Strategic Advisory Board

Learn more about the members of the NZAI Strategic Advisory Board below.

The Strategic Advisory Board supports the NZAI by acting as a central point of linkage between the NZAI and leaders outside the university sphere. Advisers bring expertise and connections from the private, social and public sector to a range of countries in Asia and different New Zealand stakeholders. Their achievements reflect a commitment to enhancing New Zealand-Asia relations through promoting increased knowledge of Asia and interest in Asia among New Zealanders. Working with the Director and NZAI staff, advisers provide advice and support that furthers the NZAI’s mission to enhance engagement and understanding between New Zealand and Asia.

Mitchell Pham, Chairperson


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Mitchell Pham is a director of the Augen Software Group in New Zealand and Vietnam, and cofounder of the Kiwi Connection Tech Hub – a platform for NZ technology businesses to accelerate presence & engagement in South East Asia. He is a cofounder of Smart Links Swiss - a tech company solving real world problems with blockchain technology, and Lina.review - a global community-driven online review ecosystem for reviewers, professionals and businesses, powered and connected by Blockchain.

In public, Mitchell serves as the chair of the NZ Technology Industry Association (NZTech) and the NZ Financial Technology Innovation Community (FinTechNZ), a cofounder of the NZ Health IT Cluster (NZHIT), InsurTechNZ and the Global InsurTech Alliance (GITA), and an advisor at the Asia New Zealand Foundation. Formerly, he was an advisor at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and a trustee of the Asia New Zealand Foundation.

In business, Mitchell is a New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) Beachheads Advisor in technology business for South East Asia. He is also a member of the Ethnic People in Commerce (EPICNZ) network, the NZ Asian Leaders (NZAL) forum, and the NZ Superdiversity Council. Globally, he is a member of the Strategic Alliance Vietnamese Ventures International (SAVVi) network and an executive of the global Vietnamese diaspora business network (BAOOV). In 2018, Mitchell joined the University of Auckland Business School as the first 'Entrepreneur-in-Residence' at the University of Auckland Business School. 

Internationally, Mitchell is recognised in leadership as a World Class New Zealander by KEA Global, an Asia 21 Fellow by the Asia Society, and a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

Chye Kiah Heng, Deputy Chairperson


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Chye Heng has a wealth of experience in strategic, financial and risk management gained through his role as CFO of Beca for more than 30 years. He was instrumental in Beca’s international growth (particularly across the Asia Pacific), and drove the evolution of the firm’s corporate governance framework and its much heralded employee ownership scheme. He currently leads Beca’s legal team globally, is a director and trustee of various Beca entities, oversees the Beca Share scheme and chairs the Beca Superannuation Trust. Chye Heng is a fellow of both CPA Australia and of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. At the University of Auckland, Chye Heng is an adjunct professor in the Graduate School of Management.

Matthew Abel


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Matthew Abel has over 30 years of development experience in Asia and the Pacific. He has worked in public financial management, including with SOEs, strengthening budget preparations and as a financial advisor to the Ministry of Education in Solomon Islands. His most recent assignment was in Kiribati, while earlier experience included managing an ADB-funded private sector development project in the Federated States of Micronesia. Other projects were in Tonga, the Cook Islands, Indonesia and Vietnam, supporting various aspects of SME development. Matthew Abel currently works with two charitable organisations and mentors SMEs in New Zealand. He is also on the advisory board of a rural training institute in Fiji.

Read more about Matthew.

Celia Caughey


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Celia Caughey practised as a lawyer before serving as New Zealand Trade Commissioner to Vietnam and Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City where she lived for 7 years. For over 20 years, she has been the fundraising coordinator for the Ba Chieu Home, a home for disadvantaged girls in Vietnam. Celia Caughey has also been involved as former Deputy Chair and Vietnam Chapter Chair in running the ASEAN New Zealand Business Council. She currently serves on the board of several charities including Auckland City Mission, Caughey Preston Trust and NZ War Memorial Museum Le Quesnoy Strategic Advisory Group.  Celia is often involved in projects celebrating Vietnamese culture and speaking on understanding Vietnamese culture.

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Ian Kennedy


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Ian Kennedy is Chair of the Japan New Zealand Business Council. As a former career diplomat, he was posted three times to Japan, most recently as Ambassador from 2007 to July 2012. His other overseas postings were to Solomon Islands and Vanuatu from 1992 to 1994, Turkey, Israel and Jordan (Ambassador) from 1996 to 1999, and Australia (Deputy High Commissioner) from 2004 to 2007. Ian Kennedy is a partner with I.S.K. Associates, a consultancy business specialising in Japan. He is also a board member of the Asia NZ Foundation and an Honorary Chairman of the "Support-our-Kids" home stay programme, established in 2011 to support children following the Tohoku earthquake and the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

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Jo Kim


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Jo Kim is a lawyer in Auckland. Her specialties include commercial property, subdivisions, overseas investment, construction, and immigration. Additionally, Josephine Kim advises on emission trading schemes. She is a committee member of the Korea New Zealand Business Council and is deeply involved in the New Zealand Korean community. She is a member of the International Korean Lawyers Association and is on the Board of the Korean Cinerama Trust, organising the bi-annual Korean Film Festival to promote co-production of movies by Korean and New Zealand film-makers.

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Indradi Soemardjan


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Indradi Soemardjan is a director of Anapana Pte Ltd, a Singapore-based company that operates a farm-to-cup coffee business between Indonesia and Singapore under its brands of Javanero and SOMA Coffee. Indradi is the Treasurer of the Sustainable Coffee Platform of Indonesia (SCOPI), which is dedicated to supply-chain traceability, economic viability for farmers, environmental conservation and social responsibility; SCOPI is supported by the Global Coffee Platform. Indradi is also a Global Advisory Board Member of AGREA, an agriculture-focused social enterprise. Indradi is one of seven Indonesians who have been awarded the New Zealand ASEAN 40th Anniversary Awards in 2015 for contributing to New Zealand’s deepening relationship with ASEAN, notably through the ASEAN Young Business Leaders Initiatives. He also has participated in the 2nd Indonesia-New Zealand 15 + 15 Dialogue. Indradi is currently treasurer of Ballet.id which has held a joint ballet training with New Zealand School of Dance in Indonesia. In 2018 Indradi was appointed Council Chairman for the Indonesia-New Zealand Friendship Council.

Read more about Indradi.