David Downs
Amy Knightley

David Downs and Amy Knightley

CEO & Director of Marketing and Communications – New Zealand Story


Session title

Listen to learnHow to seek and integrate a wider set of voices into your place’s brand identity


The broader an audience a place brand resonates with, the more powerful and enduring its effect will be. By continuing embed Māori culture into the New Zealand brand and identity, the more it provides NZ Story and its stakeholders with a core truth and point of difference to take to the world. Join David and Amy from NZ Story as they illustrate their approach to working with their own first nations cultures, ensuring their values are articulated effectively and authentically to a global (and domestic!) audience.



David Downs

CEO, New Zealand Story

CMInstD 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 sosbusiness.nz 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 released a new book, Silver Linings in March 2021, and continues to act as a consultant for government and industry, as well as a director on a number of boards, including as chairman of The Icehouse, the Hi-Tech Trust and the Well Foundation.

David is now CEO of The New Zealand Story, an ambitious organisation marketing New Zealand to the world.

Amy Knightley

Director of Marketing & Communications, New Zealand Story

Amy is the Director of Marketing and Communications for New Zealand Story, whose purpose is to protect, enhance and promote Brand New Zealand to expand Aotearoa New Zealand’s reputation and value internationally. With a background in senior brand, marketing and communications roles across both private and public sectors, Amy brings a broad perspective having worked for global organisations in both the UK and New Zealand. She’s an advocate of using insights, storytelling and worldclass creative to shift perceptions and enhance consideration.

Amy is a member of the Board of Trustees for the Starship Foundation, which fundraises for New Zealand’s national children’s hospital. With proud links to Ngāi Takoto, Te Waiohua and TainuiWaikato, Amy is passionate about achieving healthcare equity for all New Zealand children, particularly in Māori and Pacific communities.