Member of the month October - Gregg Wafelbakker

Author: Monica Portillo

This month we had the pleasure of talking with Gregg Wafelbakker, General Manager Asia, Tourism New Zealand.

Briefly, what is your role?

I am responsible for Tourism New Zealand marketing activities across China, Japan, Korea, South and South East Asia.  Our role is to market destination New Zealand to a highly receptive audience in Asia.

Any advice for doing business in Singapore and/or the region?

Insight drives strategy and the best source of insight are the people we have on the ground in our markets.  My advice is to engage, listen, and learn.

When did you move to Singapore? Where from?

This is the third time I have lived in Singapore, the first being in 2002.  Most recently we moved from Shanghai after spending about five years there.  We were originally supposed to move here in July but following a visit in January, we did not manage to get back.  We directed the packing of our house in Shanghai via WeChat video and moved into our new home in Singapore during circuit breaker so did not get to view the inside until we moved in!

Where were you born? What country do you call home?

I was born in Te Kuiti (central North Island) but moved to the West Coast of the South Island when I was 3 years old.  Home is where I live with my wife and daughters.  For now, that is Singapore.  I am a Kiwi though and my roots are anchored in New Zealand.  The West Coast will always have a special place in my heart. 

What do you like most about Singapore?

So much actually.  The climate, is kid-friendly, the food, the modern infrastructure and history, the accessibility to the world, and of course Changi Airport.

What do you do to relax?

I like to run, snowboard, hang with the kids, and dine out with my wife.  Most of all I like to cook.  The kitchen is my happy place.

What's top of your bucket list?

I have always wanted to heli-snowboard in New Zealand, muster cattle by horseback in Montana and attend Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris.  Top of the list right now though is to take a beach holiday with my family!

Why did you join the New Zealand Chamber (Singapore) and what do you like most about it?

I thought it might give me better access to New Zealand wine.  No, the people of course.  As I said, I am a Kiwi and want to maintain those connections through this forum.  As for what I like most, well it’s a little too early to tell but I have been impressed with the agility the Chamber has shown in navigating an ever-changing context.

Any last words?

The world is going through a pretty tough time, so let us all take care of our global whānau near and far.