NZAL 2nd Birthday & End of Year celebration

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Kindly hosted by PwC, on 19th November 2015, the 2nd Birthday celebration of NZ Asian Leaders was a time to reflect on the past, present and future ahead.  The birthday celebration was attended by 120 guests that included members, sponsors, corporate members and supporters of NZAL complete with cake

NZAL Chair, Mai Chen shared the following achievements with attendees:
  • 172 NZAL Members; 83 Established Members, 68 Emerging Leaders, 14 Young Leaders and 7 International members
  • Ethnic groups include – Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese, Malay, Filipino, Singaporean, Bangladeshi, Korean, Pakistani, Indonesian, Thai.
  • 8 NZAL Ambassadors
  • 21 events held in two years
  • Retention of foundations sponsors, BNZ, Fonterra and SKYCITY
  • Total of 16 corporate members – Auckland Policy Office (first public sector agency)

The main session chaired by NZAL Chair Mai Chen included guests Chai Chuah, Director-General of Health, Ministry of Health and Ronnie Tan, Founder of CreditWorks (both quickly realized they were from the same Malaysian town and went to the same school!) and share with guests how cultural differences affect business in the public and private sector.

Mai Chen puts the guest speakers on the hot seat!



Drawing on their own experiences, NZAL Ambassadors shared their thoughts on ‘the contribution top Asian leaders can make to NZ and how to be even more successful in NZ”.

philip burtonKey thoughts from Hon Philip Burdon

“As an SOE Minister I insisted on women and minority (which was really a euphemism for Asian) representation on all SOE boards. I requested National radio and television with particular emphasis on television to appoint more non-European front people so as to main stream the inclusion and automatic acceptance of NZ as a genuine multicultural society as opposed to an Asian face being seen as a rarity or indeed token oddity. It is my privilege to work alongside fellow NZAL Ambassadors, Mai Chen, NZAL Advisory Board to ensure an inclusive and diverse New Zealand for the future.”


rosieKey thoughts from Dame Rosie Horton

Dame Rosie acknowledged some New Zealand Asian Leaders she admires for their work in making our country a better place.
Dr Swee Tan for his groundbreaking work with the strawberry birthmark and other disfigurements
Donald Sew Hoy winner of the 2015 Senior New Zealander of the Year for his contribution to New Zealand industry and exports and his support of community and charity initiatives
Dr Sharad Paul for his philanthropic and international award winning work with skin cancer

“Each one is a great example of Asian New Zealanders. So many Asian New Zealanders show what can be achieved by tenacity, talent, overcoming the odds and looking at opportunities with fresh eyes and fresh ideas. Their ongoing point of view and contribution will be integral to making our country even better and making our products and innovations global successes.”


pat englishKey thoughts from Patrick English

NZAL has created a successful platform for top and emerging Asian leaders

NZAL will help deliver results for NZ’s cultural integration and economic growth agenda

paulKey thoughts from Paul Gestro

Paul spent 15 years working offshore in many different countries and always had to start and build a network rapidly. He said, “The key point is that Asian leaders can make a huge contribution by
deepening their networks for mutual benefit. Building a network is actually quite easy; building an effective & useful network is actually hard.”
Paul found it more obvious when living in Asia as that heightened respect for trust meant you really had to work hard at it. While starting with a NZ network in Asia, Paul quickly asked those people to introduce him to their local relationships and not people that looked and acted like him. That started with trust from your counterpart but then the hard work was to build off the local network they had introduced you to.


Picture courtesy, John Ling, Chinese Herald