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DBi New Zealand January 2020: From the Classroom to the Vineyard3 min read

By Nicholas Martinez

Kia ora koutou katoa – Greetings and hello to you all! From January 5th through the 16th, 31 Stern students gathered in Auckland, New Zealand for the first ever DBi New Zealand. Through multiple site visits and guest lectures, the course provided an insightful view into the industries that represent the commanding heights of the country’s economy. 

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We first received a warm and welcoming greeting from the University of Otago’s Associate Dean, Dr. Lincoln Wood. After his introduction we began our class which explored the history of New Zealand and the emphasis placed on recognizing the Māoris, the country’s indigenous population. Within this class we learned that during a typical business meeting a great deal of time is allotted to mihimihis or formal introductions. The mihimihi is spoken in Māori by everyone prior to the start of any business meeting and states where a person comes from and who they are in relation to a specific tribe or group.  

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For many, the official (and unofficial) wine tastings were the highlights of the course. Through the in-class wine tastings and vineyard tours we all gained a newfound appreciation for New Zealand’s wine industry. The Waiheke Island Excursion was a highlight where we visited two wineries, finishing with a dinner that overlooked the vineyard with the ocean and sunset in the background.  

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Outside the classroom, our corporate treks provided a first-hand experience into the different industries throughout New Zealand. On one such visit to The Pacific Business Hub, a social non-profit organization that caters to businesses run by pacific islanders. We spoke with small business owners, who worked in everywhere from healthcare to technology. One such business owner was able to vaccinate pediatric Tongan populations against measles, thereby preventing the further spread of the disease.

On another trek we heard from a small business owner, named Giapo Grazzoli, who owns an innovative ice cream store that aims to change the function of ice cream. During his speech, he stated that he considers himself an “artist” rather than a business owner. This is evident by some of the options on his menu, which includes 3D printed ice cream in the shape of a giant squid, a “selfie” ice cream that is shaped like a picture frame, and an allude to the duck-tape banana piece, called “this is not ice cream”. 

We also heard from a number of guest speakers, ranging in industries from healthcare to fast food. During one of our lectures, we heard from Mr. Antonio Rivera, retail manager at Krispy Kreme, who led the very successful opening of the first store in New Zealand. He spoke about the challenges he experienced with the launch and how they contributed to the current success of Krispy Kreme in this market. Of course, Mr. Rivera ended his presentation by handing out a massive number of glazed donuts. 

The course concluded with group presentations on the agricultural, energy, tourism and wine industries in New Zealand. After the presentations, we met again for an end-of-the-course get-together. All in all, through the course, we all gained valuable insight into the businesses of New Zealand. 

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