Wool to Weta: Transforming New Zealand’s Culture and Economy
New Zealand has built its economy around natural resources – exporting wool, wood, meat and dairy and importing tourists. But can that economy sustain us in the twenty-first century? From the second most prosperous country on earth fifty years ago, New Zealand has slipped to the bottom half of the OECD rankings in everything from wealth to life expectancy. Whether to London or Los Angeles, nearly a million New Zealanders have moved abroad in search of better opportunities. If we are to turn around those trends, what is the alternative?
In this book, physicist Paul Callaghan talks to leading New Zealanders involved in science and business to find the answer. Tackling difficult issues, from the tyranny of distance to our aversion to risk, Callaghan finds a vision for the future built on shifting from Wool to Weta – from relying on agriculture and tourism to investing in a new economy based on science, technology and intellectual property, exemplified by companies such as Weta Workshop, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and Tait Electronics.
More about Paul Callaghan
One of the things I say to our crew is, “why shouldn’t it be us? If it can be a company in the heart of Burbank in California, why couldn’t it be a company in the heart of Wellington, New Zealand?" – Richard Taylor, CEO, Weta Workshop
Callaghan is almost certainly NZ's leading scientist, a man with an international reputation. He admits he is no economist, but is intensely interested in economics because of the social and other ramifications. He is both analytical and sceptical, and very lucid and logical. In a time of economic crisis, when companies and countries with large debt (which NZ certainly has) are especially vulnerable, this book should be compulsory reading for those in positions of influence. – Graeme Barrow, Northern Advocate
Wool to Weta is a whole new take on the science-business connection in New Zealand, delivered by someone who really understands it and who has drawn together the ideas and experiences of New Zealanders working every day on the connection. – Martin Freeth, Management Magazine