It has been two years since the launch of our 2013 TalentNZ Journal. To mark this anniversary, each day over the next month we will share an interview with one of the 30 kiwis and provide an update on where they are now.

Today we share Raf Manji’s full interview which you can read here.

Raf Manji

Two years on, we checked in with Raf Manji and asked him four questions about what he has been doing since we published the journal. You can read Raf’s responses below.

1. Two years on I am
I have just completed my first two years as a Christchurch City Councillor. I have been the Finance Spokesperson for the Council, and involved in dealing with the financial challenges post-earthquake, insurance and risk issues, and strategy and transition for the city post CER Act expiry.

2. Recent thoughts on how to build a talent-based economy recently is
Much the same! We need to attract young talent and future wealth creators, and support that by having affordable housing, decent social infrastructure and amenities, and be open facing to the world.

3. Books, research and talks that have shaped my thinking include
The KPMG Magnet Cities report confirms some of the thinking around the need for talent attraction and retention. Mark Gerzon’s book ‘Global Citizens‘ reminds us to develop a global outlook and this fits into the idea of developing a talent conveyor belt and global networks. Instead of simply attracting talent for itself, we want to create global impact citizens. I haven’t had much time to read in the last two years!

4. Any additional thoughts for young people?
Get involved in volunteering and social enterprise as a way of gaining experience. University or school clubs are also useful opportunities to learn how organisations function and work. Try stuff out, network, engage, develop your social skills … above all, have a go and don’t worry if it doesn’t go according to plan.

Connect with TalentNZ
We want to build New Zealand’s talent-based economy. If you want to join us on this journey, please connect with TalentNZBy connecting you will receive our monthly TalentNZ newsletter, which outlines recent developments, research and resources related to creating a talent-based economy, and which keeps you informed about upcoming TalentNZ events. Please also share this link with anyone you think may be interested.

TalentNZ Journal: Grow talent edition
We are currently in the planning and research stages of our 2016 TalentNZ Journal: Grow talent edition. The journal will illustrate grassroots initiatives that New Zealanders are doing to grow talent. Our focus is on encouraging innovative ways to develop talent across New Zealand. The Grow talent edition will be the second edition in our TalentNZ Journal series.

About TalentNZ
The 2013 TalentNZ Journal is part of our TalentNZ project. TalentNZ is designed to facilitate a structured discussion on how to make New Zealand’s talent-based economy flourish. The Journal features interviews with 30 Kiwis, essays from contributing writers and data with a focus on cities and the economy. The 2013 Journal, and in particular the 30 interviews, showed us that by managing the four integrated work-streams – grow, attract, retain and connect – New Zealand is more likely to become a healthy, dynamic and interesting place to live in the long-term. TalentNZ builds on Sir Paul Callaghan’s vision of making New Zealand ‘a place where talent wants to live’. Sir Paul outlined the reasons why his vision is important in a 20-minute video at the Institute’s StrategyNZ workshop in 2011. To learn more about the TalentNZ project see

If you have any questions about the TalentNZ project, please contact us at