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KEA Launches In London For Kiwis Living In UK

26 June 2002

First Silicon Valley. Now London.

The Kiwi Expat Association (KEA) is launching its second chapter in four months -- this time in London on Thursday 27 June. The KEA San Francisco chapter was launched in March.

The non-profit KEA is a professional Kiwi expatriate network that is focused on entrepreneurship, knowledge and business connections – all aimed at helping New Zealand businesses grow in the global marketplace.

“Our purpose is to start connecting the expatriate community so they can be used as a resource by New Zealand businesses,” says KEA executive officer Mark Vivian.

A call has gone out to New Zealanders all over the UK in business, academia and research to attend the function, and to be a part of the KEA’s local and global network.

The event will be held at the Dartmouth House in Mayfair, central London, starting at 6.15pm (Friday morning New Zealand time).

One of KEA’s founding directors, David Teece, will address the group, providing insight into KEA’s vision and objectives. Professor Teece is global chairman of LECG, a multinational consulting group, and chairman of Canterbury International.

Guest speakers include NZ Ambassador Russell Marshall, and Prime Minister Helen Clark and Warehouse founder and KEA Founding Director Stephen Tindall will both address the group electronically.

Mr Vivian says KEA is deliberately different from the many informal groupings that link New Zealanders in cities and regions around the world.

“We have a strong business and entrepreneurial focus, not just a social one. Social events are a part of our mission but we are much more than a beer-and-cheese club.”

“We want to ensure that KEA members get real business and financial value from their membership,” Mr Vivian says.

KEA has established ‘clusters’ of several hundred New Zealand graduate students (Masters and PhD candidates) at Harvard, Princeton, UCLA, Oxford and Cambridge Universities, among other presitigious academic institutions.

To date, KEA has also assisted more than 30 New Zealand companies to make international connections with one or more of the 800 expat Kiwis in 22 countries currently on the KEA database.

Examples of recent connections made through the KEA network include:
 an Auckland-based wireless/mobile applications development company introduced to a major US software company
 a Hamilton-based software company introduced to a US-based travel services provider
 an Auckland-based rose exporter introduced to a US-based intellectual property lawyer
 a Wellington-based web strategy company introduced to a leading European consulting firm
 an Auckland-based publisher introduced to a prominent London-based financial publishing house
 a Wellington-based exporter of luxury bathroom goods introduced to a niche US-based importer
 several US-based New Zealand students identified for a New Zealand-based medical research scholarship
 the formation of a public policy discussion group in the UK and US.

KEA is an antidote to the so-called ‘brain drain’ that worries many New Zealanders.

“We prefer the view that the ‘Kiwi diaspora’ is a resource. It’s been called a ‘world-wide web of New Zealanders’ that can be organized and tapped for the benefit of the country, in a controlled, professional manner,” Mr Vivian says.

Accordingly, KEA is an official delivery partner of the Government’s ‘World Class New Zealanders’ project, launched in March 2002.

“Ireland and Taiwan have been successful in part because their citizens have retained links with their home country while establishing themselves around the world.

“KEA is providing that service for New Zealand.

“The vast majority of New Zealanders living overseas still feel very warmly about their country, want to keep their ties to it, and would be delighted to help New Zealand thrive economically. That applies whether or not they eventually return home to live,” he says.

You can register your interest in KEA on its website at

Potential sponsors or supporters of KEA can contact executive officer Mark Vivian on (64) 4 496 1359 or

Richard Palmer
Director, KEA UK

Richard Palmer, 34, is a New Zealand-born business and management consultant with more than 10 years experience working across a broad range of industries in the UK. His current focus is on assisting New Zealand companies seeking to expand their operations internationally. In this capacity, he holds a number of non-executive directorships including Pathway International, a training and development company.

With a law degree from Victoria University, he has since completed an MBA in International Business at Bristol University where he was awarded the Coutts Prize for top student.

Most recently, Richard worked for the mobile communications company Orange, where he held a number of senior business development and strategy roles. These included working as a key member of Orange’s strategic think tank, its Corporate Strategy, Futurology and Imagineering directorate, which was responsible for the strategic direction of the company. During this time, he helped to establish OrangeVenture’s £300m R&D and venture capital business, and was appointed one of the founding principal investors.

Prior to Orange, Richard worked in a range of industries including aviation,
investment banking and manufacturing, both in an operational capacity and as a management consultant.

Richard is married with two children, and lives in Bristol.

Mike Stead
Director, KEA UK

Mike Stead has a successful background in advertising, radio and music and, most recently, in computer training.

He began his career in advertising in Wellington where he worked for seven years for DDB Needham as an account director for such clients as NZ Lotteries, Philips, NZ Telecom and Yellow Pages.

On settling in London, he worked again in advertising then switched to radio broadcasting. For a number of years, he ran commercial production and promotions at LBC Newstalk. He has won both UK and international commercial radio awards.

Mike then headed up his own alternative music radio consortium in London, teaming up with two other New Zealanders including Ande Macpherson, currently one of the UK’s top programme directors. Mike raised £5 million, and the consortium completed some highly successful trial broadcasts. The consortium’s board of directors included New Zealander Brent Hansen, President of MTV Europe.

After the consortium put in an unsuccessful bid for the last FM licence in London, Mike decided to pursue a less risky venture, and started up a computer training company which currently operates two very successful centres in London. He is also a non-executive director and investor in a fledging computer help-line business.

Mike is chairman of NZ London Connections, a well-known London-only networking group. He is one of only two New Zealand directors of the Australia and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce, and is also a weekend chairman of the historic London New Zealand Cricket Club which is celebrating its 50th jubilee season this year.

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