The New Zealand Culture Conference

The culture event for all Kiwi leaders

Event Details
Meet your Chair

Penelope Barton


People Labs

Pene is a human resources generalist leader. A coach and experienced people and culture mentor, she is passionate about building high growth, scaleable organisations, bringing with her experience working across the world with some of the fastest growing global startups whilst simultaneously running two of her own businesses. She is passionate about building strong organisational cultures designed for the future of work and leveraging innovations in technology, AI and automation to help organisations, their people practices and ultimately their people thrive. Pene has a focus on helping people practitioners learn practical skills that can be taken back into their organisations and put into practice straight away.
International Keynote Speakers

Edgar Schein and Peter Schein


The Organizational Culture and Leadership Institute

Edgar Schein is Professor Emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sloan School of Management. He has published extensively and continues to consult with various local and international organisations on a variety of organisational culture and career development issues. He is the 2009 recipient of the Distinguished Scholar-Practitioner Award of the Academy of Management, the 2012 recipient of the Life Time Achievement Award from the International Leadership Association, and the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award in Organization Development from the International OD Network. Peter Schein is a strategy consultant in Silicon Valley and Co-Founder of The Organizational Culture and Leadership Institute with his father, Edgar. Peter’s expertise draws on over twenty years of industry experience in marketing and corporate development at technology pioneers. Through these experiences developing new strategies organically and merging smaller entities into a large company, Peter developed a keen focus on the underlying organizational culture challenges that growth engenders in innovation-driven enterprises.
Featured Speakers

Michael Henderson

Corporate Anthropologist

Michael Henderson is a Corporate Anthropologist, with a degree in Anthropology and over 25 years’ experience in observing, advising and educating organisations on how to enhance their workplace culture for greater levels of performance, staff fulfilment and customer delight. Michael was born in the UK, raised in Africa, educated in New Zealand and now works internationally. He is the author of eight books on organisation culture, leadership and performance. He was the winner of the Ashton Wiley book award in 2004. He was the winner of the Thought Leaders Mentor of the Year award in 2010. Michael is married with three children.

Colleen Ryan



Colleen Ryan has worked in the market research and strategic planning fields, creating her own business in the UK, which became the leading independent agency in its field. Now based in New Zealand she applies her passion for understanding the wonderful complexity and depth of the human condition, leading her to look for insight in the micro influences on behaviour from the behavioural sciences, along with the macro influences of social and cultural norms. As well as understanding the universal aspects of the human condition, she has developed a body of knowledge of the uniquely Kiwi character and applying that to how organisations and brands can be relevant to people.

Professor Paul Spoonley

Distinguished Professor

Massey University

Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley was, until recently, the Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, at Massey University. He is the author or editor of 27 books, the most recent being "Rebooting the Regions" (2016). He is currently writing two books, one on social and demographic change in New Zealand while the other concerns the extreme right in this country. He is a Programme Leader of a research programme on the impacts of immigration and diversity on Aotearoa (MBIE, 2014-2020, $5.5 million). He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2011 and was granted the title of Distinguished Professor by Massey University in 2013. He was awarded the Science and Technology Medal by the Royal Society in 2009, he was a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of California Berkeley in 2010, and since 2013, he has been a Visiting Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen, Germany, most recently in 2019. The Auckland War Memorial Museum made him a Fellow in 2015. He is member of the Marsden Fund Council.

Mavis Mullins


Atihau Whanganui Inc / Rangitane Tamaki Nui a Rua

Mavis Mullins is one of New Zealand’s distinguished business and community leaders. Her extensive list of national awards, honours and accolades are testament to her governance excellence, her ability to connect people and her inspirational leadership. Her recent achievements include: 2017 Inductee NZ Business Hall of Fame 2017 Outstanding Maori Business Leader – Auckland University, 2017 Massey University Distinguished Alumni Award, 2016 Westpac Rural Woman of Influence, 2015 Maori Business Woman Leader Auckland University As a government and private sector governance leader, Mavis has amassed experience in a wide range of sectors from health, environment, agriculture, education and telecommunications and sport. At the heart of her success is her advocacy and commitment to Maori and Maori businesses, strong governance skills, deep personal integrity, strong sense of whanau and her common sense approach. Mavis is on a mission to increase diversity on boards to bring fresh and innovative approaches to strategic thinking that have been the hallmark of successful business. Mavis is also widely respected as a public speaker and thought leader, as she has an innate ability to understand the opportunities and challenges of the future.

Fiona Allan

Chief Executive and Secretary General

Paralympics New Zealand

A strategic leader with more than 18 years’ experience in central and local government, and sport, Fiona Allan is Chief Executive and Secretary General of Paralympics New Zealand, a role she has held for 12 years. Fiona is a passionate advocate for the development of Para sport both nationally and globally. Fiona is a member on the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) Women in Sport Committee and IOC Olympic Channel Commission. She was previously Secretary General of the Oceania Paralympic Committee and Chair of the highly successful 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships in Christchurch. Fiona is an International Working Group (IWG) on Women & Sport Global Executive member, a Global Women member and a Carbine Club of New Zealand Executive Member. Fiona was awarded an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2018 for her work as a champion of Paralympic sport. Fiona lives in Auckland with her partner and is a mother of two young children.

David Ferguson


Westlake Boys' High School

David has been Headmaster at Westlake Boys' High School since 2010. Westlake Boys' High School currently has 2400 boys on it’s roll, making it one of New Zealand’s biggest schools. Westlake Boys' High School has 200 staff. Originally from the UK, David has been in New Zealand for 16 years now. He has been an educator for 26 years and has worked in boys’ schools for the entirety of his career. David is Chairman of the Association of Boys’ Schools of New Zealand, and a Board member of the International Boys’ Schools Association as well as being Deputy Chairman of College Sport, Auckland.

Kirsten (KP) Patterson

Chief Executive

The Institute of Directors

Kirsten Patterson (known as KP) is the Institute of Directors Chief Executive. She is a qualified lawyer and Chartered Fellow of the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand. She has extensive governance and leadership experience, and is actively involved in community initiatives. A strong advocate of diversity, KP was one of the founding members of Global Women’s ‘Champions for Change’, a group of senior executives and directors who commit to diversity in the workplace. She is currently Chair of the Wellington Women’s Homeless Trust, a Director of the New Zealand Rugby Foundation, and a member of the Audit and Risk Committee for Te Tumu Paeroa – The Maori Trustee (an organisation that supports Māori land owners in protecting and enhancing their land). In 2017 KP was named as a finalist in the Women of Influence Awards.

Greg Smith

Chief Executive Officer


Greg Smith was appointed CEO of icebreaker on 1st June 2017. Prior to this, Greg was at the helm of the New Zealand and Australian operations in his role as General Manager NZA (Australasia). Greg’s first job as CEO was to find a suitable Investor to ensure icebreaker was able to fulfil its Global potential. This culminated in VF Corporation purchasing icebreaker in April 2018. Greg also oversaw a record-breaking revenue and profit year for icebreaker in FY18 & FY19. Before joining the icebreaker team, Greg cut his teeth with another one of New Zealand’s retail success stories, Michael Hill Jeweller. In his 21 years with Michael Hill, Greg was tasked with driving sustained profitable growth year-on-year, the recruitment, training and development of world-class leaders and overseeing the strategic development of existing and new sites. With over 25 years’ experience at the forefront of pioneering New Zealand brands, he’s also figured out a bit about people. And that, he believes, is the key to repeatable and sustainable success. Greg’s biggest lesson? “Recruit great people, give them clear responsibility and accountability, and let them win,” he says. With this philosophy at the heart of Greg’s successful and popular leadership style, he was poised for success to spearhead icebreaker’s business, a company that prides itself on relationships and human experience. “Being part of a company that is a passionate New Zealand brand with an authentic purpose is really important to me. Add to that, a commitment to its people and sustainable business practices, and I have my dream job”. As the leader of icebreaker’s Global Executive leadership team, Greg is helping transform us into a vertically led, consumer obsessed business. Born and raised in New Zealand. When Greg’s not catching the best surf break, playing football, or supporting New Zealand in any sport they’re playing, you’ll find him keeping up with the keen pursuits of his five children who, along with his wife of 25 years, Carla, are firmly his greatest success story.

Fiona Ewing

National Safety Director

Forest Industry Safety Council

Fiona has 30 years' experience of working in health and safety in a wide range of industries including energy, engineering, construction, agriculture and forestry in both New Zealand and the United Kingdom (UK). Her career began with the UK regulator, the Health and Safety Executive, where she worked for 20 years before switching to the private sector in NZ and becoming involved with companies and industries at a senior level. The Forest Industry Safety Council was formed in July 2015 as the result of an industry initiated Independent Forestry Safety Review and became operational in October 2015. Fiona was previously the Group Manager, HSEQ, for Powerco.

Dan Teo



Dan has a passion for helping people realise their potential. For the past three years, he has been helping senior leadership teams across New Zealand's most respected brands in creating high performing cultures through adopting an agile mindset. Currently he is working with Vodafone NZ to lead the transformation to new ways of working as Head of Agile. With a blend of enterprise and grass-roots agile experience, Dan brings a pragmatic senior leadership lens to his clients' who want embark of a transformative journey personally, as well as organizationally. Dan's career has seen him so far work with and advising leaders on organizational agility across Telecommunications, Financial Services, FMCG, Media and Broadcasting, Postal, Government and Manufacturing industries.

Katie Williams

Director of Human Resources

Vodafone New Zealand

Katie is the Director of HR and until recently was Head of People and Experience at Vodafone New Zealand, responsible for leading the People and Experience tribe to create an engaging and inclusive workplace. Katie joined Vodafone New Zealand in 2008 and has held a variety of roles including HR Business Partner, Head of Organisational Development, and Talent and Capability Manager. Prior to joining Vodafone New Zealand, Katie has worked across Australasia and Europe in a range of industries including agri-chemicals, petrochemicals, finance, law, manufacturing and retail.

Jo Kearins

General Manager, Culture Revolution

Contact Energy

Jo has extensive experience in brand, reputation and culture, along with a proven track record of change leadership to deliver business transformation. In her current role, she is responsible for the Transformation Office and leading the revolution of the Customer business culture at Contact Energy, New Zealand’s largest single-brand retailer of energy. Reporting to the Chief Customer Officer, Jo’s functional responsibility includes People Excellence, Transformation, Communications & PR, Change Excellence and Knowledge & Engagement. She has worked across five countries and six different sectors. Her current focus is on creating a participatory performance culture, including new ways of working and new ways of leadership to drive productivity and build fit-for-future workforce capability.

Darren Levy


Human Synergistics New Zealand

Darren’s consulting and facilitation style is “dynamically challenging”. He is able to be thought provoking whilst providing inspiration and practical steps for leaders to create and sustain effective change. His value proposition is to help challenge all participants to leave his sessions thinking and acting differently. Darren has and is currently working with leading organisations in New Zealand, Australia, Pacific Islands, Asia, India, USA, Canada and Europe. Darren has completed the Global Executive MBA from the University of Sydney in partnership with Stanford, IIMB and LSE. He also holds qualifications in Advertising and Marketing, was selected as one of 50 Future Leaders to watch in NZ and is a Chartered Marketer through the Chartered Institute of Marketing UK. Don’t just take our word for it! This is what recent participants had to say: “That was a sensational workshop and you're one of the best presenters/facilitators I've seen. Everyone raved about your style.” Account Director “We were genuinely amazed at how far we came in just 4hours! We developed and created real tangible prototypes that we have been able to move forward with across APAC” Head of Innovation “The best facilitation I have experienced ever. The facilitator was very knowledgeable, kept us on time, knew the content and made it fun. Love the technology as well. Makes it really relevant..” Clinical Director “The most mind expanding workshop I have been part of in recent memory… really bloody enjoyed it and already have a podcast playlist and reading list in train.” CEO
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