Speakers of 2017

The speakers for 2017 made TEDxUoA's inaugural event a massive success with their inspiring and motivational talks. Check them out below!

Trent Hohaia

As an increasingly isolated generation, that spends less time face to face with other human beings than at any time in history, oral storytelling has become more important than ever. It is through storytelling we are able to find identity in the present, and to better navigate the future through connection to the past. Trent is passionate in the pursuit of the repatriation of traditional Māori learning methods into the homes of Māori whanau.

Held deeply in this passion is a belief is that the old ways of learning of his people are relevant, powerful and have helped esoteric knowledge bases survive the many oppressions faced. He is a proud descendent of Ngāti Maniapoto, of the Tainui Waka.

Rez Gardi

Anyone has the power to create change in the world - it's all about the little things. Rez Gardi speaks about her own experience with creating ripples in the world and how she found the power to make an impact in her own way. Rez was born in a United Nations refugee camp in Pakistan as her Kurdish family escaped persecution in their home land of Kurdistan.

After years of struggle, Rez and her family were fortunately given the opportunity to resettle in New Zealand to and create a new life for themselves. However, Rez never used her family's misfortune as a reason to underachieve, rather as motivation to excel beyond expectations.

Arriving with nothing, Rez has sought to use her difficult start in life as motivation to succeed recently becoming New Zealand’s first Kurdish female lawyer. She was awarded the Young New Zealander of the Year for 2017 for her services to human rights and a Women of Influence Finalist. With an understandable passion for human rights, Rez hopes to focus her legal career on fighting for justice and equality for underprivileged and marginalised people which she is doing through her role as a global refugee youth advocate.

Sharndre Kushor

Sharndre’s life passion is helping our generation to discover their capabilities, confidence and leadership potential. She explores how active learning can be used as a tool for building a diverse, creative and future focused society.

As Co-founder and Chief Operations Officer of Crimson Education, Sharndre has helped turn a small start-up into a hundred-million-dollar global education company, spanning 20,000 students. In the 2015/16 admissions round, 90% of New Zealand students who gained admission to Ivy League Universities were Crimson students. In 2016 Sharndre graduated from Auckland University with a Bachelor of Health Sciences specialising in Population Health. The same year she oversaw Crimson expand its offices from Auckland and Sydney to: Melbourne, London, Bangkok and Singapore. The Crimson network now includes over 2,000 tutors and mentors, and over 20,000 students. This year Sharndre was featured on the 2017 Forbes Asia - 30 Under 30 list.

Jupiter Project

Realise. Create. Convert. Conquer - The four steps to turn your history into a life hack. Gavin Correia and Dr. Martin Mhando Jr explore how our origins often hold the keys to our greatest opportunities. Jupiter Project are best known as New Zealand’s Top Electronic DJ Act and have been behind some of the biggest records, campaigns, and PR stunts of the past few years.

Few know the inspiring story behind the pair’s award winning plaques - Gavin and Martin both graduated in Law/Commerce and Doctor of Chiropractic respectively. Taking the road less travelled, the boys unconventionally used the skills they gained in university to navigate a completely new territory in music and social media, developing their passion into a successful enterprise reaching millions today. As New Zealanders with origins in India and Tanzania, the boys are a true testament to "following the beat of your own drum” and live an inspiring story worth sharing with the youth.

Aliesha Staples

Hear Aliesha speak about the future of story telling and how technology is playing a role in the evolution of a new medium for story telling – virtual reality. Learn how people are exploring the limits of visual and audio effects to evoke strong emotions from people through powerful stories.

Aliesha is the Managing Director behind Staples VR (Staples Rentals) a Virtual Storytelling content creation studio with clients including Warner Brothers, Paramount Studios and Disney. They are the first company to have a 4k live streaming VR system in this side of the world.

Jarrod Isopo

Never before has Aotearoa been as diverse as it is today as we have more ethnicities than there are countries around the world. Jarrod Isopo guides us through his journey as a Samoan in New Zealand and explains to us the importance of embracing diversity and cultural change.

Jarrod is a New Zealander with a proud Samoan heritage. But his life is not as straightforward as it seems! He has changed his area of study at least 4 times, been to three different tertiary institutions, worked as a personal assistant to a Republican, pretended to be a qualified accountant, and once lied about his age to get a job at the local fish and chips shop. His life can be perceived as different, but regardless he would not have wanted it any other way. He looks forward to sharing his view on Whakapapa, and the historical impacts it has had on Generation Y from a Polynesian perspective.

Greg Cross

Greg is one of the original tech nomad’s, who has spent his career travelling to and living in every major tech market in the world. He talks about the future in relation to Artificial Intelligence and how it is becoming omnipresent in the world Greg is one of the original tech nomad’s, who has spent his career travelling to and living in every major tech market in the world.

In 2016 Greg teamed up with Dr. Mark Sagar to create Soul Machines, a company focused on humanizing the next generation of computer technologies. By combining a human face with brain models they're literally bringing computers to life in a very human-like way. He is also the Sir John Logan Campbell Executive in Residence at the University of Auckland Business School.