New Zealand Speakers

We had 12 speakers at the hui. They presented their theories of change in 12-15 minute talks – grounding this in their backgrounds and ongoing practice/actions. The speakers were invited to bring a range of perspectives to how we can make a better world.

Videos from the day are now available to watch on  youtube channel – Theories of Change Aotearoa. You can also find links direct to speaker’s talks following the descriptions, as well as written or slide versions of some talks.

In alphabetical order the speakers are:


Steve Abel is a climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace New Zealand. A long-term environmental activist and musician, Steve had worked on various campaigns in Greenpeace including oceans, climate change, GE Free food, and the campaign to stop deep sea drilling. You can watch Steve’s talk here.



Sue Bradford is a community & political activist with a long term commitment to working on issues affecting unemployed people, beneficiaries, low paid workers and their children. She works with Auckland Action Against Poverty & Kotare Trust, and is now working on a project to establish a radical left think tank in Aotearoa. You can watch Sue’s talk here.


RB photoRowan Brooks has a background in ecology through to psychology, with busy involvement in activism, community education and empowerment projects. These have included TPPA direct action, food sovereignty, creative action, community cycling and gardening initiatives, rights of passage and engaged mindfulness. Recently finished a period of study he is now focusing on projects to bring together people’s desire to live a good life with the need for transformative systems change. YOu can watch Rowan’s talk here.



Rachel Brown is the founder and chief executive officer of the Sustainable Business Network, a membership based social enterprise that helps business succeed through sustainability. Founded in 2002, the Sustainable Business Network has grown to become a leading voice in New Zealand business and media, trusted and respected by corporate CEOs, trailblazing innovators, NGOs and political leaders alike.Rachel is passionate about the role business plays in transforming our economy to a sustainable one. She is a self confessed ‘tree-hugger’ who firmly believes businesses are the engine of change for the better, and leadership must come from them. You can watch Rachel’s talk here find a PDF file of it here.



Shiloh Groot is a lecturer in social psychology at the University of Auckland. She completed her PhD in 2011 where she explored the nature of resilience through the lived experiences of Māori, Pacific Island, and New Zealand European homeless people. She has research interests in indigeneous world views and communities, resilience, poverty, and well-being.
Shiloh is also the tanagata whenua co-chair of the NZ Coalition to end homelessness, providing scholarly support for local communities in developing a coherent and resourced response to the interwoven issues of social inequities, poverty, and homelessness. You can watch Shiloh’s talk here


Jeff circle picJeff Harrison is an activist and trainer for the MOA Project. He has spent the best part of the last decade campaigning in Canada against the Tar Sands and oil developments where he founded Tanker Free BC a campaigning and communications organizations. Jeff now lives in Auckland working for Greenpeace as a strategist. From scaling buildings to blocking mines, Jeff is excited about using creative tactics to resist and disrupt destructive industries. You can watch Jeff’s talk here.



Laila Harré is a former Alliance MP and Minister of Youth and Women’s Affairs. Since then she has had senior roles in the Nurses Organisation and the National Distribution Union and has worked in the Pacific for the International Labour Organisation. In the 2014 election she led Internet Party as part of InternetMANA. Now she runs Ika, a restaurant dedicated to bringing people, ideas, music and culture together over good food. You can watch Laila’s talk here.



Niki Harré is an associate professor in the School of Psychology, and coordinator of the Faculty of Science Sustainability Network at the University of Auckland. She is the author of Psychology for a Better World: Strategies to Inspire Sustainability and a founding member of the Pt Chevalier Transition Town. You can read Niki’s talk here and watch it here.



Laura O’Connell-Rapira is a Campaign Director at ActionStation. She is also co-founder of Campaign Bootcamp NZ, RockEnrol  and Events Director for Our PLACE Events. She has 5+ years experience in the traditional NGO sector having worked for Oxfam New Zealand, Greenpeace, WWF UK, Amnesty International Australia and the International Red Cross. Her history is primarily in supporter and membership engagement, mobilisation and member-based fundraising. You can watch Laura’s talk here.



Kirk Serpes is a co-founder of Generation Zero, the New Zealand Youth Delegation and the Centre for New Zealand Progress. He’s a mechanical engineer turned campaigner/organiser and recently coordinated the Step It Up conference. You can watch Kirk’s talk here find the powerpoint here.


nandorNandor Tanczos is a social ecologist and permaculturalist with an interest in justice, drug law reform, constitutional change and ecological economics. He has been a businessman and a beggar, a legislator and an outlaw, and now mixes house-husbandry with community development. Nandor considers permaculture systems design to be the most promising approach to rebuilding a human civilization that is truly homeotelic – that is, one which maintains and enhances the integrity of life on this planet. You can find Nandor’s talk here.


waveneyWaveney Warth and her husband undertook the challenge of living for 12 months sending no rubbish to landfill in 2008. After that year they had only created 2kg of waste, compared to the national average of 1.5 tonnes sent to landfill by a kiwi couple. Waveney now works as a Senior Community Advisor within the Waste Solutions team at Auckland Council. You can watch Waveney’s talk here and read it here.