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The Panel

Bill Ralston - Moderator

Bill Ralston’s career as a journalist, editor and broadcaster, working in television, radio and print in New Zealand spanned more than thirty years. During this time he worked for TVNZ, TV3, ACP magazines and also contracted for various roles with Sky TV, RadioWorks, NZ Magazines, Fairfax, APN and TRN.

During that time, among other roles, Bill was political editor for TV3, Editor of Metro magazine and Head of New & Current Affairs at TVNZ.

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 NZ and global contexts.

For more than a decade, Rod has been helping fast-growing New Zealand companies through his involvement with The ICEHOUSE, the entrepreneurship centre at the University of Auckland’s Business School.

In 2010, Rod was the winner in the individual category in the Vero Excellence in Business Support Awards and was Columnist of the Year in the consumer category in the national magazine awards for his columns in Good magazine.

Rod is a founding trustee and chairman of the Akina Foundation, and a founding trustee of Aotearoa New Zealand Foundation for Public Interest Journalism.

Damon Salesa

Damon Salesa is University Director of Pacific Strategy and Engagement and Associate Professor and Head of Pacific Studies at the University of Auckland.

He is editor and author of a number of books and scholarly articles on the Pacific Islands and New Zealand. He is the author of Racial Crossings: Race, Intermarriage and the Early Victorian Empire (Oxford, 2011; paperback 2013), which won the Ernest Scott Prize in 2012 and jointly edited and authored Tangata o le Moana: New Zealand and the People of the Pacific (Te Papa Press, 2012).

He is currently working on a social, environmental and technological history of Samoa for which he was awarded a Marsden grant from the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Marina Matthews

Marina is a Partner at Chen Palmer New Zealand Public and Employment law specialists, and is based in the Chen Palmer Auckland office. Marina is leader of the Education team at Chen Palmer, and specialises in education law, public policy, regulatory and funding frameworks, and working with government. Marina also has significant experience in advising on restructuring and change management in the public sector.

Prior to joining Chen Palmer, Marina has nine years’ experience in key public policy roles in the public sector, including four years as a Private Secretary to four different Ministers of Education and Tertiary Education. Marina is passionate about helping organisations understand how Government and public policy works, and enjoys translating "Wellington" speak for Aucklanders.

Marina is Ngati Kahu and Tuwharetoa, and is a born and bred Southlander.

Waikare Komene

Waikare Komene is a young professional from Otara who is passionate about empowering communities from the grassroots up. Waikare is a qualified architect and is the driving force behind The Roots Creative Entrepreneurs.

The Roots describes itself as a ‘Social Enterprise, a Movement and a Network’, and is based on the five values of roots, creativity, sustainability, generations and community. It aims to inspire generations by developing opportunities to showcase creativity, innovation and design through environmental awareness and sustainability. #keepingitroots

Social enterprise—a venture that uses a business model to create social and environmental value. It generates income through trading products or services, and the majority of any revenue is reinvested back in to its purpose, our KAUPAPA! Inspiring generations through creativity and sustainability.


White Face Crew

Photo: Tanya Haitoua-Cathro.
White Face Crew is renowned for their laugh-out-loud antics, interacting with audiences and passersby with their unique style of physical comedy. White Face Crew features talented Auckland performers Jarod Rawiri, Justin Haiu and Tama Jarman, who bring together the best elements of physical theatre, clowning, and contemporary and hip-hop dance styles. Chucking in improvisation, spontaneity and good old fashioned fun, they’ll invigorate your LATE evening with roving performance, pop-up fun, and excerpts of their acclaimed show Double Derelicts.