passion for NZ (particularly the All Blacks as mentioned in his notorious book Lovemarks) and helping Kiwi success in PR is a tremendous asset for us all. Through Kevin’s connections and influence, Kea has been able to hold events at Saatchi & Saatchi’s global headquarters in New York. You can read Kevin’s day to day musings here.


3d7d232Mark D’Arcy
Chief Creative Officer, Facebook
Sectors: Social Media, Marketing, Media, Digital, Advertising, Creative, ICT

Mark’s position on the management team of Facebook has him at the leading edge of all global social and digital media. Mark is a great friend to and often works with Kea and the World Class New Zealand network, and has been a speaker and guest at many Kea events in London.


02f34bcMolly Bedingfield
Founder and CEO at Global Angels Foundation
Sectors: Leadership Development, Mentoring, Motivational Speaking

After raising her famous family (Natasha and Daniel Bedingfield) Molly dedicates time to humanitarian causes and her “100% Promise”. You can find out more about Global Angels here.



imgresMyles Sutherland
Director at RF Spot
Sectors: Start Ups, Incubator, Mobile, Apps, Geospatial, Social

If you are US bound and looking for help or advice in the ICT sector, it would be foolish to look past Myles. His willingness to help Kiwis along with his broad US tech start up experience makes him a hugely valuable connection. Myles is a great friend to and often works with Kea and the World Class New Zealand network.


1630567Priv Bradoo
CEO and Co-Founder at BlueOak
Sectors: Cleantech, Biofuels, Biotechnology, Drug Discovery, Entrepreneurship

As the University of Auckland’s first person to obtain a MBA and PhD in gene brain repair, Priv became an entrepreneur who solves the world’s waste problems and is a veteran in the cleantech industry. Priv is a natural mentor, and is fast becoming a go-to person for young innovators.


0b9dac2Sean Gourley
CTO and Co-Founder at Quid
Sectors: Academia, Science and Technology, Epidemics, Politics

An Oxford Rhodes Scholar and NZ Decathlon Champion, Sean is now doing world changing work in artificial intelligence, big data and geo politics sectors. As New Zealand makes a name for itself in the big data world, people like Sean and his company Quid are at the forefront of artificial intelligence.


3be523b69f7cda16e4c6a536ddf48cacShane Legg
CEO at Deepmind CEO
Sectors: Research, Artificial Intelligence, Science and Technology

From Waikato University with a passion for maths, Shane and his partners recently sold their artificial intelligence business to Google for $400m. Kea held an event featuring Shane as our guest speaker in London this year where he inspired a crowd of Kiwi entrepreneurs. Watch a video from the event here.


This year Kea has hosted over 30 global events this year in Auckland, Wellington, Tokyo, Bangkok, Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Chicago, New York and London thanks to our partners and sponsors. Please visit our YouTube channel to see highlights from Catherine Mohr, Claudia Batten, Sir Stephen Tindall, Ross McEwan, Josh Bayliss, Shane Legg and many more inspiring Kiwis.

It’s events like these that prove the inspiring things Kiwis can achieve when we work together. Now, thanks to Kea’s growing community of over 500,000, I believe a more innovative New Zealand is closer than ever before. Thank you all for your continued support of Kea, and in helping to make our great country more connected and effective as we take on 2015.


Craig Donaldson