Identity. So big we needed a WaiTalks Weekend.

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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 6th event – Identity

Nikki Heuberger


“Life’s too short to be living someone else’s life”. This rings true to my personal journey so far. Parts of my identity I was born into, some parts have been discovered along the way, other parts I have chosen for myself, and I’m not finished this adventure yet!
The last time I was on stage I was in a play called Dementia Praecox. I was a stilt-walking, codpiece-wearing dominatrix with a whip. I’m hoping that standing up and being myself will be a breeze!”
Nikki Heuberger is a first generation Kiwi and Waihekean, and has had a connection with the island since childhood. She is looking forward to being able to call herself a local next year, when she will have lived here for 20 years!
Nikki is the face behind local businesses, print centre Copy Expresso and photobooth hire company Photobomb. Waiheke has always been a great healing and replenishing place for her, and is now an awesome place to bring up a family. She lives in quiet Rocky Bay with her partner and two noisy young daughters.

Valli Waugh


Adopted as a baby. Grew up in a pretty dysfunctional family, with a violent alcoholic father. That was the gift that was the beginning of the search for something deeper, clearer & kinder, than the fear and pain that was running his life, and ruining it.
Since then life has been about “waking up”. Which starts with noticing where he is asleep and deluding himself. And identifying as a victim has kept him deeply asleep & blind at times!
That search has led to time spent meditating in a Buddhist community. And 10 years in the Osho commune in India doing therapy, meditating and running meditations. Has also lived in Japan, the USA, Germany & Australia. And lived on waiheke for the last 15 years.
The last 17 years he has been using The Work of Byron Katie. It is a form of inquiry & questioning stressful thoughts that cause our suffering.
Valli is a trainer in the Institute for The Work and has run workshops, with is wife, in New Zealand, Australia, USA, England, Argentina, and Portugal. Everything in life is a gift!

Valli Waugh


Adopted as a baby. Grew up in a pretty dysfunctional family, with a violent alcoholic father. That was the gift that was the beginning of the search for something deeper, clearer & kinder, than the fear and pain that was running his life, and ruining it.
Since then life has been about “waking up”. Which starts with noticing where he is asleep and deluding himself. And identifying as a victim has kept him deeply asleep & blind at times!
That search has led to time spent meditating in a Buddhist community. And 10 years in the Osho commune in India doing therapy, meditating and running meditations. Has also lived in Japan, the USA, Germany & Australia. And lived on waiheke for the last 15 years.
The last 17 years he has been using The Work of Byron Katie. It is a form of inquiry & questioning stressful thoughts that cause our suffering.
Valli is a trainer in the Institute for The Work and has run workshops, with is wife, in New Zealand, Australia, USA, England, Argentina, and Portugal. Everything in life is a gift!

Emily Dowding-Smith


Emily Dowding-Smith might be an explorer, possibly a writer or maybe an environmental change agent. She may have been a corporate lawyer that changed paths. She might be a closet Maori. Or openly heterosexual. Probably white and privileged. Who really knows? Ponder this and your own identity at the talk….

Phillip Howard


Phillip Howard is a Principal of Pacific Environments Architects. He lives in a house he and his wife designed, full of naturally finished timber joinery, which is standing up well to the trials of their three growing boys. His work on public buildings continually explores how far natural timbers can be used as the finish, in a domain usually reserved for harder materials such as concrete, brick and tile. His design practice of 30 people are committed to architectural design excellence, creating inspiring fit-for-purpose build environment solutions. Sustainability, lifestyle and the creation of enduring investment value is core to our design philosophy. Last year a library on Waiheke Island he led the design on, was the overall winner at the New Zealand Wood Resene Timber Design Awards, and this year received a NZ Property Green Building Award. He firmly believes the success of most projects – and the way he enjoys designing the most – comes from listening and responding to his client’s specific requirements and ideas. He never assumes he knows everything about a particular project type, and never under-rates the value a client can bring to their own project.

Phillip Howard


Phillip Howard is a Principal of Pacific Environments Architects.He lives in a house he and his wife designed, full of naturally finished timber joinery, which is standing up well to the trials of their three growing boys. His work on public buildings continually explores how far natural timbers can be used as the finish, in a domain usually reserved for harder materials such as concrete, brick and tile. His design practice of 30 people are committed to architectural design excellence, creating inspiring fit-for-purpose build environment solutions. Sustainability, lifestyle and the creation of enduring investment value is core to our design philosophy. Last year a library on Waiheke Island he led the design on, was the overall winner at the New Zealand Wood Resene Timber Design Awards, and this year received a NZ Property Green Building Award. He firmly believes the success of most projects – and the way he enjoys designing the most – comes from listening and responding to his client’s specific requirements and ideas. He never assumes he knows everything about a particular project type, and never under-rates the value a client can bring to their own project.

Simon Harvey

Working with dynamic and passionate groups comes with the territory on Waiheke Island, which Simon has called home for the last 15 years. He’s a sucker for punishment and sits on the boards of five incorporated societies including the local Waiheke Mountain Bike Club, the International Society for Sustainability Professionals and The Natural Step. On the weekend, you’ll find him mountain biking or golfing by day; and watching rugby or losing money at Texas Hold ‘em by night.
Simon joined collaborative planning and sustainability consultancy Business Lab in 2004 after a 10 year career as a commercial law barrister… and, he still describes himself as being ‘in recovery’. He’s widely recognised for his skills in leading groups through strategic thinking and a practical approach to sustainability that delivers long-term and immediate pay-backs.
Simon has worked throughout New Zealand and Australia with large corporates, councils, communities and industry groups. He’s passionate about making tomorrow better than today, and believes that committed groups of people can achieve anything they set their minds to.

Tanya Batt


Tanya is a self-confessed story-o-phile and frock-o-holic. Hailing from Waiheke Island, Aotearoa, New Zealand she is a South Pacific pirate princess, a black butterfly, a word warbler and story stitcher, who channeled her childhood propensity for talking and her love of dressing up into a real ‘imaginary job’.
Stories have put food on her table and a roof over her head near a quarter of a century, enabling her to share her work in over 20 countries. She is a published author and arts educator whose love for the natural world and curiosity for the mysteries of life feed her ever playful repertoire.

Tanya Batt


Tanya is a self-confessed story-o-phile and frock-o-holic. Hailing from Waiheke Island, Aotearoa, New Zealand she is a South Pacific pirate princess, a black butterfly, a word warbler and story stitcher, who channeled her childhood propensity for talking and her love of dressing up into a real ‘imaginary job’.
Stories have put food on her table and a roof over her head near a quarter of a century, enabling her to share her work in over 20 countries. She is a published author and arts educator whose love for the natural world and curiosity for the mysteries of life feed her ever playful repertoire.

Lynsey Champion


Lynsey was born and raised in New Zealand. Her extended family were avid “crafters” so early in life she was an accomplished at knitting, sewing and other craft. From the age of 10, she was making craft and selling to neighbors and family.
When she left school, she embarked on an accounting career which she became bored with so travelled most of her 20s and came back to live in NZ permanently in 1993. She accidentally happened upon a career in Hat-making by making a hat for herself. On the very day she made her first hat, she met Helen McIntyre from Buana Satu in a restaurant – Helen asked if Lynsey could make some for her shop. That shop still sells Lynsey’s hats today.
Lynsey moved from Coromandel to Waiheke in 2005 with her daughter Maya. Being self employed has enabled Lynsey to dabble in other fields like event management, fashion shows, theatre and advertising. Today she lives in Surfdale with her partner Steve in their “do-up” which will soon have her new hat workshop and showroom.

Raul Sarrot


Raul is a designer, strategist and a design-thinking coach who specialises in helping enterprises incorporate design into all areas of their organisations, from board discussions to internal processes, from brand creation to targeted communications campaigns.
Raul offers a rich background as a multi-disciplinary designer, academic lecturer and researcher. This experience has been forged over 25 years working alongside a wide range of commercial and not-for-profit clients nationally and internationally.
Following a successful international career with various design and brand strategy firms, Raul founded Freshfish, his own boutique strategy and design studio. Raul is also a Chairman of AUT Communication Design Advisory Committee, a Design Coach for NZTE Better By Design programme, a part-time Design lecturer, a music composer, a ‘world-famous-on-Waiheke’ pizza cook and a proud father of 3 girls!

Raul Sarrot


Raul is a designer, strategist and a design-thinking coach who specialises in helping enterprises incorporate design into all areas of their organisations, from board discussions to internal processes, from brand creation to targeted communications campaigns.
Raul offers a rich background as a multi-disciplinary designer, academic lecturer and researcher. This experience has been forged over 25 years working alongside a wide range of commercial and not-for-profit clients nationally and internationally.
Following a successful international career with various design and brand strategy firms, Raul founded Freshfish, his own boutique strategy and design studio. Raul is also a Chairman of AUT Communication Design Advisory Committee, a Design Coach for NZTE Better By Design programme, a part-time Design lecturer, a music composer, a ‘world-famous-on-Waiheke’ pizza cook and a proud father of 3 girls!

Sarah Flashman


I wonder if a woman of mystery is that because she is coy about her real identity. Not necessarily coy-cute but rather coy-choosy; how much will she show you? Take Sarah – those who know her well may think she’s far too shy to speak in public. Those who think they know her better know her as the the Westie chick rocking it out on the drums. Those who feel like they know her just that bit more intimately find her to be an incredibly creative yet directed person who can cock her head to one side and listen to you as though you are the only one in the world. Ahhhh, but those who think they know her better than everyone think of her as an earth mother who embraces nature, family life and her burgeoning career as a Wellness Coach. Mystery solved – or is it?

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