AFQY ExpTalks 23 April: We’re all in this together, NZ!


While everyone is adjusting to this new kind of normal: the social distancing, the restrictions on travel, trade, and recreation... we've also started looking to the future: how can we kick start the NZ Economy? How can we reset, reimagine, and reboot our country for a better future, a new New Zealand, rather than going back to the way it has always been.

Written by: Gemma McKenzie

A Few Quiet Yarns hosted the third AFQY Experience Talks online event on Thursday 23 April. 

Watch the full event here!

While there was some hope that it might have been the first day out of lockdown, NZ found out earlier that week that they'd be spending a little while longer in Level 4. National MP Judith Collins appeared on The AM Show the next morning and described Level 3 as, "It looks a lot like level 4 but with KFC, doesn't it?" While not all of us were thinking about KFC, there were definitely some of us planning the first takeaways and dreaming of a barista made coffee.

But the move from Alert Level 4 to Level 3 also brought us hope for many businesses that can now begin to trade again, and hope that if we can hang in there a bit longer, we'll lock in the gains we've made and beat C-19. The advantage that being a C-19 free bubble would give NZ, and the impact it could have to boost our economy in the future is definitely one a lot of people are thinking about.

And this was largely the theme of the third event. Where have we come from, where are we now, and where are we going? While we're still looking at the impacts C-19 is having, there is a strong sense that we're now looking to what comes next.

The Sponsors

The event was sponsored by [136:20] - Chandan Ohr from Duco Consultancy and [104:06] - Gayan Perera from Magnetism. The sponsors also doubled as speakers and shared their inspirational "Meet the Person" stories during the event.

The Speakers

  • [32:08] - Stephen England-Hall, CEO of Tourism NZ, shared the realities of the NZ #tourism industry before having to run off to speak on Seven Sharp.

  • [120:00] - Hiria Te Rangi, Founder of Whare Hauora shared the implications of temperature and humidity of our houses on Respiratory Health, and how dampness keeps COVID19 alive

  • [157:00] - Aidan Kenealy, Professional startup coach & advisor for founders of high growth startups, shared his thought experiment about how a new approach to VCs could improve wealth inequality

  • [220:45] - Peter Fletcher-Dobson, GM Digital of BCITO - shared the impact of C-19 on the #Construction Industry and its digital transformation, the industry's links to Tourism, and more

Event Highlights

[25:05] Official welcome and Mihi from Tapeta Wehi

[28:00] An #ActOfInclusiveness as we sang together, the NZ National Anthem in Māori. If you missed it, we need some practice. The answer to 'Should we try again?' was inclusively, no.

[32:08] - Stephen England-Hall, CEO of Tourism NZ and the realities for the tourism industry

  • NZ makes up 0.29% of global tourism; "You are more likely to buy an Astin Martin as a new vehicle... then you are to choose New Zealand as a holiday destination."

  • "There's a direct relationship between acknowledging and understanding the existence of a place and it's people, like New Zealand, and the flow-on impacts that has on things like exporting our products and services."

  • "In terms of where we are right now, 2 months ago we were generating $3.4b a month in revenue as a tourism ecosystem in NZ, and today it's zero."

  • There will be devastating impacts not just on tourism, but on the tourism ecosystem: "Unfortunately that's going to be felt disproportionately in certain parts of New Zealand... not because everyone in those towns is tourism, but because tourism often is the heart and sole of, and the core employment structure that makes those towns operate."

  • "The pressure is definitely on for us to come up with a plan to figure out how to recover that sector because to be brutally honest, without a tourism recovery, there is no New Zealand recovery.... Those two things are inexplicably linked."

  • "Kiwis don't tend to travel with the same sized wall as our international guests do, so trying to get kiwis to relate to New Zealand in a different way is an important part of that activity."

  • Project: Reimagining the tourism system - "We are having to consider what post covid-19 tourism economy and ecosystem might look like, and how do we design it in a way to get better outcomes for New Zealanders."


Could Point of Care testing make really controlled international tourism a possibility?

"There's a lot of thinking going on in both New Zealand and offshore to create what's referred to as a digital or safe border... there's no reason why those solutions couldn't come out of New Zealand, in fact, even better if they did, it'd be amazing to see some New Zealand Tech leading the way on that sort of capability."

What's the chance of an Australasian-Oceania bubble within the next 12 months?

"It's definitely something we would be in favour of seeing, whether or not it's going to come to pass, that I couldn't give you an answer on. But I know that there's a lot of influential and key people having that conversation, but at the end of the day that has to come down to the safe movement of people."

What are some of the knock on effects of covid-19's impact on the tourism industry?

  • The cost of going overseas on holiday when the time comes will be significantly higher, the number of aircrafts and seats available will be significantly smaller.

  • There will be a drop off in our choices for kiwis; kiwis are going to have less things to choose from. In the last couple of years we've really enjoyed a choice.

[104:06] - Gayan Perera - Sponsor of AFQY and personal "Meet the person" story of #Inspiration

"I'm a pilot first, and a CTO second." He has his pilot license and promised to take anyone who wants to go flying up for a spin after lockdown (or alert levels) permit.

Gayan shared his personal story of how he came to New Zealand at age 10, and his long journey, full of setbacks and uncertainty, and struggles, to become a citizen after 15 years of trying. It was the condensed version with many parts left out, it was such an inspirational story of strength, resilience, persistence and bravery. You really need to watch the video!

Jump forward to when his company Magnetism was born - "We did it because we wanted to be our own bosses. We had just read this book called the 4-hour work week by a guy called Tim Ferriss and thought it sounded great because it talked about working 4 hours a week and about getting paid truckloads of money. We decided that was quite glamorous so we said let's do it! Well, how stupid that was. We learned quite a lot."

"You probably know that in the IT industry most of the projects fail and they're notoriously over-budget, over time, and just badly done. So we decided to change our focus from wanting

to be our own bosses, and wanting an easier life. We decided to focus on the client, giving our clients real value, essentially a guarantee of a successful implementation, something that's still our mantra today."

Gayan's three key things that may help some of you get through the current crisis:

  • Focus on something other than yourself - give value to others

  • During a crisis, or where you're backed into a corner and see no way out, you need help from the man upstairs - Talk to God everyday

  • Face the music without going into fear mode because it's so easy to crumple and hunker down.

[120:00] - Hiria Te Rangi - Shares about Respiratory Health and how dampness keeps COVID19 alive

  • "When we started to create Whare Hauora we didn't actually expect it to have the impact it's actually having, because we did it because we're nerds and we want to create technology that helps whanau, helps people make better decisions..."

  • "For a country that produces electricity it is incredibly expensive... If you have to choose between rent, kai, or turning on the heater, you will choose the first two first... even though we have winter payments."

  • Covid-19 microbes would be able to survive in a cold, damp, room: "Mould growth occurs when a relative humidity of above 60% and the temperature is below 16 degrees... if someone walked in with a cough, coughed or sneezed in the room, the microbes would be able to survive in a cold damp room"

  • "There's also the point at which Covid-19 is less likely to survive, so in temperatures over 27 degrees and relative humidity levels of between 40 and 60% it has been shown that Covid-19 will die in about 2 hours."

  • "There is a lot of information there that we know of, but no one knows the temperature straight off the bat, no one knows what their relative humidity is, so they don't know if they are creating an environment .... Where Covid-19 could survive in."

  • Post Covid-19, data is the new gold. As we spend more time in our homes during lockdown, our home quality is really going to come into effect and we need to push back on some of the old thinking.

[136:20] - Chandan Ohri - Sponsor of AFQY shares his personal "Meet the person" story #BeAnEntrepreneur

"The reason I came to NZ was because I was chatting on Yahoo with one of the kiwis and I asked them casually, 'How long do you work in NZ, what does a work week look like?' And they said, '37.5 hours a week,' and I thought wow what a beautiful place, that's exactly where I need to be because at 28 I was working 16-18 hours a day."

"As soon as I arrived it took me 2 months to find my first job. I got 150-200 letters from various people. It was amazing, all of the agencies had exactly the same template."

"They wouldn't even read the cover letter."

"It wasn't anything to do with the qualification because the accounting standards are pretty much the same... The challenge is recruitment agencies were making decisions now when they didn't actually have a clue what does accounting involve, what does technology involve, what does management consulting involve? "

"Very quickly I realised I needed to get a NZ qualification for my career growth otherwise people will keep asking 'do you have a New Zealand qualification?'... After I cleared four papers then I was recognized as a graduate by the Chartered Accountant Institute of New Zealand."

"We [Duo Consulting] have hired 16 people in the last four weeks. We are hiring, we are recruiting, and there's a good future. Be an entrepreneur, be positive, and then just be resilient."

[157:00] - Aidan Kenealy - How a new approach to VCs could improve wealth inequality

"The [current] game is to inject a business with cheap capital and instruct the company to spend. This creates an evolutionary force that selects for companies that can spend money and grow on a user acquisition metric, not for business models that produce value for society or even make commercial sense. Survival of the fittest is therefore influenced not by what a company produces, but by whether it can work out how to deliver its product in a way that fits the VC growth model."

"There are always two things that become very clear during periods of crisis. The first is how we rely on our low wage labour force, time and time again, to get us through periods of crisis... The second is how, without fail, this group of society are the ones disproportionately affected negatively in the aftermath of a crisis. They have minimal assets, low wages, substandard housing, and jobs most at risk of being made redundant."

"Offering a simple and clear way for the general public to gain exposure to high growth start-ups would go some way to improve the economic situations of low wage workers."

You can read Aidan's full summary of his talk here:

[220:45] - Peter Fletcher-Dobson - sharing about the Construction Industry - it's links to Tourism and more

"If you get trained badly, you get sh*t buildings."

"The construction industry is a boom and bust industry... It gets hit much harder and takes a lot longer to come out."

Challenges BCITO have been looking at:

  • Long standing issue around giving apprentices the learning support that they actually need - probably digital rather than a box of books

  • Lockdown has meant that the person-to-person model of going onto a site doesn't happen any more. During lockdown construction sites aren't working, even after lockdown there's going to be social distancing, essential workers only, so you can't do that assessment of apprentices' work onsite

  • When restrictions lift, there is going to be a backlog, sites are going to be busy with people trying to get stuff built quickly

  • Lay offs for apprentices - how can we keep those apprentices in the system so they can still be learning while they're not working?

Peter's outtakes he takes from this experience (of C-19 and BCITO being thrust into the digital world):

  • Never waste a crisis - we've been making decisions that would take months, in minutes

  • Today is the best time to act, never wait for tomorrow

  • Remote working and the technology we're using has driven collaboration in a major way. No waiting for people to turn up to meetings. Being a national organisation we've been able to pull in people from all over the country

  • We're all in this together, we can use technology to make sure that no one gets left behind.

The After Show

[233:39] - Ryan joined Tex and Kyle to discuss the stark reality most don't seem to grasp...

[240:26] - Sandra Gunn who does the wicked GRAPHIC CAPTURE of each speaker

[256:36] - We talk about MAKING NEW RULES - "Let's put all the homeless into unused office buildings."