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Learning the Business of Business


Learning the Business of Business

By David Pine

Colin McLeanRotary worldwide places a lot of emphasis on activities that help young people to grow and develop. One way of doing this at a local level is for Clubs to sponsor young people of college age to an event called NZ Business Week.

Speaking at Plimmerton Rotary on 19 August, Colin McClean, who is Deputy Head Boy at Viard College in Porirua, recounted his recent experiences during the NZ Business Week event held at Massey University in Palmerston North. Colin was one of about 40 young people who attended, and on the first day they were invited to form themselves into groups of six. They achieved this by interviewing one another, looking for complementary strengths that could be utilised to create a strong team culture within each group.

Attendees were exposed during the week to presentations from 30 high calibre business leaders from different industries, people such as Alister Davis, CEO of Toyota New Zealand, and Steve Maharey, Vice Chancellor at Massey. The overall objective for the week was that each team of six was required to create their own retail shop, making all the decisions that a real business would make such as budgeting, what stock to purchase, what market they were in, how they would promote their business, and so on.

Once the teams had decided on the type of stock, each was given $50.00 and told to go out into the community, use their creativity and come back with a supply of stock for their shop. Colin noted that all of the local Palmerston North businesses they approached were generous and keen to help.

Returning to Massey, each team then created their shop. All of the shops were located side by side, creating a Business Expo environment. On the last day the shops were judged by an expert panel and prizes awarded.

Colin and familyColin and family 2Colin expressed his gratitude to Plimmerton Rotary for giving him such a great opportunity. “I learned so many skills that I will be able to put into practice in the future. NZ Business Week really opened my eyes to what is possible. Also I made many good friends and I’m sure each of us who attended this event will benefit from keeping in touch with the others in the future”.


Next Meeting: On 26 August, our Exchange Student, Jessica, will introduce herself.

JessicaBefore dinner we will learn more about Jessica, our Exchange Student, who will be doing her Inaugural speech to introduce herself and tell us about herself, her home and her family. Jessica comes from Switzerland and will be with us for a year. Please make yourselves known to her and try and include her in your John and Jessicaactivities from time to time.

Host parent John O'Connell took Jessica to experience Rugby at Westpac Stadium last weekend and Noel Evans took her to a Jazz concert on Sunday.

Brian Paget gave us information on a new book recently published called "Paradise Saved: The Remarkable Story of New Paradise SavedZealand's Wildlife Sanctuaries and How They Are Stemming the Tide of Extinction" by Dave Butler, Tony Lindsay and Janet Hunt.   Brian is Chair of Friends of Mana Island which is one of the Sanctuaries covered in the book. The book can be purchased through Brian at a cost of $45 (saving $10).  Email Brian at  to order your copy. Read more about the book here. 

Fran WildeThe Guest Speaker Next Week is Hon Fran Wilde CNZM QSO has held a number of leadership positions in business and politics. She is currently Chair of the Greater Wellington Regional Council and also chair of the Local Government New Zealand Regional Sector Group, which comprises of Chairs and CEOs of all regional councils in New Zealand. Fran is a company director and has her own consultancy business, Fran Wilde & Associates Ltd.

In politics Fran has been MP for Wellington Central, a Minister in the Labour Government of the 1980s and Mayor of Wellington. Leadership positions in business have included CEO of the New Zealand Trade Development Board, Chair of Wellington Waterfront Ltd and of Housing New Zealand Ltd, and director of a number of listed and privately held companies.

In many of her leadership positions Fran has been an effective change manager and in Wellington, in particular, has a legacy of successful initiatives. Fran is active in the philanthropic and community sectors. She has an honorary doctorate from Victoria University of Wellington and is a Fellow of the NZIM.

Learning the Business of Business

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