AS I SEE IT : Mark Davy

Senior housing product manager, Westpac

How would you describe the New Zealand identity?
New Zealand’s cultural heritage is much younger than lot of other nations, which means that the values that drove settlers to these shores are probably fresher in our psyche and influence our collective identity more than we think. We’re humble grafters who are used to making things work (think No 8 wire) and we expect to make difference. It’s not arrogance to think we can succeed on the world stage – it’s simply realistic expectation.
But we’re also proud of our little clean, green slice of heaven in the corner of the globe. It’s no surprise then that Kiwis have an inbuilt love affair with owning property – sentiment literally passed down from generation to generation. Plenty of food for thought for someone who manages housing at Westpac.

What are the exciting opportunities for New Zealand in the future?
New Zealand is unique because we’re early adopters of new technology, we have relatively mature economic environment and yet we have such small population base. This makes us an ideal test environment for an international business launching something new, but it means that Kiwis can continue to be successful entrepreneurs – getting it right in the local environment before exporting it to bigger stage. And globally we’ve got some meaty topics on our minds, like climate change and poverty. It’s in this sort of environment that humble, hard working, entrepreneurial, can-do types will stand up and make difference.

How do we enable and manage difference?
New Zealand is becoming increasingly more culturally diverse, so it’s important that we get this right. Call it spiritual or philosophical, but I believe that we’ll only be successful in enabling and managing difference when we shift from an expectation of self-fulfilment to putting the needs of others first. This happens at personal level, where our way of life becomes far less about “my rights” and more about “I’m going to make difference for someone else”.

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