In December 2016, a group of 26 Cal Poly students ventured to New Zealand to learn about the the economy and local business are feeling the effects of the nation’s sustainability movement. After visiting startups, government officials and agricultural business leaders, finance junior Therin Heryford (far left in first photo) talks about what he’s taking away from his trip abroad:
Through the Orfalea College of Business’ trip to New Zealand, we were able to learn how the national economy of New Zealand has progressed through the years and how it will continue to evolve in the future. By meeting with CEOs and sustainability officers from many different businesses and government agencies, Orfalea students were able to gain a stronger understanding of the strong aspects of New Zealand business, as well as the areas where the country continues to need improvement as they grow.
On a national scale, it became obvious through our meetings that New Zealand’s economy is highly dependent on only two products: dairy and tourism. The large amount of farmland around the country has given rise to a large amount of dairy products, mostly shipped to countries like China. However, many people within the country worry of their dairy products being undercut by other countries who can produce dairy products for lower costs. For tourism, it became entertaining to witness nearly anything turn into a tourist activity. From sheep shearing farm tours to golf driving ranges that required hitting golf balls into their local Lake Taupo, tourists were consistently the focus for a large amount of businesses around the country. While these businesses continue to flourish in the present, it was inspiring to see the local population admit their shortfall and discuss ways to improve in the future.
One of my favorite visits, which took place at Mission Winery in the Hawkes Bay region of New Zealand, gave us an insight into the fast development that businesses within the country can have. Until about 30 years ago, Mission Winery was a small, local winery that did not captivate a large target market. However, the winery has since grown into an international corporation through strong marketing and a continued push to improve the quality of their brand. Through strong products and a unique brand, Mission Winery continues to provide all of its customers with wine from New Zealand’s oldest winery. Mission Winery provides a great example of how there is still room for many companies to develop and capture a large market share within New Zealand. It is the goal of the New Zealand government that lenient policies and relatively open markets will allow more companies to continue to have a larger impact on the New Zealand economy in the future.
Altogether, our tours allowed us to gain a strong understanding of the inner workings of businesses in New Zealand. The lessons we learned will follow us in our studies and beyond and give the students of Orfalea a head start when we enter the business world after graduation.