Mission Aotearoa

Mission Aotearoa: Mapping our Future

To view other past events visit our Archived Events page. To learn about previous workshops see here.

Watch the Mission Aotearoa webinar below:

Read the Mission Aotearoa discussion paper below:

View the Mission Aotearoa: Mapping our future discussion paper here.

Date: Tuesday 30 March 2021

Platform: Online Zoom webinar

Thank you to all the speakers and participants for joining our discussion about New Zealand’s long-term future. This event marked 10 years since our StrategyNZ workshop, in which Sir Paul Callaghan gave his inspiring keynote speech on ‘making New Zealand a place where talent wants to live’.

This webinar was a collaboration between Callaghan Innovation and the McGuinness Institute.


Mission Aotearoa aimed to:


Commemorate the StrategyNZ: Mapping our future workshop (held on 30/31 March 2011), and in particular acknowledged the keynote address of Sir Paul Callaghan. Watch here.


Provide an opportunity to learn about a theory of change that is growing popular globally, called mission-orientated strategies.

Rowan Conway Presentation

Rowan Conway (IIPP) – Mission Aotearoa Webinar
30 March 2021 (29 March in UK)

Download (PDF, 46.2 MB)

Dennis Bushnell Presentation

Dennis Bushnell (NASA, Langley Research Center) – Mission Aotearoa Webinar
30 March 2021

Download (PDF, 2.3 MB)


Create a place and space for people to connect and explore New Zealand’s long-term future. Watch the full Mission Aotearoa webinar here.

Other post-webinar material:

In the Media

7 April 2021: Newsroom – One giant leap for New Zealand-kind

3 Apr 2021: RNZ Kim Hill –  Vic Crone: Paul Callaghan’s vision 10 years on

31 Mar 2021: Stuff – Nasa chief scientist says NZ should become a worldwide Silicon Valley

30 Mar 2021: Stuff – High house prices are the biggest barrier to social mobility and need to come down, says tech leader

30 Mar 2021: NBR vide0 – Ten years on from Sir Paul Callaghan’s ‘Mapping Our Future’ speech MacDiarmid Institute co-director Nicola Gaston and Dr Geoff Willmott look at how far NZ has come. An article is also available here if you a member of NBR.


Further reading

  1. Missions: A Beginner’s Guide
  2. Innovation Policy and Strategy for Post-COVID Economic Recovery
  3. Strategic Missions and Policy Opportunities for State-owned Enterprises
  4. Mission Economy: A Moonshot Guide to Changing Capitalism (book)
  5. The Impact Entrepreneur: Building a New Platform for Economic Security in Work, Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce, Authors: Rowan Conway, Charles Leadbeater & Jennie Winhall. September 2019. [This is the paper that discusses the two cones in more detail – highly recommend]

What next

We will publish a booklet that summaries the ideas and outcomes of the webinar in May. We will aim to answer the many questions that were raised in the webinar and subsequently by email. 

Please feel free to shape the content of this paper by sending any further questions to enquiries@mcguinnessinstitute.org

Best wishes and thank you for your interest.
Wendy and the team.


See the speaker programme: Version 2 as at 29 March 2021 here.

Catherine Callaghan (UK)
Catherine Callaghan QC is the daughter of Sir Paul Callaghan. She was educated at Palmerston North Girls’ High School and Victoria University of Wellington. In 1996, she left New Zealand for the UK to undertake her Masters in Law at the University of Cambridge. Following a two-year stint as a solicitor in the London office of Clifford Chance, she transferred to the English bar, where she has built up a successful practice as a barrister at Blackstone Chambers, specialising in public and regulatory law. In 2018, Catherine was appointed a Queen’s Counsel, and was the first New Zealand female barrister to receive this honour.  

Catherine remains a committed and loyal Kiwi. As well as visiting New Zealand as often as she can, she has been a visiting lecturer at Victoria University’s Law Faculty, has raised funds for victims of the Christchurch earthquake, and with friends and family, has taken part in the Relay for Life to raise funds for the Cancer Society in memory of her father. Catherine wrote the foreword and helped to edit Luminous Moments, a book of her father’s essays and speeches, published by Bridget Williams Books. She is proud to be a shareholder in Magritek, a successful advanced technology company founded by her father.       


Rowan Conway (UK)
Rowan leads the Mission Oriented Innovation Network (MOIN at UCL’s Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP)).

MOIN brings together leading global policy-making institutions – including state investment banks, innovation agencies, cities and government departments to share the challenges and opportunities they face when trying to create and nurture public value. Since 2019, Rowan has led MOIN to build on the seminal work that the Institute has done with the European Commission with Government departments, institutions and innovation agencies around the world. She has led exploratory projects with a range of government departments such as the Scottish Government, the Danish Ministry of Climate, Energy and Utilities, the New Zealand Department for the Environment, organisations such as the OECD, UNDP and UNESCAP and public institutions such as the BBC. 

Prior to joining UCL, Rowan was Director of Innovation at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) where she set up the RSA Lab. Prior to that she has 15 years’ experience leading a wide range of design and engagement processes, notably the community participation in the design process for London 2012 Olympic Park. She holds an MSc in Responsibility and Business Practice from the University of Bath and is a PhD Candidate at IIPP. 

Dennis Bushnell (USA)
As chief scientist at NASA Langley Research Center, Dennis is responsible for technical oversight and advanced program formulation. His work is focused mainly on new approaches to environmental issues, in particular to climate issues. During his 52-year career as a research scientist, section head, branch head, associate division chief, and chief scientist, Dennis has authored over 250 publications and/or major presentations.

Bushnell has received numerous awards for his work, and has been the recipient of many NASA medals for outstanding scientific achievement and leadership. Bushnell has promoted research at NASA into LENR (low energy nuclear reactions, or cold fusion).

Aaron Maniam (Singapore)
Aaron was the first Head of Singapore’s Centre for Strategic Futures (CSF) and organised Singapore’s initial ‘Foresight Conference’ in 2011.

Following this, he served as Senior Director at Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, coordinating policy on manufacturing, services, tourism and economic transformation. Aaron is currently the Deputy Secretary of Industry & Information at the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI), Singapore. He coordinates policy on various aspects of digitalisation, including digital transformation of the economy; regulation of telcos, data, AI and other digital infrastructure; digital inclusion and access in social policy; and digital diplomacy.

Aaron holds a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (double first class honours) from Oxford; an MA in International and Development Economics from Yale; and a Masters in Public Policy (with Distinction) from the Blavatnik School. He is currently completing a PhD comparing the digital transformation efforts by the governments of Estonia, New Zealand and Singapore at Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government. Aaron is also a published poet, and is working on his third collection of poems.  

Sam Morgan (NZ)
Sam is an entrepreneur best known as the founder of Trade Me, New Zealand’s largest online auction site. 

The sale of Trade Me enabled Morgan to spend more time within new ventures as an investor and advisor. He uses his company Jasmine Investments to invest in tech companies, mainly early-stage software start-ups. 

Sam is also the founder and chair of Jasmine Social Investments, a foundation whose philanthropic efforts are focused on addressing the basic needs of the world’s poorest people, through health, education and livelihood. Their mission is to identify high performing social ventures led by stellar individuals and take them to the next level by providing assistance, capital, and access to skills and networks. They are focused on creating a portfolio of effective, sustainable and well-governed organisations that are investment worthy for other results-driven philanthropists. 

Alex Fala (NZ)
Alex is CEO at Syft Technologies. He has deep experience as a leader in some of New Zealand’s best known growth companies, particularly in the technology sector. He was recently appointed CEO of Syft Technologies. Prior roles include CEO at Vend, executive roles at Les Mills International, Orion Health and Trade Me, and management consultant at McKinsey & Company. 

Alex attended Oxford University as the second Rhodes Scholar of Pacific Island descent. He has a first class honours degree from the University of Auckland, and was selected as one of the University’s inaugural ’40 under 40′. Alex is married to Clare with three children. 


Sacha McMeeking (NZ)
Sacha is the Head of Aotahi – School of Māori and Indigenous Studies at the University of Canterbury.

Sacha brings a serial entrepreneur’s approach to working with and for Iwi Māori. From instigating United Nations proceedings to architecting a Māori social enterprise fund and leading commercial negotiations, she is known for solution-building that meets Iwi Māori aspirations.

Before coming to UC, Sacha was the director of a boutique consultancy working with Iwi Māori in strategy development, kaupapa Māori asset management and innovation and the General Manager Strategy and influence with Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, responsible for government relations on behalf of the Iwi.

Recognised as an emerging New Zealand leader, Sacha won the inaugural Fulbright Harkness Fellowship in 2010. Sacha is a change agent and compliments her varied background with a desire to support and grow the next generation of Māori scholars. Initiatives like the Māui lab are a product of that intent and just one of the many innovations that Sacha intends to bring through Aotahi in the years to come.

Sacha is researching in the areas of:
• Iwi Māori development, innovation and entrepreneurship
• Iwi Māori futures, social and cultural capital
• Comparative approaches to Indigenous peoples
• Public policy

Jamie Newth (NZ)
Jamie is the Director and CEO of impact investment firm, Soul Capital.

He is currently a lecturer at the University of Auckland Business School and a member of the National Advisory Board for Impact Investment. His research focuses on social innovation and entrepreneurship and impact investing and his teaching on experiential learning for start-up entrepreneurship.


Donna Purdue (NZ)
Chief Economist at Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), Donna has a first class honours degree in economics from University of Waikato.

She started out as an economist at Ord Minnett Securities in Auckland. Since then, she has worked with the British High Commission, the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, Westpac, and as Chief Economist at Kiwibank. She joined MBIE from New Zealand Treasury in 2016. Donna works to grow understanding of the impact of business practices and productivity in New Zealand.

Vic Crone (NZ)

CEO of Callaghan Innovation, Vic has significant executive and governance experience in technology and innovation. She brings a strong customer focus, and a track record of leading and implementing strategy, and building organisational culture. Vic was previously the Managing Director of Xero, NZ and New Markets, following executive roles at Chorus and Telecom New Zealand.

Vic is Chair of the Stats NZ Advisory Board and Figure.NZ Board. She has also been an Independent Director on the Boards of a number of companies and organisations in the technology sector, including RedShield, Creative HQ and the Hi-Tech Trust.


Te Wai Coulston (NZ)

Te Wai recently completed a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Commerce conjoint from University of Auckland with a quadruple major in Politics, Māori Studies, International Business and Economics.

In 2018, Te Wai represented New Zealand at the Harvard National Model United Nations and attended diplomatic meetings all across the US. He is also a Founding President at Te Mana Pakihi (Māori Business Students Association), which represents over 400 Māori students at the University of Auckland and equips them to become culturally engaged professionals.


Wendy McGuinness (NZ)

Wendy McGuinness is the founder and chief executive of the McGuinness Institute.

Wendy studied at Manukau Technical Institute (gaining an NZCC), Auckland University (BCom) and Otago University (MBA), as well as completing additional environmental papers at Massey University. As a Fellow Chartered Accountant specialising in risk management, Wendy has worked in both the public and private sectors.

In 2004 she established the McGuinness Institute as a way of contributing to New Zealand’s long-term future.