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Field notes—PM’s trade delegation to Australia

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Brooke Roberts, our co-founder and co-CEO, recaps her trip with our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the Minister for Economic and Regional Development Stuart Nash, and 30 other businesses to reconnect with Australia.

  • Brooke Roberts, Co-founder and 3EO

    Brooke Roberts

    Co-founder, Director, and 3EO

A photo of two women—Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on the left, and Sharesies 3EO Brooke Roberts on the right. Both women are smiling into the camera, in front of a wall decorated with painted portraits.

Kei te ako tonu au i te reo Māori. I tērā wiki i haere au ki Te Whenua Moemoeā, mō te mahi. He makariri te huarere. I haere au ki a Poipiripi me Poihākena. I whakahoa atu au i te tokomaha ngā hoa hou. I kite au i te āhua noho o te Pirimia (ko te mutunga kē mai o te toritori). He whakaoho mauri, he maha ngā hua i titīa ki te hinengaro. Waihoki, he pai hei whāngai i te hinengaro. Ahakoa te ruhi kua kī taku kete.

I’m still learning te reo Māori (and this was written with support from my reo teacher). Last week I went to Australia. The weather was cold. I went to Melbourne and Sydney. I made many new friends. I got a glimpse at the life of our Prime Minister (very kind, hard working and longgggg hours). There were so many fruits that have been carved into my mind, and it was good for feeding my intellectual side. Even though it was exhausting, my basket is full.

A picture of the full trade delegation, standing in a row of stadium seating. Everyone is standing from the top left of the photo to the bottom right, all looking into the camera and smiling.

What’s a trans-Tasman trade delegation?

Led by our Prime Minister, the trans-Tasman trade delegation was an opportunity for businesses and governments across Aotearoa and Australia to reconnect after a few years of closed borders, and increase the ways we work together—through providing more investment, employment, and products and services in each market. 

The trip took place over a week, with stops in Melbourne and Sydney. We touched down to a Welcome to Country by Aboriginal leaders, and were fortunate enough to be a part of a smoking ceremony. 

From there, we spent the week going to networking events, listening to speakers that gave more context about the Australian economy, attending the Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum, and eating delicious cuisine made by epic NZ chefs based in Australia. 

Why was Sharesies there?

A photo of four people all smiling into the camera. From left it's Annette King (High Commissioner of New Zealand to Australia), Brendan Doggett (Country Manager of Sharesies Australia), Jacinda Ardern (Prime Minister of New Zealand), and Brooke Roberts (co-founder and co-CEO of Sharesies).
L-R: Annette King, Brendan Doggett, Rt. Hon. Jacinda Ardern, and Brooke.

Sharesies was one of 31 companies selected to be part of the delegation. The companies present mostly fit into three sectors—Food & Beverage, Consumer Goods, and Tech—with us being lucky enough to represent tech in Aotearoa. 

It was an incredible honour to be invited along. Companies get selected by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister’s Office after getting recommended by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) on the basis of:

  • Value add/innovative/knowledge-intensive companies.

  • Having good people and being willing to engage.

  • Committed to the market and able to invest in growth.

  • The totality of the delegation for diversity across sectors, gender, ethnicity, stage in growth.

We’ve been working with NZTE since Sharesies started, and we’re stoked to now be part of F700—meaning we’re in the 700 companies that NZTE ensures get the support they need to grow outside of Aotearoa. 

Sharesies operates in both Aotearoa and Australia, so it’s super helpful for us to build stronger ties across the Tasman.

Highlights

Brooke Roberts and Jessie Wong are smiling into the camera, standing on an airport runway in front of a Royal New Zealand Air Force plane.
Brooke with Jessie Wong from Yu Mei.
  • Meeting the founders and CEOs of so many incredible home-grown businesses. I’ve created friendships for a lifetime. It was also a bonus to be on the trip with Jessie Wong from Yu Mei—having a good mate in the room definitely wiped away any networking anxiety!

  • Meeting and connecting with the government and officials. No matter your politics, seeing the work (and time) politicians put in to advance Aotearoa was awe-inspiring. I was so appreciative of the time Prime Minister Jacinda Arden and Minister for Economic and Regional Development Stuart Nash gave to hear more about Sharesies, and share their thinking on advancing financial empowerment.

  • Sparking connections with business leaders in Australia that can support our growth across the ditch, and learning more about the power of NZTE. 

  • Singing heaps of waiata— I always find singing good for the soul, and I was proud to sing te reo to acknowledge those who welcomed or spoke to us.

  • Being there for NAIDOC week, and learning more about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and communities. 

  • Flying in the NZ Royal Air Force plane—it was super rad experiencing international travel from a PM’s viewpoint!

  • Finally meeting Victoria Devine from She’s on the Money—and within minutes of meeting, we were greeted by an awesome Sharesies investor and listener of the She’s on the Money podcast (and she was wearing a sweet pink blazer too!).

And so so many more!

Lowlights

  • Spilling tea on my lap on the way to Australia (with no access to my checked luggage for at least 7 hours). Turned out to be a great convo starter, so got to take the win too! 

  • Having an annoying dry cough that would appear at the most awkward times—those quiet times when someone was speaking and there I was… coughing.  

  • Missing my daughter’s first kindy concert (thankfully Leighton went along and filmed it so I felt like I was partially there). Also just missing my kids in general—it’s the longest time I’ve been away from them (and it was only 4 nights 😅).

What I learnt for Sharesies

I was gifted so much, through so much kōrerorero throughout the trip. In the end, I came away with a fuller understanding of the part Sharesies can play in building an image of Aotearoa as a place for tech for good. As a B Corp, we inherently think about how we make a positive impact on people, communities, and the environment. 

There are also heaps of great tech companies that are doing good here in Aotearoa, and plenty of opportunity to collaborate—to help shape Aotearoa’s tech story, and attract talent and trade to businesses started here. 

Aotearoa is really unique in our focus on people, place, and culture. Enhancing this will be our intergenerational impact on the world—and we’ve got heaps more to do to support financial empowerment for everyone both here and across the Tasman. 

As a tiny gesture of thanks to Jacinda Ardern and Stuart Nash, I left them both with some Sharesies stickers to pass on to their kids—so hopefully they had some fun over the weekend back in NZ (I know my kids did, putting the stickers all through my hair).

The full trade delegation standing outside of a city building, all smiling and looking into the camera with their arms wide open.

Ok, now for the legal bit

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