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We hold events for our alumni, friends, and the general public for people to connect with the important conversations in leadership.

Subject matter experts and prominent New Zealand leaders share their knowledge and engage with the audience, sparking new ideas and innovation as minds from different backgrounds converge and focus their energy on a salient issue or theme.

What Is Leadership?

Written by Graduand of the 2017 Programme, Justin Maddock, Manager, Commercial Relationships, Ports of Auckland


We have spent the last nine months trying to figure that out. To each of us, it means something a little different, what we have taken away unique to our experience and diversity. For me an introduction to poetry and the power of the written word. Leadership requires perspective, empathy but most of all it requires a sound understanding of who you are!

Leadership is complicated yet so simple at the same time.

I’ll start at the beginning, way back in February on a particularly hot Auckland day.

A room filled with potential, questions, possibility
An excited nervousness took hold, what had I signed up for, what would I learn,
I know what leadership is!
Our first day together, so many names to remember!
What does this have to do with leadership?
What had I signed up for?

The first thing we learnt is leadership starts with you, understanding who you are and what drives you is core to being a good leader. This has been a journey of self-reflection, getting to know the voice in your head.

The Far North, or at least further north than a few of us had ventured lay ahead for Session 2 and an opportunity to explore our connection with the history of this land and its people.

A civil society our roots our history
The names started sinking in, the faces of friends start to emerge,
Confronted by the truth of history
Challenged by our fog of knowledge
The connection to this land clear and unmistakable
A history needing correction

Our time together continued to strengthen our bonds, and our understanding of leadership continued to develop. Like the spiral pattern of a seashell, our learning had started at our centre and has been expanding outward.

Our time together continued to strengthen our bonds, and our understanding of leadership continued to develop. Like the spiral pattern of a seashell our learning had started at our centre and has been expanding outward.

"Our Economy” - Palmerston North gave us the opportunity to learn more about the primary industries supporting this beautiful country and meet some of the people driving it forward.

Standing on the shearing floor, a young woman full of potential
Her path seemingly anchored in this the most simple of buildings and places
A vision for the future,
a path to great leadership
Be careful not to look for leadership in the obvious places
Leadership grows everywhere
Even on the humble shearing shed floor

Christchurch & Hanmer, our friendships were well and truly established. You get this feeling leading into a Leadership NZ retreat that reassures you that this is something special. Time away from our families and partners given to be part of this experience.

The bare truth of a life lived so disarming
Truth and honesty clears its own path
Our group splintered,
Scattered to absorb the impact
A bus ride – different from the rest
We pull together and the airport awaits
Boarding calls, flights take us home
Our bonds are stronger now,
we have shared so much.

Session 7 in Wellington lay ahead, sadness for the undeniable fact that this journey is almost finished. So what does Leadership mean now? You recognise it but it feels different.

Another story waits to be told
Words brought to life on a page for the very first time
My life in 10 minutes
What will they think? What will they say?
A gift or a burden?
Our difference is where leadership thrives
The countdown starts
Deep breath…

To the 2016 Leadership NZ cohort, I thank each and every one of you for the opportunity to be part of something so special and to speak on your behalf. To the Leadership NZ staff from all of us, never stop, this gift must be given to many more.

That familiar feeling is back that excited nervousness has taken hold, new friendships anchored in a year-long journey to answer one question.