Letting Go and Starting Over

Photo by      Marina Vitale      on      Unsplash

Photo by Marina Vitale on Unsplash

A new year and new beginnings. The end of a year can often coincide with other endings – the end of a relationship, the end of a job, or a career. Often there are huge financial implications flowing on from these events, and the prospect of dealing with these issues can be rather daunting, especially when the endings do not occur by choice.

A significant drop in income which occurs suddenly is a traumatic experience, and this is even more so if a relationship has ended and assets such as the family home need to be divided. Along with an ending comes emotional turmoil, even for a planned event such as retirement. For couples who are newly separated, one of the major issues to deal with is what should happen to the family home, particularly when there are young children involved. At a time of emotional instability, the family home is a safe haven. It is enough to deal with a relationship breakdown, let alone adding a house move into the picture. The burden for one partner of taking over the ownership can be made easier by taking in a boarder, getting financial help from family members, taking out an interest only mortgage, extending the term of the mortgage or taking a mortgage repayment holiday for a few months. For others who suffer a sudden drop in income, the danger is that spending is more than the new, lower level of income.

Big changes in your financial situation necessitate big changes to your lifestyle to avoid financial difficulty. Delaying the inevitable merely weakens your position, making it even harder to recover. Letting go of a family home, a holiday house, or small luxuries such as TV subscriptions helps to create a stable financial base from which to move forward and rebuild.


Liz Koh is an Authorised Financial Adviser. The advice given here is general and does not constitute specific advice to any person. A disclosure statement can be obtained free of charge by calling 0800 273 847.  For free eBooks, go to www.moneymax.co.nz and www.moneymaxcoach.com

New Auckland Art Gallery Director announced

Gregory Burke

Gregory Burke

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki welcomes a new Director in April with the appointment of returning New Zealander, Gregory Burke.  Most recently CEO of the Remai Modern gallery in Saskatoon, Canada, Burke’s career comes full circle when he returns to the gallery that, in 1983, first inspired him to embark on a visual arts career specialising in audio-visual projects. Over the last 20 years, Burke has directed acclaimed modern and contemporary art museums across New Zealand and Canada, including the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth, The Power Plant in Toronto and the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon. In addition, he has served as a volunteer in significant governance roles, including terms as a board member of Art Metropole in Toronto and as a member of the modern and contemporary acquisitions committee of the board of the Art Gallery of Ontario. 

Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA) CEO Chris Brooks, says Burke was a stand-out candidate in a world-class field of international contenders. “Gregory is as passionate about New Zealand art, as he is about Auckland as his home town. He has played a significant role in developing our country’s international art profile over the years and his impressive record in launching and leading modern, world-class art institutions is a perfect fit to take our iconic Gallery forward.” 

With a career spanning a number of New Zealand art institutions, Burke’s senior curatorial roles include seven years at Wellington City Art Gallery as Assistant Director and Chief Curator. He also spent three years at the Arts Council of New Zealand working with government and developing policy before becoming the Director of the Govett-Brewster and substantially lifting its international profile. Burke left New Zealand in 2005 to run The Power Plant in Toronto where he increased visitation by more than 250% and, in partnership with Sotheby’s NY, initiated the most successful fundraising event in the gallery’s history. Following a number of freelance roles, including delivery of the Montreal Biennale in 2014, Burke was appointed Executive Director and CEO of Remai Modern in Saskatoon, Canada. Working with one of Canada’s foremost architects to build the art museum, he created the vision for, and developed a prestigious, destination brand for the new institution. With his capital campaign achieving $180m, the art museum launched to great acclaim, far exceeding visitor targets and attracting more than 9000 memberships. 

CEO Chris Brooks says Burke’s track record in attracting destination visitors was one of the key factors in his appointment. “Under Gregory’s leadership, Remai Modern attracted over 450,000 visitors in its first year of operation, 240% more than anticipated in a city of only 300,000 people, with 40% of visitors from outside the region.  He has an excellent record in building earned and gifted revenue and for significantly growing museum engagement and visitation. RFA looks forward to working with Gregory and the talented team at Auckland Art Gallery in growing the reach and profile of our Gallery within our city, across our country and internationally,” he says. 

For Gregory Burke, coming home to Auckland Art Gallery means tapping into a world of opportunities. “There is a current global trend to identify art-cities. So far, São Paulo is the only southern-hemisphere city to make Artsy’s (https://www.artsy.net/) list of the 15 art-cities most mentioned in the media. I believe Auckland could be the next art-city. We have all the ingredients: a strong regional arts infrastructure, internationally recognised artists, reputable galleries, an art fair and, not least, many committed patrons. Auckland is poised to come into its own in terms of its distinct cultural demographics and its growing connections to the global arts industry; and Auckland Art Gallery can take a lead in enhancing Auckland’s prominence as a destination. I look forward to working with the Auckland Art Gallery team to put us at the forefront of emerging trends in the art world and front of mind for visitors to our region.”


  – ENDS –

Artificial intelligence a key for New Zealand’s future

Ben Reid

Ben Reid

New Zealand needs to seize new opportunities in 2019 and harness new AI technologies to deliver positive social and environmental outcomes, AI Forum New Zealand executive director Ben Reid says. 

Reid has just returned from a major international conference in Bangkok which was hosted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and Google's philanthropic arm, Google.org. 

The conference involved representatives from around the world discussing opportunities to leverage powerful new AI tools to drive social and environmental impacts. 

“AI is here and making giant leaps forwards in our lives. Some of the examples discussed at the Bangkok conference included using recycled mobile phones to listen to rainforest sounds and detect illegal logging activities; using machine learning to analyse aerial photos to closely monitor the endangered dugong (sea cow) populations in Australia; and employing AI to improve screening results for diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes which affects vision.   

“We are seeing so much potential for AI to solve some of our grand challenges in New Zealand, too. AI can be used to reduce road fatalities from more accurate analysis of accident hot spots and also from autonomous vehicles arriving on our roads very soon.  In Sydney they have recently started trialling AI powered cameras to improve road safety.  

“AI can be used to improve on current predictive analytics techniques for better social outcomes by training models from large datasets and case histories to better identify and recommend optimum courses of action. 

“AI is helping to reduce cancer deaths from melanoma by assisting doctors to identify cancerous moles earlier and more accurately (and helping to alleviate the shortage of trained dermatologists) 

“Researchers have looked at how AI can be used to reduce pollution - for example, by automatically identifying dairy cows which have strayed near waterways using machine vision on high resolution satellite images. 

“It is being used to improve educational outcomes by providing students with a 24/7 AI maths tutor, making individual tuition accessible to everyone. 

“And finally, AI will improve access to government services online whether via a simple chatbot on government websites or using AI to optimise digital customer journeys - enabling citizens to achieve what they want to do quicker and more efficiently. 

"AI and machine learning are often seen only as business tools to drive bigger profits. However, what we're clearly seeing now is that there are many opportunities to apply these technologies to achieve positive social and environmental outcomes. 

“The variety of applications covered at this conference across health, social justice, conservation, sustainability and climate change. AI is applicable everywhere and the tools are now becoming so accessible with open source and cloud tools readily available for anyone to get started,” Reid says. 

The AI Forum NZ is organising the AI-DAY conference in Auckland on March 27 and 28 which will showcase New Zealand and international case studies for how AI can be used to drive social and environmental outcomes. The event programme includes a two day AI for Good weekend hackathon.

- Make Lemonade

110,000 Kiwis in tech jobs; more expected in 2019

Graeme Muller

Graeme Muller

New Zealand, rated by the World Bank as the best country in the world to do business with, is still seeing massive and unprecedented growth in the high-paid tech sector. 

The number of tech sector jobs continues to grow rapidly, with 2830 new jobs created in 2017 and an estimated additional 3200 in 2018, making the tech sector easily the fastest growing in New Zealand, NZTech head Graeme Muller says. 

The employment growth has been fastest in computer system design firms like Xero, Push Pay and others who have added close to 15,000 new jobs in the past decade, Muller says.   

“A growing tech sector in 2018 is something for all New Zealanders to celebrate for many reasons. The growth is not limited to one part of the country. New tech roles are highly paid generating new wealth for regional New Zealand and research has found that for every new tech role created 4.9 other support roles are created in a community,” he says. 

“There are growing examples of globally successful tech firms operating out of the regions such as Animation Research in Dunedin, GPS-IT in Tauranga and TracMap in Mosgiel. 

“The regions are now looking more attractive for successful tech exporters. We saw The Straker Group, an internationally successful Kiwi translation software firm, begin the process of moving up to 20 of their staff from Auckland to Gisborne during 2018.  

“This growth in digital workers is not limited to the tech sector with most large organisations also trying to employ from the same limited talent pool which is driving up salaries to more than twice the New Zealand average. 

“The growing digital skills shortage was highlighted in an analysis of the market last year by the Digital Skills Forum and is the focus of a Digital Skills Hui at Wellington in March, bringing together all the relevant government agencies, leading tech employers, education facilities and NGOs to develop policy and programmes to enable New Zealand to respond quickly. 

“The exponential growth of the tech sector is expected to increasingly impact regional development in a positive way and New Zealand is well placed to benefit from a quick response to digital skills demand and future of work opportunities,” Muller says.   

NZTech works closely with government and is encouraged by the investment in teachers’ skills to support the introduction of the new digital technology curriculum in class rooms throughout New Zealand.

-Make Lemonade

Defence Force photographer finishes on a high at Ara

Sean Spivey.jpg

Army sniper turned photographer Sean Spivey is the first recipient of the Advertising and Illustrative Photographers Association (AIPA) Assistant Scholarship.

Awarded to a final year Bachelor of Design (Photography) student at Ara, the scholarship recipient is one Ara photography tutors believe most likely to become a professional commercial photographer in the future.

Sean has already ticked that box. He started taking photos during his eight years with the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) Infantry and, realising that he wanted to take photos full time, he made a case for the army to enroll him at Ara.

“I thought I could do more as a photographer for the army than I could as a grunt,” he said. “When I was crawling around in the dirt, I thought ‘someone should be photographing this’. It is such an important job. We work so hard. It is really important that general public sees the behind-the-scenes hard work that goes into it for New Zealand, otherwise you only see the bad stuff in the media.”

Sean was originally inspired by the great war photographers. “That’s where it all started – seeing those images and knowing I could be that person.”

However, his inside knowledge of NZDF will gave him a distinct advantage. “Because I went through the infantry ranks I can provide a fresh look, and a new point of view, and get right in there amongst it all, without compromising safety.”

The military life made Sean a disciplined student at Ara. Now a graduate of the degree, Sean has no student debt and a bright future ahead.

Based in Rolleston, Sean will transfer to the Air Force next year and continue to travel around the world; “where ever the guys go, a photographer will need to go with them, even to Antarctica, anywhere they are deployed”.

AIPA Executive Director Aaron K awarded the scholarship to Sean this week at Lightworkx Studio. Sean now has three months of mentoring with an AIPA member, camera equipment and access to the AIPA Assistant Training Workshop.

“Provides me an opportunity to further my skills, that’s the way I look at it, and provide more to Defence as a photographer, plus all the valuable stuff you get from being with other photographers.”