Eight leaders named for Government’s digital advisory group

Broadcasting, communications, digital media and government digital services minister Clare Curran has named eight out of 14 members of the Government’s digital economy and digital inclusion advisory group.

Frances Valintine, the founder and chair at The Mind Lab and founder and CEO of Tech Futures Lab, will chair the group, which will advise the Government on how it can build the digital economy and reduce digital divides.

Membership of the group will change over time, and additional subject-matter experts may be called upon to advise the group as its work develops, Curran said.

“This Government wants to see every New Zealander able to participate fully in our society and it’s clear that our future will be a digital-rich world,” she said. “The economy and everyday interactions will be increasingly driven or supported by digital technology.”

The other seven members named were:

  • Potaua Biasiny-Tule, co-founder of Digital Natives Academy, Digital Basecamp, 4 Company B, and CEO/managing director of TangataWhenua.com
  • Jordan Carter, chief executive of InternetNZ
  • Kaila Colbin, co-founder and chair of Ministry of Awesome, curator of TEDxChristchurch and SingularityU NZ and Australia Summits, deputy chair of CORE Education and director of ChristchurchNZ
  • Brenda Leeuwenberg, head of Innovation at NZ On Air, board member of Women in Film & Television, and director of Nomad8
  • Rohan MacMahon, management consultant and involved in business development for digital technology companies. Previously strategy director at Crown Fibre Holdings
  • Victoria MacLennan, co-chair of NZRise, managing director and CEO of OptimalHQ Group, trustee and board chair of Code Club Aotearoa, chair of the Digital Skills Forum, investor and director
  • Chris O’Connell, director of Heartland Connectivity Taskforce, extensively involved with broadband rollout.

Over 300 people applied for positions in the group. Curran said she hoped the first eight members will assist in the selection process for the remaining seven as well as for the government’s first chief technology officer (CTO).

The Government began a search for a CTO in December.

“It is in this spirit of openness and dynamism that I hope they will approach their ongoing work to develop a blueprint for digital inclusion and digital enablement,” she added. “Members will be reaching back into their communities for broader input and innovation rather than a more traditional monthly attendance at a meeting.

“What we need is a highly collaborative team who see their own stakeholders, colleagues, communities and the public, as virtual members of the group.”


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