2015 Presenters

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Join Olli Ricken and Gareth Edwards as they lead you through two days of inspiration!


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Hannah Airey

Director Workplace Wellbeing, Chair Lotus Community Wellbeing Trust, Laughter Practitioner and Trainer
Hannah will be presenting:
  • Saturday 12 September: Laughter Wellness and its applications. When people laugh together, a high trust, positive environment is created where anything is possible. When this is done through something as fun and as simple as unconditional laughter, it is incredibly empowering for individuals and gives participants valuable tools for every day life. Hannah has been sharing laughter wellness throughout New Zealand communities since 1997. She will be sharing with you her experiences from a range or organisations including prisons, mental health support groups, corporate businesses, retirement villages, amongst others.

Hannah shares with you what really happens when we laugh, What if laughter helped create new neural pathways, creativity, social connectivity as well as boost the immune system, help fight against cancer and increased levels of serotonin and endorphins? Laughter is as natural as breathing, we just forget to do it.Hannah’s passion is wellbeing and sharing valuable tools with individuals, groups and organisations. She has 8 years experience in developing and facilitating workshops aimed to increase positive workplace culture and wellbeing by combining evidence based principles of positive psychology, Five Ways to Wellbeing and laughter wellness. Hannah is the Director of Workplace Wellbeing, Chair of Lotus Community Wellbeing Trust, is an Associate of the Mental Health Foundation and also works part time for Gap Filler Trust. She has a Diploma in Anatomy and Physiology, and knows well the holistic model of needing to consider the whole body when it comes true well ’being’.Hannah has worked professionally in a myriad of companies throughout London, Melbourne, Brisbane and New Zealand as a contractor to many private and public corporations within Human Resources departments.

Aaron Jarden

Senior Lecturer, Auckland University of Technology
Aaron will be presenting:
  • Saturday 12 September: A Toolkit for Wellbeing. Aaron’s goal is simple. It is complete understanding of human wellbeing, why it is as it is and how it can be improved.

Aaron is currently employed as a Senior Lecturer at Auckland University of Technology. He is also president of the New Zealand Association of Positive Psychology, lead investigator for the International Wellbeing Study, co-investigator of the Sovereign New Zealand Wellbeing Index, founder of The Tuesday Program, co-editor of the International Journal of Wellbeing, and Senior Scientist for Work on Wellbeing and Assessing Wellbeing in Education.
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Pat Armitstead

Joyologist, International expert in humour, engagement and wellbeing
Pat will be presenting:
  • Saturday 12 September: Life Enhanced by performing arts. In this workshop “theatrescape” Pat will introduce participants to a selection of the elements of compassionate clowning, street theatre and improv acting. This is an experience designed to discover and awaken the clown within and enable emotional expression.

The qualities that mark people who excel in real life have nothing to with IQ. Daniel Goleman calls it emotional intelligence, and said “These are times when the fabric of society seems to unravel at ever-greater speed , when selfishness, violence and a meanness of spirit seems to be rotting the goodness in our communal lives”.Our times today call for the resurrection of two moral stances – self restraint and compassion.Pat says we have many intelligences but society as we know it honours only sport and academia. She says by enhancing emotional awareness, people can connect to who they really are, thereby supporting a more authentic and empowered contribution to community.She says “Most people have all they need to be happy and fulfilled, but rarely capture the excitement, the engagement or the levels of self expression they deserve to have. Across the globe the emotional energy of the world is flatlining. My work is designed to improve the quality of peoples lives by bringing joy where it appears there is none

Shalani McCray

Advocate for Wellbeing
Shalani will be presenting:
  • Saturday 12 September: Have You Got the Guts for Wellbeing? Wellbeing = Health! Inspiration! Joy! Vitality! Sounds amazing. Where can I get some?
    Well it takes guts to have all of this – healthy guts and a well functioning digestive system.
    In this seminar we will:
    – look at just how the state of our gut can determine the state of our overall physical and mental health…. our wellbeing.
    – explore the concept of our gut being the second brain – or is it the first?
    – discover what in our environment damages our gut
    – learn how to restore our digestive system, get our gut in tip top condition and finally achieve that sense of overall wellbeing.

Shalani McCray describes herself as an advocate for Wellbeing. She could also be described as a university junkie, having studied early childhood education, nursing, remedial massage, nutrition, herbal medicine and is now in the application process to study medicine. Shalani is also an ordained Interfaith minister, an EFT practitioner, Laughter Yoga professor, certified GAPS practitioner – personally trained by Dr Natasha Campbell-McBride and sought-after speaker in Australia and internationally.
Shalani believes there is no ‘one size fits all’ way to eat, move and live and uses her vast knowledge in her business, Live Alive Health Creation, to help people create and live their best possible life – a life of fabulous health, joy, vitality and inspiration.
Website: http://www.livealive.com.au
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fromblahtoBOOM
Instagram: https://instagram.com/livealivehq
Email: office@livealive.com.au

Linda Woodgate

Linda will be presenting:
  • Saturday 12 September: The Body/Mind connection. This workshop will discuss, interact, role play body parts, and more, to bring about the realisation of who, what, and why they are, who they are with an ultimate objective of being able to take responsibility for ALL thoughts, feelings and body movements, and that they are not random parts for someone or something else to fix. I am an ‘everyday living coach’ who show people ways to deal with their version of stress. How to experience it more positively, enjoy life more consciously, feel joy more readily, spreading the ‘feel good factor’ from head to toe.

I have been a natural health practitioner for over twenty years. My past experiences in the armed forces, corporate environment and media allow me to share and teach in a relaxed and informal way. I have observed the levels of stress prevalent today and responded by meshing components of several modalities. The result? A programme specifically aimed at reducing stress and ‘moving moods’ in very easy, fast and fun ways. My deep and compassionate understanding of others is reflected in my favourite expression:
“Live, Laugh and Love your Moments!”
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Lisa Tui

NASDA graduate from CPIT; Dip Grad in Studio Teaching
Lisa will be presenting:
  • Saturday 12 September: Sing, Laugh, Live, and Lead: Out Loud!What does it mean to you to live your life, sing, laugh, and lead out loud?
    What is it you want for to be this best self, out loud?
    In Lisa Tui’s active and experiential session you will be offered a significant life giving tool from her Master Practitioner training; and opportunities to sing and laugh out loud and techniques that will enliven your ability to lead with vitality and impact.
    As your life unfolds before you what most would you like to share?

Lisa Tui (Tainui, Ngati Kahungungu, Ngati-Scottish) has had many professional singing and performance experiences and actively seeks opportunities to learn, study and experience more. She is passionate about empowering education and has studied music pedagogy, NLP and adult education also. Lisa is a NASDA (Music theatre) graduate from C.P.I.T. and she also recently received a Graduate Diploma with an endorsement in Studio teaching from Otago University, Dunedin. She performs regularly, conducts a four part harmony Gospel choir, helps facilitate a songwriters circle and teaches individual singing lessons from her studio. In addition to one to one sessions Lisa facilitates groups learning to sing or enhance their singing.
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Olli Ricken

Clown, Physical Comedian, Educator, Journey practitioner
Olli will be co-MC with Gareth Edwards and presenting on Saturday night
  • With 25 years of experience performing and teaching in the circus and comedy field, Olli knows the power of laughter inside out and upside down.Originally from Germany Olli settled in NZ in 2002 after finishing her studies in Educational science and Psychology in Germany. Her M.A. thesis was on the integrative power of the creative use of circus in education, which she had experienced herself as a teenager and teacher of youth circus groups in Europe.

Olli also has a B.A. in Circus Arts from Christchurch Polytechnic, where she also taught in the Circo Arts programme and as well as running weekend college and summer circus courses for adults and running her own after school programme for many years. One of her solo shows “Let them Eat Cake” poked gentle but subversive fun at gender stereotypes and won runner up awards in the categories hottest new thing and best comedy at the at the Wellington Fringe.She also works for Clown Doctors NZ bringing Joy and Laughter to children and elderly patients in Hospitals.She loves to laugh and make people laugh, and her greatest passion is helping people discover their potential for healing and growth.http://olliricken.awardspace.com/Site/Olli%20Ricken.html
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Gareth Edwards

Gareth Edwards, Master of Ceremonies, Engaging Entertainer and Musical MC-ing
Gareth will be co-MC with Olli Ricken, and presenting on Saturday night.
  • Gareth is an award-winning entertainer who brings events to life with his musical MC-ing. He has an interactive style that makes people feel glad they came. Blending snippets of his funny and thoughtful songs keeps things grooving along. And the occasional laughter yoga exercise helps stimulate the serotonin.Gareth has a knack of creating a sense of togetherness, helping people to join in with the singing and laughing or simply sitting back and enjoying the atmosphere.“Efficient, effective but most of all, engaging – a nice balance of light heartedness and professionalism.” Judi Clements | CEO, Mental Health Foundation

Gareth Edwards is a social psychologist and musician. He helps people and organisations work out what they want and how to get it.Born and bred in Manchester, Gareth was always ‘good at school’. So he stayed there until he was 25.He studied Social Psychology (Bachelor of Science, Honours) at Sheffield Hallam University. His thesis ‘The Beer Talking’ was published in the peer-reviewed Sociology and brought him his first 15 minutes of fame. He went on to study Applied Artificial Intelligence (Masters of Science, Honours) at the University of Aberdeen, where his thesis was software he wrote called Artificial Musical Intelligence (AMI) that composed jazz piano.
He returned to Sheffield to do a PhD on how creative people use computer technology. He’d probably be there still had his journey not been derailed. He began to experience extraordinary highs and lows which eventually led to a period of hospitalisation and a diagnosis of bipolar affective disorder. Placed on a new path, Gareth started working to help others. He spent several years helping people with alcohol, drug and gambling addictions, mental health diagnoses and experience of homelessness. He spent the next few years trying to ‘change the system’ by working in research centres, national foundations, government departments and universities.

Merv Neal

CEO Laughter Yoga Australia & NZ, Gelotologist, Laughter Practitioner, Workplace Wellness Programmes
Merv will be presenting:
  • Sunday 13 September: Laughter Yoga Research: Is it really necessary?. Research is done for many reasons. It can be done to prove or disprove what we already know, or to provide evidence of what we think we know. It can be used to get disbelievers and skeptics to think that they may be wrong, or that we may be right. Or it can be used to provide knowledge and information to those who know little or nothing of what we do. So is Laughter Yoga Research really necessary? The answer is simple if we want to grow. Yes!
    Having been involved in two University Research Studies in the past, in the middle of another one now, and about to embark on another before the end of the year, Merv will discuss the results of his two completed studies and the importance of them in obtaining commercial opportunities and opening doors into the health industry. He will also provide details of the newly created Laughter Yoga Therapist Training.

Merv has owned and operated his own businesses for more than 40 years. Following a work related life threatening health issue in 2002, Merv found out first hand that “Laughter is the Best Medicine”.
David Savage

David Savage

Leadership Collaboration Specialist
David will be presenting:
  • Sunday 13 September: Diagnosis. “Being diagnosed with a Motor Neurone Disease was deeply challenging, yet as strange as it may sound, it was also the most empowering time of my life.” Wheelchair bound within six months and dead within three years, David Savage would be leaving behind his two young children and his wife Megan, who was four months pregnant at the time of diagnosis. Yes, ‘deeply challenging’ is understandable, but ‘empowering’?


David explores what it’s like to face mortality, takes a deep-dives into empowerment and shares the insights that defined the experience which, with great relief, ended fourteen weeks later with MND declared a misdiagnosis.

  • Creating a mental environment that thrives in the face of adversity
  • Why one person’s challenge is a change opportunity for others
  • The joy of having a Neurologist ‘tickle’ your foot
  • Where leadership actually comes from

“I think it’s useful to consider in depth our own dying, and by doing so, reframe it from a thing of tragedy, to instead seeing it as defining beautifully what is rich in life, and who we are as human beings.”

“David’s deep understanding and respect for the human spirit creates real and powerful coaching experiences!” Gai Foskett, Business Coach
Kapiti, NZ

David Savage is a Leadership Collaboration Specialist operating NZ-wide and who lives in the Wairarapa. His mission is to help good people do great things that make a bigger difference.


Caroline Welkin

Professional comedian, storyteller, coach and presenter
Caroline will be presenting:
  • Sunday 13 September: Comedy and Story – Funny Story. Caroline will weave three stories for personal inspiration for your amusement and pondering. You will come to examine the smaller events in your life for the bigger meaning and find the funny in the ordinary, as she does, after hearing these tales. Prosaic moments can lead to spiritual development if we take time to notice the meaning. Caroline is a firm believer in finding the funny right there at the end of your nose. She could have the advantage of a big nose . . . Judge for yourself as you listen.

Caroline has been a storyteller and comedian since 1997 after training in UK. She has participated in festivals here and in Australia, as a workshop presenter (Naturally Funny – how to find your funny) and performer. Caroline Welkin is a professional comedian, storyteller, coach and presenter. She has performed in New Zealand since 1997, including guest Diva appearances in ComedyFests and Pulp Comedy TV show. She currently broadcasts on Angelheart Blogtalk Radio and can be found on the storytelling circuit. As a professional IT trainer for corporates, she has seen the value of using humour in everyday life.She takes her comedy, drama, broadcasting and public relations experiences to bring new energy and connection to workshops, presentations and the learning environment.
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Linda Guirey

Director, Inspired Footprints Ltd
Linda will be presenting:
  • Sunday 13 September: Choose to matter. It’s all about making the right choices that last longer than your lifetime. Every day, the choices you make, have an impact on other people – your family, friends, colleagues and strangers and every day you also make an impact on the environment. What conscious choices are you making, to ensure that those connections actually make a difference. Imagine a world where people consciously made inspired choices that matter. Your inspired footprint will be etched into the planet and into the minds of others.

Linda Guirey is one of the most respected and sought-after experts on Life Choices. She is an inspiring and compelling international speaker who transforms and inspires people and organisations from the inside out.Linda has spoken to thousands of people and has received many awards and recognition of her work including being voted Best Speaker in NZ for 2012 – Corporate Events People’s Choice Awards, being recognised by the Worldwide Who’s Who for Excellence in Professional Speaking, and is an accredited member of the National Speakers Association of NZ. Linda has been speaking and presenting for over 10 years and is passionate and committed to making a difference to every audience with her thought-provoking, inspirational messages. Audiences are left with a greater awareness of themselves and the world around them, the importance of attitude at all times, and steps that they can take towards creating better relationships, achieving their goals and creating the life that they choose.
Bev Edwards

Bev Edwards

21st Century Shaman; One of only 5 Master Geometricians in the world; Reiki Master; Sound Healing Practitioner; Bowen Therapist; Holistic Counsellor;Art Therapist; Initiate of Aboriginal Culture
Bev will be presenting:
  • Sunday 13 September: Opening the Doorways to Harmonious Communities. In this presentation, Bev Edwards demonstrates the importance of sound, ceremony, and ritual and how it enables individuals to unite and harmonise as a community. Bev, who married a Maori man, has been initiated into Aboriginal culture in WA. With these wisdoms she will open the doorways to enable the perspective of others to be observed without judgement. This will create a space of harmony and collaboration, uniting the audience as one spirit.

Bev makes reference to the Aboriginal being at one with the land for 40,000 years and their enduring capacity to relate and harmonise with Mother Earth. She will use the aboriginal practice of “smoking” ( smudging) to dispel any negative energies and then, through her connection to this ancient culture, she will access the language and speak to peoples hearts and souls.
In her session she will play six different crystal singing bowls, and each one is aligned to the chakras. This opens the way for people to take in new learning, by anchoring it in the cells of the body. It brings harmony and balance to the body. As one is harmonised so are they all.
Aboriginal humour has its own unique style and is very mischievous! Bev’s understanding and appreciation of this is used to full effect at the completion of this session!
Bev is passionate about raising the vibrations of those around her to empowering them to be more authentic and bringing more joy into their lives.
Bev came from a violent marriage and neglected childhood. She has used the power of sacred sound and ceremony to come into a place of acceptance with it all. Having been a victim of circumstances beyond her control, healing the damage within the physical mental and spiritual aspects of herself has helped her to create a unique healing experience for her clients.
Bev will lead you through deep meditative sound healing via voice and the crystal bowls enabling you to experience for yourself what sound can do for you.
Bev Edwards is a 21st Century Shaman who has been leading people on a path of personal and spiritual development for over 25 years. She says “by creating a more Heart Centred Way of living in the world I am able to energize peoples dreams and aspirations. Raising the vibrations of those around us empowers people to be themselves. The more people that can be themselves the more the world can be a place we can all share with no fear of judgement or lack.”Bev will lead you through a deep meditative sound bath that allows for healing on all levels of consciousness. Clearing blockages that stand in the way of living a heart centered and joyful life. This is one of many steps on the path to wholeness and she would love for all those that are called or curious to experience the clarity sound can bring.
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