Showcasing our LatAm CAPE network

We are proud to work with a diverse group of academics, businesses, and students in New Zealand and Latin America. Read more about the people involved in our work and the impact that our programmes have had on their lives.

It will be updated throughout the year. 

David Schurmann

David Schurmann

David Schurmann
David Schurmann

Tell us about yourself.  

I’m David Schurmann, director of Little Secret, 2017 Brazil’s official Oscar selection for Best Foreign Language Film, first showed a passion for film making at the age of 13, while filming his family’s around the world expedition. He got his formal education in Cinema in New Zealand. After graduating at the age of 19, he was hired to direct programs for TV3 and TVNZ- New Zealand. David returned to Brazil in 1997 to direct a successful 34 episode documentary film series for Globo TV. In 2007 he directed the documentary film The World Twice Around which took prestigious national and international awards. Since then, he has directed various other  international films and documentary series.

What is your connection to the LatAm CAPE?  

I was the Director and Producer of the series ‘The Inside Guide: Exploring Kiwi Success in Brazil.’   

What has been the biggest impact for you as a result of your involvement with the LatAm CAPE? 

I got to discover and meet some amazing Kiwis in Brazil and was able to share their rich stories and hints on how to do things in Brazil. The series also brought me back to New Zealand where I was able to give three master classes to film students. Giving back to NZ was an amazing and gratifying experience. Another very rewarding moment was having Brazilian and Kiwi teams working together, sharing their cultures; I believe it was enriching to all involved.  

Tell us about some of the things you feel are most common, and most distinct between New Zealand and Latin America? 

Brazilians and Kiwis have a “get it done” attitude, no matter how big the challenge is and have a very positive and creative mindset in finding solutions. Both cultures love human interaction (although they show it in different ways). Brazilians tend to be more physical and easy-going, they are also more passionate and vocal. Kiwis are extremely polite and quiet, totally organized and very community-focused.  

How do you think your collaboration with the LatAmCAPE and your specific project help contribute to increasing New Zealanders’ knowledge and understanding of Latin America and their ability to engage with the region from a business perspective?  

I believe the Inside Guide series was able to give Kiwis a glimpse of what it’s truly like to live, work, and do business in Brazil. It was especially so, because we featured Kiwis that have lived in Brazil for a long time and were able to share all their knowledge and information in an honest and true way. The series was entertaining and informative, which facilitates audience engagement and understanding. We also consulted with professors which in turn gave us an academic basis for some of the subject matter on the series.  

Natalie Lulia

Natalie Lulia

Natalie Lulia
Natalie Lulia

Tell us about yourself.

Kia ora, Kia OranaIorana. Ki te taha o tōkū māmā he uri tēnei no Te Arawa me Maataatua waka. Ki te taha o tōkū pāpā no Ngā Kuki Airani me Tahiti hoki. E noho ana ahau ki KirikiriroaKo Natalie Maramena Lulia tōkū ingoa. 

Hello/Greetings. I hail from Te Arawa and Mataatua canoes on my mother's side. I also hail from the Cook Islands and Tahiti on my fathers side. I currently live in Hamilton. My name is Natalie Maramena Lulia. 

What is your connection to the LatAm CAPE?  

I have worked with the LatAm CAPE since 2018. I am the Project Leader for the Te-Hononga-ā-Kiwa (Strengthening Māori Business Capability) Programmes and I also recently became the Programme Manager for the CAPEs at Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato/University of Waikato.  

How has your involvement with Latin America CAPE grown your intercultural competence?  

My involvement with the LatAm CAPE has provided the opportunity to connect across education, business, private and public sector and particularly with indigenous whānau, specifically in support of Māori Business aspirations. Being part of the exciting and important kaupapa has provided me the opportunity engage meaningfully - I have grown competence around current and future challenges that are faced in the region and what the aspirations are for development in the region and the possibilities that exist for different groups across Aotearoa to establish reciprocal connections in Latin America.  

Has your perception of Latin America changed as a result of the programme? 

I knew very little about the Latin America region prior to my mahi with the CAPEs, in fact I probably couldn't name many of the countries, so my perceptions/knowledge and interest in the region has changed dramatically. I'm excited about continuing to explore and learn more about the cultures across Latin America and the many opportunities there are for Aotearoa in the region. I definitely have a better appreciation of the business, cultural, political and environmental landscapes and where the similarities and difference lie across the region. 

What’s your favourite LatAm CAPE memory?  

I really can't pick a favorite because there truly has been so many great memories, however I will highlight that it has been such an amazing experience to deliver the Te Hononga-ā-Kiwa Programme. My favorite aspect of this Programme has been building meaningful relationships with indigenous whānau in Latin America, experiencing sacred and unique cultural practices and protocols and celebrating the value of indigenous knowledge systems and perspectives. I'm personally passionate about whānau empowerment and how Māori and Indigenous knowledge systems create spaces for intergenerational leadership, so it has been an amazing for me to experience this with other indigenous whānau across the world. 

If you had to share one thing about Latin America to New Zealanders, what would it be?  

I've only been able to experience a very small part of what Latin America has to offer, and the small part that I have experienced has been such a privilege. The culture is rich and if you are willing to spend the time exploring the landscape you will find beauty in so many shapes and forms. Indigenous whānau over in Latin America share many of the same values and principles we do here in Aotearoa, which has allowed meaningful connections to be made, underpinned by values such as whanaungatangakaitiakitanga and manaakitanga. 

Laura Somerset

Laura Somerset

Laura Somerset
Laura Somerset

Tell us about yourself.

Kia ora, I’m Laura – a 21 year old student raised in and still living in Te Whanganui-a-Tara/Wellington. I’m currently finishing my studies in Sociology, Environmental Studies and Māori Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. I also work at a creative agency which makes films and digital content for organisations that are campaigning for social change. In my free time I volunteer in the movement for climate justice. 

What is your connection with the LatAm CAPE? 

Last year I interned for 5 months atthe Chile Pacific Foundation while it organised the meetings of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) during Chile’s APEC host year. This opportunity was organised and funded by the LatAm CAPE. 

Has the programme influenced your study and career plans?    

While in Chile I became infatuated with the country, and I ended up applying to finish the final year of my degree on exchange in Santiago. I can definitely see myself returning to do a Masters or to work there. 

Working in the area of trade and international negotiations has also shaped my career aspirations. My internship in Chile definitely empowered me to take a more active role in promoting access to knowledge and decision-making around trade for structurally oppressed communities, and that’s a kaupapa I’d like to dedicate myself to going forward. My internship was basically a crash course in trade, globalisation, and international-level negotiation, and now I’m trying to build on that knowledge so that I can make sure it’s spread more equitably.  

When I returned from interning at ABAC Chile I got the opportunity to complete a follow-up internship at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFAT) working in their APEC Division. This follow-up internship really consolidated the skills and knowledge that I had been building in Chile, and it was also useful to experience the system of APEC from the perspective of both Chile and New Zealand. I’m really grateful to have gotten the chance to gain public sector experience at MFAT, and that opportunity was a direct result of the LatAm CAPE programme I completed in Chile. 

How has your view of Latin America changed since participating in the internship?   

My internship in Chile was my first time setting foot in Latin America, so before I left I spent a lot of time connecting with New Zealanders who had lived in the region, asking to hear from their experiences. The answer I got consistently was that Latin America is a continent of contrasts, and I don’t think you can really understand the meaning of that answer until you spend time there yourself. Obviously Latin America is a huge region, and its sheer size alone explains the enormous cultural, economic, political, and geographical contrasts of the continent. But I also think that Latin America is a continent that embraces plurality: the idea that multiple, bizarre truths can exist at once. I tried for a long time to articulate what I mean by this, but I think it’s something that can only be experienced by visiting Latin America. 

As a Sociology student I was delighted to discover a huge canon of incredible Latin American social theorists that I had never heard of before. That’s where I think speaking another language becomes such a huge advantage: it gives you access to a whole new system of knowledge and culture. 

How has your involvement with LatAm CAPE grown your intercultural competence?  

Living and working in Chile taught me the extent to which the environment where I grew up and was socialised was just a particular cultural context. I think that living in a country with different cultural and linguistic norms to your home country is the ultimate lesson in humility. There were many moments in the workplace in Chile where my first instinct was to judge a situation against the context I was familiar with, before eventually realizing that I had gotten the complete wrong end of the stick.  

I think I’m now able to recognise that there is no such thing as cultural neutrality, and that helps me to form more reciprocal and authentic intercultural relationships.    

What ways have you continued to apply the new language skills you acquired during the programme?    

I’m obsessed with finding ways to integrate Spanish into my life in New Zealand! Since I’ve been unable to return to Chile on exchange, I’ve had to adapt and try to achieve the same thing over here. I also have Spanish classes twice a week with a teacher I met while travelling in Colombia last year. 

Speaking Spanish has also been an asset to me in the workforce. In my current job, working at a creative agency with a lot of international stakeholders, I was asked to do some translating work during my first month on the job. During my internship at MFAT I would switch between English and Spanish constantly during my workday, and I was able to work on projects that I wouldn’t have been assigned to without that language ability. I think speaking another language demonstrates a good work ethic, a commitment to continual learning, and the ability to practice cultural humility. 

You never know when you’ll run into someone who speaks Spanish, and I find that speaking someone’s native language to them is the easiest way to form a connection with them. Now that I’m back in Wellington it’s like a whole new city to me: I’ve discovered a network of new Spanish-speaking friends that I never would have met otherwise, and a rich Latinx cultural scene. (The ‘x’ is reflective of the rise in the use of gender-neutral Spanish) 

Jemima Peck

Jemima Peck

Jemima Peck
Jemima Peck

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Jemima Peck. I am a second-year student at Otago University, studying a Bachelor of Commerce with a double major in International Business and Marketing. I am from Hawkes Bay originally.  

What is your connection to the LatAm CAPE?  

I travelled to Colombia with LatAm CAPE in January of 2019 as one of 8 students selected for the LatAm Biz: Entrepreneurship in Colombia through the Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) ‘Entrepreneurs in Action’ weekend. This event required us to work with 80 students from across the country on three challenges and compete for a spot in one of the CAPE funded and designed LatAm Biz trips. I travelled to Medellin alongside 7 other students who I did not know prior to the trip. Together, we spent 9 days engaging and learning about business and entrepreneurship in Colombia. The LatAm Biz trip consisted of company visits, guest speakers, local cuisine, dance lessons, siteseeingSpanish lessons, and a business challenge.  

What ways have you continued to apply the new language skills you acquired during your LatAm CAPE programme? 

Prior to my involvement with LatAm CAPE, I had never had any desire to learn a language in the slightest. The moment we stepped out of the Airport in Medellín, I was instantly inspired by Lucy O’Neill who was organising our group transport into the city. I was amazed by her fluent language skills and ability to communicate and organise everything with such ease in Spanish. We were fortunate enough to receive daily Spanish classes with a professor at Universidad de EAFIT who equipped us with basic words and phrases which we were challenged to use throughout the week. These lessons fostered my initial passion for the Spanish language. I then decided to pursue learning Spanish when I returned home from Medellin, by incorporating Spanish into my degree through a major in International Business. I had never considered learning a language at University and I was not expecting my degree to be so heavily influenced by the trip. I am currently completing my 4th paper in intermediate Spanish to meet the language component requirements of my major.  

Has your perception of Latin America changed as a result of the programme? 

I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I was selected for the trip to Medellin. I had never heard of anyone travelling there and no one I’d discussed it with knew much about Colombia. My perception of Colombia definitely shifted from what was portrayed on Google when I was researching where we were travelling to, in comparison to what I experienced for myself. Although there are many significant differences between New Zealand and Latin America, I was definitely surprised at how much we have in common.  

How has your experience impacted your life? In what ways do you see it still show up in your everyday?  

Aside from inspiring me to learn Spanish and desperately wanting to return to Latin America, my favourite thing that I took away from my experience was the friendships. I have seven super close friends from around New Zealand who are bonded by our travels and our shared passion for business and entrepreneurship. I keep in regular close contact with 3 of the Kiwi students who I know will be lifelong friends.  We were also fortunate enough to have 4 Colombian students from La Universidad de EAFIT join us for our 9 days in their city. I am in regular contact with 3 of the 4 students, Lina, Miguel and Diego, who I now consider to be close friends despite our physical distance, keeping in touch through Instagram, Snapchat and video calls. They are awesome at helping me to practice Spanish and recently we have been catching up about Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Colombia which has been interesting.  

Has the programme influenced what you want to do professionally in the future? 

I ended up with a completely different degree plan upon returning from my trip with LatAm CAPE and YES. I never expected to be so heavily impacted by my time in Medellin. When we returned from the trip, it was around the time that I needed to finalise what I wanted to study. The LatAmBiz Programme completely changed my direction and future ambitions, leading me to learn Spanish which I hope to pursue further with an exchange in my last year of study or an internship when I graduate.   

 

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