Leadership Network members
Sri Lanka summit

Top young New Zealand professionals visited Sri Lanka in December to deepen their knowledge of South Asia on an Asia New Zealand Foundation forum.

Watch a video of the trip

Fourteen members of the Foundation’s Leadership Network took part in the six-day forum, which focussed on social entrepreneurship and development.

The Foundation partnered with Cricket Live Foundation – an organisation set up to use cricket as a vehicle to develop life skills and education of underprivileged children from marginalised communities in Sri Lanka and India.

Asia New Zealand Foundation deputy executive director Adele Mason says: “These young people already have a wide range of experiences in Asia and expertise in the region. This was the first time we have held a forum in South Asia and we hope it will extend their knowledge of a region that is not often travelled to by New Zealanders.”

The forum included time volunteering with Cricket Live Foundation both in its classroom in Moratuwa and on the cricket pitch.

Cricket Live was established by Christchurch’s Alex Reese, who was inspired to set it up after visiting India as a teenager on a school cricket trip. Reese is also a member of the Foundation’s Leadership Network.

The participants also visited Dilmah Tea’s MJF charitable foundation, participate in a roundtable with Sri Lankan journalists, and visit Fonterra’s operations.

Grahame Morton, New Zealand’s High Commissioner to India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal, met the group to discuss New Zealand’s relationships with South Asia. The programme also included briefings, meetings, field visits, cultural experiences and team-building activities. 

The Asia New Zealand Foundation Leadership Network is a global professional network at the forefront of developing and maintaining strong links between Asia and New Zealand.

The network is an established group of talented young professionals aged between 20 and 40 who are dedicated to the future of New Zealand-Asia relations. The network, which began in 2007, now has 349 members.

New Zealand has longstanding Commonwealth, migrant and sporting ties with Sri Lanka, and a growing trade relationship. 

 Leadership Network members participating in the forum are:

  • Shirin Ahmed, network design engineer for Vodafone New Zealand, Auckland
  • Jehan Casinader, TVNZ reporter, Wellington
  • Anthony Costello, Chinese language graduate, Auckland
  • Guy Finny, solicitor at Minter Ellison Rudd Watts, Wellington
  • Will Flavell, head of Māori Studies, Rutherford College, Auckland
  • Melissa Heyrick, owner and director of Mandarin Stars Christchurch, & International Director at Cobham Intermediate, Christchurch
  • Amanda Hillock, corporate finance analyst, Deloitte, Wellington
  • Tim Horne, university teacher, Hubei, China
  • Karen Jackson, patent attorney at PL Berry & Associates, Christchurch
  • Rikky Minocha, associate consultant at Control Risks consultancy, New Delhi
  • Duran Moy, solicitor at Bell Gully, Wellington
  • Sylvia Smyth, coordinator at Renew Brighton and Computers in Homes, Christchurch
  • Elizabeth Tjahjana, architectural graduate at Paterson Architecture Collective
  • Ben Trieu, senior consultant, strategy and operations at Deloitte, Auckland