As a kiwi living in London I naturally would like to move back there one day.  So I do what many of us do, follow everything that is happening back home.  This includes regular doses of nzherald.co.nz and stuff.co.nz, but also keeping up-to-date with a number of New Zealand influencers on social networks.

For a small country, there are a number of influencers and they have a wide reach.  I really enjoy reading these as they come through my stream.  The “No 8 wire” attitude comes through, as does the candid, friendliness I am used to from back home. When the rest of my stream goes to sleep, this part of my Twitterverse starts to wake up and come alive.

So where do you find these NZ Influencers?  You could start by looking at The NZ Herald Twitter Top 50, or searching through the top 100 followers in New Zealand.  If you do this, you will notice a lot of sports stars, media personalities and politicians.

But to be on my list – it takes something a little different…

  • It’s less about the number of followers they have – more about having an “active following”.  Real conversations – where they speak and people speak back.
  • These are people who create content – not just pass it on. I was mainly focused on Twitter and Blogs – things that were easily accessible to me.
  • And the ultimate criteria….  these are people I would like to emulate – I admire their work – they have the kind of “influence” I would like to have

So here they are…. Subscribe to my Twitter List for the latest update:  bit.ly/18QCGXR 

Top NZ Influencers for 2013 (according to @tolja)

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Rod Drury @roddrury
Always on Twitter.  Regularly answers queries.  Lighthearted.  And he blogs too.

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Simone McCallum @simonemccallum
Regularly on Twitter. Talks about Social Media, what is happening around her.  Funny.  And she blogs too.  (There could be a pattern here…)

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Dan Carter @dancarter
Dan I follow on Twitter and Facebook.  His updates are a great way to keep up with what the @allblacks are doing.  He is lighthearted, gives things away, shares lots of images – and genuinely seems like a nice guy.

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Anna Connell @AnnaGConnell
So it may just be that she is an online community manager for a financial firm, much like I am…   but it is not.  Her tweets are engaging, and she blogs every now and then – kind of like me. 🙂

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Vaughan Davis @vaughndavis
Amusing.  Posts regularly.  Blogs here.

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Cate Owen @cateowen
Tweets regularly.  Makes me laugh. Writes things at http://cateowen.co.nz/.

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Ana Samways @anasamways
Sideswipe is so funny.  The one thing you must read when you go and read the paper. That she manages to pull this together every day is great.

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Marcus Lush @marcuslush
“Followed” Marcus before Twitter.  Posts Regularly.  Often makes me LOL.

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Helen Clark @HelenClarkUNDP
As NZ’s first woman Prime Minister and current Administrator for the UNDP – I have to follow Helen.  And it is a treat.  She recognises people when they do good work and talks about things she is passionate about.

Freshly added:
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John Campbell @johnjcampbell
Newly added to my list.  Looking for the lowdown on current events in New Zealand. Will keep you updated.

And there are some organisations that made my list too…

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All Blacks @allblacks
Not really much to say – a part of NZ culture.  The All Blacks are very active on social media.  And even if just for bragging rights – it is important to be up-to-date with what is happening.  I love that although this is all about rugby, you see the All Blacks supporting other kiwis in other codes.

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Xero @xero
With a real “start-up” feel, Xero is one NZ’s success stories.  Great to follow and feel like you are part of the journey.

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ASB @asbbank
As far as social media goes, ASB knows what they are doing.  Innovative and human.  Love to see what they do next.

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Air New Zealand @flyairnz
Good selection of tweets.  Feels like real humans tweeting. I like reading about people on their way home and celebrating all things NZ.

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Stuff.co.nz @NZStuffEditors
For keeping up with news in New Zealand, I read the nzherald using their app and stuff online – but I like to follow @NZStuffEditors for a selection of news to read.  The mix of news feels handpicked and relevant.

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Kea @keanewzealand
I follow Kea on both Twitter and Facebook.  They do a great job of celebrating great New Zealanders and helping us expats network.

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The Icehouse @the_icehouse
Tweets every now and then.  I follow The Icehouse for information on what is happening in the start-up scene.  A number of people I admire are a part of this org, so it’s worth supporting.

Newly Added:
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Local Auckland @LocalAuckland
Just discovered this as they were posting lovely pictures of a New Zealand summer.  Enjoying following so far.  Will keep you updated.

It has taken a number of months to find these influencers, but the discovery has been fun.  In the process, I even managed to get a favourite from Helen Clark!

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I know there are more that I haven’t even come across yet.

Given the diverseness of New Zealand, I feel I am missing influencers in Food, Wine, Music, Comedy and more. So with a list of only 18 so far – I would like my next list to be at least 20.  What do you think of the list so far?  Who am I missing?