Mar 21 & 22 2018 – The Future of Money

Bitcoin, blockchain and beyond


Our first event of the year was on Wednesday 21st March at SKYCITY Theatre, Auckland and Thursday 22nd March at The Piano, Christchurch.


Explore the world of cryptocurrencies and the prospect of a cashless society as we look at the future of money.


Our keynote speaker is Aaron McDonald, Co-founder & CEO of Centrality, well-known as the blockchain tech company which recently sold $80m in coin offerings, in just 6 minutes! 20 year tech industry veteran Aaron will be joined by a panel of experts as we chat blockchain & beyond.



Aaron McDonald – CEO & Co-Founder, Centrality

Aaron is a 20 year tech industry veteran with experience leading teams across all aspects of a technology company. Aaron has held leadership positions in large technology companies managing portfolios over $1b in value across engineering and architecture, product management, product development, marketing and sales.
Aaron is Founder and CEO of blockchain technology company Centrality and CTO of Swiss Crypto Investment bank Blockhaus.


Alex Sims – Associate Professor, University of Auckland (blockchain researcher & enthusiast)

Alex Sims is an Associate Professor in the Department of Commercial Law at the University of Auckland. She is a blockchain researcher and enthusiast and has presented on blockchain and cryptocurrencies to many organisations both in New Zealand and internationally. In late 2016, Alex was part of a team awarded a grant by the Law Foundation on the legal regulation of digital currencies in New Zealand and Australia. As part of the Law Foundation project, Alex has looked at the possible introduction of a New Zealand central bank issued cryptocurrency and the form that such a cryptocurrency should take.

Zoe Wallis – Head of Transactions & Payments, Kiwibank

Zoe Wallis heads up the Transactions and Payments business at Kiwibank where she is responsible for overseeing the bank’s domestic payments solutions for customers including credit, debit and prepaid cards, as well as everyday banking. Prior to this Zoe was the Chief Economist at Kiwibank where she headed up the economics team, producing forecasts and research for the NZ economy. Prior to joining Kiwibank, Zoe worked in a range of roles in the Financial Markets Department at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

Rachel Paris – Founder, The Blockchain Boutique & former partner at Bell Gully

Rachel is a specialist financial services lawyer with a strong interest in blockchain technology and leads Bell Gully’s Fintech team. She advises financial institutions, private equity funds, corporates and blockchain businesses on a broad range of financing and capital markets transactions and regulatory issues. Rachel has been a partner at Bell Gully since 2009 and holds an LLM (International Finance) from Harvard Law School.

Nov 15 2017 – Sharing Economy

A whole new marketplace shaking up the business world around us!

Both disrupting and creating new business, sharing economy is driven by creative, new technologies, social media connections, peer to peer sites & mobile apps.
This economic system in which we share assets and services, typically by means of the Internet is both disrupting and creating new business.

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Nick Shewring – Co-founder, BizDojo


Nick Shewring is the co-founder of New Zealand’s national coworking and collaboration providers BizDojo, founders support programme Founders Central, and Colo; a platform that connects people with coworking solutions that aren’t just inspiring and functional, but also the perfect culture and community fit. Nick is passionate about supporting individuals and their ideas, seeing coworking not just as a solution for workers in search of a home, but also as a way to improve economic outcomes through collaboration, shared aims, and increased connections between people.

Around New Zealand, Nick and the BizDojo team help run economic development initiatives with local governments, which hold the BizDojo approach to coworking at their core; while using ideas such as community, connection and support to build out bespoke learning opportunities and programming for founders, entrepreneurs and their businesses.


Priti Ambani – Co-founder, The Next Billion


Priti Ambani is co-founder at The Next Billion, an impact-driven enterprise that leverages the power of the “Crowd” as a means to enable the growing number of women-led enterprises worldwide with ‘Access to growth opportunities’. The company launched Globally Spotted – a discovery platform for smart and innovative women led business from the world over.
Priti is a thought leader on the platform and digital economy and over the last 8+ years, she has worked on global teams to grow early stage startups, for-profit and non-profit entities creating impact through digital collaboration and crowds. She works with organisations that are keen to harness the productivity of the Internet to solve societal challenges, particularly within the changing dynamics of the future of work and society in the midst of exponential technologies. Priti is also working with the core team at Tech Futures Lab as business + innovation faculty, helping Kiwis be better prepared for the tech-enabled careers in the 21st century.
She is an Environmental Engineer by education and was born and raised in Mumbai, India. She moved to Auckland with her husband and sons in 2015 after 13+ years in the United States. Follow her on Twitter @envirotarian

Professor Christoph Schumacher – Professor of Innovation and Economics, Massey University


Professor Christoph Schumacher is Professor of Innovation and Economics at Massey University and Director of the Knowledge Exchange Hub.
Christoph holds under and post graduate degrees in Engineering, International Business and Economics from Karlsruhe University (Germany), the University of Auckland and Massey University. He has also recently completed a course in Big Data Analytics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA).
Christoph has previously worked as a business consultant in Germany and New Zealand and joined Massey University in 2003.
Christoph’s area of specialisation is game theory with research interests in mathematical economics, machine learning, health economics, sports and economics and experimental game theory. He has published in top international journals such as the Journal of Health Economics, Applied Economics, the European Journal of Marketing, the Journal of Industrial Economics and Economics Letters.
Christoph is an advisor to the Auckland District Health Board and the Auckland Council and has produced several reports for local governments and businesses. In 2002 he was awarded the Jan Whitwell Memorial Prize by the New Zealand Association of Economists for outstanding research by a young scholar.

Danu Abeysuriya – Founder & CTO – Rush Digital


Danu’s specialist engineering studio Rush Digital has swelled to over 50 staff since it was founded in 2010. International clients include Google, Samsung, Microsoft, Under Armour, Heineken, BBC and ExxonMobil, with local clients like Z Energy, Sky TV, ASB, Vector and Fonterra also looking to Rush for leadership in developing innovative technology solutions.

Danu and his team of hand-picked software engineers never fail to deliver projects they’ve taken on. Collaborating with a unique breadth of skills allows them to create original solutions for every brief, and they’re regarded within the industry as the fail-safe team to turn to for over 150 projects, with strengths in AR/VR/CV and IOT.

Danu graduated with honours from the University of Auckland in 2007 and remains CTO of Rush Digital and subsidiaries.
He was the winner of the 2016 NZ Hi-Tech Young Achiever Award, and was nominated for the NZ Hi-Tech Award 3 years in a row.
On a more personal level, Danu is passionate about social equity and fairness; he has always been involved in philanthropic and non-profit organisations in poverty alleviation and education. He believes that technology has the power to truly serve humanity and make the world better for everyone.

Oct 18, 19 & Nov 1 2017 – Internet of Things

Who’s running your business – you or your fridge?

Fridges are restocking themselves. Inanimate objects are problem solving. Talking Barbie dolls are memory-making and information-gathering. Welcome to The Internet of Things – don’t fear it, embrace it!


The role of the Internet of Things in everyday life continues to evolve, enabling communication between physical objects offering unlimited potential to change our lives.


It also has huge effects on your business; not only will it streamline your business practices, it will grow new markets, give you better consumer insight and radically change the landscape you operate in.

Virtual just became reality! It’s time to understand just how IoT can benefit your business.

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Keynote Speaker:

Ulrich Frerk – CEO & Founder, Adroit

Ulrich Frerk is an entrepreneur who seeks to not only create world-leading IoT technology, but seeks to change the world and the way people interact with it.

By the time the acronym ‘the Internet of Things’ was created in 2016, Adroit was already in operation, developing devices that would allow ‘dumb’ appliances like brewing machines and spa pools to be IoT capable – allowing them to be controlled intelligently and learning how to control themselves through Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

For Ulrich, it is all about improving human life, energy efficiency in homes and businesses and making our spaces more interactive, more welcoming and more human.


Samantha Ramlu – Managing Director and Co-Founder, Method

Sam is the Managing Director and co-founder of Method – an award winning creative innovations agency, and recently formed M Theory – an AR/VR experience agency.

Since 2003 Method has worked with agencies and clients to create unique and compelling digital experiences that engage and inspire. Method has been at the forefront of digital and interactive technology marketing in NZ since its inception.

An excellent strategist, innovator, thought-leader, and storyteller with extensive knowledge in the digital space, Sam is passionate about creating experiences and stories that connect with audiences.

She has successfully planned, implemented and produced innovative experiences for local and international brands across a range of industries and sees technology as a driver and enabler in making these experiences engaging, fun, immersive, and results driven.

Adrian van Hest – National Cyber practice leader, PwC


Adrian is PwC’s Cyber Leader. He’s focused on improving cyber security in New Zealand, and is a board member of the award winning New Zealand Internet Task Force.

With over 22 years of international business and IT experience, Adrian has spent significant time working in the IT security industry helping clients with risk assessments, compliance, policy, threat mitigation, architecture, and strategy.

His key areas of interest are security, technology, and innovation as well as market, product, and service development. Adrian’s specialities include risk assessment and management; governance; IT security strategy and architecture; business and information systems strategy and planning; enterprise and security architecture; disaster recovery, contingency planning and crisis management.

Russell Craig – National Technology Officer, Microsoft 

Auckland & Christchurch

Russell Craig is Microsoft New Zealand’s National Technology Officer (NTO). Based in Wellington, he works with both public and private sector stakeholders on matters related to technology strategy and policy.
Russell brings significant public sector and private sector experience to his role. From the mid-1990’s he worked at the State Services Commission where he played a lead role in development and implementation of the New Zealand e government programme.
He also worked in the NZ Ministry of Health where he was responsible for development of health sector information strategy and policies, as was the privacy officer for the national health information collections.
Russell also spent 2004 & 2005 working in Paris as part of the OECD’s e Government project.
In 2007 Russell joined Cisco Systems. Based in Hong Kong and then London, he worked as a strategic business consultant and trusted advisor to the company’s top public and private sector customers, with a significant focus on cloud-enabled innovation.
In 2014 Russell and his family returned to New Zealand and he took up the NTO position at Microsoft – the ideal role to allow him to bring his experience to bear in support of Microsoft’s customers, partners and stakeholders in New Zealand. In his role, Russell focuses on helping customers understand and realise the broad transformational opportunities enabled by Microsoft’s cloud platform, on working with policy makers and regulators requiring assurance about cloud services, driving cloud-enabled innovation, and addressing matters related to cybersecurity at both a customer and national level.

Hamish Mitchell – Chief Strategy & Growth Officer, Loyalty NZ

Wellington & Christchurch

Hamish joined Loyalty NZ in September 2014. In his role as Chief Strategy & Growth Officer he is responsible for leading the company’s transformation from a pure play rewards programme operator to a customer lead data and loyalty products business. Key to the achievement of this ambition is the development and delivery of the technology capability, data and loyalty products propositions and the engagement with the NZ market.

Hamish is responsible for business strategy and planning, product management and development, business development and the brand strategy and experience. Within this remit Hamish is responsible for the data and analytics products and services offered by Loyalty NZ through its Lab 360 business.

An accomplished senior leader with a proven track record of delivering tangible business results across a variety of functional disciplines including Technology, Marketing, Advertising and Communications, Product Management, Strategy and Planning in a diverse array of industries Real Estate, Public Sector, Oil, Retail and Marketing, Data Business Process Outsourcing.

Loyalty NZ is a $100 million revenue business and is owned by Foodstuffs, BNZ, IAG and Z Energy. Loyalty NZ owns and operates the Fly Buys programme which has 2.5m active customers participating in the programme and 55 participant businesses. Loyalty NZ also owns and operates Lab360 a data and analytics business. Loyalty NZ has been operating since 1996 and through Fly Buys enjoys 76% household penetration in the NZ market.

Stephen England-Hall  – Chief Executive, Tourism New Zealand


Stephen joined Tourism New Zealand as Chief Executive on 3 April 2017, before joining Tourism New Zealand Stephen was Chief Executive Officer of Loyalty New Zealand, the company behind New Zealand’s customer loyalty and data coalition, Fly Buys, and the analytics business LAB360.
Stephen has extensive international experience working as a senior executive of world leading digital marketing, data and technology companies in the UK and North America.
Now he leads Tourism New Zealand, the agency charged with growing the value of international visitors to New Zealand. Stephen is also a Board member of the Tourism Industry Association and The New Zealand Story. As the Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen also sits on the New Zealand Screen Production Grant and Significant Economic Benefits Verification Panel.
Stephen is a trustee and Board member of New Zealand data charity Figure NZ, a founding member of the New Zealand Data Futures think tank, a member of the Data Futures Partnership and served as a member of several Cambridge University Advisory Boards.