Written by Luke Mansell
Tue, 19 Jul:

Our trip to Silicon Valley has come to an end. What a week it has been. Having the opportunity to network and talk to people in all of these remarkable companies has been an exceptional opportunity to further myself and my goal of ultimately interning or working for a Silicon Valley company.

Having only been back in New Zealand for one day, my LinkedIn messages are already going off as the people I have met offer to help further myself and refer me within their companies for internship positions - even opportunities across the world such as referrals to some of the companies' European headquarters. It is fair to say this trip has been a personal success and what I sought out of the trip has been achieved.

Being indulged within the Silicon Valley atmosphere has been eye-opening, especially when contrasting New Zealand and this experience. Silicon Valley is not a location; it is a mindset. The mindset to assist others even if you draw no personal gain out of it, to happily meet with people who on the "social scale" are much inferior than yourself, to strive to constantly be the best possible version of yourself… the list goes on.

We do not see this in New Zealand and it is a shame. The atmosphere of Silicon Valley is a give, not take environment. This does not seem to parallel within our New Zealand culture. We had some of the most influential people more than happy to donate their time to us. To talk to us. To help us. New Zealand has a culture of putting down people who choose to step out of the box and do something new. In Silicon Valley, being different and doing something extraordinary is what the whole culture is about. This mindset could be applied anywhere. The Silicon Valley mindset could be applied anywhere.

This trip has transformed me for the better. It has opened my eyes that studying in New Zealand will not pose as a forthcoming disadvantage. All companies we met with kept reinforcing that they do not care what university or walk of life you have come from.

If you as a personal brand are worthwhile to their company, they will hire you. They are more interested in what you can bring to their organization rather than where you studied, and just looking through TradeMe jobs this is something which New Zealand is yet to realize. Degrees are not everything. Practical experience through your own personal projects not only shows your drive within your chosen sector, but also demonstrations practical experience over the theoretical experience we encounter throughout our university education. Knowledge is not limited, it is infinite. Expanding our knowledge through the invaluable experiences we absorb through our own personal development should be encouraged alongside our studies; yet we find courses where we sit alone listening to lectures instead of being thrown together in group projects which helps to emulate what the real world is about: team work.

This trip has also shown me what is possible. Having been encouraged by many of these companies to personally apply for internships, it has shown me how possible my goals are. Anyone's goals are possible, but many in New Zealand do not feel this way. It is time for this to change. Anyone can achieve anything they strive to do, we all just need to stop putting down each other and work as a community to help each other to be the best versions of ourselves.

There are of course people out there such as Andrew, Jason and Simon who have gone tremendously out of there way to make this whole thing happen and to have an impact on New Zealand as a whole. Andrew for a long time has been a mentor to me, him more than happy to support anyone which I really admire. His investments in the next generation are unparalleled; there aren't many people who have such a drive and passion to help people out and provide them with the experiences and opportunities which allow them to further both themselves, but also their communities. It was great getting to know both Simon and Jason to hear both what they are doing and the sort of impacts that they are wanting to make on the world. They both are very inspirational guys who I would like to thank for making this trip great. And then to the other seven boys who without them being on this trip, it really wouldn't have been a trip. Everyone on this trip was so unique and different, yet we all shared the same quality of wanting to help New Zealand, our communities, better ourselves and also make an impact on the world.

I look forward to seeing where this takes us all. Not only the students on the trip, but New Zealand as a whole. It is time for New Zealand to apply the Silicon Valley mindset. Let's work to make that happen.

Written by Harrison Hill
Tue, 19 Jul: I know this is a bit late (SORRY) but better now then never.
Words can’t almost describe how I feel and what this trip has done for me but I’ll try.

Having been back now for a week I’ve had a lot of time to look back and reflect on everything I did and experienced, and boy, was that a lot. This Trip has completely changed everything for me, from my mindset, to my Ideas and thought process, even down to my daily routine. I still wake up at 5 am like I did in the States but thats not a bad thing I guess. This trip has given me direction of where I want to go and where I’m going and I can’t wait. Things I am now constantly thinking of now are; #YOUCANLEARNANYTHING (Khan Academy), Stay True to yourself (, There are no such thing as excuses (Renaissance Leadership) and If you want to be extraordinary stop being ordinary (IDEO). These sayings are going to be incorporated into my everyday life in ways I am yet to find out but for sure they will be there plus couple others. I can’t begin to explain what this trip has and is still doing for me. I now have contacts for life in the Valley who I know will be able help/mentor me get into business when I get the proper training & or create something huge. (Which is hopefully soon!!). But until then my plan from here is to get High School done with the best grades I can get, let as many people know about this experience as possible, make my ideas from thoughts to reality and help make this Experience available to as many people as possible. The best part of the whole trip was when I found my kickstart drive to recreate something old and make it brand new, fresh and clean. I came to this realization at Yelp after I was told that a certain feature wasn’t available in New Zealand but in saying that I noticed that this was a recurring theme in the companies but for some reason at Yelp it hit me. So hopefully I will have made an app by the end of the year, this also tying in as on of my action points from the trip.

Apart from the key learnings and ideals, I’ve met some incredible people, people who are just like you and me but these people took risks and made it big from CEO’s to NZ interns who took a chance and worked their butts off to get where they are who are passionate, inspiring, encouraging and one thing from everyone we meet is that they were very welcoming. But the best people who no matter what I’ll remember the most are the incredible bunch of guys that I embarked on this trip with. You guys are amazing and you guys made the trip what it was.

Toby: You boy genius starting your own business at age 15, that’s amazing, and it’s still going strong and getting stronger. It was a awesome getting to know you and picking your mind on certain business ventures. Your going places man don’t look back.

Maihi: You are so full of excitement, joy and I found you to be a daily source of motivation your such a great person to be around and it has been a absolute pleasure getting to know you. I wish you all the best for the future and I hope you work hard at UNI your going to do exemplary because you’re not ordinary you’re extraordinary and don’t you forget that.

Liam: It was awesome to have you one the trip cause it meant I knew at least one person out of the group it was a blast getting to know you better. You are such an out their thinker for someone your age and I know what ever to do/plan to do you will achieve it and then some. Can’t wait to present to the school what we’ve learned, looking forward to talking when we get back to school.

Carym: you were such a bubbly character to be around you were always keen to see what companies were up to with their creativity and I know that you’ll get a job back in the valley working for IDEO or Facebook I bet ya. You’re an amazing person who’s going places so don’t ever give up and remember if it works do more, and if it fails try again.

Luke: you are such an intelligent guy who I expect to see back in the Valley working for at least one of the companies we saw, (hey maybe even Apple) as I know they were all very interested in you. That’s because they see you, your potential and that you’re going to be something big. Looking forward to hearing about your future adventures.

Saia: You’re motivated, smart and just an allrounder kind of guy who is going places I see you as a leader in the future if you take aboard everything you learned in America. You were an awesome roommate and it was great getting to know you.
All the best and don’t be a stranger.

Gabe: You were a ball of energy that was for sure and did get a bit to much sometimes but i’ll let you off cause you always made me laugh. Your a smart, passionate young man who I expect to see big things from. Make sure you keep up your action points and follow them through they will make a difference for sure. Can’t wait to see what you, Saia and Jason do to your high school when you get back.

Jason: I loved your passion for teaching and looking for alternate ways of learning that benefits everyone not just the set standard. You are an amazing guy who I had the pleasure to get to know. I know that when you get back to school they’re in for some big surprises with all the new and innovative ideas you have in store.

Simon: I can’t say how much it has meant to me to have the chance to get to know you the last week. You are an amazing person who has such an incredible passion for everything you do whether that be for your business’s, Dilworth or for your family you are a great role model who I’ve really looked up to on this trip. I can’t wait to get back to school and share these ideas and vision that myself, Liam and yourself have for the school. Thank you for coming on this journey with all of us you have certainly left an impact. Thank you Simon and your fellow trustees for making this opportunity available for Liam and I, and for believing in our the both us and having that extra spot for Liam.

Andrew: One of the most selfless, thoughtful, generous persons that I know you single handily put this itinerary together reaching out to all your connection in high places to make sure that this trip is the most unique experience a young person can get. Your Vision for the young people of today is something else that is not widely heard of and I believe you should be highly commended on not just this trip but everything you do. Because of this opportunity I know what I’m going to be doing in life and how i’m going to get there. I can’t begin to thank you enough for what you’ve done. Thank you.

Also I must mention the Dilworth X-Change for also making this opportunity available for the students at Dilworth and with backing in funding for myself and Liam to go. I would also like to thank all my friends, family, teachers who supported me both applying for this once in a life time experience and during.

This is Harrison Hill Signing off
(But I’ll be back soon)

Written by Gabriel Inia
Mon, 18 Jul: I know I know, I'm sorry. It has been about a week since our amazing experience in Silicon Valley. This experience has changed my life for the better so far. I have taken in a lot from this experiences and a lot of my whanau are very intrigued in how this trip has changed my life. So for all the people that are following this site. Also, I am sorry for the late blog post and just thanks for supporting us.

After we arrived from the airport, I went straight back to my little community of Panmure. I fell fast asleep after I dragged myself up the stairs and into my bedroom. About 5 hours pasted and I was so keen for breakfast. The thing was, it wasn't the same. No more waking up to all your can eat buffet, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, it was back to weet-bix or cornflakes for me.

As I handed out the presents for my whanau, they realised, I brought nothing for myself. They asked me why? I replied, "I went on a trip that is a life changing opportunity. That's my huge gift." They were astonished at my gratefulness. I wasn't saying that for sympathy or anything. I was saying that because it is true.

Mr Andrew Patterson, you have now changed my life for the better. You have given me this opportunity that I will never forget. You have shown me that kiwi's from the small country New Zealand can make it anywhere in the world. This is helped me to set goals for the future that I never thought I would think of as a occupation. So thank you very very much. Too all my peers on this trip, thank you for making it fun for all of us and just do your best in school. Remember what Tom Kelley said to us. If you want to be extra-ordinary, then stop being ordinary. That is the number one thing I am taking away from this trip. I am going to stand out and be extra-ordinary and help my peers to do better.

No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa.
Gabriel Inia

Written by Maihi Bennett
Mon, 18 Jul: Looking out the window, on the long drive to the airport gave me time to think back on all the things we did during our stay in San Francisco/Silicon Valley. It was fun thinking back on all these things that we had done, but it was sad knowing that it was coming to an end.

As we pulled up to the airport and slowly got out of the bus we all looked tired and ready to go home, but I know inside we were feeling like we could change the world.

Before we took off to check in and depart, we had a small debrief, well wishes and last words from Andrew. Then I got up on behalf of the boys and quickly said a small mihi to him, thanking him for the opportunity he had afforded us and closed it with the Haka.
I lead the Haka "Ka Mate" standing in front of Andrew with Jason, Saia and Gabriel behind me. It was a way for me personally to express myself in another form, other than word, of how I was feeling. After that we took a few photos, said our individual farewells before heading through to the airport to check in.

This trip to Silicon Valley and all that it exposed me to, was incredible. It was definitely the best week of my life! I am now more focused, more driven, more hungry in wanting to achieve my goals.

Think differently. Don't be ordinary be extraordinary!

To all the boys, your legends.

Luke - Your a good mate, very on to it, very sharp. You know a hell of a lot when it comes to technology, you can do anything man. Keep grinding my bro, your next to hit the valley.

Toby - Mr Entrepreneur, your have guts and a keen mind man. I know you took away a lot and will apply it to your life when you get home. Your a top bloke, keep working hard brother, it will definitely pay off one day.

Carym - You went from Carym to Kareem real quick ea, this trip was the one for you. I know its hard where your from but crack that whip, 'cause your are capable of so much. Keep that creative mind of yours sharp bro, you will go far.

Saia - Your a very kind person man. Very observant and attentive. You have many gifts bro, you will be a very wise leader and an even better man when your older. Remember who you are and stay on track and you will go far.

Gabriel - You never stop, your always flying and funny as. You have insane potential ea. Your very proud of your Kura and your hood, so show them how to dream cuz. Keep learning, keep working and step up bro, I know you can. Ace.

Harrison - Your always full of big ideas and are very passionate about technology. Your a good fulla. Keep trying to implement all that good stuff at your school and take back what you have learnt. Be extraordinary.

Liam - Old Petrol, your crazy smart ea. You think very differently to a regular 16 year old, very mature. Your always keen to take on any challenge, even if you fail at it. Stay determined, be competitive brother.

Jason - Your a rockstar teacher, Khan Academy called it. Top 1%. Your so passionate about teaching and trying your hardest to make a difference. Inspirational. Said, Gabba and Tamaki College are lucky to have you. Go hard man.

Simon - Your a legend Simon, one of the most kind, caring and smart fullas I know. I know I can chat with you about anything, it was a pleasure touring with you. Your the man. Kia kaha, kia ū, kia manawa nui!

Finally to Andrew. You are incredible man. Thank you for everything you've done for us. Thank you for giving me this opportunity, you've made me realise so much. You exposed me to a completely different world than one that I'm used to. You introduced me to people I would never have met and changed me fundamentally. Your kindness and generosity is what makes you who you are. What you did for us is beyond what words can describe. You are a true blessing and hero. I am so very lucky to count you as a friend and mentor. Tenei e whakamiha ai ki a koe e te rangatira.

Whiua ki te ao!


Written by Jason Sharma
Mon, 18 Jul: Those that know me well, know that I am quite reserved when expressing my emotions. But if I could try and articulate the impact that our trip has had upon me personally with just one word, that word would be transformational.

I have seen eight young boys transform into eight young men and leaders. And it will be hard for me to summarise this experience in a single blog post, but as I go through my reflective journal, there are three key learnings that will remain with me for the rest of my life.

Lesson 1: Be a master at building relationships and networks

One of the most inspiring aspects of the trip was to see that the people whom we met, genuinely enjoyed making and maintaining relationships with people from all walks of life. Whether it be the CEO of a big company, or an intern at a fledgling start-up, they all emphasised the importance of making sure that you treat ALL people with respect. If you do not look to seek the best in everyone today, you may miss how that person can be the difference in your life tomorrow.

Lesson 2: Be mindful

Mindfulness, through what I have learned on this trip, is the ability to be aware that we as humans need time to reflect on ourselves so that we can serve others better. In a world full of social media, societal expectations and pressures from work and school, we sometimes forget to look after ourselves. It is through mindfulness that we can be more creative and be more compassionate and empathetic towards others. Mindfulness is the secret that the most powerful people in Silicon Valley use to take themselves to the next level.

Lesson 3: What is new today, will be old tomorrow

This is at the heart of innovation at Silicon Valley. People in the valley do not wait for new opportunities to take advantage of-- they create them. In an ever changing world, the one thing that we can be absolutely sure of is uncertainty. I have learned that there are opportunities to innovate in every aspect of my life, and feel honoured to have met the people that I did who have inspired me to be the positive change in the lives of people who need it the most.

I would like to thank all the boys on the trip. You have all inspired me to be a better person, and I will continue to help you in your journey to become the servant leaders that you are all capable of becoming.

To Simon, thank you for the advice and insight that you have shared with me over the past week, your breadth of knowledge and wisdom has made me reflect on life in a more meaningful and powerful way. And finally to Andrew. You have been a true friend, brother and personal inspiration to me. I will be forever indebted to you for making a difference in my life, and to the lives of everyone on this trip.

To a journey that has only truly just begun,

Written by Liam Ottley
Mon, 18 Jul: For the sake of you readers, I'll keep this short and sweet, because not much will be gained from me going over each company again.

This trip has flipped my knowledge of the world upside down. Instead of thinking how much can I do, I think how much can I not do, which allows me to eliminate unnecessary tasks and work towards a few perfect products. I took this method from Apple. I now think 'how can I dream bigger', rather than 'what am I doing when I leave school'. This was because I saw time and time again from the people we met that they did not have some huge master plan, they went with the flow, followed their passion a worked hard for it. I have loosened my grip on the dream of studying my undergraduate degree at Stanford or a similar US college and have refocused on being more flexible in my study options. Auckland, Otago, Sydney or Cambridge are on the cards for the beginning of my tertiary studies, then I will explore the US in my masters and PhD. Thanks to the trip I am now much more driven and focused, yet relaxed and open to change which are complete opposites I know, but I mean I am more comfortable with my schooling knowing that my study choices and skill sets do not limit me to the industries I can work in in the future, while I am also determined to work my butt off to live and work in the valley - whatever the path to it may be. I now understand the importance of computer science and engineering in the tech world and my view and opinion of the subject have been changed dramatically. I was one of those people (like many I am sure) who saw software engineering as nerdy and not something I'd be interested in and my assumptions were creating a mental barrier. However, when talking to the people we met I saw that there are millions of people who find this interesting and that there is an infinite demand for these people. Because of this, I have made a deal with myself to use Khan Academy to look into the subject and give it a chance, for I too may become very passionate about it.

Aside from the learnings of this trip, I also met many amazing people. From CEOs to interns, everyone was welcoming, encouraging and passionate. However, the most amazing people I met were the others on the trip with me.

Gabe: I must admit you did embarrass me sometimes and I felt like slapping you across the back of the head, but you also surprised me a lot. I know nothing about you academics or school passions yet I know you have the potential to go far. Don't be afraid to fail and find some way to motivate yourself to the point where you crave working hard and completing a task. Thanks for being a great mate and making me laugh so often. Keep it Steezy.

Saia: You're a solid guy man and you have all the characteristics of an amazing leader. You're motivated, smart, self aware and kind. Don't be tempted to return to old ways and keep the memory of this experience fresh. Sorry for making you sleep on the couch and keep it Steezy.

Maihi: You inspired me every day of the trip man! Your attitude, motivation and mana is prominent and you are a great people person. Work hard at university man and carry your community with you. You have a chance to make a big statement and effect many other Maori, so never give up. Aside from all that, you're the funniest guy I know, whether it was the bean boozled challenge, the CEO or eeeeah bouy you made me laugh hysterically.

Toby: I still can't get over you starting a business at 14 man, you're an inspiration and a perfect example of someone who is not afraid to fail. Keep up the good work bro and I look forward to seeing where DexTech will go.

Luke: You're a bright guy with a lot ahead of you. With your set of skills there is nothing you can't do in the tech industry and I look forward to working with you in the valley sometime. Thanks for your work on this website, we all appreciate it.

Jason: Gabe and Saia are lucky to have such a passionate teacher at their school. You are a breath of fresh air in education and I wish my teachers were as innovative in the classroom as you are. It has been a pleasure getting to know you and thank you for coming with us on this trip.

Carym: The shining light of the north. You're always glowing with creativity and passion and your presence on this trip was invaluable. Stay motivated and I'm sure I'll catch you at IDEO soon. I look forward to hearing of your impact up there and what change comes of your experience.

Harrison: Been great having another Dilworth boy to share this experience with, and I know we will return to school with some big changes in mind. Whether or not the school supports them is a different story, but we will do our best. See you at choir camp bro.

Simon: It has been a pleasure and privilege to get to know you this past week. Your passion for the school is obvious and Harrison and I cannot wait to turn Dilworth into a school that produces great entrepreneurs and aspiring techies. Personally, you are an inspiration and a role model for me, and I hope to succeed in the business then give back to Dilworth like you have done. Thank you for coming on this journey; you have left a mark on all of us. Also, I must mention the Dilworth X-Change. Thank you Simon and your colleagues for making this opportunity available for Harrison and I, and for believing in our potential.

Andrew: The best for last. I cannot thank you enough for organising this trip and changing all of our lives entirely. Your vision for young people and generosity is admirable and you have instilled those exact values into us all, and we may well return the favour by doing something similar in the future to give other students a life changing opportunity. You have given my studies purpose and my life direction, something that I cannot thank you enough for. May many more people be touched by your vision and this experience! Thanks again.

Thank you to everyone who supported me financially or emotionally, I cannot thank you all enough.


Signing out,


Written by Saia Tukuafu
Mon, 18 Jul: The end of something great, but the beginning of our new chapters.

We all have experienced something great over the past week. I knew that all the new brother's I've made over this trip didn't want to return back to New Zealand. But in doing so, we all have bigger dreams and better priorities compared to the ones we had prior to the trip.

First and foremost I'd like to thank the Heavenly Father for Andrew, and the trip he had given to the boys and I. Secondly I'd like to thank Andrew, for giving us a Once In A Lifetime Opportunity. I'd also like to thank my family who had supported me during this trip and also to everyone who supported us boys as a family. I would also love to thank every person and company that we got see during the trip, because without you's this trip wouldn't have been as meaningful.

I really learnt a lot on this trip and I now hold education precious to me. I know now that knowledge isn't something we can take for granted because it is infinite. We can always carry on learning no matter what. There isn't a barrier or ending towards knowledge because, humans will always develop further. That right there is why we as a species are intelligent. In saying this I have personally set goals for myself to achieve. Be it Big or Small they all relate towards our communities as a whole. I also find that the best way of giving back to the world, is by giving back to the people that we all hold dearly to our hearts.

For a final thanks, I would love to thank the boys and the adults who attended the trip:
The Muske-STEEZE. My Brother's Gabriel and Liam. The two boys that made this trip real fun and interesting.
-Maihi: Shot for showing me what true culture looks like, and what it means to embrace it even when you are alone and isolated.
-Toby: For giving me such an insight on connecting with others. Thanks for helping me with connections bro.
-Luke: For displaying such determination. Through your actions I now see what true happiness is.
-Harrison: For being such an unique individual. You my bro are just like a brother to me.
-Carym: Thanks bro for intelligence and help. Through your actions also, I can now see what it is like to walk down hard paths.
-Jason: Shot sir for all the laughs we've had on this trip. Now that we are closer to each other, we can help each other out with everything right?

But most of all thanks to Andrew. Thanks for every opportunity you've opened for us all. You are seriously someone we can rely on and hope for when in times of need.

Written by Toby Carr
Mon, 18 Jul: As of Friday, all of our experiences in Silicon Valley have come to an end. Our memories, experiences, connections and friends will always remain however.

As the week concluded, I was able to look back and realise the massive experience we had been on. Trying to look back, it was hard to comprehend our start in Silicon Valley when we arrived was just 7 days prior.

We had the opportunity to visit into some of the largest companies in the world, as well as I'm contrast some companies which are making the most profound impact in all areas of the world. Each one of us made some great connections and friends which I'm sure will last for a lifetime some of them. Personally I have come away with many different quick take away points which I know I'll be able to put into use in my own life, private and public.

I'd like to extend am endless genuine thank you to all those who made this trip happen, the sponsors, the host companies, Simon, Jason and lastly but definitely not least, Andrew, who made the whole trip a possibility and reality from his vision he had a few years ago.

Feel free to get in touch with me if you'd like to hear a bit more about our experiences! ✌️

Toby Carr

Written by Carym Wharerau
Thu, 28 Jul: This morning (even though it became Sunday when I arrived in New Zealand from Friday when I left San Fran lol) almost felt uneasy. Like a resentment, and I could feel that neither one of us boys wanted to return to NZ, yeah it would be good to catch-up on the old folks and friends, but can't just come back, it's like putting all this money into a jar and then burning it (not in the way that the motivation will die, but in the way that after being surrounded by so much inspiration, we now have to go back to reality). I know this means that we now have to learn to apply this experience to our ourselves and communities (maybe it's because i'm young) but I do not want to leave, why? Because everything I (me) need is in Silicon Valley and this whole week has just been a good slap to the face (repetitively over the four days of visits lol) and I STILL WANT THESE. I NEED THEM, and they've made me realize a lot of things I never would have gotten from anywhere else.
On the other half of me, i'm pumped to be taking this new and improve brain back to NZ and sprinkling what I've learn't onto everyone, and hopefully inspiring them to push further than NZ, to not only go out and explore the world, but as well as take a leap into their own minds and discover something much more powerful than experience itself...themselves. It might be cliche or overrated to say that this experience has been life changing, but it really has. It's refashioned my view of thinking toward myself and the world in a substantial way, and I can't be any more grateful to have been awarded it.

I'd like to thank my whanau, friends and community for constantly supporting my journey, as well as the communities around NZ who have also shown much aroha toward me and this trip. I'd also like to thank the Moko Foundation-Dr. Lance O'Sulliven and Deidre Otene for helping me become a voice in the community as well as open the gates to my experience.
As far as my fellow Silicon Valley boys go...
-The Three Muske-Steeze (Liam, Saia and Gabriel):L I'd like to thankyou for making the trip very iconic and entertaining, keep the steeze ever-growing <3
-Luke: Thanks for all the technical support you've done providing a very powerful voice for us through this website and for the relatable conversations we had lol. Good luck with your internships, I know you'll make it far <3
-Harrison: Thanks for being the best Sheldon (of The Big Bang Theory) as well as curing us with your witty comments and sarcasm. Hope both the singing and IT paths treat you well.
-Toby: Thanks for being very business-y as well as laughing at all my dreadful jokes lol, keep working hard and hope you have fun touring America!
-Jason: Thanks for always giving the best reflections of the night, let's hope that from this experience you bring a better face to the education industry<3
-Simon: Thanks for always hearing me out and listening to my rambling on about everything aswell as always being positive. Hope you and your family are alright, I know your daughters will be over-the-moon to see the presents you bought them (and you I suppose lol).
-Andrew: Thankyou for always being truthful and inspiring. Thankyou for bringing us into the bigger world and helping us chase our dreams. You have been nothing but positive, genuine and helpful, nothing in this world could ever describe how thankful I am of you. Hope to see you in the future<3

Written by Andrew Patterson
Thu, 28 Jul: What an amazing week we had together!

We visited some of the worlds most influential businesses, we met some incredibly inspiring people, we experienced the generosity of spirit that pervades Silicon Valley and we formed new connections and friendships with each other and the people we met.

I've never been more proud of a group of young people who really embraced this opportunity 100%.

Each of you threw yourself into this trip to get the most out of what this unique, life changing experience had to offer. As a result, I know you have returned to NZ with a very different take on the world and your future career aspirations.

I know you will use this experience to not only benefit yourself, but also your friends and family, your schools as well as your communities. I encourage you to pay this experience forward and in doing so realise that you are repaying the generosity that Silicon Valley showed to each of you over this past week.

Thanks for being part of SV Experience 2016 and I'll sign off with some parting words for each of you:

Luke - Thanks for your great work building and maintaining this website. As the "elder statesman" of the group you demonstrated where hard work and commitment can get you. You have set yourself the audacious challenge of following in Christian Silver's shoes by becoming an intern in SV by 2018....a goal I fully expect you will achieve.

Maihi - I've seen a big change in you this week. The increased confidence and the conviction in your voice about your goals for the future has inspired all of us who have been fortunate to travel with you. You have a strong heart and real mana. Use this experience to follow in Lance O'Sullivan's footsteps and demonstrate to others by your actions how its possible to fundamentally change the course of your life. Kia kaha

Harrison - Whenever I see a picture or hear of Steve Jobs I will think of you wearing your black polo, jeans and SJ glasses at your pitch presentation! Your passion for technology is infectious. Never lose that and continue to be driven by what you can achieve in the future. I'm sure you'll end up working at Apple!

Liam - What a pleasure its been seeing you embrace this experience in every way possible. Your steely determination and energy will get you places and I will follow your progress with interest. I suspect that master plan that sits above your bed at Dilworth is about to get a serious makeover!

Carym - If I was handing out an award for the person who I believe has been truly transformed by this experience it would go to you. Not only have we seen a whole new Carym at the end of the trip, you have discovered a whole new side of yourself that I suspect you never knew existed as you have expressed so well in your blog posts. I know your new found spirit of achievement will be a fantastic asset in your community.

Gabriel - What can I say! This trip has been the making of you as I always knew it would be. You now realise what it's possible to achieve when you set your mind to it. You are so talented in so many ways. Your challenge now is to take this experience and power yourself up to a whole new level. Keep the spirit of this trip burning inside you and use it as motivation for what you can achieve in the future.

Saia - I know this trip has had a huge impact on you. You asked several great questions along the way and lead by example. You are a wonderful role model for young Pacifica teens. Stay true to yourself and use the learnings from this trip to really propel your career in the future.

Toby - As a young entrepreneur, this week you experienced a masterclass in what it takes to achieve success by getting to understand the DNA of some of the world's most influential businesses. I know you will apply these insights in your own way and my hope is that you continue to use your knowledge and understanding of business to continue to support others.

Simon - Thanks for your fantastic input this week. I know the boys have benefited greatly from your wisdom and experience and for you personally it's obvious this trip has had a profound impact on your thinking in so many different areas. It was great you were able to join us...

Jason - As a young teacher who has more energy than anyone else I've ever met my only concern is whether your students will now be able to keep up with you!! You have been a wonderful addition to the team this week and I have absolutely no doubt that you will continue to make your mark on education in the future.

Hapaita te ara tika pumau ai te rangatiratanga mo nga uri whakatipu

Foster the pathway of knowledge to strength, independence and growth for future generations


Written by Maihi Bennett
Sun, 17 Jul: Another morning, up early and in to breakfast before departure for our companies of the day.

In the morning our first stop was to the infamous Stanford University. When we first got there we were met and greeted by a contingent of New Zealanders who were currently studying at that University. Then we sat down and had a chat with them in the stands of the track and field type stadium. It was a hot day and found out that one of the NZers had created an app that detects UV Rays when you have it on your phone. Crazy. Then we went for a tour of the place and it is STUNNING! As we walked past the stadium there were 3 blocks of concrete that had the names of Olympians, former World Record holders and NCAA champions who have came from that University. you could immediately feel a sense of strong pride coming from the students and the campus itself. We visited the chapel and other landmarks of the University. While walking around the campus we were able to chat with the NZ students studying there and from these conversations it made me want to start studying there. Something that I took away from there is that it is possible for NZers to study at these types of educational institutes.

After Stanford we went to IDEO, where we met the man himself Tom Kelly. One of the Kelly brothers who founded the company. We toured the offices and on our ways we just happened to run in to a fellow Kiwi, Dali Yu, who was a recently acquired intern. We also spotted another employee who seemed to have a tamoko tattoo on his arm which was interesting. We played around with the finger rockets which are real fun. Then we sat down and listened to the man tom Kelly talk and also gifted us one of his books "Creative Confidence" . Something that I learnt was that I should live life as an experiment, take risk and don't be ordinary but be extraordinary.

The last of the companies that we were going to visit for this entire trip was none other than the Steve Jobs founded company, Apple. The Apple building, to me, looked like iPhones kind of. We met a guy named Craig Elliot who used to work for Steve Jobs back in the day and was also his best product seller. At Apple we visited the store and looked around the place but afterward Craig took all 13 of us out to dinner down at what used to be the local dinner joint. We spoke over dinner with Craig firing questions at him and discussing sports with him. He is a top bloke Craig is.

After dinner we headed back to the hotel and had a debrief meeting regarding how the trip went and what not. But tomorrow is the last day.. When we fly out also.

So stay tuned.


Written by Carym Wharerau
Sun, 17 Jul: Good kick-off to the day, beautiful weather and a smooth drive by the best coach driver, 'Awesome'❤️
Ps. That's his nickname☝🏽️


It was a matter of mental rehearsal at Stanford University, in the way that I had to think beside the fact that I was surrounded by pure American culture- Frat & Sorority houses, massive buildings etc, so considering the kind of person I am, IT WAS LIKE BEING IN A MOVIE😍😍😭❤️✨💀
I know that the trip here benefit most of the boys around me, but to be fair on myself, I wasn't feeling it😕 Don't get me wrong, the buildings were veeery beautiful, but I somehow felt like I was in the wrong place? Like this wasn't me? I guess it's because the university's biggest image was things besides the Design industry (I'm guessing😶), or maybe it was the coming to an end of the trip part 😞(May have been the cause, because i could not rid the thought of leaving these amazing people and this amazing country from my brain😞🙁). All in all, I enjoyed Stanford I'm a spectator sort of way, but it wasn't my thing😊Doesn't mean that it's an amazing college, just not my amazing college❤️


No. Words. To. Explain.
Before I throw at you my heart and emotions for this company, I want to address what surprised me. We arrived at the studio/HQ and to my was little. I was expecting a much larger office for this company (being that they designed products for some of the most iconic brands such as Apple) so to see it as only a 2 level building was unexpecting.
Now for the good part😁😃
(Grab some popcorn whanau😂)
I'm working there. Not in the way that I've landed a position, but in the "They will see me very soon" way; in the confident way that this is where I'm working when I finish. I knew this the second my right foot set itself into the building. It was like I was finally home, like all this time that I've been saying "yeah I wanna work there" or "it'd be cool to work here" toward the other companies visited this week, as well as in my past years of visits to other places, meant nothing compared to how I felt when I entered IDEO. If this doesn't say enough about how much love I have for this company, maybe the fact that I literally had no questions to ask would say more. I really had no questions for the place, why? Because everything I ever asked for, everything I thought I knew but didn't know how to say or make moves toward...was all there. Everything I love, everything I'm good at, EVERYTHING I WANT TO BE, was all there. All in one building, and I was completely taken back. Speechless throughout the tour (maybe, I don't know anymore, because I seemed to be the most vocal of the group and almost always on the frontline following and listening😂). I felt that the environment and culture of the workplace was also a massive tick of the box.
The cherry on the top of it all was meeting Tom Kelley. (I think the fact that I can remember his name right off the top of my head (of which, that I couldn't with any other person i'd met previously) says a lot about how impacting this particular experience was).
After the tour we were lucky (and by lucky I mean God-literally-threw us-into-the-Garden-of-Eden lucky) to have a meeting with Tom.
(Currently rifling through my notes form this meeting lol).
Tom became my "45 minute man". This is like a metaphor of a person who has inspired or motivated me, and from this meeting I feel like Tom had removed the blindfold I'd been wearing for the last 17 years of my life. He was so fluent in knowledge and in himself, everything he spoke came with genuine, and I could feel everything he was saying. The one thing that stood out most for me, was his story of people caring too much. He told a story about himself and his brother who both wanted to do something great from a small place, but it was the "caring" side from their surroundings which held them back from the world and themselves. He taught us that caring can be good in its own way, but bad to me. I began to understand the people who prevent me from going big (eg whanau/friends telling me not to do a certain thing because I feel that I might get hurt) are only doing this in their favour (to keep me safe) which is totally understandable and of human nature, but you cannot be a strong person without a few mistakes in life. Mistakes will become the building blocks to my life, and hey if it doesn't work, it doesn't work, but it works toward something. Making myself stronger.
The most effective idea I took from this visit was "Don't be ordinary, be extraordinary". This hit home for me especially, because it made me step outside of myself a go "Ok Carym, stop trying to please everyone else" and no one had ever made me do this. No one. I think I need more time to reflect on this, but I definitely feel like I've found what I need from this experience, and am surely going to push myself toward this!


To some of the others, Apple wasn't the best, but for me I was quite entertained. We met with a very important person on this trip, and it seemed that their confidence and ambition was taken another way. I for one enjoyed how rough they were to our responses, and how driven they were to stand tall for their company, which is probably the reason why the company has made a name for itself. I think that from listening to the same sweet-hearted people previously, listening to a very hard kind of person made it different and exciting.
The one thing I learnt from this trip was to not be afraid to make mistakes. They mentioned that in Silicon Valley, no one takes your mistakes or failures as a "ee I don't want to be around them anymore, they're failures" but rather as a "ok you fell down, now get back up. What's next?" kind of thing, as this made me even more confident to work in Silicon Valley as I feel like I can come here and do things and know that I won't be downed for it, whether it is good or bad.

Written by Liam Ottley
Sun, 17 Jul: Thu, 14 Jul: Wednesday 13th July: A late night and early start got me drinking coffee with my usual American breakfast: Scrambled eggs, bacon and a waffle (with a healthy portion of syrup).

I tried to be productive on the long drive into central SF, but passed out I'm my reclined chair after being hit by a wave of car sickness.

I found Xero to have a great Kiwi vibe to it, which made me feel at home and in a environment of learning. The people were nice, the building was nice and the vibe was nice (the food was too!). It was amazing to hear from a Palmerston North guy named Max, who didn't have the ideal environment early on, but he used his competitiveness to drive through school and go on to be working with Xero in their SF office. Main learnings here were that competitiveness can get you through tough times and times when you lack motivation.

Twitter to me felt different to many of the companies we have visited already. It is clear that Twitter is facing some issues lately, but they are working towards resolving these and once again becoming the global leader in the information and social industries. Bureaucracy seems to somewhat restrict some innovative ideas, with multiple different sectors influencing changes to the service because of thing like region and culture. Still a neat facility with great people. Main learning was that innovation is even more important for large companies than startups as they are at risk of losing all they have if they do not change, pivot and reassess.

Kiwi Landing Pad was much smaller and empty that I imagined it to be. However, Jason from BookTrack was in the building to talk to us. BookTrack is essentially a programme that knows where you are on a page, and plays a track of music or ambient sound to fit that scene, which increases reading comprehension and connection with the book. The amazing thing for me is that it is free for schools! I intend to bring it to Dilworth as a trail. Main learning was the effects such a small product can have on communities when generosity is shown.

Yelp, although not big in NZ, is huge in the US. Unique structure with nice interior design. Eat24, which was a 24 hour call room thing had a great work/play vibe with music, laughter and calls happening. Christian, who went on the 2014 SV trip organised a meeting for us with all other Kiwi employees. I found it very useful to talk to all of them about their paths to Yelp and what sort of study they did. Main learning was that getting into a US or UK college is not an impossible dream.

A quick Mexican dinner with Christian was delicious.

Catch you later,

Written by Harrison Hill
Sun, 17 Jul: 16/07/16 (San Fran Time) - Here it is, the day had finally come, the moment which all of us were hopping would never come… Friday. But like everything else all good things must come to an end but it’s up to us wether or not to change that so that one day we can go back and maybe this time one of us could be hosting this trip at one of the companies we visited.

Today started off with a bit of an extra sleep in which was great, this was because we weren’t leaving as early as we normally do. I myself woke up at 6:45am instead of 6:00am which was nice for a change. I headed down to ground floor to get my last five corse meal breakfast of; Waffles, Pancakes, Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Fruit, Orange Juice and Coffee, with a Barocca on the side. We were all set to leave at 8:30am as all of us had packed our bags the night before so we all said our goodbyes to the good life and left on time and headed to the Golden Gate Bridge.

It took us about 40mins to get there due to quite heavy traffic when we arrived we all took pictures by the visitors centre before be started to cross. The walk of the bridge was very cold as it was very cloudy and windy when we arrive, we could hardly see the tops of the bridge unless we were right under them. It took us around 40mins to cross and I managed to film the whole time which was a bonus so when I get home I’ll compress all that footage and make it in to a 30second time lapse video. Half way across the bridge on of the Students had to do 20 pushups as he didn’t/hadn’t completed on of his action points unfortunately for him everything on that bridge was like below 5 degrees. The walk was amazing and I really enjoyed it but again it would have been nicer on a sunnier day. We were picked up on the other side by our bus driver and we departed for the infamies Alcatraz Penitentiary at pier 33 where our ferry was waiting to take us away.

Alcatraz had a bit of an airy feel to it and no surprise really knowing the history its had. We arrive at 12:15pm on the island where we were all greeted by a park ranger to explain bit about the rules of the island like DON’T TOUCH THE BIRDS unless you want your eyes pecked out which I thought was fair enough, also to NOT GO WHERE PLACES ARE BLOCKED OFF or be fined like $2000 US, so I didn’t do any of those at all. I started walking up the hill to the main prison building with one of the students Toby and we both took the audio tour around the prison. The moment we walked in I got a bit of a chill and the audio track didn’t help as it one of those ones that made you think and imagine everything like going into a solitary confinement cell, closing your eyes whilst one of the x-prisoners talked about what he used to do and how he felt, it was a bit creepy because he was in your ear and he was all you could hear making the experience overall great funnily enough. We got round all the cell blocks and even got to see where the three escapees made their way out of the one of the most high security prison on the planet at the time. After the audio tour had finished I went to some of the places where the tour didn’t take us like the prison reck area outside but as I walked around I saw that the prison had really deteriorated badly over the years as only really the main prison and the officer barracks were intact everything else like the warden’s house was pretty much destroyed, rubble on the ground which for me was sad to see personally. After doing one last run around for pictures the group all reconvened back at the docks where the ferry was just coming in to dock, unload next visitors and then load us on. We arrive back at pier 33 at around 3:30pm where Andrew and Simon were waiting for us.

We walked along the different piers to the famously well known pier 39 where everything was going on. We stopped and watched a street artist do spray paint art which was amazing and very well done we then moved down the pier until we found a IN-OUT BURGER which is basically just a burger joint, good burgers though. After we’d finished we waited for the bus to take us on one last trip. After playing a rather interesting tasteful game of jelly bean bamboozled where I ended up getting rotten cheese and barf flavoring the bus driver had arrived and it was time to make that last journey where we would farewell the bus diver who had been with us the whole time, Toby as he had other business to attend to in the states and Andrew for the same reason, we also said goodbye to Luke as he had a separate flight to us back to NZ on United Airways. Everyone had their luggage and proceeded to check in where we watched all our backs be sent off to the plane where we picked them up from Auckland. Going through security was an experience in its self as we had to take our shoes, jacket, hats off and then go through the bomb scanner which was fun weirdly. After everyone had made it though we proceeded to the gate where we ended up being 2 hours early which was great, it gave us time to do some last minute shopping. Due to delay with the food being loaded on the plane the gates didn’t open until 9:25pm which is when we boarded. Then we were further delayed after a set back with fuel and baggage which left us on the tarmac for another 30mins. We took off and for me I wanted to get some sleep so I could deal with coming in to NZ at 5:45am on Sunday the 17th without the jet-lag. I started writing this blog in the first half an hour then headed off to sleep for 8 1/2 hours the longest ever. We landed safely, said our goodbyes and headed home.

Written by Saia Tukuafu
Fri, 15 Jul: Woow !! Today was the most action packed day out of all days. Basically motivational wise though. I was always looking forward to seeing Stanford University. So yeah today we basically, visited Stanford University, IDEO & Apple (The Company).

Stanford University was my favorite place having attended today, basically because as we walked around and stayed there longer, My curiosity and ambitions towards attending Stanford had raised. I guess it's just like every other day we've had, having visited the other companies, but I really am hard to impress. But having attended such a unique and historical place I seriously grew my love for this place, and seemingly could see myself studying there. A quote in which I had picked up from Stanford was from one of the students that guided us through the tour. He said, " Whenever you find that you are struggling with life?, Just remember to take everything ONE STEP AT A TIME."

IDEO, was one of the best Tech companies that we had visited because we actually got to meet the Founder of the business, Tom Kelley. Anyways everything at the place was actually Extraordinary. This basically replicates IDEO's motto and the way they abide by their rules, which is to, " Be ExTrAoRdInDaRy, not just ORDINARY. " I loved everything Tom was throwing us, be it wisdom, advice && helpful motives for the future. I loved the way that he was always soo positive and was happy with his life. He is a Legendary example of what people describe, "Being in a JOB that you LOVE and feel PASSIONATE about!!" To me I felt strongly that Tom Kelley represented and earned that spot.

The visit to Apple was alright, we visited the Apple Store, and saw a few of their newest gadgets. We also got to spend time with Craig Elliot, one of Steve Job's closest friends. He was a real living Legend to me. He showed me what it meant to live life to the fullest. Just seeing him all happy gives me the chills and makes me want to be able to surpass him and think beyond their generation.


Written by Harrison Hill
Thu, 14 Jul: 12th July 2016 - Another great day in the land of opportunity and promise. Today we visited the biggest Social Media Platform, Facebook, One of if not the biggest software companies, Microsoft and one if not the best inspirational speaker and life coach business Renaissance Leadership run by the great Ben Anderson. (New Zealander).

So the day started with a great breakfast followed by a quick meeting to go over the days itinerary and by 8:30am we were on the road heading toward the one and only FACEBOOK where we would meet a fellow Kiwi who Bowen Pan & his colleague April who gave us a bit of a VIP tour of the campus which when walking in looked exactly like a small town or village. The campus it self had the same feel to Google where walking around the campus actually felt like walking around a University Campus but the difference being that Facebook felt more close together in a sense that Facebook employees seemed to know each other and got along really well and they had bikes like Google too. I really enjoyed listening to Bowen and April as they both had loads of info about the campus on what it is and how it runs. A couple of things i'll be taking away from Facebook and hopefully implementing in school & work life are; "The idea that if something is working it's obsolete", and Facebook@Work which is a version of Facebook only for the work space which I think would be really interesting to see implemented in to schools and big business's in NZ.

Next we were off to the home of Halo, Microsoft which was the best company of the day as they let get hands on to the brand new Xbox One S and the very rarely seen Augmented Reality head set Microsoft Holo-Lens which was epic. But first three of Microsofts top representative from different sectors broke down what Microsoft is and how it works, then they got into how Holo-Lens and Xbox One work by showing us the insides of each machine which was epic!!!. At this point I was fully freaking out having a real geek moment over all the cool tech that barely anyone in the world has seen. Then the main engineer on the Holo-Lens team asked me if I wanted to take it out for a spin and of corse I said yes and OMG it was everything that I thought it be, it was so cool to wear and use. Seeing is believing. The only way anyone could understand it is by wearing and using it. I wore it for like 15mins. After everyone had a go on both machines and had thanked the employees we collected our free stuff and head out to Renaissance Leadership.

Upon arriving to Renaissance Leadership we were greeted by Ben Anderson who is a kiwi born inspirational speaker how helps corporate companies come together and work as a team and also to help each individual become more self-aware and develop a sense of personal understanding allowing you to work on you. Listening to him really opened my eyes and made me really think deeply about how I look at myself and life, so it got real deep. He basically taught our whole group like a week seminar in the space of two hours and it was intense. Things I took away from this were to be the Author of my life, there's no such thing as excuses only success and failure, self love and Authenticity. I plan to use and continue using these skills when I arrive back to NZ.

After we finished the seminar Ben took us all out for dinner at this really cool restaurant in Palo Alto where we all got to meet Ben's friends and his wife, daughter and son. The pizza was great and I enjoyed sharing the huge gimongous pizzas and and they were huge and tasty. A quick stop at the frozen yoghurt store also provided by Ben, where we said our goodbyes and headed for the hotel where we had our nightly debrief and headed off to bed ready for the busiest day of all of the trip.

Written by Maihi Bennett
Thu, 14 Jul: Today was great, we visited 4 companies. They were Xero, Twitter, Kiwi Landing Pad and Yelp.

Xero was the first place we visited today, it was a #beautiful . The building looked mean, their was a easy going vibe throughout the building and everyone seemed like they enjoyed their job. It was a choice atmosphere to be in. During our stay we were treated to some morning tea which showed manaakitanga. But something that I picked up during my time there was a theme in one of the presentations which was to always be competitive. Always being competitive allows you to stay on edge and actively trying to be better than your competition, which brings the best out of you.

Twitter was cool, they had a massive kitchen and when we arrived it was lunchtime so we were allowed to get a kai. Then we went to a meeting room and had a chat with a few staff members about twitter. I'm a big Twitter user, so not only was I excited but I enjoyed my time there.

Kiwi Landing Pad was mean as. It's so cool to hear about all the good positive work that they do for small NZ start ups for in the Valley. We heard about the company Booktrack in particularly, learning about them and what they do, it was choice!

Yelp were so kind to us, they took us for a tour of their building and we got to watch some of their staff work and how people like coders and call line fullas work when they are in their element. Yelp also kinda reiterated to us all that it is not about what you know, but its more so about what you can bring. Which was also a reoccurring theme within all the places that we visited on this trip.

We had a bit of fun strolling around the city after our last visit, we walked down to a local burrito shop for dinner which was nice and sat down at a park to eat.

Like in the words of the great Ice Cube, today was a good day!

More to come.

Naku noa,


Written by Saia Tukuafu
Thu, 14 Jul: Today was the most busiest day of all the days we’ve been present here in California. 💤💤 We had to visit 4 companies all in one day 😖😭😭 But the good thing was that they were all in the same area, or surprisingly close 😏😏 We visited the specific companies in this order, XERO, TWITTER, KIWI LANDING PAD and finally YELP.

Xero was an interesting company to see, basically because it resembles some of the values that we hold dear to ourselves as New Zealanders. This also related to Kiwi Landing Pads offices, because they both resembled something back in New Zealand. The things that I liked about Xero was, that one of the speaker’s specifically related to my life in a way. We were soo much alike, and unbelievably her answered my question without a doubt and with no pauses either. 😏✋ I liked the fact that both Companies were run and originated by Kiwi’s itself. Whereas Twitter & Yelp barely had Kiwi men / women working for them. Well 😌😌 Yelp, had 3 Kiwi men working for them so that basically gave us visitors hope. This was because, they took grasp of every opportunity, and this was exactly what the person at Xero stated, to Grasp onto your dreams, and basically compete for it.

So yeah this day was really exhausting😭😭💤💤 But it was very productive. I loved basically every second of it.

Written by Liam Ottley
Thu, 14 Jul: Tuesday 12th July: I found the Facebook campus much like Google. Large (but not quite as spread out as Google), modern, bustling and full of happy looking people. Bowen Pan is a Kiwi guy who went to Westlake, found his way into Stanford and is now working at Facebook in Palo Alto. I found his knowledge to be both wide and deep, as a good T person should be, and was a great example of a kiwi boy who worked hard and studied harder.

Microsoft was an awesome hands on experience. I found the new Hololens to be very interesting and saw it having huge practical and entertainment applications. The three people we met were great. Judy, Josh and Wesley all shared some really eye opening information in particular for me in that I don't have to become some nerd who codes to be part of an organisation like Microsoft, I can also become a computer engineer.

Renaissance Leadership was such an inspiration for me. Ben Anderson is an amazing guy with some amazing ideas on self improvement and becoming a good leader. I won't go into much detail or I'll be writing all night, but I can safely say that most if not all of the group left the meeting room feeling inspired and ready to put things into practice in their lives.

Dinner at a restaurant followed where we got to meet Ben's friends and family, including his wife daughter and son. The pizza was great and I enjoyed sharing with everyone on the table, both pizza and conversation. A quick stop at the frozen yoghurt store followed, where we said our goodbyes and headed for the hotel.

Catch you later,

Written by Carym Wharerau
Thu, 14 Jul: XERO:

I myself had not been familiar with this particular company previously, but it is a blessing to have found out about this sooner rather than later😬 We had 6 speakers today, and I felt that 4 of them really stood out for me. The first being Julian (an intern), and I was drawn to his perspective of being diverse. I learnt that instead of closing myself into one sort of aspect, I need to open myself up and allow myself to explore the many differences in the world. The second speaker, Max. His ability to bring a room to life through his personality (in which, was particularly through humour). His journey also compelled me as it felt very much relatable (yes, even though there is a 25 shade difference🙄😂👦🏼👦🏾) as he himself came from a very hard community- not the best school and surrounding of drugs,alcohol, gang etc, so to see him sitting in front of the same kids he used to be and sharing his accomplishment really enhanced the views of myself, my abilities and my potential to do well. Following these speakers were actually two of which spoke at the same time. First off, what I'd call the "recruiter", Debbie, became more of a beacon to me. I felt like a moth attracted to the light, because she was literally the opening door to my opportunities, all I had to do was apply myself, so she really revved up my motivation to work hard and connect with people. The final speaker, Kat, reminded me so very much of the actress Mellisa McCarthy😂💀Her energy was just, positive and vibrant and, really, infectious, I felt somewhat happy to be around her, and previously (on our trip) we'd learnt about balcony people (those who motivate you and bring you 'up') and basement people (people who will drag you down) and having these two very much balcony people in front of me quite literally made me want to hug both of them because it was so....I really had nothing to say toward how I was impacted by these two, but the Xero visit definitely woke me up. I also managed to attain "Hiring" and "Internship/Grad" card from them, VERY IMPORTANT FOR WHEN I LEAVE HIGH SCHOOL✨👌🏽


I'm not a user of Twitter, so I wasn't 100% about this company. I felt that the workplace didn't have a soul, everything seemed very dull-like, maybe that's just because as a business they need to keep up, but a business has to have a heart and soul to itself (these are just my opinions). Also, I felt that the questions which were passed throughout me and the others, their response was almost always in a defensive way, like they were trying to defend themselves for not being just as quite valued as Facebook is by the world (this is probably because I've believed in the whole Facebook vs Twitter scandal, and because I'm the type to be cheering for Facebook doesn't help😂💀). One thing I did take from Twitter though, was that a common mistake through people who fail to make the cut for jobs or so, is due to the lack of experience. I found that in order to successfully attain a job of some sort, I need to be familiar with myself and the company as well as with my intentions and motivations.


What I took from BookTrack (a company in which provides soundtrack for books so for example if I were reason of an action book, there'd be the sound of fast-paced music and guns or whatever is related to the atmosphere you read in the pages) was how advance we are becoming. Taking about the book and soundtrack, I couldn't really picture or feel what it'd be like actually using it, but as soon as we read an example of a BookTrack I immediately became interested in it. When I read, I really read, and I feel like I am able to imagine a whole other world through words- perhaps even a better version of that than what the author try's to project, so to have the addition of sounds will really amplify the readers perspective. I was also drawn to how little the staff were in the Kiwi Landing Pad company itself-2 or 3 of them, and it almost seemed eerie that it was this way. It made me think, "Why is it like this? Where are all the companies" and it was the lack of motivation in our country (NZ) that was the reason. From this I hope to go back and motivate others to push further with their dream of hopefully starting a business/company and revealing to them that there is a whole other world out there.


I felt that Yell had the same sort of character and quality of that like Kahn Academy's, Facebook and Xero- a very casual style of working, yet still that core of motivation and the sort of "I WANT to work here" not the "I NEED to work here" attitude.
I noticed that there were no traits of superiority or ownership within the company, so the CEO actual sits among the others and not in an office, which makes it feel like a more free and less-pressured job/workplace. We then had a meeting with former kiwi who now work with Yelp, each of their stories being alike to Max's-the whole coming from NZ and making it to Te top sort of thing, so the impact was enhancing.

To conclude the day, we had a former kiwi as well as former SVExperience student, Christian detour us around the city of Sam Francisco, as well as share advice with us individually. I find him very amazing to be truly honest. I found that he'd done so many different things in his life-especially graphic design related things, and this really motivated my own desires and enhanced the idea of diversity, where he himself had tapped into different paths and it had all paid off, IN THE SOACE OF TWO YEARS!😱😁So yes it was very much a blessing to have him in our presence. We finished of the day with a quiet sit in the park to some music and Mexican food (Burritos and Nacho Chips with Guacamole😁).

Written by Carym Wharerau
Thu, 14 Jul: Same sort of kick-off to the morning (fruit salad) and we were out the door in a fly. Ended up getting to ride a very fashionable coach, leather chairs and all🙂

Our first visit of the day was Facebook. Many people who know me would say that I'm a liiiiiitle (massive) user of facebook😏😶So to actually be within the presence of something that (I would consider) helped me become much more confident in expressing myself and my feelings was a blessing. I found that the culture of Facebook was very similar to that of Khan Academy's, except it felt more literally like a town on it's own. I began to admire how they keep a balance between being professional, keeping up with what's new (eg the newest technology), care of the environment (they recycle products to make (for example) props for around the campus) and care of the workers (they consider the workers time and such and how these can be modified to work so that both the company and the worker can benefit easier so for example having a salon within the company instead of the worker having to take time off work and go do it elsewhere. The biggest highlight of my day was coming across one of the Illustration Directors, who, just by looking at her, made me want to be exactly where she was- she looked very happy to working there, she looked very relaxed, like herself. This is exactly how I want to look like working my job, and the effect she had on me would probably be the biggest since on this trip. From this visit I've been really motivated and inspired to be within this environment and business, I feel like I have a bigger hint into exactly where and what I want to work now🙊🙈

Following our Facebook visit, we had the opportunity to visit the one and only, Microsoft. To be completely honest, I was not the most excited about visiting this, I'd say that I wanted to, but it wasn't as big a factor as Facebook was, but walking in and actually seeing Microsoft in flesh completely changed my view. We were first introduced to some of the Engineers of Microsoft, who were each very different in terms of perspective, but very alike in terms of level. I found myself more attracted to the two whose work revolved much more around the design side of things, which, is the field where I intend to work in. I'd previously thought of Microsoft as more the tech-y sort of engineer wing, but talking more with the people there really woke me up to the many more possibilities and characters of Microsoft.

This has been the most thought provoking visit throughout, and it was a matter of being focused and immersed in what the speaker, Ben, had to say. I found myself becoming relatable to the first bit of speaking he did, but as he progressed into his speech it all began to sort of settle in and i began to think more mentally about what he was saying. The things he was as if he'd put on a pair of glasses, took my brain and read exactly what I could never understand myself of put into words, it was all really...astonishing🙂It was one of the biggest realisation stages of myself, my view of the world and my view from everyone else-what kind of person am I to people? Who can I BE?

To finish the day off, another group gathering was held at night, and we had to state our points about each company we visited that day. We also had to state an action in which we dream to achieve before this coming Christmas or the end of the year. My action posed was to get in contact with the Illustration Director stated before and potentially land opportunities from her.

Written by Carym Wharerau
Thu, 14 Jul: Kicked the morning off with yet another couple (4) bowls of fruit salad, great hydration for the day👍🏻. Also had our very first serious meeting in the morning with the crew, just giving each other a brief on the companies in which we were travelling to (mine being Khan Academy). So firstly we were to visit Khan Academy, and in the short meeting of the morning I read out brief points about Khan Academy to give the other boys a broader perspective of the company, which was also followed by Maihi's briefing of Google, as well as Luke's on Inflection.

First, we got to discover Khan Academy's project (accidentally😂) in which is a Khan Academy school (preschool I think?). Later on in our meeting we were told that this was part of the (what I would pose as) the 'psychological' side of the education system, so for example, experimenting on the different learning abilities and or usage of the kids within this school, in order to improve their company for everyone to use at their own pace and abilities. We then made our way to the actual office, where we were then greeted by a very lovely girl Mhia/Mia, and then taken for a quick spin around the office. Going into this, I wasn't as enthusiastic as I was with the other company visits, but experiencing the culture and character of khan academies workplace really switch my perspective and mood. I was also made to feel included rather than a spectator when coming into this environment. Even though I am not fully aware of my career choice, I know that I want to be working in a nice environment, and Khan Academy ticked every box to this👌🏽👏
We were then taken into one of the meeting rooms where we were given insight to the company in which other more major sort of people will never get the chance to see. I'd never been a business sort of person, so to see (in a very fun and colourful way) just how creative and distributed Khan Academy had become was very eye-opening for me. From this we asked questions in which we received great answers from- things like growth in consumers of Khan Academy (Per-school, High Schoolers etc), what steps to take next (in their business) and so forth...The hunger for knowledge throughout the table was very vibrant, each and every one of us very indulged in the information because it was all so inspiring and motivational.
As a practical we began to, what they call, "brainstorm" and this meant laying all of your thoughts and ideas out onto sticky notes and grouping them onto boards. Each individual had to present to the room their ideas on "What would motivate High School students to use Khan Academy for more than 30 minutes?" and there were some very educational sort of ideas, bizarre and impossible ideas, creative ideas, as well as sensible ideas- such as receiving prizes for a certain amount of time or score you get while using Khan Academy. For my ideas I decided to tap into the creative side of things because I feel that something fun and energetic would get teenagers more motivated these days, one of them being to have a 'Virtual Reality' version of Khan Academy. In this the player uses an Oculus (those things you place over your eyes as goggles) and be able to experience education in a completely virtual version, so for example the player can go fetch numbers or equations from around wherever and build this upon something (eg like a building-block house) in order to solve an equation and then be able to move onto the next level from here. (Like Spy Kids 3 lol💀).
From this we were then also able to reflect more on the ideas and explain further some of the points with Mia, as well as some people of her team, who were very keen on hearing of our ideas and were also driven by this feedback considering we are of a whole different population coming from New Zealand, so it was nice to see that we weren't the only ones feeling like we were getting something out of this, that there were people here learning something from us (even though WE are here to accept and receive kind of thing). By the end of our session with Khan Academy I was left veeeeery anxious to this company. I can really see myself working here, the vibe and culture as well as the motivation and intent to not only work because of work, but to work because they love it, and this is exactly how I want to spend my career life.

I think it may have been the intensity to learn so much before-hand in Khan Academy in which made my personal experience of the Google trip a bit narrow, or maybe it was the fast-pace of the learning environment of Google (or the walk😂😭💀) but I felt that I wasn't completely fulfilled with my experience there, although I did become much more wiser about my choices, decisions and motivation. Donald (the person who toured us around the Google campus) introduced me to the idea of "Don't take anyone's advice" (even though he was giving as advice in the first place, Liam (another participant) reckons😂). Hearing this aloud made me rethink my own choices and decisions made in my schooling life. As a teenager, following other people is one of the biggest influences (negatively) and I think that I've taken everybody's advice way too much, whether it be something like I wouldn't place this trip, or I wouldn't make a certain sports team etc. I was left thinking that I need to be more self-concerned (of my own development (not in a selfish way)) and not be too selfless, as well as focus on building my own future.

Before visiting inflection, I did not know exactly what this company does-even from reading of it in our booklets, thinking that I was in for some sort of really professional environment, but as soon as we meet Jacob it became a whole other perspective. I found that the workplace of Inflection was infectious and the atmosphere wasn't intense, rather relaxing. We first met Russel (an australian😶) who was very inspirational. From him, I learnt to seek people who want to better me rather than being me down. We were then given background to by a previous kiwi who (at a young age) has landed many opportunities in his life. We them spoke with the founder of Inflection. I found that he was a very casual CEO, seemed very interesting in everything I/we had to say which was very comforting.
Finished the day off with a big feed at the famous Bucks restaurant😌

Written by Maihi Bennett
Wed, 13 Jul: Today was the best day out so far, we visited Facebook in the morning, Microsoft after that and finished the day off with an amazing seminar from the master Ben Anderson.

Facebook was a lot like Google, cool, casual and chill. There were people all walking around, people doing there work and so many different buildings. It was like walking down a main road of a city and walking past businesses and cafes and seeing people happy, it seemed people really enjoyed working there!

Microsoft, oh my god! Microsoft were top notch host and had amazing activity. We were treated to some kai, a interesting presentation and an out of this world demo of the augmented/mixed reality glasses, which was like some Tony Stark Iron Man stuff. It was crazy, like futuristic as. We played this game were you shoot aliens be spaceship and you were still in your room without changing anything. You could project so much things in this room, like the potential of this Hololens is crazy, absolutely crazy!! Just imagine, Iron suit with just the helmet, that's what it was like.

Renaissance Leadership and the master Ben Anderson. This was a just a DMC (Deep and Meaningful Conversation) where Ben talked for 97% of the time and still connected with all of us on a deeper level. It was a presentation about this design your life thinking model, quite heavy ad deep stuff but how Ben delivered it was like, he spoke for almost 2 whole hours and had each and every one of us young fullas engaged for that entire time. It was just mind blowing!

After all these visits to the companies we went to a very good pizza joint for dinner called Amicis! Gigantic pizzas that were probably the best I've ever had. Delizioso!

Today was cool, impressive and mind blowing. Super crazy! (In a good way)

We still have a way to go though whanau, areare taringa mai, āta matakitaki mai I a tatou ne.

Watch this space whanau!


Written by Harrison Hill
Wed, 13 Jul: 11th July 2016 - Another great morning in paradise with an all you can eat American breakfast to start the day with. Todays itinerary consisted of Khan Academy, Google, and Inflection three Amazing places to start the tech company tour off.

Khan Academy is an amazing online tool for teachers and students to use in the classroom. It allows teachers to set tasks for students to do online and allows the teacher to keep track which I think is a really neat way of getting students involved in web based learning and a chance to take learning into their own hands. We arrived at Khan Academy around 10:00am at their new location that they now also have their very own Khan Academy School. As we arrived we were greeted by an employee named Mia who works on adoption of the product. She gave us the quick tour of the business and then brought us into the conference room where she showed us how Khan Academy has grown over the year and how they've done this not to mention all the new ways they are getting students involved in taking learning into their own hands by setting up competitions. She then asked us a question and gave us the task of writing down as many ideas as possible in five minutes on ways to get teenagers to use Khan Academy at least 30 minutes per month using a brainstorm activity.After time was up we all had to explain our ideas no matter how silly they were. As each person went through their ideas the Khan Academy team were writing them down and actually listen to us and really cared about our ideas and thoughts which I thought was really cool and just shows that this a company that's non-profit and really care about the quality of education and they want to know how they can better themselves.
One Cool idea i'll take away is #YOU CAN LEARN ANYTHING.

Google was the next stop and it was so huge that when we first arrived we arrived at the wrong campus to begin with but we got some great photos with the android guy which was great. I ended up finding out where we needed to be and we all started to walk across the main campus to where we were meeting our guide he was really cool, he let us raid one of the highly stocked Google kitchens just before we started the tour (lots of food/also that was kind of our lunch). We got around the campus quite quickly due to the time schedule being quite tight but everyone got most of their questions answered which was great. One thing I really liked about what Google are Playing with and reaching Alphago which apparently beat the world champion at the worlds most complex game GO ( So many possibilities that the A.I needed to be able to know and it still beat the worlds champion. Crazy. I just wish we had more time to explore more of the campus's, Google is such a huge company and is constantly growing and and quite a rapid rate as well. After the tour we got to go to the gift shop where I bought so Google Glasses and a pen pack. After the others had finished we were ready to head to our next stop is not quite the scale off Google but non the less it is quite a strong company that allows you to find public documentations such as court documentations, birth records, immigration records, census collections, business filings. But they aren't limited to this area as they are easily able to come up, test , make and then sell new ideas kind of making them a constant start up company in a way. We got to meet the CEO and ask questions about his success with the company and he was very open with us as a group which was really awesome to see that a big time co CEO could be really down to earth and want to spend time speaking to us says a lot. But just before we talked to the CEO Matthew we got to meet and question a New Zealander who is an intern who was really cool and really into and enjoyed and knew what he does at the company and what the companies about. One thing i'll take away from the visit is 'You'll always know more in the future than you do now' which is very much true but just a cool way of putting it also to read more if there is anything I have learned from all these companies so far is that reading is a big player in excelling our knowledge.

After the visit to the group and the Kiwi intern went to a really cool western themed restaurant called bucks. It was a restaurant that had a lot of memorabilia on the walls to give that authentic feel (the food was great too everyone enjoyed their meals.

Overall it was a great day visiting and learning from only some some Silicon Valley's finest and this was only day one of the tech company tours it's crazy how much i'm learning in the amount of time I've had. To make sure that I don't forget it all I've written quite extensive notes so that I don't forget it all and that if I ever need it I've got notes from some of the worlds greatest minds to help me along. This Experience is going to be one I remember for the rest of my life and I am very grateful.

Written by Gabriel Inia
Wed, 13 Jul: Day one and two were kick back. Now time to go off to companies. On Day 3, it was lined up to be an awesome day! First visit to Khan Academy, Google and then I was especially pumped for this day because Google is such a huge brand and I was keen to learn.

Khan Academy: Khan Academy I was very looking forward too. I mean, I used it a lot of times but due to the lack of sleep I wasn't keen for the tour but had to push in real deep. When it came to the actually office itself, I really enjoyed the tour because the vibe of the workers it great and everyone knows each other. The brainstorming game about new ideas for KA (Khan Academy) was also fun because it grew our mindset and had us thinking out side of the box.

Google: Google for me was the #1 place I wanted to visit. To be completely honest, I didn't really enjoy it as much as I wanted to. I really enjoyed the tour just not the vibe I had when I was walking through it. It doesn't matter though, I am still very grateful I am apart of this huge opportunity. Inflection was an out of the blue company that I had never heard of in my entire life. But due to the tour guide Jake, he made it fun as we were walking around the office and the workers like Russell really inspired us. Me in particular. He talked about balcony people and basement people. Balcony people being the people who are hungry to learn new ideas and basement people who are just too lazy to do it themselves.

Day 3 was a fun day especially at KA and Inflection. The thing I got out of it was balcony people and basement people. Balcony people being the people who are hungry to learn new ideas and basement people who are just too lazy to do it themselves. So I definitely want to be a balcony person.

Day 4, I was up at 6:15am, not by own will, and I was ready for the day. Due to the early night prior, I was keen to get out the door and visit the amazing places we were going. First on the list was, Facebook. Following that was Microsoft and lastly Renaissance. I was ready for this day.

Facebook: Wow! What an opportunity to visit such a place like this. This place in particular I really enjoyed. First of all, it had free food for all employees, second, I was just so amazed how I can visit a place I spend hours on in my daily life. Lastly, it had a lot of little shops and relax spots. Even their own ARCADE! I would definitely work at Facebook if I had the opportunity.

Microsoft: Microsoft, home of Windows and Xbox. This place is high on my list of places we have been due to the free gifts we received. A free Microsoft T-Shirt, a portable charger, and bubblegum. We also were allowed to try out the recently released Hololens and Xbox-One. A fun kick back session, and we also listened to employees and how they got their job.

Renaissance: Renaissance once again was not a company I have heard of but out of all of these places, this was the best one I have visited for so far. This is because this has been the most educational and has helped me to realise, I have to have self belief which leads to self motivation which leads to opening your inner dialogue and when you do that, the world becomes a more fun environment, even in your own office or at school.\\

To conclude day 4, I really think this is going to be the best day I have ever experienced on this trip but I am yet to find out about that statement. 4 days down, 3 to go! Bring em on

Written by Saia Tukuafu
Wed, 13 Jul: Energized as ever ⚡⚡⚡ !! I wake up to a pleasant but busy scheduled day. Everyone looks keen and are looking forward to today. Today we have visited Facebook, Microsoft & Renaissance.

FACEBOOK 😳😳😳😤👍 Finally a day in the worlds best social connecting companies in the world. Visiting Facebook was particularly motivating for me, because it had a lot of ideas in mind which could help me with further education. The things that Facebook abide by and stick to is sooo soo good. 😍😍 For example, their way of communicating and kindness towards each other is beyond all measures. I am jealous of their work motives, but I also want to being that with me to my community. I LOVED😍😍❤ Their Designs and the things the Architect Designer had done specifically with the companies area, mainly because it projected Facebook's Creativeness. Something I have taken away in particular from this company was the word 'HACK' People think of HACK negatively, but Facebook in particular doesn't think of the negatives instead they think optimistic about the word Hack. They express the word as " Being Creative " I believe this is true because, HACK'ing also resembles bringing the "CREATIVE" side out of our personalities.

Microsoft 💻📺🎧 The day we've all been waiting for. Microsoft was an epic company to visit, mainly because of all the 'SWAG' that the hosts had given to us. We also got to take in some information which did impact our mind sets about applying to Universities and being ourselves. We also got to try new Gadgets which Microsoft had been working on. Either than that everything in Microsoft we experienced made our day rise above average.

Finally Renaissance. 😏👏😍 Renaissance is a company which is run I think from a New Zealander. What we learnt today in this company was above all educational knowledge we've taken in. This was because it affected everyone's mindsets and perspectives about life. We basically sat in this building for roughly 2 hours and we were hooked into this presentation throughout it, especially coming towards the ending of the presentation. It had affected me hugely and now I want to be able to dream big, and help create and shape a better future, for the next generation.

What I learnt overall was from this particular quote -
~ some we like, some we don't~

Thanks for reading

Written by Toby Carr
Tue, 12 Jul: Today was a hugely informative and perspective-filled day. We visited three very different companies that have extremely varying backgrounds and stories. Ranging from not for profit, and startup centred, to for profit but innovative to for profit but an alternative Silicon Valley company style.

First off we visited Khan Academy, which was a great experience for us all, being able to learn a bit about what they're trying to achieve through their work, and a bit of interactive work of where we think Khan Academy could improve. We collectively all agreed that KA is proven to deliver better results across all schooling fields and that it simply needs to be adopted by new users to grow. We discussed a variety of different adoption problems, including the outdated "threatened" view from some teachers. We saw the exciting times ahead for KA, and I'm sure we all look forward to it being more heavily integrated in our education system.

Next up we visited none other than Google! Google's Silicon Valley campus is more than 190,000 square metres, it's shear size was stunning to all of us - of how a Technology start up can scale so fast and so large. Being able to visit the company (group of companies!) which brings many of us our educational tools and many leisure tools was amazing to see behind the scenes. Learning about and seeing their culture at work really demonstrated to us of how dynamic and innovative a workplace in 2016 can be - and the impact it has on employee performance, directly impacting company performance. Hearing a little bit about their employee expectations and what makes a good Googler was intriguing to most of us - I think many people would love to work for such a valuable company! I found Google quite insightful on how a startup can scale big yet make all employees feel valued and that they can bring something to their company.

Lastly today we visited a slightly younger company which was interesting to learn about and just hear what makes them different. Inflection was up next - a very information filled and journey based company. CEO and Co-founder Matthew shared a bit with us about the personal journey choosing to start a company or at least choose an alternative path to simply finding a job. Also at Inflection we talked a lot to Russell who manages a lot of their leadership development, giving us a bit of insight into what makes their leadership different and succeed. His advice for us students was unparalleled and extremely beneficial. It was awesome to see a company which wasn't just following the typical "new idea, getting funded" mindset and they are innovating that process too.

So that was Day Three, excited for what else the trip throws at us!


Written by Harrison Hill
Mon, 11 Jul: 10th July 2016 - So yesterday we ventured into the city for a full days shopping and to see our First Baseball game at the AT&T Stadium.

The morning started out with everyone one hopping into two different shuttles that took us to the train station, but by so miscommunication both shuttles ended up at two different train stations neither knowing where the other one was until my shuttle missed the train into the city. So we took the shuttle into the city and actually ended up arriving in the city before the others who actually got on the train.

After all that we all headed in to the huge shopping centre that is Westfield. It was the biggest mall I had ever been it was filled with multiple department stores ranging from fashion to house hold appliances to electronics but nothing really took my fancy. So I meet back up with the group for lunch in the food court of the mall and we all had Grilled Subs which were amazing.

After Lunch Myself, Toby, Luke and Andrew didn't feel like looking at the mall anymore so we headed out of the mall towards Union Square where we passed through towards the Nike store which had five different levels all for different sports. Just as we were leaving the store we bumped into Simon who had just been at the Apple Store across the road which non of us saw for some strange reason. So I ran over while Toby and Andrew closely followed. I will say that I did have a fan boy moment in front and in the store mainly because this store was only a couple of months old and it was the first official Apple Store that I had ever been in.

After about an hour of just playing around with all the cool Apple tech and talking to the Apple Geniuses I thought it wise not to spend my money at this Apple Store as I remembered that we would be visiting the MAIN CAMPUS in Cupertino in the following days ahead. So instead I ended up buying a new AT&T SIM card, Amazon Echo and a Tile and reconvened with the group back in the mall at 4pm.

It was now time to head to the ball game, So we walked in the wrong direction at first then did a U-turn in the right direction toward the AT&T Stadium which is the home of the one and only San Fransisco Giants. Along the way we Found a street that was named Harrison (We took pictures). We made our way into the stadium and found our seats which put us really close to the the players. Long story short it was amazing and I Know that I enjoyed the experience. We ended up leaving early because of time but when we left the Giants were up 4 and the crowd was going crazy. We climbed on to the train after waiting inline then sat down for the ride home.

We arrived back at the hotel quite late so I headed to bed.

Overall amazing day, Loved everything about it!!!

Written by Saia Tukuafu
Mon, 11 Jul: Exhaustion and Energy competing against each other. Here i am not knowing which to adapt to. Anyways, here I am sitting in the morning briefing excited for the day ahead, but exhausted because I haven't fully adapted to the time change. Today we planned to visit 3 companies, Khan Academy, Google &

Khan Academy? Khan Academy is an online school and is in fact the world's leading online school. Khan Academy is an online school which helps develops an individual's understanding, in much simpler steps. Khan Academy was originally based on being an online tutor for certain student's in the Maths Department. The founder is Sal Khan. What I liked about the visit today at Khan Academy was actually their communication and interactive skills. All member's knew what each person was doing and they were all on the same page as everyone else. It was as if they were in Perfect Sync.

Google! Who doesn't love Google. Google, is the world's leading company in terms of technology and everything. It is also the world's favored search engine. Our visit to Google today was mind blowing. It was just a huge honor to be able to walk the same paths the founder's created and modified. I loved our visit there to Google and wished we had more access to other areas inside Google. But unfortunately we didn't. I respect their decisions but I was hoping we'd get to see more. Other than that I really thought well of the tour guide's information he had given us, because I found that every word he gave us was unique and genuine.

Last but not least!! Inflection is a platform which allows you to find public documentations such as court documentations, birth records, immigration records, census collections, business filings and more. I loved out tour around Inflection because even though it only covered such a small amount of space, all staff members were happy and that is truly what I believe having a good business looks like.

To touch base, what I really loved out of today is probably what I heard from Inflection. The quote says something like, "Learn to Fail." What I think this means, is being able to accept failure and move on? Being able to just cope with what happens, and keep innovating and opening different doors towards success !!!

Written by Luke Mansell
Mon, 11 Jul: Today's journey entailed visiting Khan Academy, Google and - with all three companies being completely different entities which function in their own distinctive ways. From today's trip the biggest lesson from an organisational standpoint is that there is no rule book; and everyone is running their companies in their own unique way, following no rules.

Khan Academy is an organisation which fundamentally interests me as I have a strong passion and viewpoint that the infrastructure supporting the educational structure we find ourselves within today needs to undergo a significant reform to align itself with the strong changes which our society has undergone in recent decades, as our increase in the adoption of technology grows exponentially. Khan Academy is a strong advocate of crafting a system in-which they adopt the role of supplementing the current standing education system, instead of attempting to position themselves as a replacement to the current standing order - which I think is an interesting business strategy to undergo.

Google was also a great organisation to visit to fully gain insight into the operations of such a large company. The extensive Google campus covers a large amount of land. Even walking around the campus you struggle to fully understand and appreciate the vastness of the Google campus as most of it is so far away spread across Mountain View. We had one of the Google employees' show us around which gave me a unique experience into the life of someone who was down the development route in Google, allowing me to take full appreciation of the work which was going on within this company to make everything work like clockwork. Google employees receive a lot of benefits to make their work life easier and increase employee satisfaction which is great to see. Investing in keeping employees coming back to work is scarce in NZ, but many companies in Silicon Valley invest a lot of time and resources into employee satisfaction which has also risen from the job competitiveness in Silicon Valley - so you want to make sure your employees are not tempted to transfer to another company.

Inflection is a great company as I have a significant interest in big data. was an early to the big data came, the company realising the impending explosion which big data was due to experience, this early insight allowing them to become such a prominent player in the big data game, having launched eight years big data transformed into a major part of our society. Matthew shared his experiences with his own personal story, as well as the companies own story as it has a very untraditional growth story having had a very explosive start before having to slow down.

It was great already on the first day having had people from Khan Academy and Inflection talking about myself personally applying to intern at these companies which has been a unique featureset which has already risen out of this trip for me. Being on this trip has shown me that there are really no barriers standing in the way between me and my goal of working for a major technology company other than myself, and that working to improve my skill set, portfolio and networking is what will help me make the most out of the opportunities which are being handed to me. Hopefully as this trip progresses my network will continue to further grow and can blossom into something which allows me to take full advantage of different streams and avenues across Silicon Valley and within the technology

Written by Maihi Bennett
Mon, 11 Jul: Today was the official beginning of our visiting to the Silicon Valley companies. We kicked off our day at Khan Academy, I really enjoyed our visit there. I'm a total fan of Khan Academy now and am fully bought in to their vision of, providing a world class education to anyone, anywhere. We went for a tour of their headquarters and then went in to one of the meeting rooms and listened to a presentation. We also done a small exercise which was essentially a type of brainstorm/picking at your brain exercise, it was intense but really fun and highlighted to me the different type of thinking everyone has. One thing that I took away from our visit at Khan Academy was that #youcanlearnanything (You can learn anything!) which was taken from a video at the end our session on.

Then we went to Google and toured the campus! It was amazing, I mean we saw so many of the colourful Google bikes, some electric cars on charge and saw the size of the place, it's huge! There was a real campus like feel at the Googleplex, like everything was so casual and relaxed. It sort of reminded me of university. It was interesting to hear that are over 60,000 employees work for Google and they manage their work really well, work effectively and that their is a real social element that contributed to the companies success. A comment that was made during the tour of Google that really resonated with a lot of us was that it's not about what you know, it's about what you can bring to the table. A lot can be taken from that comment.

Then our final company of the day was Inflection. Which to be honest I hadn't heard of them before, from what I gathered it is like an online security and identity management type business. which is pretty cool. It was very interesting to listen to the conversation about motivation that was had there, and there was an analogy that was spoken of which was the Balcony people and the Basement People. The Balcony people are those people who will help you up and Basement people are those who are trying to drag you down. We also listened to the CEO of Inflection, who spoke about his journey and what things he did in order to achieve in creating this business.

And to finish off our day we went to a place called Bucks for dinner which looked like your classic American diner, had all sorts of things hanging up on the wall and everything that we ordered was BIG. The sunday for dessert was pretty giant as well but it was a choice experience today.

I'm still processing what we did today and need more time to reflect deeply on what was spoken today, what we learnt from today and what we seen.

There is much more to be learnt about during the remainder of this trip so stay tuned whanau.

Nga mihi nui,


Written by Liam Ottley
Mon, 11 Jul: July 11: Headed to Khan Academy 9am, and met Mia who works on adoption of the product at KA's HQ. We were asked to jot down as many ideas on ways to get teenagers to use KA in a few minutes. I came up with a few ideas like peer to peer video lessons and making KA more social through group chats and group study sessions. The people here were amazing! I could tell how much they enjoyed their work and felt inspired to use their product after seeing the passion these people had for their job.

Google was next, and we met with Donald Clark who is a Scottish man living in the states who used to live in NZ. He gave us a detailed perspective on what it is like to be an employee for the massive company, and what we could do to get a job there. The campus was enormous and we only saw a small fraction of it! We visited the Google shop briefly and some of us bought some Google tees and other merchandise.

Last for the day was Inflection. Inflection was and still is one of the leading companies in online security, privacy and information organisation. We got to speak with a Kiwi intern Lachie who explained his journey from NZ to Silicon Valley. Matthew Monahan, the Co-CEO of Inflection then spoke to us about his journey from a small town in the central US to dropping out of college and starting a company with his brother. He came across as a very genuine guy and did not have the scary veil of a CEO that I had expected.

Dinner was at Buck's. Everyone enjoyed stuffing themselves with traditional American food before we headed back to our hotel.

Catch you later,

Written by Gabriel Inia
Mon, 11 Jul: 10th July 2016 - WOW! What a day 1. It had only been over 48 hours and I was living the dream life in the hotel. It was a great experience just being in America itself but even better from the amazing day we had in front of us.

It was an early morning wake up. 6:30 to be close. Nice massive portion of eggs and bacon with pancakes and waffles. It was funny to see the reactions of the Americans to see the portions of Islander and Maori. It was a great way to start the day.

By 8:30 we were out of the door off to the city of San Francisco. We missed our train and it wouldn't have come until another hour. It also takes 1:15 hours. So we were not waiting that long so we called our cab and we were on our way. By 11:00 we were in the massive shopping mall of Westfield. Similar to our one in Auckland just bigger. Also had a massive lunch of grilled subs. By 4:00, we were on our way to the baseball game!

The baseball game, man what a site. 50,000 fans cheering and hoorahing for the San Francisco giants. We had reasonably close seats to the pitch. It was an amazing vibe that you had to be there to experience. We left a bit early to catch our train back in time and before the lines got extra extra long.

By 10:30 we were back home and I was sleeping at about 1:00am. BAD IDEA! I felt the fatigue the next day but that is another story. Bring on DAY 3!!!

Written by Maihi Bennett
Sun, 10 Jul: Today was a very good day. We had breakfast at the hotel, it was primo! Like help yourself all you can eat.

We took a train to town and had a browse today. Train ride was easy just straight and flat all the way and walking around SF city was fun, looking at the architecture of the buildings is really interesting.

We had lunch and shopped around at the mall for a little bit, I had this overboard Sunday it was chocolate on chocolate x5.. Very unhealthy lol. I've just recently become a SF Giants fan so I jumped on the bandwagon and got me some merchandise it's choice I'm happy with it.

Then we finished the day at the baseball game! SF Giants vs the Arizona Diamondbacks. It was 4 - 0 to the Giants when we left the game, was soo fun to watch! Definitely my highlight so far!! Crazy fun atmosphere.

Just settling in tonight and iron my clothes for tomorrow and ready to hit the grind.

Stay tuned whanau.


Written by Carym Wharerau
Sun, 10 Jul: Great kick-off to the early morning, breakfast bar had more options than my school😂Tried not to get carried away *3 plates later* only because I remembered that I wouldn't pass the coming day without a feed or five😂😌🍔🍟🌭
Bit of a hold-back in the morning, but ended up rejoining with the crew at San Francisco's very own Westfield shopping mall👍💀RIP to my feet after my/our wander around in what I thought was going to be like an Auckland shopping centre, not😴🤕
But was a very...ECONOMIC kind of day at the mall🛍🍩👕👖👔😂
Finished the day off with a (killer of a walk) to the AT&T BallPark to watch the miiiighty San Francisco Giants vs the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Giants winning from (when we left) 4-0👌🏽Was good to get right into the American culture, found out that the serving people (who walk around with food) really DO scream what they're selling🤕But can finally cross this experience off of my bucket list!✔️Got heaps of merch aswell, so can also cross these off of my friends and whanaus wish lists🙄😂
Following this, was our train ride back to the station, which, took a lot of patience...💀For the time taken walking to the back of the line would have probably been equivalent to walking back to the hotel😂, but was good to experience, I suppose, the "city" life-style👌🏽
Train ride was good relaxation and we made it back to the hotel safely😊

2 down, 5 to go😁😌🇺🇸

Written by Liam Ottley
Sun, 10 Jul: Today we got some time to go shopping and spend our American dollars. Andrew, Saia, Maihi and I rode into San Fransisco on a gigantic double deck train which was an odd experience for me. Once in the city it was a long walk to the Westfield mall in central San Fran where we began shopping. Lunch soon followed where we ate at 'Grilled Sub' which supplied us all with Subway like sandwiches filled with chicken, steak and other meats. Next came a further 4 hours of shopping in which Gabriel, Saia, Carym and I struggled to fill.

It was now game time, and we walked briskly (at first in the wrong direction), toward the AT&T Stadium 2) which is the home of San Fransisco Giants. We wrestled our way into the stadium and found our seats which put us very close to the oval and the players. Long story short after many ups and downs, when we left the Giants were up 4 and the crowd was electrified. Then came another walk to the train and another train ride home.

I found the baseball game amazing, as pretty much the entire crowd was Giants supporters and they brought the noise when something went their way. The stadium was enormous, which made the experience even more exciting.

It's 11:45pm now so I better get some sleep.

Catch you later,

Written by Liam Ottley
Sun, 10 Jul: It's the beginning of another beautiful day here in Santa Clara! Yesterday was not the most enjoyable experience I must admit, as I only got in about three hours sleep on our 12 hour flight. However, we made it, touching down at 12:45pm, and got another shot at Saturday the 9th of July.

We arrived at our hotel in Santa Clara just before 3 o'clock San Fran time, and unpacked before heading to the gym and pool to relax. It was interesting getting to know a few 5th grade boys in the spa pool, who were all very outgoing and had their own opinion on politics! One was a passionate Trump supporter, while the other one was backing Clinton to win. At their age, all I knew about NZ politics was the name of our prime minister.

After passing out in the bath, it was dinner time. Our posse headed to 'Sizzler', an American steak house and we each ordered meals ranging from steak and ribs, to double bacon mega burgers. The air was thick with cooking smells and grease which made me feel slightly ill, as did the greasy food (I guess my body hasn't adapted to American food or the time zone just yet).

Next, we walked back and tried to get some sleep to prepare for the next day.

Written by Gabriel Inia
Sun, 10 Jul: WHAT A FLIGHT! 12 hours of just relaxation and pretty good food. It was relaxing but man was it uncomfortable. It's was pretty scary going through customs as well. Fingerprints identification? What even is that? Once we were out we were on our way to relaxation.

The rest of the day was relaxation to the best it could be. Pool, gym, arcade, who wouldn't love that life. Dinner at Sizzler was 100% on point. Ribs and a fat steak, never get the type of food in NZ.

I know it is going to be an amazing trip. Day 1 and I already love it. Don't want to come back to NZ.

Written by Harrison Hill
Sat, 9 Jul: After saying our goodbyes at Auckland Airport we grabbed our bags, headed through customs and then to the Koru Lounge as we waited for our flight, where we got to spend some time talking to Lance O'Sullivan. We left New Zealand around about 7:45ish. The plane ride wasn't as bad as I thought it would be for a 12-13 hour flight plenty of movies and music to listen to and snacks when ever.

We landed in San Francisco at 12:45pm Saturday the 9th of July and took about hour to get through an enormous line to get into the country. After processing we were taken by bus to the hotel where were are now currently stay for the remainder of the trip and it is amazing it made me feel like a million bucks as soon as I walked in.

After settling in Andrew kindly treated us all to Dinner at Sizzlers which was awesome, so much fooood and really filling as well I couldn't eat anything else after that.

Today we are heading in to the City for shopping and my first Baseball game! the Giants are playing and apparently it's a sold out game so Should be GREAT!!

Written by Maihi Bennett
Sat, 9 Jul: We left Auckland at 7ish pm on Saturday Night NZ time and flew to time San Francisco on a 13 hour flight. But we arrived to SF at 12:45 local time, Saturday. How is this possible you ask ? TIME TRAVEL! Lol

The flight was choice watched movies the whole way through, I've never sat in one place for so long. America is pretty mean, flying over the bay area it looked pretty flat. There is also some pritty nice scenery.

The hotel we stay at is choice, as soon as we got unpacked and settled in we hit the pool and soaked in that California sunshine! A few of the boys went to the gym to possibly impress the girls.

Anyways, I'm really looking forward to tonights Baseball game! #SFGiants and can't wait to see what else this place has in store for us!

Signing out for now,


Written by Carym Wharerau
Tue, 12 Jul:
Was a mission on and off the plane/flight, but got here safely😊Can't help but feel a few dollars richer in this faaaancy hotel😳😍Had more food than I would usually have in a day at the one and only Sizzlers, surprisingly, I had more salad than burger and French fries😶😅
The excitement is still burning like fire in my chest, even being awake for more than 24 hours hasn't lessened it one bit! 🔥
Day 1 down for the Silicon Valley Trip, 6 more to go😭😁✨

Written by Harrison Hill
Fri, 8 Jul: Only one more sleep to go until myself and seven other students are off on a trip of a life time I've charged the video camera really to capture everything as we go. I'm so excited, quite literally counting the hours now until the plane leaves the tarmac.

I am really looking forward to see all the beautiful sites that San Francisco and Silicon Valley have to offer. Going on this trip and going to places like Google, IDEO, Facebook, Apple, etc is going to be a huge eye opener getting an inside look on how companies work and hopefully some new ideas that might be making their way to the market. The place that I am looking forward to seeing is Apple, this being I am a huge Apple fan boy and because of the way they changed industries with ideas that were and are simple and easy to use for the consumer but huge in the industry.

I would just like to say a humongous thanks to Andrew Patterson for organizing such an amazing trip and for having the visionary idea for it to happen and for picking Dilworth School as one of its recipients for the trip this year. This will be a life changing experience and I can thank you enough. Also a thank you to all the sponsors thank you for supporting this trip and the Dilworth X-Change for making this trip available for Dilworth Students.

Looking Forward to seeing you all
Harrison Hill

Written by Toby Carr
Thu, 7 Jul: With just one day now between the group of us and Silicon Valley, excitement and pressure is building!

Excitement because of the experience which we will all have, the places we'll see and people meet. Personally have been most looking forward to seeing how companies such as Google have scaled to the size they have, and what has been the crucial parts of that success.

Busy because of the work to do in a day! As always, it comes down to the fine line working at capacity, but I'm looking forward to being able to get to the airport, sit down and realise where we are going and the life experience we'll have.

Not long to go now! Make sure you keep up to date on -


Toby ✌

Written by Liam Ottley
Thu, 7 Jul: At the time of writing this, there is only one night before our departure to the world's hub of technology. When thinking about it like this, I bubble with excitement, but I'm also apprehensive about the adventure to come. I cannot wait to meet the kiwis who hold vital places in these leading companies, and learn from their knowledge and experience, from which I can learn lessons to add to my own arsenal of business and entrepreneurial skills.

I am looking forward to being immersed in the American culture, and the innovative culture of Silicon Valley. The food, the clothing, the sport, the people and the technology await us, and personally, I am not quite sure how I am going to capture all the amazing moments and share them with my friends and family.

I think it was around midway through 2015, when I first heard about the opportunity Andrew Patterson and the Dilworth X-Change were providing. I assumed it would go to a year 13 or some other high-ranking Dilworth boy. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would end up going on the trip, and I am very grateful to Andrew and the Dilworth X-Change for allowing me to be part of this life changing opportunity.

See you all on Saturday,

Written by Jason Sharma
Thu, 7 Jul: In preparation for this trip, I took both Saia and Gabriel to Point England school on Wednesday, which is the local primary school in Glen Innes around the corner from Tamaki College, and the primary school that Gabriel attended. They went their to pump the Year 7 and 8's up and show them how this opportunity could be available to them in the near future too.

When asked how the boys felt when they found out that they were going on this trip, they both used the word "speechless". I could not have thought of a more appropriate word for boys to describe their emotions.

This is an opportunity of a lifetime and I am really looking forward to starting this journey with the boys and allowing for this experience to shape me into becoming a more innovative and inspiring teacher. I am blessed to be able to share in this journey, as I'm sure it will be as much of a learning opportunity for me as it is for the boys.

Over the next week, this blog is going to be inundated with emotion, awe and most importantly, learning.

So watch this space!

Written by Maihi Bennett
Thu, 7 Jul: Kia Ora, my name is Maihi Bennett and like my peers I'm very excited for the upcoming trip! Ka huri te mihi ki a koe te manukura kairangi e Andrew, nei ra tatou katoa e mihi kau ana ki a koe, he mihi mutunga kore!!

Growing up, I would have never imagined myself going to the USA, especially going to visit some of the biggest tech companies in the world! Like who even gets to do that?

I would like to thank the sponsors, without your guys generosity and contributions this trip would not be possible! Thanks again to you Andrew for all your mahi you did to organise this amazing opportunity.

Can't wait to get in to it, I know that we're all going to enjoy the trip and everything about it. I'm particularly looking forward to seeing the baseball game that we're going to attend, I've recently became SF Giants fans #bandwagon #americanculture so there is so much excitement in me.

Tune in for more korero throughout the duration of the trip.

Nga mini mahana


Written by Saia Tukuafu
Thu, 7 Jul: Dear Sponsors,

First and foremost I would like to thank the Lord for such a blessing and for Andrew and all the work he has done for me. Secondly I would like to thank Andrew for starting up such a trip and for giving students such an opportunity.

Most importantly I want to thank the sponsors for blessing us with all the funds that they have contributed towards this trip. Surely every student and supervisor, will make up for all the money being brought forth. I know us student's will make use of that time.

Thanks once again to all the sponsors.

Tamaki College

Written by Carym Wharerau
Thu, 7 Jul: With only a few weeks notice, it has been a roller coaster of emotions, interviews and questions, BUT I COULD NOT ASK FOR ANYTHING BETTER!
I am very grateful to have been awarded this opportunity and I'd like to thank Andrew Patterson, Dr.Lance O'Sulliven, Deidre Otene and The Moko Foundation for getting me prepped and ready. I'd also like to thank my friends, family and community who have all been nothing but encouraging and loving❤️
Besides the gears👕👟 I'll be returning home with (lol) I cannot wait to immerse myself in a whole other country and culture, especially the food!🍔🍟🌭🍕
Be sure to follow my and our journey through the help of social media!😁

Instagram📱: @carym_el
Facebook and LinkedIn: Carym Wharerau

Written by Saia Tukuafu
Thu, 7 Jul: 2 more sleeps, and I can't wait to leave. This trip ought to be really interesting. I just can't wait to see the real world, and understand it's concepts.


Written by Gabriel Inia
Thu, 7 Jul: Kia Ora, My name is Gabriel Inia and I can't wait for this opportunity of a lifetime. I have literally been counting down every since the start of this week. I have enjoyed meeting everyone and I love everyone's personality.

Firstly thank you Andrew for this opportunity. You do a lot for me in my life and this is one of the biggest things you could ever do for me. So thank you very very much Andrew.

Secondly, I would like to thank our sponsors for this trip. A few are Vodafone and Xero. Hoping Vodafone will hook it up with a free phone. Aside from that, thanks to all companies that sponsored us on this trip.

Lastly, I would just like to say to everyone following our trips, stay connected with all of us and follow our story and experiences. Ask us loads of questions when we get back.

I am so excited for this trip and Can't Wait! If you have any questions for me, flick me an email at: Thank you!

Gabriel Inia
Tamaki College

Written by Andrew Patterson
Thu, 7 Jul: On the eve of our departure I'm excited that another eight students are about to experience the magic of Silicon Valley which has to be one of the most dynamic places on the planet right now!

On this trip we will get to visit the places that have become household names including Google, Apple , Facebook and Twitter but perhaps more importantly we will get to meet some of the people, many of them kiwis, who are very fortunate to work in this amazing part of the world.

But most of all, I'm grateful to our awesome sponsors for their commitment to making this trip the life changing opportunity it will be for the students fortunate enough to have been selected to take part.


Written by Luke Mansell
Mon, 4 Jul: Hello and welcome to

This website is all about our trip to Silicon Valley this July. Feel free to browse around the site to find things such as details about our trip, about each of the students, our sponsors and much more.

We will be blogging our experiences and invite you to follow us along the way!