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Thanks to Pete Rees, we have phenomenal photos from the Identity event. Check out the rest of the photos on Pete’s website

The amazing speakers for our 2019 Event – Education

Ben King


Ben King is a creative inventor and explorer who has spent his life making cool stuff. He’s going to share his unique education journey from a Steiner school in the redwoods of California, to university in Sweden, and travelling in 75 countries, most of them on his bicycle. Ben now runs his company Boxfish Research, where he is taking on the world with innovative underwater drones that he’s invented.

Felicity Thompson


Waiheke local, wife, mother of two, prolific Facebooker, Felicity Thompson’s education experiences have been so fleeting, and occasionally disastrous, as to prompt her to question whether the choice of her as MC for this series of Wai Talks is an ironic one. That said, a state primary school education, a private high school education, an unmentionable 2 semesters at university and then a much more successful class-topping experience in radio journalism education later in life has provided her with a quite marvellous overview of what can and can’t work – and the role that passion has to play in a successful education. She looks forward to introducing each of our speakers and hearing how their passion has driven their educational journeys.

Stacey Hema

Ko te manu e kai ana i te miro, nōna te ngāhere.
Ko te manu e kai ana i te mātauranga nōna te ao.
The one who partakes of the flora and fauna that will be their domain.
The one who engages in education opportunities are boundless.

Stacey Hema was born and raised in South Auckland. She was prefect and house leader at James Cook High School. After secondary school she furthered her education by attaining Certificates in Social Services, Rongoā Māori, a diploma in Te Reo Māori and a Bachelor in Māori Development. An opportunity to deepen her understanding of Te Ao Māori and philosophies within a cultural framework saw her work the next eight years in Kōhanga Reo. This invaluable experience encouraged her to pursue a career in teaching and with a Teach NZ Scholarship she attained a Bachelor in teaching Kura Kaupapa Māori at Te Wānanga Takiura. Now she teaches in Ngā Purapura Akoranga the bi-lingual unit at Te Huruhi Primary School.

Sahelanthropus tchadensis


Sahelanthropus tchadensis is a species of the Hominini, believed to be extinct and is probably the ancestor to Orrorin that is dated to about 7 million years ago, during the Miocene epoch, possibly very close to the time of the chimpanzee–human divergence. Sahelanthropus’ interests include science, religion, art, our ancestors, offspring and the survival of all species.

Sarah Trotman


Sarah Trotman, ONZM is a respected business and community leader, a Trustee and Director and a celebrant. Currently Establishment CEO of charity Spend My Super, Sarah has been the driving force behind many major initiatives for New Zealand’s business sector. She was Chief Executive of Business Mentors New Zealand, supervising the mentoring of almost 5,000 small businesses annually. She was Trustee of the Sir Peter Blake Trust and Leadership New Zealand, and is a member of Be.Accessible’s Fab 50 Network and the Sir Peter Blake Trust’s Leadership Awards Selection Panel. Sarah helped establish the Lifewise Big Sleepout, now in it’s 10th year, a fundraising event to support people out of homelessness. She is an active mentor for women and a strong advocate for the advancement of women. Sarah lives in Auckland and has two children, Matilda 20 and Elliott 19.

Ruth Money


Ruth was born and raised in Christchurch. Gaining a scholarship to attend Canterbury University, she studied marketing and management progressing through to publishing a thesis for her Masters of Commerce. After a successful business career, Ruth ‘retired’ to Waiheke where she became a full-time volunteer helping survivors of crime navigate the complex NZ Justice system. She assists the Waiheke police with our island-based victim support, as well as travelling throughout the country on a voluntary, self-funded basis to work with survivors of crime. Some of her accolades included Woman of the Year Award 2015 and Woman of Influence nomination 2018. Ruth is a regular panel member on Radio NZ. She is passionate about ensuring victims’ voices are heard and transforming the criminal system.





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