Celebration of Private Business

We will hear from inspiring speakers and panellists when they join the stage to deliberate everything from emerging growth, sustainability, investment, brand, and family enterprise.

Nadine Higgins - MC

Nadine Higgins is a multi-talented professional known for her expertise in broadcasting and business journalism. She is a sought-after MC, qualified Financial Adviser, a financial coach at financial strategy & coaching and a business commentator on Today FM. With her background in broadcasting and business journalism, Nadine has the ability to understand complex topics, moderate multi-person panels, and think on her feet. She has been a part of some of New Zealand's top shows and events, including The Project, Breakfast, Seven Sharp, and One News.

Wayne Smith - Keynote speaker

Wayne Smith is a former New Zealand rugby union coach and former player. He was assistant coach of the All Blacks for 16 years and regarded as one of the greatest coaches in history.

Wayne made the transition from player to coach – first with Canterbury and then with the Crusaders, who under his guidance won the Super Rugby competition in 1998 and 1999. In each of these seasons he was also an Assistant Coach with the All Blacks. In 2000-2001 he was made All Blacks Head Coach. He then moved to English Club, Northampton in 2002 before returning to New Zealand to join Graham Henry’s coaching staff in 2004.

Smith is considered the All Blacks tactical genius and has helped engineer two Rugby World Cup triumphs by helping coach them to victory at the 2011 Rugby World Cup and the 2015 Rugby World Cup. He is one of two coaches (Steve Hansen being the other) to win two back-to-back Rugby World Cups.

In 2022, Wayne was appointed the Head Coach of the Black Ferns and won the 2021 Rugby World Cup, held in 2022. Smith has been praised by his coaching peers for his innovation; world-leading embrace of technology and special touch with younger players.

Ruahei Demant - Keynote speaker

Ruahei Demant is a versatile rugby player who has overcome numerous setbacks to achieve her goals, despite undergoing three knee reconstructions. She made her debut for the Auckland Storm in 2013 and went on to play for the Black Ferns in 2018. She is known for her attacking skills and was the preferred fly-half in all six Black Fern tests in 2019, scoring two tries against Australia. She can play in the 12 or 13 jerseys as well. Demant’s time management skills are also finely honed as, along with her training and match commitments, she is a fully qualified lawyer.

In 2022, she was named as the Black Ferns captain and led the team to World Cup glory. She has received numerous awards including World Rugby Women's 15s Player of the Year and NZ Rugby Player of the Year, and is even a finalist for the Halberg Awards Sportswoman of the Year.

Bill Hale - Deloitte Private lead

Bill Hale is a Deloitte Private partner and the New Zealand Deloitte Private lead.

Bill has spent significant time focusing on tax issues relevant and delivering Deloitte global knowledge to the SME market including family owned companies, private equity and private companies in a variety of industries.

Mike Horne – Deloitte Chief Executive

Mike Horne leads the NZ Firm as the Chief Executive as well as serve on the Deloitte Asia Pacific Executive Leadership Team.

Mike has spent his career at Deloitte having joined almost 30 years ago, and has worked in Australia, the United Kingdom and across the Asia Pacific region. Helping Deloitte clients improve the fundamentals of their business through providing deep insights and meaningful information that can be used to shape their organisation and determine strategic next steps has always been a real passion for him. Having clients succeed is the ultimate success and reward, and he will ensure Deloitte continues to take a proactive, genuine interest in our clients, their businesses, and the communities they support.

Throughout Mikes time with the firm he has served as the Managing Partner of the Dunedin office, on the Deloitte New Zealand Board and most recently as the Deloitte Private Lead for Asia Pacific and the COO for the New Zealand business.

Sustainability panel

Amy Sparks - Deloitte Associate Director

Amy is an Associate Director in Deloitte’s NZ Corporate Finance team. She joined Deloitte in July 2021 and specifically focuses on ESG work. Amy previously worked at Macquarie in equity trading. Prior to her trading role, she worked at ANZ Private Bank and a boutique advisory firm as an authorised financial adviser for high-net-worth clients. In all roles she has focused on ESG investing and has joined Deloitte as part of the dedicated Climate team.

Her work in the Climate team and in Corporate Finance sees her utilised across Deloitte for multiple external client engagements in financial advisory services and internal projects including contributing to thought leadership.

Mikayla Plaw - Executive Director and GM of Sustainability

Mikayla Plaw is passionate about all things ocean and land health. She has a strong interest in impact reduction, restoration and innovative packaging solutions. Graduating with a Bachelor of Laws, majoring in Environmental Law, she has found herself immersed in the principles of a circular economy - design out waste and pollution, keep materials in flow and at high value and restore natural environments. The aim for Mikayla is to have her families group of businesses contribute nearly nothing to landfill and have a measured circularity score of 90% or higher. It’s a journey.

Duncan McKinlay - Finance Director, Kawatiri Energy

Emerging growth panel

Jason Yang - Deloitte Associate Director

Jason is an Associate Director at Deloitte, with a focus on supporting high-growth and innovative companies on their growth journey. Over the years, he has been a trusted advisor to some of New Zealand’s most iconic high-growth tech start-ups, scale-ups and exits, spanning AI, aerospace, biotech, cloud-based platforms and more. 

Helen Moore - Head of Growth & Strategy, Halter

Helen Moore is the Head of Strategy and Growth for Halter. She is passionate about driving international growth and impact, and has experience in Strategy, Product Development and Operations from Les Mills International and Xero, two of New Zealand's most innovative companies. When she isn't with her two kids, Helen specialises in exploring new opportunities and crafting strategies to help take NZ products to the world.

James White - Founder and CEO, Legend Story Studio

My mission is to bring people together in the flesh and blood through the common language of playing great games. 20 years dedicated to the Trading Card Game (TCG) industry and more passionate about it than ever!

It's about more than doing good business, it is about doing good for society. In our modern world of overwhelming digital interfacing, the need for common interests that enable in person interaction is greater than ever. TCG's are a fabulous medium of engagement, providing people with entertainment, competition, creative expression, and community.

In 2012, I set about designing a new TCG game system and underlying business model to compete with corporate goliaths that dominate the industry. After 7 years of development, Flesh and Blood launched in October 2019 and fought its way through the pandemic to become the fastest growing TCG in the history of the industry, now sold in over 3000 independent retailers across 38 countries.... and growing!

David Yu - Founder, ECOMI/ORBIS

With 20+ years’ experience in collectibles, gaming, retail products and distribution, and licensing, David Yu began his entrepreneurial journey at 14. An avid collector, his enterprising nature took him from re-selling stamps and phone cards, to the eventual purchase of liquidated stock, which included comics, collectibles, and Star Wars and Star Trek memorabilia- leading to the opening of his first collectibles store, Games R Us Ltd- at 17 years old. David has had a number of successful businesses, including Retail Management Group, which evolved from a wholesale and supply chain solution for manufacturing and distribution, to distributing a range of products from food and beverage to electronics and cosmetics in Australia, New Zealand, China and other Asian markets. His latest business, Auckland-based Orbis Blockchain Technologies Ltd, better known for its app VeVe, sells digital artworks and virtual models which customers can interact with on their phones and display in virtual galleries. In 2021, VeVe announced partnerships with comic book juggernaut Marvel, Pixar, Lucas Films, Disney, DC Warner Brothers, NBCUniversal, MGM, Sony and CBSViacom.

Brand panel

Ahmad Salim - Deloitte Partner, creative lead and brand strategist

After 16 years of using creativity to help brands around the world engage their audiences, Ahmad recently launched the creative practice at Deloitte NZ, to bring the power of creativity upstream in businesses, organisations and brands.

Ahmad is passionate about big ideas, and drawn to the people and brands that fearlessly drive the world forward. In recent years, he discovered that their great differentiator was their sense of purpose and willingness to try creative and innovative ways to make a real impact.

Given the unprecedented challenges and pace of change that the world faces today, he believe that the key to strong and sustainable success in any business or organisation lies in an inspiring and enduring brand purpose. It unlocks the true impact of creativity, informs innovation, and helps organisations look beyond short-term reactivity to category trends and issues, and instead, carve out their own unique path of growth.

Elaina Hamilton - General Manager of Design, Sharesies

Elaina is the General Manager of Design at Sharesies. Her team crafts loveable and accessible experiences that motivate investors to grow their wealth. Elaina has spent two decades working in and around the design community in New Zealand. Early on in her career, she established a design studio known for its brand work and strong minimal aesthetics in the style of the International Typographic Style. Her career has spanned a spectrum of specialisations including visual communication, customer experience design, and product design as well as a variety of sectors including tech, energy, and local government.

She has worked inside organisations to build design teams and believes that great design requires advocacy from the inside. She has been a force for change for internal teams to lift the quality and impact of design. She has worked as a design leader for over a decade driving the rebranding of one of New Zealand's biggest brands, Meridian Energy. At Sharesies she manages a team of researchers and designers crafting the Sharesies brand and experience.

Lee Lowndes - Managing Director, Daylight

Lee’s spent the last 13 years working in advertising agency networks all over the world, including DDB, The Monkeys and BBDO in London, Melbourne and Auckland. Working with brands such as Bacardi, VW, Virgin, Formula1 and Asahi, Lee has delivered campaigns for markets all over the globe.

At the beginning of the pandemic in 2021, Lee left the advertising world to start Daylight, a creative spinoff from The Spinoff, one of Aotearoa’s most innovative media platforms. Today Daylight is a stand-alone digital agency that works with brands, organisations and start-ups to build meaningful relationships with audiences through digital product innovation, editorial creative thinking and content.

Ally Young - Brand lead, Skinny Mobile

Marketer with a passion for technology, Ally leads the brand for the low-cost telco, Skinny.

After graduating with a BSc Sport Science, Ally quickly moved from sales to sports marketing, relocating to the USA for triathlon brands Blueseventy, and the start-up nutrition brand nuun. It is there she learnt the intricacies of large-scale commercialisation while working with brands such as Lifetime Fitness & Microsoft. After moving back to NZ, she did a stint at Les Mills New Zealand, however discovered an ardour for technology after finding herself at Vodafone NZ, which then led to brand leadership at one of New Zealand’s largest companies, Spark.

In 2018, Ally led Spark’s subsidiary Skinny through a successful rebrand, equating in an instant increase in profitability. Since then Skinny has seen continuous growth plus a plethora of international marketing awards in collaboration with creative & media agencies.

With Skinny recently listed by the international research consultancy WARC as one of the world’s Top 100 Effective Brands for 2022, winning the WARC Global Effectiveness Award for Sustained Success, and a Global Grand Effie in the same year, she believes it is without a doubt that the seamless relationship between agency & client has been the key to delivering ultimate marketing effectiveness.
Ally was awarded NZ’s Most Effective Marketer in 2022.

Thomas Darlow - Deloitte Creative Director and digital creative

I’m a creative person, but creativity is not just confined to the world of business. It runs through everything I do, and that’s been recognised with over 120 international creative awards across advertising, film, and music. My work has also been quoted by Obama, nominated for an Emmy, and named the #1 most effective ad campaign on earth.

I’ve performed at Coachella, toured with The Strokes and Kaiser Chiefs, developed films for the New Zealand Film Commission, and along with Kobe Bryant, orchestrated the most successful sneaker launch in history.

As a Director at Deloitte Digital in our Auckland practice, I work with the team to deliver the best possible outcomes for clients, brands and customers, through creative and engaging experiences.

Outside of work and creative pursuits, I love surfing, boxing, and cleaning up after my disgustingly messy kids.

Investment panel

Simon Chapman - Deloitte Partner, Corporate Finance

Assisting business owners and helping them increase and realise the value of their hard work is one of the most rewarding parts of the job. Simon works with clients to maximise the value of their business by clearly defining and articulating their strategy and assisting them in identifying the highest valued acquirers of the business.

Xu Sitao - Deloitte Partner, Chief Economist

Xu Sitao is a Partner and Chief Economist at Deloitte China, with over 20 years of expertise in the audit and assurance industry. He spearheads Deloitte's economic and industry research, providing valuable insights and advice on investments and emerging growth opportunities. He has a deep understanding of the business and operating environment of the audit and insurance industry and extensive experience in accounting and regulatory requirements. His track record of success in large-scale financial reporting and regulatory compliance projects has assisted many clients in improving their internal control systems.

Prior to Deloitte, he was Chief Representative of China and EIU forecasting director at the Economist Group from 2004 to 2014.

Sitao worked for MMS International of Standard and Poor’s Group in Singapore as the Economist for Indonesia, Korea and Thailand in 1995. He joined Standard Chartered Bank as Regional Treasury Economist in 1996. From 2000 to 2002, he was Societe Generale’s Chief Economist for Asia. In 2003, he became the Head of Economics of ICBC (Asia).

Family enterprise panel

Joanne McCrae - Deloitte Partner, Deloitte Private

What I most enjoy is working with my clients to ensure I understand both their personal and business drivers and challenges and then guide them in managing their affairs accordingly. I take pride in providing pragmatic advice that does not just focus on the tax outcome but also the cost and complexity of implementation and the risk profile of the client. Whether it is looking at clients’ structures, expanding their business domestically or offshore or looking at succession planning, I look to be a client’s every day sounding board.

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