Te Raupapa Waikato Management School

Waikato Management School is offering to sponsor a WMS student to take part in the Aspiring Leaders Forum in Wellington. Applications close Monday, 3 June 2024.

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The Aspiring Leaders' Forum (ALF) on faith and values will be hosting its eighteenth forum on 29 August - 1 September 2024 in Wellington.  The annual event brings together a diverse group of committed and courageous young leaders from across Aotearoa New Zealand.

Guided by facilitators and esteemed national leaders, young people discuss leadership from a narrative point of view, faith and values over four days.

While Members of Parliament host aspects of the Forum, the focus is not purely politics.  Instead, it is about encouraging young people to become better leaders in their sphere of influence - be it community, arts, business, politics or sports.

The Aspiring Leaders' Forum hopes to build a bridge from one generation to the next, inspiring and elevating our young people's expectations of leadership.


Highlights include:

  • A day spent in Parliament House
  • Keynote addresses from senior politicians
  • Keynote addresses from inspiring leaders of varying societal spheres
  • Small group discussions
  • A community service project
  • A sports afternoon and an epic barn dance

To view the full programme please go to aspiringleaders.org.nz

Sponsorship up to the value of $3,000 will cover travel expenses and the forum registration fee (accommodation and meals for the duration of the Forum included).

What is the Aspiring Leaders Forum like?


Kaylee Bird
Conjoint — Bachelor Management Studies with Honours / Bachelor of Laws with Honours

"Firstly, this is not a forum that teaches you how to be leader. We were all expecting leadership speeches on 'how to' be a leader, rather than 'why' be a leader, or 'who' you are before considering leadership. This event helps you explore what is important to you in life and what you can draw strength from in leadership positions.

The highlight was the visit to parliament — I would have spent the entire forum there if I could have! It was eye-opening to hear from politicians and hear about their past struggles and future goals (and yes, we heard from Chlöe Swarbrick). Parliamentary question time in the chamber was an experience and I would definitely recommend everyone attend and watch if you can! We also split into groups to speak with a few members of parliament, which gave us a chance to ask questions and gain a deeper insight.

The speakers came from a variety of different backgrounds and discussed what their leadership was driven by, whether that be their faith, a significant event, or their values. I came away from some talks feeling I could not relate to them, and others completely inspired."

Rebecca Brosnan
Bachelor of Business

I am beyond grateful that I got an opportunity to participate in such an incredible forum and I truly believe attending the Aspiring Leaders Forum (ALF) has been a great compliment to completing my studies in management at University of Waikato.

It's very hard to describe exactly what it felt like to be at the forum and how to describe the forum itself. It wasn't your typical leadership instruction, nor was it what myself, or anyone who had not previously attended ALF was expecting, but it was indescribably amazing. So much was packed into each day, which makes it feel like I gained a years' worth of knowledge in just a few days.

Overall, attending ALF was a life-changing experience and it has affected me a lot more significantly than I thought it would. Puna Wano-Bryant spoke of "Being a leader is knowing who you are, owning your space and sharing your opportunities with others." I have come home questioning my purpose and if I am actually content with the way I live my life.

ALF was so inspiring that I am currently re-evaluating my goals, as now I can see where I should be aiming higher to really make a difference, instead of letting myself just get comfortable. This could be summed up in one of my favourite phrases used at the forum, "You've got to risk it, until you get the biscuit!".


Mckenzie Northcott
Bachelor of Management Studies with Honours 

My experience of the Aspiring Leaders' Forum (ALF) was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Upon gaining the opportunity to embark on my journey to Wellington, I asked ex-students who have previously attended the forum, 'what it was like?'. No one could give me an exact answer and after experiencing it for myself, my answer is as simple as 'inspirational'. The forum truly was an internally rewarding experience. From the many quest speakers, sporting activities, and the community project, you are treated to a world of opportunities to embrace.

A key highlight from my experience was a key message from Debbie Fuller — 'teach what you know and reproduce who you are'. As a young aspiring leader, I can only lead from the learnings and experiences that I have been involved in. The ALF was by far the best learning that I have been given during my time as a young leader and I thank the Waikato Management School for their sponsorship. I would highly recommend any student to attend ALF if they are given the opportunity to do so.

Christopher Packwood
Bachelor of Business

I had such an honour and privilege to be selected by the University of Waikato Management school alongside my friends Rebekah Te Rito and Mckenzie Northcott to go to the Aspiring Leaders' Forum 2021.

What can I say other than it was almost like a crossroads, where all the amazing delegates and facilitators came together

What can I say other than It was almost like a crossroads, where all the amazing delegates and facilitators came together on their leadership journeys to share and learn together. I met truly amazing people at ALF 2021; everyone was truly inspiring and that I feel amazing is a word that doesn’t truly captivate.

We stood together in this cross road and we came out stronger; we came out wiser.

I will always recommend The Aspiring Leaders Forum to anyone I meet … it will take you places and experience things you never thought you would.


Jenna Cousins
Bachelor of Management Studies with Honours 

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to attend the 2022 Aspiring Leaders' Forum (ALF), and what an experience it was! It was an action packed four days, full of personal development and self-growth. It was awesome to hear from some incredible, inspirational speakers and learn about their journeys with leadership.

ALF also involved a team sports tournament and some time spent planting trees as community service in the Porirua Harbour. It was great to have the opporutnit to get outdoors and spend time with fellow delegates in an informal setting. I am grateful for the people I met, and the friendships that were formed, and I can't wait to cross paths with them again. For anybody considering applying to attend ALF I would absolutely encourage you to do so. It really is a life changing experience that is hard to put into words.

Kyla Burgess
Bachelor of Management Studies with Honours

The Aspiring Leaders Forum (ALF) was an experience I didn't know I needed. The impact the speakers, facilitators, and other attendees have on you in only four days is something that is all but impossible to put into words. It is truly life-changing and an opportunity I would highly recommend any student take up if given the chance.

ALF speaks about embracing not only your present but your past as well. Your experiences good or bad are what lead you to the point in life you are at now. They made you who you are today and without them, you would not be the leader you were destined to be. A key learning for me was that in order to be impactful as a leader you do not have to do something great or life-changing you can instead do something small that may only have an impact on a small group of people. The most important leaders to us are often everyday people yet one interaction could help alter the course of someone's life.

Everyone starts somewhere so don't be afraid to just start small.

Eligibility criteria

To be considered for the Aspiring Leaders Forum sponsorship, you must:

  • Be aged between 18 and 26
  • Be able to demonstrate strong leadership potential in your sphere of influence
  • Be a full-time Waikato Management School student
  • Have already completed at least 120 points towards your degree
  • Have a grade-point average of at least B+ (75-79%)
  • Be a New Zealand Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Be willing to take photos/videos of your experience in Wellington, and write a short debrief for the Waikato Management School website once you return home.

We're looking for those individuals who demonstrate strong leadership potential, those who have genuine appreciation for different perspectives and for individuals with diverse interests, backgrounds and ambitions.

How to apply

To apply please email the information below to Sarah Robson (Student Engagement Coordinator) at sarah.robson@waikato.ac.nz by Monday, 3 June 2024.

Successful applicants will be notified by Waikato Management School by 10 June 2024.