About Us

Leadership. Recognising it, unpicking it, theorising it, questioning it, understanding it, developing it. This our daily work. Our passion. Our contribution to New Zealand. NZLI’s purpose has always centered on a desire to grow our understanding of leadership and share this understanding with others so that New Zealand’s communities and businesses thrive under effective, resilient leadership.

We don’t believe leadership is tied to position, or confined to the heroic gestures of a select few. We see leadership embedded in everyday practice. It is a way of thinking and being, rather than a collection of generic tools to draw on. We use the language of leadership ‘practices’ because it reflects an approach to leadership that is ongoing and relational, where context is integral, and people are core.   

We believe leadership inherently sits in the zone of complexity where there is no ‘right’ way and where uncertainty and ambiguity abound. Leadership is called for when a rational, linear or pre-planned approach simply won’t work. It requires people to improvise, get their hands dirty and engage others in the process. 

NZLI was born out of a perceived need for more leadership. A sense that New Zealand’s businesses and communities were lacking the kind of leadership that would carry them forward.

Established in 2004 as a not-for-profit trust with the University of Auckland Business School as a founding partner, NZLI obtained the backing of several other organisations and endorsement by the great Sir Edmund Hillary, who remains the patron in perpetuity. 13 years on, NZLI is now a research and development institute at the University of Auckland Business School. Our development programmes translate cutting-edge research into relevant and applied leadership practices, which in turn contribute to theory-building in the field of leadership research.  It is this interplay between research and development that makes us so unique in the area of leadership development in New Zealand.