x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Your Voice | Our Voice

This event occurred on
September 2, 2018
Hamilton, Waikato
New Zealand

Get ready to be inspired and challenged by local people changing the world around them with their unique ideas, creations and impact activities. In the session breaks get chatting to the equally incredible local attendees around you! Make social and business connections during the day to keep your TEDxRuakura experience going.

The day will be broken into four sessions of roughly 1 hour. Food and drink during the event is included in your General Admission ticket.

VIP ticket holders will receive a voucher to redeem a barista made hot beverage at the start of the event only, from 9:00 am.

On Sunday evening, once the talks are done, an exclusive experience awaits VIP ticket holders at our after party, held at a mystery location in central Hamilton.

University of Waikato
Knighton Road
Hamilton, Waikato, 3204
New Zealand
Event type:
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Amy Chang

Taiwan-born, New Zealand-raised pianist Amy Chang (PGDipMus, BMus, ARSM) recently completed the requirements for a Master of Music at the University of Auckland, specialising in vocal accompaniment under the tutelage of Rachel Fuller. A passionate collaborative musician, Amy regularly accompanies singers and choirs in concerts and competitions around New Zealand. Most recently Amy has been appointed as the official accompanist for the 2019 Napier Performing Arts Competitions that takes place over Easter each year. When not performing, Amy is an active itinerant music teacher in piano, voice, and choir. As a choral singer, Amy sings in the New Zealand Youth Choir and the Auckland Chamber Choir. This year she is singing with Voices New Zealand in two concerts collaborating with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. In the near future, Amy aspires to further develop her skills overseas as a répétiteur, vocal coach, and pianist.

Clinton Fung

Clinton Fung is a Malaysian Baritone graduated from the University of Waikato under the tutelage of Dame Malvina Major. Clinton was a member of the Freemason New Zealand Opera Chorus and the New Zealand Youth Choir. He was twice nominated for the National Young Performer of the Year Award and also a Wallace Cooperation University of Waikato Blues Award recipient. Clinton is a New Zealand Opera School and New Zealand Singing School alumnus, he also attended the Dame Malvina Major Foundation Opera Studies course. Clinton’s operatic roles include: Dan, (The Bone Feeder, Auckland Arts Festival) Betto (Gianni Schicchi, Opera Factory) Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro, University of Waikato) Dulcamara (Elixir of Love, NZ Opera schools tour) Papageno (Die Zaubeflöte, University of Otago) Waikato (This Other Eden, Otago Arts Festival) Custom Official (La Bohème, NZ Opera) Clinton is currently fundraising for his journey to complete a Masters of Music (Vocal Studies) program at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Frances McInnes

Devoted Creator
Franny is the very definition of a self-made woman. Her business has continued to succeed through devotion and an intense attention to detail. And this is no surprise, as she focuses on trusting her heart and instincts. She began her career as an engineer but didn’t feel like it was the place for her to thrive. She didn’t get the excitement of sealing the deal in the engineering industry. While focusing on surviving, and being determined not to go back to her previous job as an engineer, she developed a successful business and found her true calling as a creative entrepreneur.

Guy Howard-Willis

Sometimes a crazy idea can change the world, and sometimes people have crazy ideas and do nothing. But Guy is a man with an intense entrepreneurial spirit, and he had the passion to turn his crazy ideas into a reality. His craziest idea yet is that of the Manta5 Hydrofoil bike. A world-first half bike, half plane that can travel on water. He went into the creation of this bike with a knowledge that he needed other people with the expertise he didn’t have.

Jacqui Barrett

Resilience motivator
Jacqui became accustomed to a life of attracting attention, whether she wanted it or not. She began to shut people away by building a wall and wearing a mask, hiding her true, happy self in an effort to survive the scolding judgement she was often subjected to by others. She spent her childhood often feeling like she wasn’t enough. As she grew older she fell into a volatile depression and was living a life of self-medication and self-harm. A life-changing experience allowed her to see herself for who she was inside: Powerful. Wise. Beautiful. She evaluated her life and realised she wasn’t living. Surviving, yes. But not thriving. However, over time she noticed she didn’t need to change her whole life, just her perspective on it. “Happiness is not a choice unless we have the knowledge to make it one.”

Jarvis Dams

Originally from Belgium, Jarvis has lived in New Zealand for 18 years. He is a 2014 - 2015 NZ Opera Dame Malvina Major Emerging Artist. Jarvis holds a Master of Music and Bachelor’s degree from The University of Waikato and was a recipient of the University of Waikato Sir Edmund Hillary Scholarship for performance and leadership. Jarvis has also been very successful in competitions. In 2016 he was selected as a finalist in the IFAC Australian Singing Competition. He was also the 2017 winner of the New Zealand Aria Competition in Rotorua, and the 2018 winner of the Eisteddfod Opera Scholarship Competition in Sydney Australia. Jarvis was selected as one of six singers to be a part of the inaugural Dame Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation Development Programme for promising young singers and gratefully acknowledges their support.

Lehi Duncan

Creator of Community
Lehi Duncan is the Manager at Zeal Hamilton, a youth development facility (or youth centre) in the Hamilton CBD and has spent his 20s helping the lives of youth flourish in New Zealand. The not-for-profit organisation has a dedication to help young Kiwis. He is also representing Zeal on the Tomorrow’s Schools Cross Sector Advisory Panel. Zeal Hamilton focuses on creating communities of belonging and identity and believing in young people until they believe in themselves. Zeal Hamilton helps young people feel as though they are active agents in their own journey and a part of something larger than themselves. They want and need something that takes them as they are and gives them a place of belonging.

Michelle Howie

Experience Gatherer
Michelle was travelling the world when she met a sweet as Kiwi fella and has lived in Hamilton since 2006. “I compare my exploration of the New Zealand workforce to the trajectory of a bouncy ball launched from the top corner of an indoor sports hall”, she explained. “I’ve gone all over the show, gathering stories and experiences that have led me to a vibrant life of multiple projects under the banner of enlightened self-employment.” Michelle is the Director of both Magnetic Hub and Howie Consulting Ltd. and explains the experience as two business, one woman, many lessons and lots of gratitude for the opportunity to work with amazing clients and communities. She shares her life with her partner Shawn and their two boys.

Pete Fountain

Pete Fountain is a Singer/Composer and Record Producer, originally from the Waikato. His songs blend acoustic instruments with rock/soul and pacific flavours. Pete’s debut album Will, was produced by Eddie Rayner (Split Enz/Crowded House) and co-produced/engineered by Chris Prenter. The songs Just for Today and Heavy Tonight have both featured on the Kiwi Hit Disc compilations and have received airplay throughout New Zealand on TV and Radio. In early 2012, Pete started recording his follow up album The Dawn, with long time friend and producer Chris Prenter. A year and a half in the making it was finally finished mid 2013. The Dawn is a return to Pete's guitar influenced musical roots yet retains the accessible and sincere songwriting he is known for. The Dawn is a classic sounding album that encompasses timeless themes with a modern feel.

Pisey Leng

Wisdom Seeker
Pisey Leng is a survivor of the killing fields of Cambodia that claimed the lives of almost two million people including her father, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. After a four-year ordeal under the murderous Khmer Rouge, Pisey, her mother, and brother tried to build a new life under the communist Vietnamese government. Her brother’s conscription was the catalyst that sparked the family’s harrowing escape from Cambodia to a refugee camp in Thailand. After more than a year as illegal refugees, and three more years waiting for a country to accept them, they finally moved to New Zealand. Pisey arrived in New Zealand with her possessions in a cardboard box held together with duct tape and no ability to speak English. Ten years later, Pisey had established a career as an anaesthetic technician and owns a thriving bakery in Raglan.

Rawiri Waretini-Karena

History Educator
Rawiri began his life with no knowledge of his cultural identity, with no sense of self, enduring a childhood no child should have to go through. A series of events and actions caused ripples throughout his community. He now uses education as a vehicle, not to justify his past actions, but to understand the historical impact on people’s current situations and environment. Dr Rawiri Waretini-Karena is a Post Doc Research Fellowship recipient from Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi Indigenous University in Whakatane 2017-2019. He graduated in 2014 with a PhD Doctorate of Philosophy in Indigenous Studies and was the recipient of three prestigious doctoral scholarship awards for his research into transforming Māori experiences of historical intergenerational trauma.

Rogena Sterling

After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts, Dr Rogena Sterling taught English, set up an oriental medical college, and later established an English language school. Dr Sterling then went on to complete the Bachelor of Laws and Master of Laws programmes at the University of Waikato. Dr Sterling has just completed a PhD focusing on identity and human rights, considering intersex as the illustration of the need for protection and enabling of their human rights of who they are and how they come to be.

Thomas Nabbs

Sports Dreamer
Sports has been an intense passion for Thomas for as long as he can remember. It was something that used to define him, and now it shapes him. Thomas is passionate about sport, passionate about business, passionate about developing culture and developing people. The impact sports had on his childhood has inspired him to “create stronger individuals and communities by enabling the opportunity for personal development through access to sport and other activities”. He did this by creating The Waterboy, an organisation that gives kiwi youth the opportunity to be exposed to sports. Through The Waterboy, Thomas works with children who want to participate in sport but don’t have the opportunity, and don’t have the option to watch sports at a professional level. He explained that many young kiwis don’t have the opportunity to gain inspiration from professional players, because they don’t have the means to watch them play.

Tim Young

Edtech Innovator
Tim completed a Master of Science in Psychology and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Educational Psychology. His Master’s thesis compared the effectiveness of online learning to face-to-face learning. During his Post-Graduate Certificate, he got involved in the Global Learning XPRIZE, a competition that challenges teams globally to create open-source software that will enable children to teach themselves basic academic skills such as reading, writing and math.

Wai Taiko Japanese Drummers

Wai Taiko is a Japanese Drumming group based at Waikato University. Wai Taiko is a vibrant and dynamic performance group whose repertoire contains a wide range of modern and traditional Taiko songs which encompass the fundamental elements of Taiko - power, rhythm and movement. Taiko is a feast for the ears and eyes as it blends intricate rhythms and choreography to give a truly incredible performance. The group is led by Michelle Miles and Lianne Stephenson who teach with a mixture of quote "fun facism". They commenced the crazy Japanese art of Taiko drumming in 2000 with 2 homemade drums - craftily created using the internet, wine barrels and a bit of kiwi ingenuity by Barry Stephenson. The group has played at a wide range of events including festivals, corporate events, school occasions and even weddings!

Organizing team


Hamilton, New Zealand
  • Jacki Sherwood