NEXT Fellows

NEXT Foundation has launched an inaugural fellowship programme.

The fellows, who will be supported for a year, will undertake research in two of NEXT’s investment focus areas, the first 1,000 days of life, and healthy rivers.

“All of the fellows NEXT selected are current and future leaders in challenging areas of education and the environment. They are keen to develop further their understanding of the concepts of strategic philanthropy and its potential to catalyse system change in these critical areas,” says NEXT environmental director Jan Hania.

“They are a diverse group and all show a common passion and ambition to make New Zealand a better place for our land and our people – so clearly align with NEXT’s vision to make our country better for future generations.”

Jan Hania will lead the environmental fellows working towards solutions around healthy rivers and catchment restoration, and NEXT kaihautu member Mike Ferrand will lead the three educational fellows, developing strategies in the early years, the first 1,000 days of life.

“The first 1,000 days of life is a pivotal part of NEXT’s investment focus,” says Mike. “These three fellows working in this area have the ability to bring insight into how we can change our systems in New Zealand to maximise impact for the betterment of our tamariki and their whānau. We are looking forward to working together, and where it might lead.”

Healthy Rivers


The Project
Working with “lighthouse“ (leading) farmers to restore ecosystem health in the eastern Bay of Plenty catchment of Pongakawa, Kaikokupu and Wharere rivers, from the mountains (Mamakus) to the sea Little Waihi Estuary to protect and restore healthy Mahinga Kai, and swimmable waters for future generations.

Why I am interested in Restoring Waterway Health for Future Generations
While I am a vet and a farmer, and love nature. I also love helping farmers fix a problem and restore wellbeing.

I am inspired by leading farmers because they have often thought deeply about the way we have farmed and the ways we can improve.

It’s by working with innovative thinkers, and those motivated for a new way of thinking, that we can bring about change: if you empower the leaders, then others will follow.

I am eternally optimistic that if we can get away from old models of farming, and explore new, diversified systems that are more resilient, profitable and protect and enhance our landscape, then it will create vision for others, and opportunity for whole of catchment healing.

The Little Waihi Estuary is at the base of a 35000 ha catchment of three rivers that have been modified for over 150 years. We know this will take time, but if everyone works together with a common focus of achieving health of land, water, people and protecting mahinga kai for future generations, then collaboratively, health can be restored.

By working with nature, supported by good policies, the goal of achieving a healthy estuary will be achieved, and could lead the way for other NZ catchments to follow, by innovating healing strategies from the Mountains to the Sea.

Alison Dewes


The Project
Developing a framework for people and technology to help with healthy river management in urban environments.

Why I am interested in healthy rivers
After travelling and working in Wellington I returned home to West Auckland and moved into a house not far from where I grew up. I took my kids swimming in the local river – a river that used to be known as a great fishing spot when my father was growing up, but that everyone avoided in my youth because by then it had become too polluted to swim in. I’d been told the Council has spent tens of millions cleaning up the river and assumed it had worked. Both my kids developed a rash from the water and I began to ask some questions. Over the past 5-6 years I’ve shifted the focus of my work towards the generation of robust information on the health of urban waterways and its effective communication to the public. I’m driven by a strong commitment to scientific accuracy, transparency and accountability. And I feel we can’t expect our rural cousins to make changes to the way they manage their land and waterways if us citydwellers aren’t prepared to lift our weight.

The NEXT Fellowship gives me the opportunity to look-up and be strategic, chart a path enhances the impact I am able to make, ‘fill-in’ gaps in my capability, and develop ideas and try things that have the potential to be transformational but that I can’t do through my day-to-day work.

Andrew Schollum


The Project
Setting a platform for restoration of waterway health within the Tasman region through focussing on key issues of leadership, fragmentation, and transparency.

Why I am interested in healthy rivers
I come from a culture where I am the River and the River is me. I believe that the first right of water, goes to water. My expectation is that any relationship I have with water must be underpinned by reciprocity in an equitable exchange where both sides benefit. It is because of my beliefs that I feel a deep sense of duty and responsibility to lead and support efforts to correct what is fundamentally broken in our societal relationship with water, and to ensure there is a better pathway forward for future generations to follow.

The fellowship is energising and inspiring, helping me to step out of my normal space and challenge the possibilities of what could be achieved if we dared to do things a bit differently. It’s pushed me to think strategically about the activities that are critical to building a foundation that helps to move community, iwi, industry, and local authorities forward together in the restoration of catchment wellbeing. It’s also created the opportunity for me to connect to a network of like minded individuals who are leaders in getting awesome stuff done!

Naomi Aporo

The first 1,000 days of life


The Project
How might we use strategic philanthropy to help reduce childhood poverty rates in NZ?

Why I am interested in the first 1,000 days of life
After living and working all around the world, I truly believe NZ is the best country on the planet. We have an amazing environment, creative businesses and desire for a fair and equitable society. However, the operating systems that we live under are outdated and not serving us anymore. From government to businesses to most families in the country, we are struggling under the weight of these systems and need to shift to more contemporary solutions. We hear about our people, particularly our tamariki, struggling – living in cars and garages, going to school without lunch or raincoats, and the gap between the haves and have-nots widening even further. The NZ we believe in can fix these systemic issues, and that is what we are trying to achieve.

We all lead busy lives and most see that we must challenge the status quo to earn the results we want for ourselves, our families and our society. The NEXT Fellowship provides some space and structure, allowing us to understand, plan and execute a path forward to making positive change. I am very grateful to be allowed this space and feel privileged to work and learn alongside some inspirational leaders in their fields.

Andrew Sharp


The Project
Exploring systems leadership to better support children in their first 1,000 days of life.

Why I am interested in the first 1,000 days of life
Learning has been a huge part of my life, in my roles as a secondary teacher, researcher, trustee on school boards, trainer, facilitator and early year’s advocate. Over the past 20 years, I have been actively working in the parenting education and support and early year’s sector, supporting communities to engage with parents as they transition to parenthood.

I am interested in understanding and making sense of the complexity of the system we are working in and identifying the fundamental changes in thinking and practice that might be needed to shape the leadership of the future. In addition, exploring the conditions required to support system change. Our communities and organisations are adorned with passionate, capable and competent people, so how might we create the capacity to facilitate collective learning, dialogue and sense making?

Being offered the generosity of time and space to critically reflect, explore, learn, and share in an area of your passion and interest coupled with benefit of sharing this journey with other fellows, friends and representative of NEXT Foundation is a true privilege.

Leanne Dawson


The Project
Putting responsive relationships at the heart of our care and protection support for babies and their whānau in the first 1,000 days of life.

Why I am interested in the first 1,000 days of life
For the last 25 years I have worked as a specialist child and family advisor. I work across traditional boundaries and seek out the spaces where government, NGOs and community intersect. The way we collectively nurture our children and support the adults who care for them is fascinating and I am excited by the opportunities the findings from neuroscience have opened up. The evidence supporting the fundamental value of attuned, responsive relationships in the first 1000 days of life is clear and resonates strongly with crosscultural wisdom. We know that relationships rich in ‘serve and return’ both repair harm and help babies to thrive. There is potential for disrupting intergenerational cycles of disadvantage and making progress on some of the most stuck social
policy issue.

So I have been both intrigued by why all of us (not just government, but whānau, communities and the myriad of helping agencies in the early childhood space) aren’t focusing more on this. What am I not seeing or understanding? What is making this so hard? What could we do differently?

This fellowship is giving me time to genuinely enquire, connect, and learn from others. At the end of this year I hope to be asking much better questions, more skillfully disrupting old and stuck conversations, and bringing more attention and purposeful focus to the importance of the first 1,000 days of life .

Thalia Wright

PwC NEXT Young Leaders

NEXT and PwC New Zealand collaborate to offer a graduate the opportunity to be a PwC NEXT Young Leader for a 12 month period.

The graduate gets to shadow the NEXT CEO for a year – learning about the power of strategic philanthropy. “It’s a two way street,” says NEXT CEO Bill Kermode. “The PwC NEXT Young Leader learns a lot about philanthropic investments in education and the environment, and how a foundation operates. But we also learn a lot from them, a younger person’s perspective and have access to PwC’s vast expertise and networks.”


The experience I gained working with the NEXT Foundation was eye opening and not something you normally experience in the business world. I saw so much passion and drive by individuals within the Education and Environment spaces, making change and giving back to NZ, which has encouraged me to realign my values.

Daniel Houzet - 2019 PWC NEXT Young Leader


Reflecting on my time at the NEXT Foundation, I have an appreciation for the passion and drive of so many New Zealanders to create change.  Working alongside Bill Kermode and NEXT has strengthened my core values and introduced me to the philanthropic way of thinking – sharing ideas and working collaboratively with different areas of society towards a common goal of creating positive and systematic change in New Zealand.



“Being a PwC NEXT Young Leader has been awesome – connecting with inspirational kiwis driving real change in NZ’s education and environment. I am grateful for the opportunity and will continue to support core strategic philanthropy ideals and philosophies in my career at PwC.”



“We are all working towards the same greater good, so people are willing to share their intellect, instead of patent it. This has been the biggest revelation for me through my role at NEXT, and I think it makes philanthropy the best place to be.”



“Before my involvement with NEXT I was completely unaware of the enormous generosity, energy and ingenuity which goes on behind the scenes to effect positive, real change in NZ. A shared trait amongst all those involved is an infectious refusal to accept the ‘norm’ – no doubt why I find myself still involved in setting traps at a kiwi sanctuary a year later.”



“Through my role with the NEXT Foundation, I had the opportunity to meet with a broad range of people who want to effect positive change in the New Zealand education and environmental spaces, and are willing to give generously of their time, money and experience to achieve this. I love that there are so many New Zealanders out there who are keen to do good for the benefit of generations to come.”



“My time at NEXT was eye opening. With a diverse network of impressive and empowered individuals – from ministers, school principals, Iwi, entrepreneurs, students, scientists to businessmen (and women!) – NEXT embodies what I consider to be a defining element of Kiwi culture: everyone mucking in to achieve a common goal of making NZ better for future generations. I am proud to have been involved with NEXT and know that it has shaped where I will direct my energy in the future.”


Friends of NEXT

NEXT values the partnership and support these people and organisations are providing to help us transform environment and education in New Zealand.


Annette is a pioneer, storyteller and strategist, with a background in philanthropy, business and the not-for-profit sector. She is a trustee of Philanthropy New Zealand (2013 to present); the GIFT Trust; and was a trustee with the Grief Centre (2015 to 2018). Annette managed the Vodafone NZ Foundation for nine years (leading the development of the high engagement approach) and was on the design working group for the 2017 Social Enterprise World Forum. She volunteered at Youthline for ten years, is a trained level one iRest meditation teacher and believes in the ability of ordinary people to achieve extraordinary outcomes through insight, generosity and action. Annette is the Founder of Torokaha – a for-purpose business that works with philanthropic organisations, charitable trusts and all who care deeply about social change. Annette is the author of several NEXT publications, including NEXT Stories.

Annette Culpan


PwC New Zealand and NEXT collaborate to provide a unique opportunity for a young graduate, under the PwC NEXT Young Leader programme . The PwC NEXT Young Leader is a second or third year employee of PWC who is seconded to work in the NEXT team for up to 2/3 of their time. Through this secondment and other PwC support, NEXT receives access to PwC’s vast expertise, capabilities and networks. PwC’s support for NEXT is invaluable. In particular, NEXT would like to thank PwC Financial Advisory Services partner David Lamb for his leadership of the NEXT relationship. NEXT Foundation CEO Bill Kermode said “PwC’s unconditional support for NEXT is invaluable. The PwC NEXT Young Leader provides us with capability and resource that we could not access otherwise, and an entrée into the PwC network that has opened many doors for us.”

Hear more from the PwC NEXT Young Leaders

See their website here:



Chapman Tripp provides high quality legal services to the NEXT team on a pro bono basis, and makes its networks and capabilities available to NEXT. In particular, NEXT would like to thank John Strowger and Phillippa Wilkie for their leadership of the NEXT relationship. NEXT Foundation CEO Bill Kermode said “Having the highest quality legal advice available to NEXT has a hugely positive impact for us and our investee organisations as we look to support them. We are privileged to have such a supportive partner in such an important discipline.”

See their website here:

Chapman Tripp Logo


Play It Strange spotlights the great songs that are written in New Zealand schools. NEXT chooses songs from Play It Strange artists to back its project videos. NEXT loves having the opportunity to showcase the song writing talent in our high schools. We thank Mike Chunn for his leadership of Play It Strange, and collaboration with NEXT Foundation.

See their website here:



NEXT thanks Soar Print for sponsoring the publication of the NEXT Foundation Review. NEXT Foundation CEO Bill Kermode said “We are delighted with the quality of the NEXT Review. Soar Print put in a huge effort to achieve this , and we benefited enormously from their expertise and commitment to doing a professional job.” Special thanks to Soar Print Managing Director Fred Soar.

See their website here:



NEXT would like to acknowledge and thank Natural History New Zealand for their generosity in allowing NEXT to use some of its spectacular environmental footage in of our storytelling.

See their website here:



Rainger and Rolfe have provided strategic marketing, communication and design advice to the NEXT team. NEXT would like to thank them, in particular Ant Rainger, Jen Rolfe and Lauren Plumb for their continued support in telling the wonderful stories NEXT is proud to be part of.

See their website here: