Susan Sawbridge

Manager New Zealand Major Events
New Zealand Major Events
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Susan Sawbridge leads New Zealand Major Events, housed within MBIE.  The team has responsibility for the Crown’s role in the 36th America’s Cup, the Major Events Fund, and coordinates major event support and leverage across government.  Susan has a background in destination development across tourism, international education, business events and major events.  She is also a director and founding member of the International Association of Event Hosts. 

Peter Cox

Chief of Operations
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My current role is Chief of Operations for APEC21 and I am tasked with providing leadership, assurance and connectivity across events planning and delivery to ensure the operational success of New Zealand’s APEC hosting year.  This includes the planning and implementation of all APEC events and associated logistics in line with the established hosting objectives, the expectations of the Government and within the allocated funding. My responsibility includes working in close partnership with New Zealand Police, host cities, other key stakeholders and alongside APEC21 Programme leaders responsible for APEC policy and maximising the opportunities from the hosting year.  


Prior to this role I worked at Sport New Zealand in Wellington for 12 years. For much of that time I was Manager Major Events providing end-to-end strategic and operational support to over a hundred mega/major sporting events in New Zealand. I also had roles as Manager High Performance Facilities overseeing development of a network of world-class daily training environments, Acting Manager Stakeholder Engagement and as Head of the Culture Team at Sport New Zealand.

I have always been motivated by the desire to create value for society and to help people explore and grow to their full potential. Major events have been a wonderful way to do this through the variety of benefits they offer and the stretch they demand from those working on them and participating in them.

Tom Mayo

Company Director & Co-founder
Mayo & Calder
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Mayo and Calder is the exclusive event delivery company for both the Defender and Challenger of the 36thAmericas Cup. Managing both events (The Match and Challenger series) for up to sixteen weeks, the AC is the largest sports event to hit NZ since the RWC 2011.

Mayo and Calder are a private company who have delivered Major Events across Asia Pacific, most recently the 2018 Volvo Ocean Race in Auckland, Melbourne and Hong Kong. The 2018 Hong Kong Volvo Ocean Race was the largest sports event funded by the HK government and Mayo and Calder took the opportunity (and full risk) to deliver and produce the event. The Company has delivered, end to end, six major international sports events, generating millions in sponsorship, managed government funds and delivered in some of the most remote and time pressured environments. 

Aaron Carter

Owner & Director
Total Sport
Aaron Carter

Aaron founded Total Sport in 2000, and could probably write a book on the steps not to take in forming start-ups! 


We’re a small team with a big passion for creating opportunities for like-minded people to experience some of the most stunning natural landscapes in New Zealand, this magnificent playground we get to call home. We are all about creating challenging and inspiring experiences in stunning natural locations. Our products are great events, our business is people.


We stand by our pillars and values every day as they shape our business, our decisions and our actions. In all we do we aim to be Inclusive, Innovative, Inspiring, Sustainable, and to operate with Integrity at all times.


In the Total Sport event portfolio nowadays are approx. 20 annual events, all in the outdoor participation-based sport and recreation space.

Andrew O’Loughlin

Event Advisor
Andrew O'Loughlin
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Andrew O’Loughlin is a Melbourne based Event Advisor, Author, Trainer and Mentor, and co-host of ‘The Event Show’ podcast.  Having been in events for over 25 years, Andrew spent the last decade leading an international event agency and is now helping people create more successful events, and be more successful as event people. 

With vast experiences across major events, festivals, corporate, brand, sport, and government-related campaigns; Andrew is now leading and facilitating learning experiences with event leaders like you. 

Andrew’s approach uses leading ‘Experience Design’ methods, to create more influential events and influential event people.  






Recalibrating your personal development

As event people, we are in a fortunate position. We work in a positive space with passionate people. But it’s not always easy. There 2 sides to events, the opportunities, and the challenges. 

Inspiring and complex. Front of house and back of house, the perception and reality. Resources and expectations, problems and solutions. Work and life. The journey and the destination. Ups and downs. Sometimes thriving, sometimes just surviving.  

This session is about what you can, and should do, to do the work you love, the way you like. To live the life you want to lead. To be on the right side of the 2 sides.  To work better, and live better.


From Surviving to Thriving. Being on the Right Side in Events  

Events are inspiring. We have all experienced the joy seeing it all come together. To create something for the world to enjoy. But as we have found, there are 2 sides to events. It is not always as it seems, possibly not what we signed up for. 

It is an inspiring, but challenging world. You work hard and deserve to do well. But most of us are too busy with right now, with no time to look ahead to what is next. And our pathway is often not clear, our next steps, or opportunities. And we all need some help to achieve our aspirations. 

In this session, we will define where you want to go. We will create a robust plan with meaningful steps, giving you the motivation, capability, and opportunity to achieve what you want to achieve.


Life By Experience Design 

We know that our events influence people, that with intentional design we can provide transformative experiences. So why not use these elements to positively influence our own lives? 

Events are about people, coming together, at a time and place to share a passion. And our work is about bringing people together behind the scenes, for a common purpose.

In this session we look at how we can use the influence of Time (the milestones and moments), Places (the things around us), and People (those around us, and the thoughts within us). 

To create better experiences - for you - in your work.

Paul Kean

Events Production Team Coordinator
Christchurch City Council
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Paul is Christchurch born and has lived in the city most of his life. As a Council Events Co-ordinator for 14 years he's been project lead for KidsFest and the hugely popular SummerTimes Festival programme which includes favourites such as Sparks, Kite Day, Summer Theatre and Lazy Sundays.

 Prior to joining the CCC Events Production Team Paul cut his teeth in Event Production as the Student Activities Co-ordinator at the University Of Canterbury for 16 years. This included producing huge Orientation Festivals, Graduation Balls, the notorious End of Lectures Tea Party and weekly lunchtime concerts along with enabling the student performing arts clubs to flourish.


Paul sits in the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame celebrating his halcyon days with Toy Love and is a founding member of The Bats who have recorded 10 albums and toured the world many times since 1982. He has also helped produce performances for New Zealand Music Month and recently played with The Bats at the Christchurch Town Hall as part of the Arts Festival programme.

Paul says his background as a musician has helped in his role at the Council. "To be known and have a bit of a profile in the industry certainly helps when you're knocking on doors or phoning performers up. It's an advantage for all for me to see events production from both sides."

Rosaria Ferguson

Event Producer
Boma New Zealand
Rosaria Ferguson

Rosaria see’s events as opportunities for experiential transformation or space to see or try a new perspective. Crafting events utilises her practical knowledge, creativity, problem solving and organisation skills as she turns ideas into actions, testing new concepts and supporting youth projects.
Events are the pinnacle of all the things I love - people, food, music, connection, exploration and vibrancy.

Rosaria has worked in many different environments, on a wide range of projects and events in all areas from Sustainability Management to Stage Management in both community and private sectors; Free, Public events to Charity Dinners. 

Karena Finnie

Head of Major and Business Events

Karena Finnie has recently joined ChristchurchNZ as Head of Major & Business Events after a 13 year career in the Events & Arts Team at the Christchurch City Council.

Karena has held senior management and advisory roles working across many major and community events including FIFA U20 World Cup, ICC Cricket World Cup, World Bowls Championships, KidsFest, SummerTimes and Christchurch’s ever so popular Botanic D’Lights. 

In 2011 Karena worked for Rugby NZ 2011 as Regional City Liaison Manger for Rugby World Cup.

Karena has been one of the driving forces in Christchurch behind the attraction, sponsorship and development of events in the city. Developing bid documents, producing events, managing famils, developing leverage and legacy plans along with the procurement of commercial sponsorships.

Deane Simmonds

Event Development Manager
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Deane is an accomplished executive manager across commercial, arts and events sectors. Currently, he is working at ChristchurchNZ as an Event Development Manager with a diverse portfolio and he relishes the challenge of delivering multiple project objectives for all his clients. In partnership with Strut & Fret, he will speak about how the initial 2018 Bread & Circus – World Buskers festival performed in relation to expectations, and where to next for the 2019 festival.







Vision to Reality – Bread & Circus 

  • The experience in re-branding an event 
  • Our vision for how it would go in the first year versus reality
  • Outcomes expected and opportunities created

Duane Mutu

Director & Co founder
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Duane Mutu is widely regarded as one of the leading esports voices and personalities in the Australasian region. He speaks extensively around the globe on esports and gaming. Having previously worked on the publisher side of gaming for over 10 years with heavy-hitting brands like Ubisoft, EA, Warner Brothers, Disney, THQ, he more than understands how the gaming ecosystem works. He now sits on the esport side of the fence having founded leading esport company Lets Play Live (LPL) who are market leaders in the esports space. He is a media expert having regular slots on mainstream media outlets like breakfast TV and is also a TV and online gaming host.

Richard Gill

CEO Director & Founder
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Richard has created disruptive technology products for industries as diverse as broadcasting, finance, education, emergency management, energy and construction, which lends him a deep understanding of the complexities facing organisations of all sizes. Good governance, strong leadership and effective technology commercialization are his special focus.

Richard has a number of notable technology startups under his belt, including Current Technologies, Monstar Labs, Digital Water & Cyberglue Software. He is currently a Director of the Institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd (ESR), Sumfood Ltd, and is an advisor on ICT, strategy and innovation to a number of organizations.

When he’s not working on realising his vision for Blerter, Richard is impatiently waiting for the arrival of his Tesla Model 3.  

“I started Blerter because I’m passionate about leading-edge technologies and their ability to drive key improvements in human safety and organizational performance.”


Managing risk in all shapes and sizes of outdoor events

Keep people safe and secure:

  • When a crisis arises at your event, how can you leverage technology to help ensure your emergency response procedures safely bring the crowd out of harm’s way?
  • Do you have adequate communications channels to keep your whole team connected at all times so that they can respond to any incidents promptly?
  • Can you pinpoint exactly where a problem or incident occurs so that logistics, security or medical teams can tend to the situation without delay?


Richard Gill, Founder and CEO of Blerter, will discuss the importance and challenges of managing risks of all shapes and sizes at outdoor events and what you need to be thinking about as you plan your events.

Jill Day

Deputy Mayor
Wellington City Council
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Jill Day is a proud Wellingtonian, having moved to the capital when she was 14. She graduated from Victoria University with degrees in biochemistry, molecular biology and genetics and went on to become a primary school teacher.

She soon became immersed in her local community and undertook many volunteer roles, including chairing school a board, being president of a local Playcentre, a member of residents associations and a school volunteer.

She was elected to the council in Wellington’s Northern Ward in 2016, and was appointed Deputy Mayor in September 2017. She is Wellington’s first female Māori Deputy Mayor. Her iwi is Ngāti Tūwharetoa and she maintains close links with her culture. She speaks te reo Māori and is working to become more fluent. One of Jill’s goals on Council is to be a voice for Wellingtonians in need, especially young people and families. 

She holds the Council Māori Partnerships, Governance, and Children and Young People portfolios. She was instrumental in creating Te Tauihu, the te reo Māori Policy for Council in an effort to expand the use of the language in Wellington. 

Another focus of her Council work is in helping Wellington become a more child-friendly city and she is keen to see Wellington’s spaces and playgrounds revitalised and more programmes and events for young people and children.  She is also a keen advocate for the retention, growth and upgrading of suburban centres because she feels they are vital to the health of communities.