Connecting Kiwis in a network that transcends borders is something investor and business leader Phil Veal believes is key to tapping into the country’s full potential. Having a “borderless nation” brings back a lot of benefits through all the extraordinary things expat Kiwis are doing, whether that is creating animated movies or making a global impact through surgical robotics.
All of these sorts of achievements are celebrated each year at the World Class New Zealand Awards, of which Veal has been a judge for the past two years and is the chair of the judging this year.
The awards started in 2003, with previous winners including film-maker Andrew Adamson, former Deputy Prime Minister Sir Don McKinnon and Weta Workshops founder Sir Richard Taylor. Last year’s winner was Victoria University graduate Claudia Batten, a US-based serial digital entrepreneur who, at the age of 39, was the youngest ever finalist to take out the top award.
She hit the headlines in 2007 when Massive Software, a New York software firm she co-founded, was bought by Microsoft for a confidential sum but which some reports put as high as US$400 million ($561 million).