audio close compressed excel CS_logo_icon_solid_yellow_alt Created with Sketch. x x image insta-black menu pdf Print BTN - Shortlist Created with Sketch. Share Asset 1 word


Former CEO of Tourism Industry Aotearoa, expert on Leading through Crisis


Adopted at birth and raised and schooled in Whakatane, Chris Roberts studied politics and history at Waikato University before beginning his working life as a radio journalist.

From a senior editor position at Radio New Zealand, he moved to Parliament to work for the Opposition before going into Government with the new Helen Clark-led administration. His time at the Beehive was followed by a decade of management roles in the energy sector before joining Tourism New Zealand in 2012 as General Manager Corporate Affairs.

In 2014, Chris moved to the Tourism Industry Association, as Chief Executive. The organisation, which changed its name to Tourism Industry Aotearoa in 2016, is the peak body for the New Zealand tourism industry. For seven and a half years, Chris was the Voice of the Tourism Industry, through all its highs and lows, a relentless champion for the industry and for visitors.

Tourism 2025 & Beyond - A Sustainable Growth Framework, and the New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment are two key guiding frameworks that TIA produced under Chris’s leadership. Chris also re-introduced the NZ Tourism Awards and oversaw the delivery of other high-class industry events including the annual international trade show TRENZ and the annual Tourism Summit Aotearoa. Chris was a keynote speaker and/or MC at all these events.

Chris has been a sought-after speaker, facilitator and commentator, giving keynote addresses at conferences in Canada and Australia and making frequent appearances in the media, nationally and at times internationally.

Now working as an independent consultant with New Zealand and international clients, Chris is also on the New Zealand Cycle Trails Board and is a trustee of the Hospitality Training Trust.
Chris is married to Rachel, lives in Wellington across the road from the Beehive, and they have two grown sons.

Talking Points

Leading through Crisis

In this keynote address, former CEO of Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA), Chris Roberts will share his insights from experience of leading through crisis.
Chris will provide key take away messages around maintaining strategic leadership and collaboration throughout a crisis in order to keep focused on the long term.


Tourism 2025 & Beyond - A Sustainable Growth Framework, and the New Zealand Tourism Sustainability Commitment are two key guiding frameworks that Tourism Industry Aotearoa produced under Chris’s leadership.
In this keynote, Chris will share tools and strategies that any organisation can implement to improve their sustainability practices.

The Cultural Journey

In this presentation Chris will lead your organisation through unconscious cultural incompetency to conscious cultural incompetency and conscious cultural competence. Chris will share his knowledge and experience around Tikanga Maori based on his work at TIA to help guide your organisation through its cultural journey of inclusive practices and protocols.

Advocacy and Lobbying

How do you influence the decision-makers in Wellington? Is there a difference between lobbying and advocating? What are the secrets to success?

Business and the Media - a symbiotic relationship

The media are not your friend, but they should not be seen as the enemy either. They need you as much as you need them. How do you build relationships and ensure you get a fair hearing?
The Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon (TIA Yukon) invited Chris to speak at our fall conference in October, 2018. Chris went above and beyond to accommodate us, traveling thousands of kilometers, taking several flights and driving on remote snow covered roads to take part in the event. His keynote presentation on sustainable tourism was so informative and thought provoking that it is still considered to be one of the best talks ever delivered at a TIA Yukon conference! In addition to his professionalism and aptitude as a presenter, Chris was an active participant at the conference, taking the time to engage with tourism operators, speak with residents of the town, and learn more about the history, the culture, and the geography of the area. The level of commitment that Chris put into our conference was an event organizer's dream come true. If an opportunity ever arises to have Chris come back to the Yukon to present at a future event, he would be welcomed with open arms - as a knowledgeable and passionate speaker, but also, as a respected guest of the community. Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon (TIA Yukon)
Let us know

and we'll send all the latest Celebrity Speakers updates and news direct to your inbox
Thanks, you have been subscribed
View Shortlist