Find out more about the speakers in this year's series and read brief profiles.

Auckland: The Inclusive City - 30 August 2016


Shamubeel Eaqub

Shamubeel is an experienced economist who makes economics easy. He is also an author, media commentator and a thought leading public speaker.

He has over a decade of experience as an economist working in Wellington, Melbourne and Auckland at leading international banks and in consultancy. Until recently he was the principal economist at the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research.

He is on the boards of various charities and commercial firms. He has written a number of books on issues that “matter to New Zealand and gives voice to the unheard”. These include Generation Rent (2015) co-authored with his wife Selena, Growing Apart: Regional Prosperity in New Zealand (2014) and The New Zealand Economy: An Introduction (2011) co-authored with Dr Ralph Lattimore. 

Shamubeel is currently on career break to be a full-time dad and lives in Auckland with his wife and son. He grew up in Canterbury and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) who holds a BCom with Honours in Economics.

Rangimarie Hunia (002)

Rangimarie Hunia

Rangimarie is of Ngāti Whātua descent and has recently been appointed as Chief Executive of Ngati Whatua Orakei's social development company, Whai Maia. Whai Maia is responsible for the well-being of its tribal members and focuses on education, health, employment and environmental areas.

Rangimarie was previously a director of the Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust and a director of the trust's commercial property investment company, Whai Rawa where she was tasked with growing the asset base of the Ngāti Whātua o Orākei Trust. She led the Ngāti Whātua o Orākei education developments for a number of years before completing her Masters thesis at the University of Auckland. Titled Economic Renaissance of a Māori Community: Ngāti Whātua o Orākei as a Case Study, Rangimarie’s research traced the economic development journey of the hapū.

Rangamrie is a director on the Institute of Directors’ Commercial Board, and a trustee on the Committee for Auckland and the Manaiakalani Education Trust.


Associate Professor Susan St John

Susan St John is an Honorary Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Auckland Business School. She is a director of both the School’s Retirement Policy and Research Centre (RPRC), and the Economics of Ageing Programme in the Centre for Applied Research in Economics (CARE).

Susan has a broad range of research interests including taxation of saving, pensions, long-term care insurance, levies and experience rating in accident compensation, family law and economics, economics of the welfare state, and income support. She has developed various local, national, and international forums for policy debates in welfare, accident compensation, and retirement incomes.

Susan is a founding member and economics advisor to Child Poverty Action Group, an interdisciplinary group which advocates for better policies for children.

She has written a number of influential reports and her work has featured in a number of publications. Her experience and expertise is highly sought after and she regularly contributes to the public conversation around key socio-economic issues.


Alan Johnson

Alan Johnson is a South Auckland based public policy analyst and community activist.  He works as a social policy analyst for The Salvation Army’s Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit and worked for 10 years in Auckland local government in planning and policy roles.  Alan holds degrees in planning and economics from the University of Auckland.

Alan’s research interests have focused significantly on inequality and social polarisation and particularly from a South Auckland perspective.

Alan’s research interests and his activism have focused significantly on inequality and social polarisation and particularly from a South Auckland perspective. In his home suburb of Manurewa he has been active supporting local community initiatives with being a coach and administrator in local rugby league and a BoT member for a local decile 1 school for 15 years.  Alan also served for 15 years as a Manukau City Councillor and a further six years on the Manurewa Community Board.


Auckland: The Innovative City - 7 September 2016


Dr Mary Quin

Dr Mary Quin has over 30 years’ experience with Fortune 500 and start-up businesses in the United States. With a PhD in Materials Engineering from Northwestern University in Chicago her early career was in R&D and product development roles. After obtaining an MBA from Harvard Business School Dr Quin continued on to senior management roles at companies including Kodak, Avid Technology and Xerox.  She was President of a 3,000 employee outsourced services company in Alaska before returning to New Zealand in 2013 as the inaugural CEO of Callaghan Innovation.  She is now focusing on governance with a recent appointment to the board of Westpac NZ Ltd.

Mary is an advocate for international women's rights. Her work has included support for Afghan women and serving as Chair of CEDPA, a Washington DC based organisation promoting health and education for women and girls in developing countries.

After surviving a terrorist kidnapping incident in Yemen in 1998, she provided evidence, and testified in a New York Court in 2014, for which she was recognised by the New Zealand Herald as New Zealander of the Year.


Greg Cross

Greg is an experienced serial entrepreneur and technology nomad with a track record in building tech companies all over the world. He now lives in New Zealand but creates businesses that compete on the international stage. Through Cross Ventures his own venture development business, Greg has built companies like PowerbyProxi, a company he co-founded in 2007 that  has become the world’s leading wireless power company and SLI Systems, a global ecommerce company which he led to an IPO on the NZ Stock Exchange.

Greg is a former Chairman of The Icehouse and NZTE’s internationally recognised Beachhead programme and is also the Sir John Logan Campbell Executive in Residence at the University of Auckland Business School.


Shaun Hendy

Professor Shaun Hendy FRSNZ is Director of Te Pūnaha Matatini, a New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence hosted by the University of Auckland.  Te Pūnaha Matatini is a national research network that uses methods from complex systems to solve problems for business and to develop better economic and environmental policies.

Shaun teaches in both the Department of Physics and the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Auckland. In 2012, Shaun was awarded the Callaghan Medal by the Royal Society of New Zealand and the Prime Minister’s Science Media Communication Prize for his work as a science communicator. In 2013 he was awarded the E. O. Tuck medal for his research in applied mathematics, and co-authored Get Off the Grass with the late Sir Paul Callaghan. His new book, Silencing Science, was released in May 2016. 


Nick Shewring

Nick Shewring, is the cofounder of BizDojo, is a spatial design enthusiast and rebellious innovator. After pioneering start-ups centred around mobile application, experiential marketing and working shoulder to shoulder in a full-time collaborative environment with a hub of creative minds on the redesign of Air New Zealand’s long haul experience, Nick was struck by the intense loneliness of autonomy upon returning to freelance work. After outstaying his welcome at a number of local cafés for whom he’d installed wi-fi to operate his business, Nick partnered up with his former Skunkworks colleague Jonah Merchant to launch BizDojo’s first co-working space on Auckland’s Karangahape Road in 2009.

In the six years since, the BizDojo empire has grown to include BizDojo Wellington, Auckland’s GridAKL tech precinct and the Neck of the Woods venue. Nick is now preparing to launch BizDojo into Australia.  


Wendy Kerr – Facilitator

Wendy is Director of the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Auckland, where she aims to grow business savvy, entrepreneurially minded students. She is also a speaker in demand and a best-selling author, having written two books on female led start-ups.

Over her career Wendy has been drawn to developing new ventures. An experienced General Manager she has global experience in leading technology and media start-ups with the Financial Times, Pearson and Quicken. In these roles she developed and executed the business strategy to grow successful ventures, and a record breaking tech IPO on the ASX.

For the last decade, while based in London, she has consulted to C-suite leaders of high growth, global technology companies helping them to thrive in challenging times of expansion and change.


Auckland: The Sustainable City - 22 September 2016


Michael Stiasnny

Michael is the President and a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Directors.  He is a Fellow Chartered Accountant, a Lawyer and Senior Partner of KordaMentha, a leading New Zealand specialist independent corporate advisory and turnaround firm.

In addition to a significant public profile, resulting from his role as receiver in some of New Zealand’s largest insolvencies; Michael is a director of a number of private and public companies. He is Chairman of Vector Limited, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Limited and TOWER Limited. He is also on the Board of Queenstown Airport Corporation Limited and Stride Limited.


Viv Heslop

Viv is the Sustainability Lead at Panuku Development Auckland. In her role she ensures that the organisation takes a leading role in showing Aucklanders just what urban regeneration can and should look like, and how it can shape the way people live, in positive, exciting and sustainable ways.

Viv has experience in both the public and private sector, in roles that span from strategy through to implementation. Prior to her role at Panuku, Viv was the Sustainability Manger at Waterfront Auckland where she made a significant impact, particularly around sustainability standards in the development of the Wynyard Quarter. Viv holds a PhD in planning form the University of Auckland.


Rod Oram

Rod Oram has 40 years’ experience as an international business journalist. He has worked for various publications in Europe and North America, including the Financial Times of London.

He is currently a columnist for the Sunday Star-Times; a regular broadcaster on radio and television; and a frequent public speaker on business, economics, innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship, in both New Zealand and global contexts.

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.


Basil Sharp

Basil Sharp is Professor of energy and resource economics, and Director of The Energy Centre. He has advised The Treasury on the principles of sustainable development, advised government on sustainable fisheries management, and contributed to numerous hearings dealing with urban planning and resource use in the Environment Court.

His current research program includes the economic impact of urban hazards, such as flooding and liquefaction, energy efficiency, and the integration of renewable sources of energy. 


Barry Coates - Facilitator

Barry is leading the sustainability programme at University of Auckland Business School. Prior to joining the School he was Executive Director of Oxfam New Zealand 2003-2014, senior executive at WWF in the United Kingdom and a managing consultant on business strategy.

Barry has been active on sustainability throughout his career, including at the Earth Summit in 1992, in international trade and investment forums, and in climate change negotiations culminating in the Paris Agreement last year. He chaired the NZ Council for International Development, Make Poverty History Aotearoa, Global Campaign for Climate Action and was deputy chair of Fairtrade Australia and NZ. Barry has a Masters in Management from Yale University