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Latta ONZM

Renowned Psychologist, TV presenter, author & documentary producer.

Just because the issues are complex doesn’t mean the solutions have to be.

Born and raised in Oamaru, Nigel first attended Otago University, where he completed an MSc in Marine Science. He then moved to Auckland where he trained as a Clinical Psychologist and graduated with a Master of philosophy with 1st class honours in Psychology and a Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology.

Nigel has worked for the last two decades in a number of agencies including Drug and Alcohol rehabilitation, Sex Offender Treatment Programmes, Family Therapy agencies, Child Youth and Family, Probation Services, and extensively in private practice.

He continues to work as a clinical psychologist in private practice consulting with organizations and agencies from throughout the country, and has lectured on a number of senior courses at the New Zealand Police College.

He has written a novel and seven non-fiction books which are now published in nineteen countries and ten languages.

Media & documentary experience
He presented the critically acclaimed television series “Beyond the Darklands”, which was based on his work as a forensic psychologist. “Beyond the Darklands” ran for five seasons in New Zealand. It has screened in Australia, Sweden, Spain and recently in several Latin American countries. He presented the top rating “Politically Incorrect Guide to…” Series which has run for three seasons in New Zealand, and in 2012 presented the same series for Channel Nine in Australia. In addition to this Nigel has also presented documentaries on how to help children cope after the Christchurch earthquake, and how parents can help teenage drivers stay safe on the road.

Other projects include a documentary series which screened on TVNZ in 2014 and investigated some of the important issues within our society including alcohol, education, sugar/obesity, poverty and inequality, child abuse, crime and punishment. In 2015, he did a six part popular science primetime series titled, “Nigel Latta Blows Stuff Up”.

In 2016, Nigel and two of his colleagues who were instrumental in the making of many of these documentary series, started a production company called Ruckus Media. Ruckus’ first production ‘Mind Over Money’ screened on TVNZ in February 2017. ‘Mind Over Money’ examined the decisions we make about money and ran for two seasons. Ruckus also produced a ground-breaking five part live and interactive TV series called ‘What Next’ which explored how New Zealand might respond to the many challenges of the next twenty years. Nigel co-hosted this series with one of New Zealand’s most respected and award winning journalists, John Campbell. More recently Nigel and the team at Ruckus produced ‘The Curious Mind’, a four part documentary series which explores the wonders of the human brain with the help of Baby X, the world’s most advanced virtual human infant.

In 2012 Nigel was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to Psychology as part of the Diamond Jubilee Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Keynote speaker
A sought after speaker, Nigel has presented keynotes at a range of industry and corporate conferences both in New Zealand and overseas. His particular gift is blending real world pragmatism, the latest psychological research, and humour in an engaging and thought provoking manner that has relevance to a wide range of audiences and organisations. His specific interests include the psychology of success, dealing with difficult people, mental toughness, decision making skills, leadership, the process of change in an organisation, the ‘myth’ of happiness and stress management.

Talking Points

Psychology of success

Success is a funny old thing… we’re all chasing it, but at the same time we have vastly different ideas about what ‘success’ actually is, and how to get it. In this session Nigel will talk about the importance of thinking very carefully when setting out on the road to success, and some of the most important principles to keep in ming while you’re on the journey. It turns out that while we may all have very different ideas about what success really is, there are some very simple things we can all do that will greatly increase our chances of ending up where you want to be.

High performing teams

We talk a lot about the value of teamwork and the importance of organisational culture, but how much do we really know about what makes great teams actually great? Is it a mix of roles? Is it a mix of seniority or personality types? Is it clear goal setting? Is it structure or breathing space? There are a lot of ideas out how to build effective teams, but what does the data really say? In this presentation Nigel reveals what the science shows when it comes to building highly effective teams… and there’s good news. The most important stuff is staggering simple… and free.

Managing change

Everyone is struggling with the same issue: What's next, and how shall I respond? For most of human history major change has occurred over long and manageable timeframes... from hundreds of years to decades. Now big changes sometimes arrive by a tweet. The world is constantly turning itself inside out and upside down, and it’s doing that faster and faster and faster. In this session Nigel will talk about why the world is changing so quickly, what it means for anyone trying to run a business, and some things you can do to get match fit for the Revolution Revolution. Disruption is the new same old, so getting ready for it is vitally important.


The issues businesses face now are complex and ever changing. Uncertainty is the new certainty. So what does this all mean for leaders in a world where everything can change in the blink of an eye. How do you keep your team on track and on task when none of us know what tomorrow may bring? In this session Nigel will talk about some the fundamental axioms of effective leadership in these unprecedented times. What are the key qualities of effective leaders? How do you look after your people when the pressure is on and the stakes are high? Anyone can stand at the front of a crowd and make a lot of noise… but how do you convince them you’re somene worth following?

The wisdom of sloths

This talk works well at the end of a busy conference when people have spent a long time absorbing lots of complex information. This is a pleasant change of pace as Nigel makes a gentle pitch for the importance of idleness. Sloths wouldn't normally be the go to animal we think about when we're trying to turn our tired minds towards implementing all this newly acquired knowledge, but maybe they should be? If there is any creature on earth that understands the enormous importance of pacing oneself, it is the sloth. In this entertaining talk Nigel how shows how our brains sometimes work best when we embrace the wisdom of creatures who’ve built a life around doing nothing. Sometimes, it turns out, we do our best work when we do nothing at all.

Work Life Balance

In the last few months it feels like everything got tipped upside down. We went from trying not to take work home to home being literally the only place most of us could do any work. And since our respective bubbles have expanded we’re now all trying to get to grips with the broader impacts of Covid19 on pretty much everything. So how, in the middle of all this complexity and uncertainty, is any kind of balance possible? In this session Nigel will explain not only why it’s possible… but also why it's essential.


There’s no doubt it’s a complicated old world we live in. Our lives are filled with things our ancestors could never have dreamed of, and no one really ever gives us an instruction manual for dealing with any of it. And that was before Covid19 came along and kicked the collective wind out of all of our sails. In this session Nigel will talk about how to be resilient in an anxious world, and the amazingness of us… the miracle of being human, with all it’s good things and the bad things as well. The focus will be not just on looking after your mental health, but simple things you can do to resiliency and well-being. The good news is that even though the things we all struggle wth can sometimes be incredibly complex, the way forward is usually very simple.

Safe and Healthy

Why is it so hard to keep people healthy and safe? It shouldn't be. It should be the easiest thing in the world to do, and if people just followed policies, it would be. But they often don't and so it isn't always easy to protect people from themselves. In this session Nigel will talk about how our stone aged brains often trip us up, and some ways to harness the awesome powers of the human brain to get the message across, and most importantly, ensure everyone goes home healthy and safe at the end of the day.

Something unique

One of the things I really like doing is working with organisations to build a presentation that’s really specific to that group’s needs. So of you have something special in mind (including a mix and match of some of the topics I talk about) then get in touch and we can work out something unique for your people.

The road less travelled

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less travelled by. And that has made all the difference.

n his life before TV worked as a clinical psychologist for over two decades with some of the most complex cases you could ever imagine. He has seen both indescribable tragedy and real human triumph at close quarters. He then made a mid-career pivot into the world of broadcasting which is its own complex world of competing demands and impossible deadlines. Problems have been his daily bread for over a quarter of a century. In this session he'll share lessons from this less travelled road-which has taken him from some of the worst places in the world to some of the most beautiful- and he’ll share the big lessons he’s learned along that uncommon way. This is an hour of war stories and hard won wisdom.

The psychological firewall: How individuals and organisations can better protect themselves from scams

With the unprecedented rise in scams it’s becoming increasingly important for organisations and individuals to protect themselves against this modern scourge. The risks are very real, and are only going to increase.

And it isn’t just the immediate financial risk, there’s also the damage to brands if scammers impersonate a business to steal from their clients. Trust is one of the cornerstones of brand identity, and the more trusted your brand is, the bigger target you become.

Technological solutions obviously play a key role in this, but having a ‘psychological firewall’ is just as important as the digital one. As we improve the technology, the scammers constantly adjust their approach to exploit the psychological traits that make us both human, and vulnerable.

In this session-informed by the research, expert interviews, and conversations with both scammers and their victims whilst filming “You’ve been scammed” for TVNZ1-Nigel will explain the psychology of scams, the traits scammers exploit, and the simple ways we can all better protect ourselves, our businesses, and our clients against them.
Nigel entertained his audience extremely well, and was a fantastic speaker to end our conference on a very high note. Nigel was very interactive with delegates and was pleasant and easy to talk on the day of his presentation. Dairy Womens Network

Nigel was funny, informative and entertaining. He was well received and everyone enjoyed the opportunity to have him present to us.

New Zealand Parking Association

Nigel was an excellent closing keynote speaker for our conference. His presentation was light hearted and informative and the delegates left on a high note.

NZ Recreation Association

Feedback has been fantastic in regard to Nigel’s presentation. Absolutely on the money, and hit all the marks we had discussed pre-conference. Loved the way he was able to draw into the presentation key points from our other quest speaker as well…brilliant. Nigel was a pleasure to work with. We’d book him again any time.

Suncorp Insurance

Nigel was one of the most entertaining speakers we have had for a while and everyone laughed the entire time . He was very professional and his presentation was very much in line with our conference topic His closing was humorous and was a great note to finish with

Quest Serviced Apartments (NZ) Ltd

Such an approachable and friendly guy. Loved his sense of humour. Really related well to everyone.

Media Design School

People really enjoyed him. Not only was the content informative and relevant but Nigel is easy to listen to. He has a sense of humour and down to earth.

Taupo District Council

Nigel was professional and really hit the nail on the head with the content he delivered for our event. The audience loved him and we enjoyed working with him.


Nigel knew the sector inside out, was positive and approachable to the audience and was an expert on the zoom platform we used.

United Fire Brigades Association

We are really pleased we chose him to speak. He was everything we wanted - warm, engaging, entertaining. He turned a normally staid AGM into something special.

ProCare Network Limited

He was humble, professional and a pleasure to deal with.

IRi Worldwide

To say your speech was a hit would be an understatement. It was perfectly pitched - the right mix of serious advice and hilarious anecdote and was incredibly memorable for an audience who’ve fronted New Zealand’s defence of COVID-19 and are feeling burnt out. Many of our delegates have mentioned in their survey feedback how much your presentation struck a chord, whether that was for your clear understanding of what they needed, or the levity you spoke with; it was all a marvellous and memorable conference experience. Thank you again for taking the time to speak on this important topic and ensuring GP21: the conference for general practice was memorable and offered valuable experiences.

The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners

Pragmatic and simplistic approach to the philosophy of success.


The presentation was extremely well received. I was impressed with how Nigel engaged with the audience, both during and either side of the presentation. It was evident that he had read the brief and had taken my comments on board.

The University of Auckland

Nigel was right on the money as always. Adapted well to the brief and his message was 100% on point. Feedback from the team has been full of praise.

The New Zealand Automobile Association Incorporated

Nigel was great! Stayed & chatted to our members during morning tea, very accommodating & nothing was a bother. A true professional, needed no guidance.

Architectural Designers New Zealand - ADNZ
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