TEDxTauranga Speakers 2015

For TEDxTauranga 2015 (25 July) we had the following 10 speakers live on stage + 4 live entertainers + 3 TED videos + 1 additional video, for a sold-out audience of 1010 people.

In alphabetical order, they were:

1. Sir Ray Avery


Sir Ray Avery, a leading New Zealand scientist, innovator and inventor.

Avery’s inventions include:

  • Acuset IV Flow Controller: A device that facilitates the safe administration of potent IV drugs
  • Lifepod infant incubator: A high-tech low-cost incubator that uses patentable technology to reduce the mortality rates associated with upper respiratory tract infections of premature babies
  • Proteinforte: An amino acid based functional food used for the treatment and prevention of protein-energy malnutrition

LinkedIn Profile

 2. Ellis Bryers


He toa taku tini taku toa
Ehara te toa taki tahi
Mine is not the strength of one but the strength of many

Ellis Bryers is the director of Mihi Engagement. A business that designs and delivers training in Maori cultural awareness.

Ellis’s vision is of a nation where Maori cultural practices are understood and utilised daily by both Maori and non-Maori in a way that unifies our nation and builds our cultural identity as New Zealanders.

Ellis is of Nga Puhi descent and he lives in Tauranga with his wife Anne and son Te Arai.

Email: ellis@ellisbryers.com / LinkedIn Profile

3. Dr. Bronwen Connor


Associate Professor Bronwen Connor is head of the Neural Reprogramming and Repair Lab at the University of Auckland.

Her research is in the identification and development of new treatment strategies to prevent or repair brain cell loss in neurological diseases or following brain injury, with particular focus on the potential use of stem cell therapy and gene delivery techniques.

Recently, Bronwen’s research has focused on developing a technology known as direct cell reprogramming.

This allows her to generate brain stem cells directly from human skin, providing a unique ability to obtain human brain cells from patients with neurological disease for both research and clinical application.

Email: b.connor@auckland.ac.nz

4. Jason Edgecombe


An aspiring entrepreneur with a unique perspective, and a touching story.

Jason will share with you the cost he paid to be “normal” and the tool which helped him begin his path to self acceptance.

The true greatness of a story’s hero is not the goals they achieve but the struggles they overcome.

Email: totm89@yahoo.co.nz / LinkedIn Profile

5. Dr. Harold Hillman


Harold Hillman is a leadership coach, radio commentator, author and managing director of Sigmoid Curve Consulting Group, based in Auckland.

Raised and educated in the U.S. and a New Zealand citizen since 2008, Hillman coaches business leaders and executive teams to be more purposeful about leadership.

A clinical psychologist in his early career, Hillman developed a passion for leadership development while teaching at the United States Air Force Academy.

He authored The Impostor Syndrome, which was Whitcoulls’ business book of the year in 2013.

Hillman’s second book, Fitting In, Standing Out, will be published by Penguin Random House in August.

Email: harold@sigmoidcurve.com / LinkedIn Profile

6. Catherine Iorns


Catherine Iorns is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Law at Victoria University of Wellington, where she researches, writes and teaches on environmental law, human rights, and statutory interpretation.

Ms Iorns is also a national board member of Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand, of 350 Aotearoa, and of Environment and Conservation Organisations of New Zealand.

She is a member of the ILA Committee on the Implementation of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a member of the IUCN Commission on Environmental Law, and she holds an LLM from Yale University.

Email: catherine.iorns@vuw.ac.nz / LinkedIn Profile / Twitter: @iornsLaw

7. Stephen Lethbridge


Stephen Lethbridge is Principal of Taupaki School in the north west of Auckland. He is all about learning and growing leaders of the future.

He is currently thinking about robotics, arduino, design thinking, maker spaces in school, BYOD, and e-learning where the e stands for effective.

Stephen has presented at workshops and keynotes across New Zealand and Australia and has just been invited to attend Tim O’Reilly’s FOO camp in the United States.

He is a connected and future focused education leader who is all about fostering curiosity and creativity in our children.

Email: stephenlethbridge@me.com / Twitter: @stephen_tpk

8. Dr. David Pattemore


After an initial career in conservation, David headed to Princeton University on a Fulbright Award in 2005 to begin his PhD.

It was during his doctorate that he got hooked on pollination, with a focus on native NZ plants.

As a scientist with Plant & Food Research he now studies the pollination of economically important crops, bringing an ecologist’s perspective to production systems.

He leads a government and industry funded programme to develop alternative pollination systems, and spends considerable time pondering the complexities of avocado pollination and dreaming up new ways to house bumblebees.

Email: david.pattemore@plantandfood.co.nz /

9. Dr. Michael Quintern


Michael received his Diploma in Agricultural Engineering (Dipl. Ing agr) in 1993 from Georg August University, Göttingen, Germany, and his Doctorate in Agriculture in 1997 from University of Kassel, Kassel, Germany.

He was working as assistant professor in the field of land utilisation of organic waste-to-land, on organic (and conventional) managed farms until 2006.

He carried on his international career as senior scientist at SCION, Rotorua, New Zealand and was the Technical Manager of the New Zealand Land Treatment Collective until 2009. Michael developed industrial vermicomposting technologies for primary industries and municipal organic wastes in New Zealand.

In 2015 the 4 vermicomposting operations diverted 150,000 tonnes of organic wastes from landfills.

Michael is responsible for research and developing of future technologies for utilisation of organic wastes. Michael’s passion are soils and he believes in sustainable soil management.

Email: michael@mynoke.co.nz / LinkedIn Profile

10. Rachael van der Gugten


Rachael has a diploma in Nutritional Medicine from the University of West London.

Through discovering nutritional interventions, she overcame health issues and infertility to have 4 amazing children.

She worked as a Nutritional Therapist in Switzerland for several years and returned to New Zealand with her husband and children in 2013.

She has a passion for empowering people to understand what is going on in their bodies and loves piecing together the many parts of the puzzle in a memorable and easy to understand way.

She believes digestion is the key to optimal health and being fart free for life!

Email: r.vdgugten@puresante.com / Twitter: @puresante / LinkedIn Profile

Entertainment #1: John Boone


Leaving New Zealand in 1996 to go on his big OE, John returned to New Zealand with an exciting idea – to set up an interactive percussion business for the corporate events industry. In 2003 Rhythm Interactive was born, and it has grown to become one of the most innovative, interactive, and entertaining team building shows for the conference and events market in New Zealand.

Since then, John has travelled throughout Australasia and Asia performing for thousands of people of all ages. In 2009, the show won the category of Best Nationwide Corporate Entertainment at the Corporate Events Guide People’s Choice Awards.

Entertainment #2: Marcus Winter


Marcus Winter has been likened to a sorcerer conjuring mystical apparitions out of thin air. His work is extraordinary. It blurs the lines between conventional painting, street art and theatrical performance.

He creates live artworks by placing sand on a lightbox, and manipulates sand to create images that morph into amazing stories.

His work is visually mesmerising, creatively fresh and evokes emotion.

Entertainment #3: Phil and Tilley


Phil and Tilley started writing music together in the autumn of 2012 surrounded by the New Forest, an ancient woodland situated on the southern coast of England, an inspiration for these lifelong friends.

Phil and Tilley play a blend of alternative acoustic/folk music, with influences from artists such as Xavier Rudd, Ben Harper and John Martyn. They incorporate their own ideas, using a slide guitar, the more traditional acoustic guitar and an unusual, fold-up-for-travel, upright bass, to create a sound that is uniquely their own.

Based in Waihi Beach with regular gigs in numerous pubs and bars quickly becoming local favourites. A yearning for travel and playing music has seen them play in France, Belgium and South East Asia, but their story continues to take them wherever the music allows them to go.

Entertainment #4: Lipika Sen and Prabhjyot Majithia


Lipika and Prabhjyot are contemporary international artists and conceptualists, whose landmark steel and acrylic kinetic sculpture, the 6 meter tall “The Firkee Wala – In My Heart Of Eternal Childhood” can be seen spinning and twirling with the winds at the Puke Ariki Museum sea-front, New Plymouth.

Creating multi-dimensional works that include sculpture, acrylic on canvas, digital drawings, words, sound, music and film, they have also won several awards for their virals/ animation films. Their works have been showcased amongst the country’s best at national art shows, including the NZ Sculpture on Shore 10th Biennale, Auckland 2014, the National Fieldays No. 8 Wire Art Awards 2014, Waikato Museum and the “Making Sense” exhibition 2015, Whakatane Museum.

At TEDxTauranga, the artists intrigue us with a peep into their immensely popular signature series of curious multi-media, experiential works – “The Tricky Box”.

Emcee: Sheldon Nesdale

Your emcee for the evening was Sheldon Nesdale, the licence holder for TEDxTauranga.

Our speaker selection process: How we got from 96 interviews down to 10 speakers on stage



TED Video #1

TED Video #2

TED Video #3

Additional Video

There’s a Problem in our Backyard, Enspire Youth Video Challenge winner Bekki Richards.

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