Savvy welcomes students from all tertiary institutions throughout New Zealand, including Asia Savvy alumni and friends as well as new undergraduate and post-graduate students. Our conference and other networking events provide the opportunity for students to connect by sharing ideas and experiences.


Students engage in an informal learning environment with professional speakers from industry and experts from academia and the public/NGO sectors,. Speakers discuss key issues and challenges relevant to the conference topic, sharing their stories, insights and knowledge from on-the-ground experience in Asia.


Applicants submit a 300 word essay to secure a place at the conference. Prizes are awarded for best essays along with the chance to be published in our conference e-book. The conference provides ample opportunity for students to engage in lively discussions and share ideas and experiences.

Increase your leadership potential by being Asia-Savvy AND…

  • Learning from and interacting with experts from academia, industry, government and NGO sectors in lively discussions and workshops.
  • Networking with like-minded students in discussions and workshops.
  • Having the opportunity to have your essay published.


2021 Symposium: Strengthening Resilience – How to build resilience by overcoming challenges

Venue:     via zoom link to be circulated 24 hours beforehand

Time:       10am to 11.45am

How kiwi businesses turned negatives into positives during recent lockdowns.

We are moving online opening up to all tertiary students nationwide AND no essay requirement to attend!

Hear stories from our four fantastic speakers who not only survived by flourished during last year’s lockdowns by adapting to the challenging environment with creativity and resilience. They will also share some of their own personal challenges during that period.


Register by 13 September 2021


10am Welcome and introduction
Professor Nigel Howarth, Director, New Zealand Asia Institute
Kaitlin Outtrim, Asia Savvy Committee Co-Lead

Panel discussion: Turning negatives into positives during adversity

  • Dr Angela Lim, CEO and Co-Founder, Clearhead
  • Joe Bradford, Co-owner, Fiasco
  • Kristy Grant, Founder and Director, Miramar Creative & Chief Operating Officer, Lane Street Studios
  • Dr Leon Gurevitch, Head of Industrial Design, Lane Street Studios and Associate Dean of Research and Innovation, Faculty of Architecture and Design, Victoria University of Wellington
11.15am Q&A moderated by Shisla Macleod, Asia Savvy Committee Co-Lead
11.30am Introduction to Asia New Zealand Foundation
Alexis Allen, Project Officer
11.35am Prizegiving and concluding remarks
Nigel Haworth
11.45am Symposium ends

The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists.”  
                                                                        Japanese proverb

  Sponsored by:



Kristy Grant
Founder and Director, Miramar Creative
Chief Operating Officer, Lane Street Studios

Kristy has a background in international marketing and telling the New Zealand creative story overseas. Kristy’s organisations have been established to promote and support the future sustainability of the New Zealand creative sector through the development of infrastructure in the form of physical production spaces as well as education to industry engagement programmes.

As part of Kristy’s role as CEO of Lane Street Studios, Kristy is responsible for the overall design and delivery of a range screen production facilities, development of the business that operates the facilities, and also has an additional focus on vocational training and education to support the wider national screen sector. Kristy and the team are working with production companies both in NZ and Internationally that will come and reside at Lane Street throughout their production programme. Each production will provide approx. 500 crew jobs on site, an additional 250+ to supporting screen businesses and contribute approx. $450M to our economy per year.

Dr Angela Lim
CEO and Co-Founder, Clearhead

Angela is a doctor and an entrepreneur working in the mental health space. During lockdown, her team ensured their online platform was able to provide responses to triggers of psychological distress, including whether someone needed to be tested for COVID-19 or not. 

Clearhead helps kiwis build resilience through self-awareness and having access to practical coping tools.

Join us to learn more about her start-up journey.

Leon Gurevitch, Head of Industrial Design at Lane Street Studios
Associate Dean of Research and Innovation, Faculty of Architecture and Design, Victoria University of Wellington

Leon heads up the Industrial Design team for the Lane Street Studios development. Utilising his industry connectivity and knowledge of international screen production, Leo is illuminating the pathway for the range and scope of creative technologies made available for production companies at Lane Street Studios.

In an academic capacity, Dr. Leon Gurevitch is Associate Professor at Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Design where he researches global creative industries, transformative technologies and complex systems design. Leon has previously been a Marsden Fund recipient for “The Digital Workshops of the World” Research Project, a visiting scholar at multiple institutions across the United States including Yale University.

Joe Bradford
Co-owner, Fiasco

Joe is a global networker and cross-cultural connector. From his experience living and travelling in much of Asia and the US he saw first-hand the importance of building relationships to add value across cultures and borders.

During COVID his team at Fiasco ramped up on the innovation front, flipping the company’s whole world upside down with amazing results.

Joe will tell his story and give us his tips which led to this result.

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Meet the committee.


This student-led conference is organised and supported by the New Zealand Asia Institute of the University of Auckland. It aims to attract a dynamic group of students from New Zealand universities nationwide. This presents attractive sponsorship opportunities for business and organisations whose participation would enhance the event.


The Asia Savvy Ambassador Programme provides students with the opportunity to act as liaisons between Asia Savvy and their respective universities.