Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and actor Cliff Curtis headlined the launch of New Zealand's Inside Stories in Wellington this evening.

Speaking to the audience at Park Road Post, Ardern shared a story of her own, remarking on the connectivity of New Zealanders by sharing that she had first met Curtis on a train in London.

Inside Stories is a new series from the New Zealand Story.

Ardern said the ethos on the New Zealand Story website had really struck a chord with her and that was: "New Zealand is a progressive nation of creative idea-makers delivering new solutions, while always caring for people and place."


Curtis said authenticity mattered and everybody had unique stories to tell.

"It's important we fashion a story that includes all of that."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern receiving a gift from actor Cliff Curtis. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern receiving a gift from actor Cliff Curtis. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Chair of New Zealand Story Cameron Harland said the programme strongly aligned with the Government's ambition to create a productive, sustainable, and inclusive nation.

The goal was to create a nation of storytellers.

"The idea is that we have a bunch of umbrella work that can be pulled upon to try to create a bigger, brighter story that you can tell about you and your business."

New Zealand Story director Rebecca Smith said the Inside Stories included personalities such as actress Bryce Dallas Howard and the New Zealand Tesla co-founder Ian Wright to explain in their own words what made New Zealand unique.

"What is our story?"

Smith said the scheme was established in 2013 to "broaden what New Zealand was known for beyond natural beauty".


It had more than 11,500 registered users of the toolkit and they had downloaded more than 100,000 photos, infographics and the like, she said.

Chief executive of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) Peter Chrisp said its role was to help exporters grow internationally, for the good of New Zealand, and it provided $500,000 a year to the group.

"Increasingly companies going offshore leverage the brand and story of New Zealand to create reputation and consideration in international markets," he said.

"The New Zealand Story Group has provided a fantastic and practical storytelling device platform and collateral that individual companies and sectors can use to tell their stories.

"In essence, the New Zealand Story has provided a cost effective way for companies to create a NZ 'halo' around their own brands."

More than 8400 companies had registered as users of the New Zealand Story.

The New Zealand Story Group reports to an independent Advisory Group chaired by Harland who was previously general manager at Park Road Post Productions.

The Advisory Board includes Tourism New Zealand, Education New Zealand, NZTE, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry for Primary Industries, Te Puni Kokiri along with three private sector board members.