2021 Keynote Speakers

Hon Nanaia Mahuta

As a mother, and a constituent MP with 20 plus years’ experience who has come from ‘flax-root’ politics, Hon Nanaia Mahuta remains connected to the aspirations of people from all walks of life. Those who work hard for a living so that their children can do better, kaumatua, tradespeople, those who aspire to own their home, those who own small businesses and those who lead a range of services and organisations and huge iwi entities.

During her time in Parliament, Nanaia supported policies and initiatives that built the capacity of communities, especially social service organisations, greater investment in education, employment and training opportunities particularly for young people, supported the continuation of the Treaty settlement process and supported specific initiatives that lift the wellbeing and opportunities for young mums and those who are vulnerable and victims of abuse.
Nanaia is a tribal member of Waikato-Tainui, Ngāti Maniapoto and Ngāti Manu and her parliamentary experience has enabled her to contribute to the collective aspirations of Maori and all New Zealanders.

In the 2020 Labour Government, Nanaia became the first woman to hold the Foreign Affairs portfolio. She is also Minister of Local Government, and Associate Minister for Māori Development.

Bill Bayfield

Bill Bayfield is the establishment Chief Executive of Taumata Arowai, the new water services regulator for Aotearoa. He joined in May 2020.

Previously he was Chief Executive of Environment Canterbury Regional Council (Ecan), a position he held since 2011.

Prior to Ecan, Bill was Chief Executive at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council between 2006-2011. From 2003-2006, he was General Manager, Sustainable Industry and Climate Change Group at the Ministry for the Environment, and before that held senior roles at Taranaki Regional Council.

He has a deep knowledge of drinking water and environmental regulation, and is an experienced local government Chief Executive..
His appointment as establishment Chief Executive of Taumata Arowai is on a fixed-term basis to December 2021.

In the coming months the new Taumata Arowai Board will consider a permanent appointment for 2022 and beyond.

Siouxsie Wiles

With her bright pink hair, Dr. Siouxsie Wiles is hard to miss! She’s one of the country’s most recognised and respected scientists, trained as a microbiologist. At the Bioluminescent Superbug Lab at Auckland University, Siouxsie and her team make nasty bacteria glow in the dark to find out what’s making us sick with the aim of finding new medicines. She still can’t quite believe she gets paid to do it for a living. Outside the lab, Siouxsie regularly appears on radio and TV, working hard to smash the stereotypes people have about what scientists and leaders look like.

Siouxsie has been recognised many times for her amazing contributions to science and society in New Zealand. In 2019 she was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to microbiology and science communication. Prior to this, she had been honoured as a Blake Leader by the Sir Peter Blake Trust as well as winning both the Royal Society Te Aparangi Callaghan Medal and the Prime Minister ’s Science Media Communication Prize. Most recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Siouxsie became one of the primary faces, communicators and educators in NZ, helping ease the public’s anxiety through lockdown and beyond. This led to Siouxsie being named the supreme winner of the Stuff-Westpac Women of Influence Awards 2020.

Traci Houpapa

Traci is an award winning company director and a recognised industry leader. She is a trusted advisor to Maori, Government and industry on strategic and economic development, and is known for her strong and inclusive leadership and her clear focus on building the wealth and prosperity of New Zealand.

A Chartered Fellow of the NZ Institute of Directors, Traci is named as one of the top ten most influential women in NZ agribusiness and the Listener’s top ten influencers in NZ. She won the Westpac Fairfax Media Women of Influence Board and Management award and named on Westpac’s NZ Women Powerbrokers list. Traci was awarded the Massey University Distinguished Alumni Service Award for services to NZ agribusiness and Maori, and named amongst the BBCs 100 Most Influential Women in the World.

Traci is a Member of the NZ Order of Merit, a Justice of the Peace and a Marriage Celebrant.

Huhana Smith

Associate Professor Huhana Smith is a visual artist, curator and principle investigator in research who engages in major environmental, trans-disciplinary, kaupapa Māori and action-research projects. She is co-principle investigator for research that includes mātauranga Māori methods with sciences to actively address climate change concerns for coastal Māori lands in Horowhenua-Kāpiti. Huhana actively encourages the use of art and design’s visual systems combined in exhibitions, to expand how solutions might integrate complex issues and make solutions more accessible for local communities.

Allan Prangnell

Allan is the Executive Director of Three Waters, within the Local Government Branch at the Department of Internal Affairs. He has led advice for the Department on the case for major transformation of the water infrastructure services and regulation. Allan has also led, in partnership with other government agencies, local government and iwi/Maori, the development and establishment of Taumata Aworwai, a new drinking water regulator in response to the Havelock North Drinking Inquiry. Allan has worked in a variety of leadership and advisory roles across local and central government and holds a Bachelor of Laws, Majoring in Public, Comparative and International Laws, and a Bachelor of Arts Majoring in Classical Studies and Politics.

Jon Lamonte PhD MA BSc (Hons)

Jon began his career in the Royal Air Force, where he served for 32 years, first as a fighter pilot and later holding senior roles in logistics and procurement for the Ministry of Defence. After leaving the RAF, he became chief executive of Tube Lines, running the engineering and upgrade of London’s busiest underground lines around the time of the London Olympics. He then headed up Transport for Greater Manchester, before moving to Australia for the role of chief executive of Sydney Metro, where he led the company through the opening of their first driverless line. He joined Watercare as its chief executive in April 2021, becoming responsible for Auckland’s water and wastewater services.