The Great New Zealand Expatriate Directory

Richard Easther, Jolisa Gracewood, Amanda Peet and Mark C. Wilson

We propose the creation of a directory of expatriate New Zealanders, to encourage the flow of skills and knowledge between the expatriate community and New Zealand, and to link expatriate New Zealanders with employment opportunities in New Zealand. The overall goal of the ``New Zealand Expatriate Directory'' is to ensure that New Zealanders living overseas are not lost to New Zealand.

Many professional associations and societies (the RSNZ and University Alumni Associations, for instance) maintain networks of their own members. The meta-directory we propose has these extra advantages: it will be interdisciplinary, will extend beyond the borders of academia and the professions, and will offer a single point of contact for searchers. What we advocate is a more organised and versatile version of the informal contact networks that New Zealanders create and sustain as they move across the globe.

The following examples illustrate possible uses of the directory:

  1. Schools currently offering recruitment bonuses of several thousand dollars to expatriate New Zealanders could search the directory for qualified teachers living overseas.

  2. A New Zealand firm seeking legal representation in the United States could search the directory for New Zealanders working in American law firms, in order to locate lawyers familiar with both legal systems.

  3. MoRST could locate expatriate New Zealander scientists to serve as referees for grant applications, thus broadening the pool of potential referees.

  4. A New Zealand yacht designer seeking short-term help with computer simulations of a new hull design could search the directory for consultants with expertise in computational fluid dynamics and access to the supercomputers needed to perform the calculations.

  5. A film school seeking a visiting lecturer with insight into the international marketplace to offer master classes (in screenwriting or editing, say) could search the database for New Zealanders working in the film industry overseas.

  6. An artist or performance group undertaking an international tour could make contact with fellow artists or agents in the cities they plan to visit.

  7. New Zealand firms working in (or expanding into) unfamiliar international locations could find New Zealanders with the language skills and cultural literacy to advise them on the local situation.

Directory Format

We envisage a computerized database accessible via the World Wide Web, with searches and registrations also available by post or telephone.

Since much of the information in the directory will be private, and because individuals currently employed overseas may not want to advertise their willingness to consider job offers from New Zealand, strong privacy safeguards will be needed if the directory is to function well.

Individuals adding their names to the directory would have the option of providing different types of information, including

  1. Contact details and addresses.
  2. Professional and educational qualifications.
  3. Institutional affiliations and employers.
  4. Specific skills, and areas of special knowledge.
  5. The circumstances in which the information can be provided to searchers (see privacy issues, below).

Gathering Information

The existence of the directory, and an invitation to register, could be advertised in a variety of ways. We suggest advertising on websites read by expatriate New Zealanders (on-line versions of New Zealand newspapers, web-sites such as,, and, in newsletters and newspapers focussed on expatriates (Newzgram or New Zealand News UK), and via university alumni associations.

Privacy Issues

Privacy concerns must be addressed and safeguards provided to ensure that the information is not used for unwanted commercial or personal solicitations.

The directory may work best if individuals can specify a variety of privacy levels for the data they provide, as a person may wish to make some details publicly available while restricting others to searchers who have established their bona fides with the directory administrators.

Support and Ownership

In principle, this directory could be created and maintained by any interested person or organisation. However, since it would be difficult for it to be financially self-supporting, it will work best if managed, or at least sponsored, by government.

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