Superstars to celebrate rugby with business debate

09 September 2011

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Kiwi superstars of entrepreneurship, innovation and economic global domination will team up with New Zealand sporting legends to debate the lessons business people can learn from sporting success at a not-to-be-missed Business School event on 18 October.

Aimed at 2011 Business Club members and alumni, the rugby-affiliated event will consist of a panel discussion at the Owen G Glenn Building featuring four of this country’s best-known success stories in business and sport, plus an international expert.

Each presenter will give a short address, followed by a panel discussion on what is needed for New Zealand companies to become world champions like the All Blacks, who are widely expected to win the Cup in October.

They are:

  • Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Worldwide and Business School Honorary Professor of Innovation and Creativity Kevin Roberts.
  • Former All Black and business adviser Murray Mexted.
  • Neuroscientist and author of ‘The Winners’ Bible’ Dr Kerry Spackman.
  • Former captain of the three-time world champion Black Ferns and authority on Maori and gender issues in sport Dr Farah Palmer.
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business and a specialist in high-growth global companies and sports organisations Professor George Foster.

The University of Auckland Business School’s Associate Director of Donor Stewardship, Amanda Stanes, says many of the most valuable lessons on international business success come from the world of sport.

“New Zealand needs to move from being a global player to a global leader. That’s why our Dean, Professor Greg Whittred, has concentrated on activities that complement the international element that the rugby tournament represents. Some of these activities are being promoted as Business Club events.”

One example is the University’s Sport and Recreation Department-hosted event – an interfaculty rugby game that will pit four faculties against each other to win the Sir Wilson Whineray Trophy on the afternoon of Saturday, September 24. Last year, in a hard-fought playoff, the Mighty River Power Engineering Eagles beat the Ernst & Young Commerce Cougars to lift the Trophy, reversing the result of the 2009 inaugural game and setting the stage for an intense encounter in 2011.

“This is a great afternoon out at the Colin Maiden Park complex in Glen Innes,” Amanda says. “After all, this level of rugby is where many of our past and present All Blacks got their start.”

On 11 October, the All Blacks who won the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987 will reunite for a black tie dinner at the Ellerslie Racecourse to raise funds for the John Drake Memorial Scholarship. Drake, a much-admired prop forward in the victorious 1987 team, died in 2008 and the scholarship in his honour is awarded annually to an outstanding school-leaver enrolling at The University of Auckland. The dinner, for 750 people, which falls between the quarter and semi-finals of RWC 2011, will feature a panel discussion by former All Black greats Sir Brian Lochore, Sean Fitzpatrick, Grant Fox and David Kirk on the pressures of being an All Black at a Rugby World Cup.

Possibly the most colourful involvement of The University of Auckland with the tournament is with the National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries (NICAI) and their six ‘follies’ or installations in Myers Park as part of the four kilometre Fan Trail between Britomart and Eden Park.

Architecture students along with performing arts and fine arts students are creating visual feasts for those taking part in the walk incorporating stage design, dance, light and music. Visitors to Auckland and Aucklanders will have a fantastic experience on each of the eleven tournament days. The Fan Trail will be open three hours prior to each game.