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New Zealand Story has launched an international awareness campaign promoting the unconventional and ingenious elements of the Kiwi psyche that help set Kiwis apart on the global stage.  

Building on recent nation branding efforts and featuring a line-up of talent diverse in both thought and sector, the Ingenious Together films promote innovative Kiwi businesses and well-known ‘friends of New Zealand’ with ties to Kiwi business, exploring why such homegrown thinking attracts the world’s attention. 

New Zealand Story Director Rebecca Smith says the awareness campaign is designed to raise New Zealand’s international profile in our key markets of USA, China, Japan, Australia and Singapore. It strategically follows two high impact international campaigns ‘Made with Care’ by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and ‘Messages from New Zealand’ by Tourism New Zealand (TNZ). 

“We’re excited to leverage the success of recent NZTE and TNZ campaigns by following with a series of rich content that champions Kiwis ingenious ways of thinking,” says Smith.  

“New Zealand businesses are highly creative thinkers – restless, adventurous, and unbound by convention – which sees us thinking up brave new ways of addressing problems that other people never knew existed.” 

“While border closures have impacted some of our traditional export sectors such as tourism, our weightless export sectors such as technology, gaming and the creative industries are very much open for global business.” 

The ingenuity campaign is informed by new qualitative research, a ‘Global Pulse Check’ by One Picture in June 2020, highlighting how global consumers have taken note of the way New Zealanders approach problems – including navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. One Picture’s perception research has driven market-specific adaptations of the films to suit the markets where they will play.  

International perceptions of New Zealand as ‘a nation of problem solvers’ has seen significant gains post-COVID, with scores of 8, 9 or 10 (out of 10) increasing from 36% to 62%, and the ‘10 out of 10’ score alone jumping from 0% to 17%.  

“Our island nation has been put on the world stage for navigating a problem that very few nations could replicate as successfully as New Zealand. The pandemic has given us a highly salient proof point for our ingenuity, so the timing of this campaign celebrates and takes advantage of that,” notes Smith. 

According to RepTrack Country Reputation Research carried out between March and April 2020, New Zealand reached the highest ranking in the country’s history of its own benchmarking, reaching fourth place for most reputable country of 55 nations.  Encouragingly, New Zealand is also starting to be seen as having an advanced economy, with a dimension score of 69.8, up from 65.7 five years ago. To move this dimension further, we need to focus on attributes like New Zealand’s contribution to global culture, technology advancements and our well-known brands. 

The creative approach for the films sees our talent, technology credentials and internationally recognised brands feature prominently, as does the value of ‘ingenuity’, ‘integrity’ and ‘kaitiakitanga’. 

“New Zealand is home to artists, inventors, and entrepreneurs who come up with original and bold solutions, while always caring for our people and our place,” says Smith. “We’re innovators who are not afraid to challenge the status quo, and with our spirit of exploration, adventure and creativity, we turn big ideas into reality.” 

CEO of DJ software Serato, Young Ly features in the films and says, “New Zealanders are very adaptive problem-solvers, which is great in this crazy world when we face new things all the time. When you’re adaptive and have a can-do attitude you’re happy to try different solutions, you’re inventing to solve new problems.” 

Other talent from the films include Helen Clark ONZ SSI PC, Hollywood actress and Jurassic World Trilogy star Bryce Dallas Howard (pictured), NASA scientist Delwyn Moller and former Apple and GoPro lead designer, Daniel Coster.


Photo: Greg Cross, co-founder of Soul Machines, is ine of many successful business people featured in the campaign.

Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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