Building a globally connected Aotearoa – the value of the WCNZ network
“In five years, we will look back on where this work took us, and see that this is a story about a collective that wanted to leave the world in a better place.” Frances Valintine, WCNZer.
20 years ago, the World Class New Zealand network was established to connect and leverage the growing Kiwi diaspora for the benefit of New Zealanders. Kea led activities involving the World Class group have incorporated a mix of social gatherings, meetings and networking opportunities, enabling individuals with global ambition to achieve their goals by opening doors, mentoring and brokering relationships.
Today, the Network has grown to more than 500 New Zealanders living in New Zealand and offshore, representing excellence and providing leadership across all industries. There is a unique opportunity now to identify a renewed purpose for this group and to unleash opportunities for its members to contribute their skills, networks and goodwill for the benefit of other ambitious global Kiwi.
Late last year Kea invited members of the WCNZ Network to give feedback on questions around purpose, opportunity, impact, and contribution. We also invited leaders from a range of industries and government partners to participate in a 30–40-minute in-depth interview to explore the possibilities that lay ahead for the network to achieve its potential. Here is an example of some of the feedback we received.
“It is a great honour to be acknowledged in this way by your fellow kiwis. The network is a trusted, respected cohort of like minded, success oriented, proud New Zealanders. The value is in the network, its global presence and reach and the connections it makes between individuals, be it for professional, social or mentoring, education purposes or heritage purposes.”
“The value of the WCNZ network is in the mana it confers on the individuals and the responsibility they take on to help others achieve similar success.”
“It is a connected network of NZers globally, who are committed to helping NZ business succeed and thrive on the international stage.”
“An opportunity to stay connected to NZ and contribute my skills, experience, perspectives & contacts to help make a difference for NZ on the world stage.”
“High value access to a select group of smart and valuable people. Also, a certain pride to be part of the group, and with it, a special connection back to NZ.”
This feedback showed us that many of our community see the value in the network and from these and other insights we were able to identify six key themes.
1. Give back – Almost all respondents see it as their role & responsibility to “give back” (via offering mentorship/guidance to others going global; being a “cloak of connections” and by being “ambassadors” for NZ.)
2. Prioritise the Next/Future Generation – Many indicated that they wish to pass on their experiences/lessons to the “next generation” of global Kiwi. They talked about demonstrating trust, care and an “intergenerational vision”.
3. Greater Good – Another common theme expressed was to be able to grow/contribute to a “greater good”. Members want to feel as though they are a part of something bigger than themselves. They talked about this resulting in job creation, higher living standards, impacting bold issues like climate change, greater export returns and increased investment opportunities.
4. Enable a “thousand points of light” – The idea of a “thousand points of light” (Arthur C. Clarke, 1946) indicates the opportunity to utilise members of our network individually, together. We need to value unique experience and perspective, while also creating a unifying purpose. Members of the WCNZ network are currently not visible to each other, nor do they behave like a network. However, there is a desire to be a part of something; to inspire others, and to contribute meaningfully in a variety of ways.
5. An approach of many small actions – There are as many ideas and ways to contribute as there are members. This is a strength of the network that needs to be harnessed and supported. We need to create the opportunity for each to “give back” in a way that is relevant and meaningful to them.
6. Reflect an authentically NZ perspective – Almost everybody sees it as their responsibility to be ambassadors/representatives of New Zealand in a truly authentic way. They want to reflect what is unique about New Zealanders by reflecting te ao Māori, our care for people and planet, and our strong Kiwi values of “doing the right thing”.
The purpose of the WCNZ network
Using these key insights we created the following statement which captures a clear and unifying mission for the network, and an opportunity to establish a regenerative community of world-leading Kiwi.
‘The purpose of the World Class New Zealand network is to light the way for more exploring Kiwi and a globally connected New Zealand.’
This mission statement is then backed up by our belief, value and proposition statements to create a clear path forward for Kea’s World Class New Zealand network.
WCNZ Belief: Is that global experience and relationships truly matter. And when we pass these onto other Kiwi, it adds significant value to them, and to New Zealand as a nation.
WCNZ Value: We are a collective of successful global Kiwi. Our work and influence on the world stage, along with our strong desire to connect and support others, enables more kiwi to think and operate globally, for the benefit of all New Zealand.
WCNZ Proposition; We create a cloak of connection around exploring Kiwi. We use our global relationships to open doors, and we use our experience to offer insight and inspiration.
Measuring our future success
Our key measure of our success will be the impact we have on future world-leading Kiwi. We want more Kiwi taking on the world, advancing knowledge and innovation, growing new market opportunities and taking more Kiwi along for the ride. By giving these individuals relevant and meaningful help, at the right time, we hope to inspire optimism and raise the aspirations of any New Zealander who hopes to take on the world.
The cloak is a symbol of protection. It is held in the highest regard and worn with the highest form of respect. In our case, the cloak is a gift from one group of Kiwi (the World Class New Zealanders) who have achieved the highest levels of success in their endeavours to those who come next so that they may thrive in their own global aspirations. This gift represents many threads (a rich tapestry of skills, networks and goodwill) coming together to individually and collectively, create the “thousand points of light” around the world showing the way for future generations of global Kiwi.
With a renewed sense of purpose, there is an opportunity to reinvigorate the 534 members of the network by inviting them to join/re-opt-in to the mission. Now that we are clear on the thinking, we are moving towards how this can be best brought to life for World Class Community members and for those they seek to support. To do this we are looking to appoint a community led advisory group to work alongside the Kea team. We envisage this group would meet 1-2 times over the course of this calendar year to support immediate deliverables, and then quarterly after this. If you would like to be involved or know of someone who could make an impact in this group please get in touch.