New Frontiers in New Zealand 

New Frontiers in New Zealand 

June 14, 2017

A few months ago, we gathered for the 3rd annual New Frontiers festival in the rural countryside of Upper Hutt, New Zealand.

New Frontiers attracts a highly diverse group of global and local innovation leaders, who convene to share, explore and co-create integrated solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. 

Participants include entrepreneurs, filmmakers, technologists, government leaders, artists, farmers, activists, Māori and indigenous leaders, investors, educators, students, philanthropists, and people with a passion for tackling global challenges from Aotearoa New Zealand. 

The depth of conversations taking place at New Frontiers have resulted in new policies and collective action. Newly sparked connections have led to new collaborations across industries and geographic boundaries. 

This year's event was dedicated to the launch of the Edmund Hillary Fellowship (EHF) and New Zealand's new Global Impact Visas (GIVs) programme.

Alina Siegfried from the Edmund Hillary Fellowship team has assembled a great overview of each of the event's talks, which are also available to watch online. Here is a summary in her words:

Alina Siegfried working her magic at New Frontiers 2017

Charles Eisenstein, Author

The author of Sacred Economics, The Ascent of Humanity and The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible, Charles is a leading philosopher on the need for reconnection in our modern day — between diverse individuals and communities, between humans and the planet, and between our thoughts and our actions. He spoke about the transition point that humanity finds itself at today.

Charles Eisenstein talking about the "Space Between Stories"

Yoseph Ayele, Edmund Hillary Fellowship

Edmund Hillary Fellowship CEO Yoseph Ayele spoke about the development of the programme — how it came to be, the drivers behind the Fellowship, and the process of co-creating the Global Impact Visa with the New Zealand Government. Check out his story of the birth of the world’s first impact visa.

Emeline and Eric Paat-Dahlstrom, International Space Consultants

Eric and Emeline have a vision to create a democratised entrepreneurial space ecosystem from New Zealand. The focus of their talk at New Frontiers was about leveraging New Zealand’s unique advantages such as uncrowded skies, freedom to operate, and ease of setting up a business to build an industry that make the impacts and applications of space technology readily available.

Sonya Renee Taylor, The Body is Not An Apology

Sonya explains that we cannot do the important work of transforming the world, without transforming the way that we view ourselves. She is the Founder of The Body Is Not An Apology — a movement, a community and a media publishing platform that focuses on re-orienting our relationships with the bodies we live in.

Sonya Renee Taylor, creator of The Body Is Not An Apology

Elie and Nathaniel Calhoun, Code Innovation & Singularity University

Co-founders of Code Innovation, and both employed on the faculty of Singularity University, Elie and Nathaniel are driven to use technology to impact the lives of people in developing nations. They take a grounded approach to the work of global change-making, taking an education and empowerment approach to international development.

Severine von Tscharner Fleming, Greenhorns, Farmhack and Agrarian Trust

Severine is at the forefront of the next big agricultural revolution in the United States — a mingling of smart technology and regenerative farming methods to repair the land, and produce nutrient-dense, organic, local produce on a scale that can feed the world. She leads projects with with the Greenhorns, the Agrarian Trust, Farm Hack and the National Young Farmers Coalition.

Sandra Chemin, EHF and Enspiral Ambassador

Sandra Chemin has spent 6 years sailing the world’s oceans, spending time staring out at the horizon and developing fresh ways of thinking. After a landing in New Zealand four years ago, she describes the transformation that the country has made on her and her family, and shares the lessons learned from silence.

Matthew Monahan, Edmund Hillary Fellowship

A co-founder of EHF, Matthew fell in love with New Zealand about five years ago and since then has been investing time, resources and love into developing New Zealand’s potential as an incubation nation. In his talk, he outlined the key advantages that New Zealand offers to be a global leader in developing, supporting, testing and scaling global impact ventures.

Peggy Liu, Joint US-China Collaboration on Clean Energy (JUCCCE)

Ten years ago Peggy Liu was named as the first Hillary Laureate by the Hillary Institute of International Leadership, for her work on climate change. In the past decade, she has played a pivotal role in bringing bringing about China’s rapid green rise, and transforming inefficient cities into leading examples of sustainable living.

Joshua Vial, Enspiral

A leading thinker in transnational collectives and platform cooperativism, Joshua founded the Enspiral network in 2012 for the purpose “more people working on stuff that matters”. The network now has over 300 contributors from around the world. At New Frontiers, Joshua put forth a question to New Zealand of what a new cooperation-based constitution might look like in the future?

Kaye-Maree Dunn, Māori Women’s Development Inc

Kaye Maree calls herself a an entrepreneur, a mother, a tragic gardener and an aspiring poet. She spoke about how we might harness the potential of Māori in New Zealand to bring unique holistic perspectives to entrepreneurship, and how the power of framing can inform the narratives of our history and our future.

Rod Oram, Business Journalist

A respected business journalist with a wicked sense of humour, Rod has turned his focus in recent years to the question of how we can build the cities of tomorrow to be smarter, more livable, more economically and environmentally efficient, and more in tune with natural surroundings. He brought lessons from around the world to his New Frontiers talk.

Dr Catlin Powers, One Earth Designs & Harvard University

Harnessing the power of sunlight, Catlin’s company One Earth Designs created an innovative solar cooker that has transformed the lives of thousands of nomadic people in the Himalayas. Her latest project is to mimic the process of photosynthesis to make vast improvements in the efficiency of transmission and storage of solar energy.

Gary Williams, Waterscape

One of New Zealand’s leading and most well respected permaculturalists, Gary Williams has been educating generations of farmers and helping to develop some of New Zealand’s largest food forests. In a talk that takes us back to the science and philosophy of the natural world, Gary explores the relationship between food and water.

David Block, The Human Experience

David Block has many possible titles — musician, DJ, producer, fashion designer, artist, jewellery maker and photographer. Best known as “The Human Experience”, David spoke at New Frontiers about the process of unleashing creative potential and resisting the urge to put a name on it. His life’s work is to use art and music art and music to promote social change.

Learn more about the Edmund Hillary Fellowship at

Thanks to Guy Ryan from Inspiring Stories for the photos.

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