TEDxTauranga Speakers 2017

Here are the speakers for TEDxTauranga 2017.

If you have questions, email our Speakers team lead Charlotte Yates on charlotte@tedxtauranga.com.


Mike Seawright

TEDxTauranga 2017 Speaker

Crossing no man’s land – Mike Seawright left the corporate world for conflict zones and found humanity at its best. Mike Seawright is founder of ReliefAid and lives in Auckland.

Since leaving the corporate world behind 13 years ago, Mike Seawright has been delivering humanitarian assistance to families living in the world’s conflict zones. He has provided medical aid in Iraq, Yemen and South Sudan, economic development projects in Afghanistan, shelter, and education aid in Pakistan and most recently Syria. Frustrated that not enough was being done to help families affected by war and conflict Mike founded ReliefAid.  With a simple vision of helping families who had no one else to turn too, ReliefAid has delivered life-saving aid to over 68,000 people in war torn Syria, and he is not stopping there. While his work surrounds him in war and conflict Mike counts himself lucky to bear witness to what he calls “the very best of humanity”. He feels strongly about speaking out on behalf of those who are unable to speak for themselves. Mike’s experience has also shown him families really are the same the world over and that we can make a difference to those less fortunate than ourselves.

With a simple vision of helping families who had no one else to turn too, ReliefAid has delivered life-saving aid to over 68,000 people in war torn Syria, and he is not stopping there. While his work surrounds him in war and conflict Mike counts himself lucky to bear witness to what he calls “the very best of humanity”. He feels strongly about speaking out on behalf of those who are unable to speak for themselves. Mike’s experience has also shown him families really are the same the world over and that we can make a difference to those less fortunate than ourselves.

Email: mike.seawright@reliefaid.org.nz


Shelly Davies

TEDxTauranga 2017 Speaker

We don’t like to read the formal business voice. But somehow we still feel the need to write it. Come on, people! Reconnect with your reader-self. That formal business voice is DEAD. Shelly Davies, Head Ninja & Rockstar Writer, lives in the Tron.

Shelly Davies is Managing Director of Hamilton-based Shelly Davies Writing & Training.  Shelly bounced unconventionally and entertainingly into the New Zealand communications landscape in 2012.  With a brand that’s exploded across a surprising mix of sectors and industries she’s now leading the pack.

“Brand Shelly” is out of the box, bubbly, pretty damn irresistible, more than a little sassy, and rapidly giving fewer and fewer f*cks what anyone thinks.  And it’s working.  Her writing is sharp, sought after, and highly paid.  Her trainings are high energy, instantly impactful, and booked up to 2 years in advance.

She did her time in the classroom torturing teenagers and indoctrinating university students with academic conventions.  She killed off one husband,trainingut another one, and popped out 3 money-sucking vampires.  And then she discovered something amazing: good writing PAYS.  And like common sense, it ain’t common.

Email: shelly@shellydavies.com


Mayank Thammalla

TEDxTauranga 2017 Speaker

We as a species must adapt to the changing geography of our earth. Mayank uses an architectural design approach to look at how to shift the notion of culture and its connection to a disappearing landscape.

Mayank Thammalla grew up in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand and spent his childhood surrounding himself with nature’s beauty. Mayank holds a Masters of Architecture and is based in Mount Maunganui.

From a young age, Mayank was always inspired by the natural environment that he was surrounded with and knew that he was destined to work in the creative industry.

Mayank was considered 1 of 10 Designboom’s architectural visionaries of 2015.

Email: mayank.14@hotmail.com


 Mel Lee

TEDxTauranga 2017 Speaker

In the future, my workout shirt will have a mind of it’s own; I feel sorry for that thing! Mel’s upbeat perspective on the future of artificial intelligence will have you chuckling …and leave you thinking. Mel Lee, Founder of Backchat Media, lives in Katikati

Mel Lee has developed digital, social and content strategies for some of the

world’s biggest brands including McDonald’s, Pepsi Co, Seven West Media and

Cadbury. In 2014 at 24 years old, Mel founded Backchat Media Ltd, a boutique agency focused on ‘digital innovation with imagination’. The company now has offices in Auckland, Melbourne and Tauranga. Mel also developed the Lady Business Bootcamp, an online programme to help females set up and run their own online businesses from anywhere. Previously Mel held senior digital roles at OMD NZ, Southern Cross Austereo and Television New Zealand. She is also an active blogger, presenter and public speaker. Mel’s passionate about exponential technologies, cabernet sauvignon and anything made out of carbohydrates.

Email: mel@backchatmedia.com


 Aisha Te Kani

TEDxTauranga 2017 Speaker

Aisha is one of a kind… the kind who refuses to accept limitations and defies expectations, no matter the odds. Aisha Te Kani, lives in Tauranga.

Aisha is a 37-year-old woman from Tauranga who is an accomplished public speaker and is passionate about inspiring, motivating and introducing hope to her audience. Aisha has been invited to speak on many stages, both nationally and internationally, and welcomes the opportunity to keep doing what she loves

“My love of public speaking began when I was young when at the age of 12 I spoke for the first time in front of a school assembly sharing about my life.  I am a unique New Zealander in the type of medical condition I grew up with. I use my story and different aspects of my personal experiences to encourage and inspire those I speak to. I have spoken at a range of events, conferences and gatherings both here in New Zealand and overseas”.

Email: aishtk@hotmail.com


Claire Baker

TEDxTauranga 2017 Speaker

Does the thought of discussing your private bits make you cringe? Claire talks about surprisingly common issues which most of us don’t dare discuss. Claire Baker, Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist, lives in Tauranga.

Claire Baker is a pelvic floor physiotherapist and health coach passionate about reconnecting women to their bodies after childbirth and beyond. Warning signs of incontinence, prolapse, bowel dysfunction and sexual dysfunction are often ignored by women and men because of shame and embarrassment or belief that these issues are a “Normal”. Claire is passionate about letting people know that these issues are super common but not normal and you do not need to put up with them. Claire graduated in 2002 with a Bachelor of Health Science in Physiotherapy from Auckland University of Technology and in 2008 completed her Clinical Masters in Brisbane, Australia. Claire is kept busy running her physio practice and raising two young children and makes every effort play in the great outdoors with her family.

Email: clairebaker@live.com


Chris Battershill

TEDxTauranga 2017 Speaker

From below the Antarctic sea ice to sewage outfalls, Chris Battersill deep dives into the biodiversity discussion that is so relevant to our own Bay of Plenty coast line.

Chris Battershill became the inaugural Professor and Chair of Coastal Science with the University of Waikato in January 2011. He has returned to New Zealand following twelve years as leader of the Marine Resources and Biodiversity Teams at the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), focusing on coastal processes, conservation, oil and gas industry development in the north and west of Australia, new species aquaculture and biodiscovery.

From an MSc in environmental toxicology (Maui Environmental Program), he completed his PhD at Auckland University in reef ecology in 1986 then undertook a 3 year Research Fellowship funded by the National Cancer Institute (US) based at the University of Canterbury, where he led the biological program associated discovery of anti-cancer active chemicals from New Zealand seas. He did Post Doc work in Australia and then worked at DoC and NIWA for 11 years focusing on sedimentary impacts on coastal ecosystems, sustainability of marine resource use, again building capacity in research associated with drug discovery from marine sources. The drug Halaven® and two other leads, now in late phase preclinical trial at the NCI, resulted from the New Zealand teams’ work, and four drug leads were advanced in Australia.

Battershill’s research in the field of Marine Biotechnology has been based on examining the ecological role of biologically active metabolites from marine invertebrates and algae, thus allowing translation to applied uses for medicine and agriculture.  The outcome is providing the leads for remedies needed by society. An underpinning driver is valuing marine biodiversity and championing its conservation.

Email: c.battershill@waikato.ac.nz


Nick Harvey

TEDxTauranga 2017 Speaker

What is the key to reaching your full leadership potential and in turn your full life potential? Nick asks and answers the three key leadership questions; the answers to which transcend leadership into our daily lives. Nick Harvey, leadership development, based in Wellington.

Nick is a business strategist who works directly with business owners, boards, CEO’s and their leadership teams on leadership, strategy, and execution.

Focusing on the 3 pillars, strategy, culture and the market, Nick specializes in strategic planning, team culture and customer experience with a specialization in leadership, team engagement and sales strategy.

After completing his BMS at the University of Waikato, Nick worked in the US before returning to NZ in 2002 to run his industrial packaging company.

For the past 7 years, Nick has consulted to business owners and leaders throughout NZ and internationally.

Email: nick.harvey38@gmail.com


Debra Lampshire

TEDxTauranga 2017 Speaker

Debra Lampshire, the owner of mutinous mind, works to dismantle the barriers that prevent awareness and compassion around mental illness in our society. Debra lives in Auckland.

Debra has an extensive background as a mental health educator.

Debra is a professional teaching fellow at The University of Auckland and also a Project Manager for Auckland District Health Board. Debra has transferred her 30 years of the lived experience of recovery, voice hearing and the shared experiences of the consumers she has worked with, into a wealth of knowledge that is collaborative, interactive and empowering.  She is a prominent leader and mentors to others within the service-user and clinical movement in New Zealand and a well know trainer, educator, writer and advocate within national and international mental health services. Recipient of the Making a Difference Award and the Supreme  Award Winner of the 2017 ACC Attitude Awards

Debra is the current Chairperson for ISPS New Zealand and a member of the executive committee for ISPS international.

Email: d.lampshire@auckland.ac.nz


Lynn Berresford

TEDxTauranga 2017 Speaker

Intelligence does not always mean success in life. Lynn talks about the mixed blessings of what the world calls “gifted”.

M.Ed [Hons], Dip Teaching [Distinction], Registered Psychologist with over 40 years of experience working with adults, children, and teenagers with exceptional needs.  Lynn has developed extensive and practical knowledge of these individuals who learn differently.

Lynn has acted as the Gifted Education Centre consultant psychologist ever since the establishment of the centre in 1995.   She was one of the “Ask an Expert” on the Ministry of Education TK1 website [Gifted and Talented Community Parent and Whanau].

She is a life member of the NZ Psychological Society and life member of SPELD New Zealand.  She is also a member of the N.Z. Counsellors Association and N.Z. Gifted Children Association.  She was a founding member of the Auckland group for gifted parents and gifted children.

Lynn is a dedicated, experienced and skilled advocate for individuals who have behaviours reflecting Giftedness, Dyslexia, Attention Deficits, Dyspraxia, Aspergers etc.

Email: lynnberresford@indigo.org.nz


Sarah Thomson

TEDxTauranga 2017 Speaker

Sarah works as a graduate lawyer in Auckland and studied at the University of Waikato. In 2015, with the help of law firm LeeSalmonLong, Sarah filed judicial review proceedings challenging the New Zealand government’s inadequate climate change targets.

Sarah is asking the High Court to review the government’s decision to set New Zealand’s emissions reduction target under the Paris Agreement at 11% below 1990 levels by 2030. She also seeks review of the government’s failure to revise the 2050 target and set it in accordance with current climate science. The hearing was in June this year, with the final judgment still to be released.

Email: sarahlorrainethomson@gmail.com



Plum Jam

TEDxTauranga 2017 Entertainment

We are a five piece contemporary/funk jazz combo out of Tauranga Boys College. We have 20+ years musical experience combined and have competed in several prestigious music and jazz competitions in NZ.

We generally play in the contemporary jazz genre but have no difficulties adapting both classic and modern songs to a jazz/funk styling.

Our versatility in playing styles makes us ideal for both large scale and intimate events as we are able to change our playing and arranging style to suit the occasion of whatever gig we are at.

Facebook / Mobile: 027 346 2223 / Email: akashd98@yahoo.co.nz


Freddy Matariki Carr

TEDxTauranga 2017 Entertainment

Have you ever seen someone combine rhythmic hoop gymnastics with modern dance? Ok but how about with two hoops? Yeah, but with hoops that glow in the dark? Thought so.

Freddy Matariki Carr is a flow artist and dancer that travels the world drawing inspiration from foreign lands and layering them with a uniquely New Zealand performance. Graceful, soothing, and beautiful.

Mobile: 027 3447979


Toka Tu

TEDxTauranga 2017 Entertainment

Haka fusion combines the immense power of Māori kapahaka with the buoyancy of hip hop. Toka Tu will lead the New Zealand pop culture renaissance if New Zealand pop culture knows what’s good for it.

We need a modern interpretation of a unique Aotearoa music and dance culture, and Toka Tu’s athleticism, story-telling, and wild poi work are the best example I’ve seen. What a joyous note to walk out on.

Facebook / Mobile: 027 722 5452 / Email: kila@southseas.co.nz