x = independently organized TED event

This event occurred on
October 13, 2018
9:00am - 6:00pm NZDT
(UTC +13hrs)
Auckland, Auckland
New Zealand

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized (subject to certain rules and regulations).

Shed 10
Queens Wharf, 89 Quay Street
Auckland CBD
Auckland, Auckland, 1010
New Zealand
Event type:
Standard (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Andrew Barnes

Andrew has made a career of market-changing innovation and industry digitisation. Most recently, in New Zealand, he triggered a revolution of the entire fiduciary and legal services industries, and the transformation he has led as the founder of Perpetual Guardian has positive implications both locally and globally. This was evidenced by his announcement of the four-day week, which made headlines around the world reaching an audience of over 4 billion people from 35 different countries and leading change in government thinking in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Andrew is a director of Complectus Limited, the company encompassing Perpetual Guardian and several other trustee businesses. He is the director of Coulthard Barnes, chair of the Regional Facilities Auckland board, and chairman of New Zealand payroll provider, PaySauce. PaySauce recently launched a new draw-down service to give employees interest-free access to money they have already earned as soon as they earn it, and is aimed at preventing people having to resort to pay day lenders (which charge up to 700% interest on small loans). Earlier in his career, Andrew identified the opportunity for the evolution of real estate in Australia and was chairman of at the time of its IPO on the ASX. Later, he became CEO of Bestinvest, a UK-based investment management and advisory company, leading the sale to private capital in 2007, and was managing director of Australian Wealth Management Limited, a major Australian wealth management and trustee business that he led to IPO in 2005. Andrew is a sought-after keynote speaker and is regularly asked to address audiences internationally on subjects as diverse as governance, philanthropy and business, leadership, entrepreneurship, team culture and change management topics.

David Downs

David is General Manager at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), an ex-comedian, TV and Radio actor, a recent cancer conqueror and documentor of his battle with cancer in the popular column ‘A Mild Touch of the Cancer’ on NZ’s Stuff. David was given less than a year to live but managed to beat cancer in a remarkable series of lucky breaks. After a year of chemotherapy, and staring a terminal diagnosis in the face, David got a literal lifeline, with the chance to get on to a clinical trial in the USA. Now a genetically modified cancer-killing machine, David’s reflecting on the lucky series of events that saw him beat cancer, and on his new approach to life.

Eliot Witters

aised by whiskey, wolves, and Wilco, Witters is a champion of dulcet tones most often found in the American heartland. For TEDxAuckland 2018, Eliot will share a selection of songs from his continually expanding & developing songbook. Once described as Springsteen via Fred Dagg, Witters’ performances draw from experiences such as hopping freight trains in the American Midwest, to being chased out of dive bars in the most northern parts of Scandinavia. All of which are tales that have aged this Gisborne-born crooner well beyond his years. Outside of his solo work, he was the bassist for Auckland barroom rockers "Kingsland” and the guitarist for “Napier Avalon Jones.” Perhaps his biggest achievement thus far, Witters once scored a tidy 22* not out to almost win the last game of the season for his team in Auckland’s Social Cricket Sunday League Division 4 two years ago.

Grace Stratton

Grace Stratton, doesn’t pull any punches. Diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at a year old, Grace has been navigating life in a wheelchair for nineteen years, but her disability isn’t the story, what she’s done with it is. At sixteen Grace built a website from her hospital bed while she was in recovery from surgery, that site led her to discover that in today's landscape; what made her different was what gave her power to succeed, in whatever fields she chose. Three years after building that website, this statement is still true. Grace defined her disability for herself, in a way which for the most part defies social convention, Grace saw her disability as something that would strengthen her in the industry and as a person. Grace believes that all diversities hold this same strength, and that this should be self-evident.

Hemi Kelly

Hēmi Kelly (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Tahu, Ngāti Whāoa) is a lecturer in te reo Māori at AUT. He is also involved in a number of Māori language planning and revitalisation initiatives within the community and enjoys sharing his love for the language with anyone who shows an interest. Hēmi is passionate about writing and translation studies. In 2017, Hēmi translated Witi Ihimaera’s novella Sleeps Standing and published his first book, A Māori Word a Day, in 2018.

Imche Fourie

Imche is passionate about accelerating New Zealand’s science and technology industries. She works with young deep technology start-ups as GM of the technology incubator, Level Two, and is an advocate for investing in technologies that solve global problems. She also believes in the importance of teaching soft skills and commercial know-how to hard science students and does so as CEO of education-focused charity, Chiasma. Though she is supporter of all facets of deep technology, she has a background and particular interest in biotechnology ventures. She sits on a number of investment committees and is a mentor to several young entrepreneurs.

Israel Whitley

Hailing from the small city of Gisborne on the East Coast of New Zealand, Israel was brought up in a close-knit family who are at foundations of his motivation. Israel’s humble working-class upbringing encouraged within him a strong work ethic from a young age. This in turn became the key and fundamental attribute contributing to the success of his company, Auckland Labour Hire, which has developed rapidly over its two year lifespan. Israel's mantra is 'Hard work, works', which is implemented throughout all aspects of Auckland Labour Hire; especially when creating a positive and personable experience for his team and all others involved.

Jazz Thornton

Having overcome childhood abuse and multiple suicide attempts, Jazz Thornton has now dedicated her life to speaking hope and creating change in the area of mental health through her organisation Voices of Hope. Her unique experience and practical message has gained worldwide recognition, being shared through media, international speaking engagements and now through a new feature documentary film. Living by the saying “it’s not about battling your past but fighting for your future” Jazz believes that no matter what your going through it is possible to get through when you learn how to stop surviving and start fighting. In 2017 Jazz was named New Zealand’s youngest director to win the annual Doc Edge pitching contest and is now directing her series The Silence Project which aims to shed light to the stories behind our suicide statistics while changing the way we have conversations about it.

Jess Quinn

Jess Quinn has a passion for helping people overcome adversity and insecurity using her own experiences. Since losing her right leg to cancer at the age of 9, Jess has refused to let that stand in her way of living life to its fullest with a core passion for helping others overcome their physical and mental setbacks along the way. Jess has developed an social media following of 180,000+ followers by speaking of her journey in a raw, honest way. Having just placed third on Dancing with the Stars NZ and signing with a LA based modelling agency, Jess has turned her adversity into a career of helping others push through life’s triumphs and continuing to lead by example by taking all challenges that come her way. As one of New Zealand’s most engaged personalities on social media, Jess connects with thousands of people each day to help inspire their own journey. Jess is currently on a mission to bringing awareness to image retouching in the advertising industry and why we are chasing an unachievable and unrealistic idea of perfection both as a model and advocate. If you want to help Jess achieve her goal, you can sign her petition here:

Katie Williams

Katie is the founder of the Kiwi Coffin Club (makers of fine and affordable underground furniture) A retired Nurse who in her career went from Midwifery, through the hoops to Palliative Care. She is pleased that a Coffin Club can provide , not only efficiency in construction of a coffin at an awesome price, but members (volunteers) that can give that special empathy (leavened with humour) to those confronted with their own mortality, be it diagnosed, pending or recent and to provide the means to use their own talents to enhance and celebrate their span on this planet of ours. She believes in the ongoing wellbeing and respect for the older generation in all aspects of their lives. Many are the volunteers that keep our communities viable. “Volunteers, The Heart of our Community – By many, the work will be completed, Mā tini, mā mano, ka rapa te whai.”

Pania Newton

rom a childhood of struggle Pania never focused on the negative, but was fortunate to stay true to her Maoritanga. At nine years old she wrote in a time capsule that she wanted to be a lawyer to make a difference. After working hard to achieve that, she has temporarily left her law career to fulfill her purpose and responsibility to the environment for future generations. Pania’s path through life has led her to finding her purpose, her kaupapa: protecting our whenua, Ihumatao. Doing what she was born to do, with her tupuna beside her guiding her to be the kaitiaki of the land. She now dedicates her time to huis and the occupation of Ihumatao land. Everything she does is for others; her nieces and nephews, her whanau, and future generations, so the sacrifices are without regret. As a frontline protector of Ihumatao she has had to step out of her comfort zone and face challenges, all in the name of saving a unique and sacred land, contributing to a better Aotearoa for all.

Pete Ceglinski

Pete Ceglinski, the Aussie surfer who in 2015 successfully crowdfunded an invention designed to rid our waterways of rubbish. The Seabin Project went viral and has quickly become one of the most environmentally promising ways of turning the tide in our planet's war against plastics. It’s a rubbish bin that lives in the water of marinas and collects floating plastics, bottles, bags, oil, fuel and micro-plastics down to 2mm in size. Right now our business activities are 50% for profit and 50% not for profit. The reason for this is that we are in a unique situation where we have innovative technology to capture debris efficiently, but at the end of the day, Seabins are not the solution. Education, Science, Research and Community is the real solution, and so we have built this into our business model with growing success.

Richie Hardcore

Richie Hardcore is a board member at White Ribbon New Zealand, Ministry of Social Development 'It's Not Ok’ Champion, working to end men's violence against women. He is an educator and public speaker, focusing on exploring masculinity and ending rape culture, sexual and family violence. He also speaks passionately about mental health and wellness, and as a former alcohol and drug harm reduction community worker, on how we can address AOD issues in our society. He was a radio host at Auckland’s 95bfm for 15 years, conducting interviews with politicians, personalities and musicians alike, as well as DJing music. He also was a rotating host of NewsTalk ZB's mental health talk back radio show ‘The Nutters Club', and today is a regular feature on shows such as TVNZ breakfast as a social commentator. A retired former multiple Muay Thai Champion, with over 25 years in martial arts, Richie is now a trainer, having helped some of New Zealand's most accomplished fighters achieve their goals.

Sarah Strong

Sarah is in her 50’s and loves being outdoors combined with physical activity. She recently completed her first walking half-marathon preserving for a podium finish despite the blisters forming at the half-way mark. Cycling whether it be mountain biking or road cycling is also a keen pursuit. The outdoors provides Sarah with perspective and vitality. She kept a secret for 35 years from a traumatic event and broke her silence last years which led to a 9-month police investigation. The case was decided by the police that due to the lack of evidence it would not proceed to a court hearing. Sarah is confident that New Zealand systems and processes can be improved to make it gentler and safer for victims to share their secrets of historic abuse. Sarah works in a business environment having held a number of senior leadership roles in the public sector and self-employment in the rehabilitation industry. Sarah’s only child is now 30 years old. The strong relationship with her son, along with her husband, have provided the caring family support needed to help her navigate the previous year as a victim through the police investigation.

Swee Tan

From a family of 13 children brought up in a village in Malaysia, Dr Tan completed medical training at Melbourne University in 1985 and subsequently in New Zealand where he qualified as a plastic surgeon. Following fellowships at Oxford and Harvard he became Hutt Hospital’s Director of Plastic Surgery in 2000-2006 and Director of Surgery in 2007-2013. He founded the Centre for the Study & Treatment of Vascular Birthmarks in 1996. Unsatisfied with the treatment for strawberry birthmarks he retrained as a scientist, receiving a PhD from Otago University in 2001. In 2013 he founded the Gillies McIndoe Research Institute, dedicated to relieving human suffering through paradigm-changing scientific research. Discoveries by Dr Tan’s team of the stem cell origin of strawberry birthmarks underscore the new low-cost treatment of this tumour using anti-hypertensive medications. Building on this work, cancer stem cells, the proposed ‘root’ of cancer, have been discovered in 14 types of cancer, leading to a novel cancer treatment using low-cost commonly available medications. A clinical study is now underway for patients with glioblastoma, a deadly brain cancer. Dr Tan has received many honours and awards, is a holder of six patents and an author of over 150 publications.

Zeshan Qureshi

Zeshan Qureshi is a children’s doctor in the UK with a mission to improve the mental health epidemic harming healthcare practitioners. As well as working at a London hospital, he engages with media, politicians, and medical students - reflecting his belief that doctors should be both treating illness and preventing illness / improving quality of care through improvement of the medical system. He has edited nine medical textbooks and has lectured over 8, 000 students across the world over two years. He is a media and parliamentary representative of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, and campaigns on issues such as newborn health, the NHS, and mental health, appearing widely in national and international news outlets. In 2016, he featured in a BBC documentary bringing mental health amongst doctors to the spotlight, and is now working with others to explore solutions for healthcare professional’s mental health crisis.

Organizing team


Auckland, New Zealand


Auckland, New Zealand
  • Ah Shin Park
  • Anthony Mace
    Team member
  • Ethan Alderson-Hughes
  • Jonathan Lyon
  • Sean Taylor