Adman Kevin Roberts back in NZ for holidays
In the first of an occasional feature on New Zealanders
who are back for the holidays, JULIE MIDDLETON talks
to Kevin Roberts, head of Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide.
New York-based Kevin Roberts what distance does to his
perception of New Zealand, and there is an unusually
long pause - for he is as chatty as a starling.
a good question, he says, but "a paradoxical one.
Being away from New Zealand makes you more demanding
of it - but being away makes you miss it more. I count
the hours until I'm back."
job - Saatchi has about 150 offices worldwide and more
than 7000 staff - makes him a globetrotter extraordinaire,
and he has houses in the Big Apple, Auckland and St
in England, 54-year-old Roberts settled in New Zealand
in 1989 and is back in the country about "once
every six to eight weeks". This year he spent 120
days in New Zealand.
night before he spoke to the Herald, he had been at
a New York art gallery do featuring United States and
New Zealand artists, during which he played, to great
interest, teenage singing star Hayley Westenra's album
Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy is a hot topic,
he says, with Niki Caro's Whale Rider also selling New
Zealand talent well.
York is meant to be kind of where the street beat happens,"
says Roberts, "but New Zealand is now being viewed
amongst this audience as being very much 'today'.
not about bloody Taupo and mountains and green fields
and stuff. It's like, 'This is a hip place. I want to
find out more'.
creative face of New Zealand has never been stronger.
That's the feeling that's going on now among New Yorkers."
he arrived in New York nine years ago, New Zealanders
"were always tacked onto Australia. Over the last
three or four years we have absolutely got our own identity."
Roberts would love to import some ideas picked up from
the US. One is New York's famous zero-tolerance policy
under which police crack down on petty criminals with
the aim of preventing them becoming major offenders.
have an 80 per cent reoffend rate in New Zealand, and
our imprisonment rate is growing 8 per cent per annum,
so we're doing something seriously wrong."
supports the police youth-coaching project Turn Your
Life Around, which works with at-risk youngsters aged
10 to 16 in the Auckland suburb of Avondale.
also supports the work of fellow New York-based Kiwi
and corporate headhunter John Wareham, author of the
book Break Out of Prison, based on the course he teaches
to prisoners aimed at helping them to deal with life
on the outside.
has recently become a Professor of Sustainable Enterprise
at Waikato University, and says New Zealand could learn
from the United States' encouragement of small- and
are tax breaks, research grants and funding, banks taking
risks ... they make it easy for them."
holidays Roberts is spending a month at home in Remuera
with businesswoman wife Rowena and children Ben, 24,
Rebecca, 22, and Daniel, 18. The offspring live in the
house next door.
make a point of getting together at Christmas. It can
be New York, Morocco, London - wherever we are. But
by the far the best is New Zealand."
to Keith S. for locationg this item