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David Downs

David Downs

Mental Health
Health and Fitness


Genetically Modified Optimist

David has had a successful career in the private and public sector, with senior roles at organisations such as Microsoft, and New Zealand Trade & Enterprise. David is a published author on New Zealand Innovation, with two highly successful books – No.8 Re-wired, and No.8 Recharged

He’s an ex-comedian, TV and Radio actor, semi-finalist for New Zealander of the Year, and a genetically modified organism who documented his battle with cancer in his book A Mild Touch of the Cancer

David co-founded a not-for-profit initiative to help cafes and other small businesses during covid-19. It quickly became a huge hit and to date has sold over $2 million in vouchers for over 2500 small businesses. 

David will be releasing a new book, Silver Linings in March 2021.

Speaking topics include

Personal resilience – surviving terminal cancer. David had a public battle with terminal cancer and ultimately won, thanks to luck, science and personal resilience. 

  • New Zealand innovation – David is an expert in the history of NZ innovation with 4 books on the topic – from NZs earliest innovations, to today

  • Silver Linings – the positive stories and lessons from Covid-19 in NZ

  • International business – how to really screw it up

  • Bad board meetings and how to avoid them

  • Agritech – NZ’s place in the world of Agritech

  • SOS Business – setting up a business in COVID to help cafes and small businesses


Essential Talent i


Phone: 021 466 733