NYLD 2020 Speakers

William Pike – Inspirational speaker and explorer (Speaking at all events)

Motivational speaker William Pike inspires, motivates and wows students with his collection of remarkable stories including surviving a freak Mount Ruapehu volcanic eruption. An eruption that claimed one of his legs but left his drive to succeed and passion for adventure unscathed.

The underlying theme of William’s stories as an inspirational speaker is how critical it is to step outside of your comfort zone to overcome challenge, change and achieve extraordinary things.

In addition to being an accomplished inspirational speaker, Kiwi explorer, author, and trained teacher – William is the director of the popular schools programme the William Pike Challenge. A project based learning programme run by teachers to prepare students to step outside of their comfort zone and develop essential 21st-century skills. Nearly 100 schools are participating in the programme in 2020!

As a 2015 Young New Zealander of the year finalist, 2017 Blake Leader Award recipient, 2019 Auckland University Distinguished Alumni Award Winner and a national role model – William is a leader and an achiever who resonates passion and success without limits.

Be prepared to relive William’s fascinating journey on the edge of your seat with your students who will undoubtedly feel inspired to step outside their comfort zone to achieve and experience more than just ordinary! 


Steve and Riley Hathaway – Young Ocean Explorers (Speaking at all events)

Photograph Richard Robinson © 2014

Since 2012 Steve and Riley Hathaway have been on a mission to inspire kids to love our ocean, through entertaining education and their Young Ocean Explorers programme.

At all NYLD 20 events we will hear from both Riley and Steve, with Riley speaking to NYLD students, and Steve presenting at our special Teachers Professional Development session (registrations open for this in the New Year).

ABOUT STEVE: Steve Hathaway started filming underwater professionally in 2008. Since then his footage has appeared on BBC’s Blue Planet 2 and numerous international documentaries including popular documentary ‘Blackfish’.

A 2019 BLAKE Winner Steve says, “There is nothing as powerful as a great story to captivate a child’s imagination. My mission is to inspire children to love the ocean through entertaining education to engage their innate curiosity of the natural world and science.”

ABOUT RILEY: In Year 8 her school project on turtles and plastic became the inspiration for the children’s TV series Young Ocean Explorers, where Riley goes on adventures into her dad’s world looking for the biggest, scariest and most fascinating marine creatures around NZ. Together they have created 20 episodes for the popular children’s TV series, ‘What Now’.

At 14, Riley spoke at TEDx Auckland to over 2500 people. Since then she has spoken to tens of thousands of students and teachers around NZ.

Okirano Tilaia – Voice for youth, Pasifika, the environment and organiser of  the ‘Students Uniting in Love’ vigil in Christchurch (Speaking at ALL events).

Okirano is an 18 years old Samoan from Christchurch with leadership credentials far beyond his years. As Head Boy at Cashmere High, Okirano organised the huge student vigil ‘Students Uniting in Love’ in response to the Christchurch mosque shootings.

He sits on various boards and groups including the Pacific Youth Leadership And Transformation Council, Minister Hipkins’ Youth Advisory Group, and the 2020 UC Emerging Leaders Programme, as well as being a community volunteer.

Okirano is driven by a passion for positive change and the empowerment of young people. Okirano says “…if a young person has a strong sense of belonging, they are more likely to succeed in all aspects of their lives”.

Josie Moon – Musician (Appearing in Christchurch, Palmerston North, Wellington and Hawkes Bay events).

23 year old Josie Moon is a singer-songwriter hailing from Wellington. With a diverse and nostalgic approach to alternative pop, she strives to mesh genres and to make heavier themes of self-exploration and healing accessible in the mainstream. Not shy of the stage, Moon has clocked live performances alongside Tash Sultana, Chelsea Jade, and Crooked Colours, and has appeared at Rhythm and Vines Festival, Other’s Way Festival, and many more. Moon is currently wrapping up final touches to her debut LP ‘Paint Me How You Need Me’, with the next single due out before the end of the year.

See more of Josie HERE.


Suzy Cato – TV Presenter, Author and beloved New Zealander (AUCKLAND AND WELLINGTON EVENTS ONLY)

Suzy has been the friend of Kiwis, across NZ, for over 30 years; via radio, television and live performance.  A household name, since the 90s with the award winning preschool programme You & Me, Suzy created her own production company, Treehut TV, to create Suzy’s World, Bryan & Bobby and, more recently, her nationwide radio programme, Suzy & Friends.

Suzy was delighted in the opportunity to reconnect with her “young friends” when she danced as a contestant in Dancing with the Stars, 2018 and she is relishing the chance continue connecting with them through a variety of speaking engagements.

She has just released her second book, with Scholastic NZ, this year (The Kauri Family and Christmas in Summer) and has an EP of children’s music on the way and another two books due in 2021.

The challenges of Covid 19 have provided an amazing learning curve for Suzy as she created over 45 episodes of Science and Maths discovery for Home Learning TV and was reintroduced to a new generation of Kiwis.

Kayla Whitelock – Black Stick Legend and Four time Olympic Hockey Player (PALMERSTON NTH ONLY)

Kayla’s international career began as an 18-year old in 2003. She’s represented New Zealand at four Olympic Games, three Commonwealth Games and two World Cups, notching up 256 caps and 63 goals in the process. Only three other women have played more matches for the Black Sticks and no New Zealander has participated in as many major hockey events.

A long time captain of the Black Sticks, Kayla led New Zealand to a silver medal at the Delhi Commonwealth Games and bronze at Glasgow 2014, as well as fourth placed finishes at consecutive Olympics.  Kayla also blazed a trail as one of the first athletes to combine elite sport with motherhood, returning to action just four months after having her daughter Addison in 2014. She made a second comeback to the Black Sticks in late 2019, with 17-month old Maxwell joining Addison in the support crew. Kayla was appointed a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to hockey, in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours.


Shay Wright – Entrepreneur (HAWKE’S BAY ONLY)

Shay has always been passionate about business, and curious how we can use it to do good. While at school in Kaitaia he tried different small businesses, and in 2013 started Te Whare Hukahuka, a business that helps to people to start their own online businesses and learn important skills to be community leaders. 

He balances running the business with advising Government on ways to create more impact for Maori. He works with dozens of leaders each year delivering training to help them grow stronger organisations and is currently writing two books around personal development.

Shay has been named in the Forbes Asia ‘30 Under 30’ list of Asia’s top promising young social entrepreneurs and game changers; was a 2019 Young New Zealander of the Year finalist, and the 2019 winner of the Impact Award for Enterprise.

Learn more about Shay here: https://www.shaywright.co.nz/