I must admit that I was very disappointed when Team New Zealand dropped Dean Barker four years ago after losing the America's Cup final in San Francisco.

He had been at the helm since 2000 and despite losing the finals in 2003, 2007 and 2013 I thought it was worth giving Barker one more go at Oracle.

He had been ahead eight races to one and lost eight races to nine. In the process of losing he had also withstood verbal abuse handed to him by the winning skipper Jimmy Spithill.

I will always remember the picture of Barker standing at the helm weeping as he brought the boat in for the last time in 2013.


One of the many things I have learnt as a professional leadership speaker is that any leader who has been demolished as Barker was will react in one of two ways.

They will either hide in their cave while they lick their wounds and hope nobody noticed, or they will refuse to even go into the cave, face the disappointed many and continue fighting the good fight.

Barker appeared to do the latter and to my memory never cowered from the media onslaught he faced, except when he was dropped by Team New Zealand from sailing director to trainer.

Change is never easy and can be downright painful if we let it.

Team New Zealand not only changed their helmsman from Barker to Peter Burling, but they also changed their entire crew except for one.

They showed Kiwi number eight wire innovation and mentality on a shoe string budget, by putting cyclors on a sailing boat and making technological changes that no one else in the America's Cup could copy or match.

Their crew, under Burling, did not practise relentlessly just to get their sailing techniques right, they continued to practise until they could not get it wrong.

Effective change requires ongoing improvements and commitment to those changes by our whanau or iwi.

The support given by me and some Kiwis also changed. While I was totally disappointed that the America's Cup yachting was only on Sky television, until the finals were shown on Prime television, good on Sky for supporting Team New Zealand through it all.

In fact good on all of the Team New Zealand sponsors such as Emirates, Toyota and The Warehouse for staying on board after the San Francisco fiasco.

It took me and other Kiwis a lot longer to join those sponsors back onboard Aotearoa, but it was worth the hours spent listening to Radio Sport.

The loyal support of a core of people never changes throughout the change process.

They see the end outcome is worth it.

So the America's Cup is once again New Zealand's cup.

The success of Team New Zealand navigating their way through change is an example and role model to all of us as we face future changes in our lives and situations.

Kia hiwa ra, kia hiwa ra... be alert, change is coming.

These prophesied changes include electric self driving vehicles, solar powered homes, artificial intelligence influence and other technological changes.

There may not be a sporting trophy such as the America's Cup at stake, but when it comes to adapting to changes around us, will you still be at the helm?

Ngahihi o te ra Bidois is from Te Arawa and is a professional speaker, professional director, author, businessman, husband and father. Visit www.ngahibidois.com to hear more of his story.