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Coming Home

English, Social, 1 season, 6 episodes, 2 hours, 13 minutes
Aotearoa is experiencing an unprecedented 'brain gain' as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Coming Home talks to some of the highly-skilled New Zealanders who’ve returned in 2020, as well as economists and demographers, to find out who these people are, what brought them back and what their arrival means means for the country. The current influx of returnees heralds game changing economic and social opportunities, but how do we ensure we maximise what's on offer and keep these industry leaders on our shores? Coming Home is brought to you by The Spinoff and Kiwibank. Hosted on Acast. See ( for more information.
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The dawn of a new New Zealand

In the final part of Coming Home, hosts Duncan Greive and Jane Yee ask what can be done to keep returning New Zealanders on our shores post-pandemic. Over the first four episodes of Coming Home we’ve heard about what's been pushing New Zealanders to live and work overseas for decades, and what pulled so many of them back home in 2020. In the final episode of the series, it’s time to ask how do we keep all the talent here now that it’s back? “There will be a lot of buggering off,” warns demographer Paul Spoonley, if we don’t start doing a lot more to keep highly skilled New Zealanders in the coming months and years. While a re-exodus is inevitable to some extent once the current pandemic dies down overseas, there’s still plenty more we could be doing to make the most of this opportunity. Play our cards right and we could fill labour shortages, innovate our industries and put New Zealand on the world stage. But to do this will require some thinking outside the box from both employers and the government. This is one situation where playing it safe could do more harm than good. Coming Home is brought to you by The Spinoff and Kiwibank. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
12/14/202025 minutes, 47 seconds
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What could possibly go wrong?

In part four of Coming Home, hosts Duncan Greive and Jane Yee find out what returning to New Zealand this year was like – and why it wasn’t always a smooth landing. Everyone we spoke to for this series had a very different personal experience of moving back to New Zealand this year, but they all had one thing in common. In every case, the landing back into New Zealand society was bumpier than expected, on both an emotional and professional level. This week we hear from Julia Arnott-Neenee, Rachel Morris and Mahoney Turnbull – as well as Jane's own experiences of returning with her family – about the unforeseen challenges they've faced in readjusting to life in New Zealand. What does it say about us as a country, and about those who’ve returned to find the reality doesn’t necessarily match their expectations? Coming Home is brought to you by The Spinoff and Kiwibank. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
12/7/202026 minutes, 43 seconds
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As the world darkened, home beckoned

We’ve heard a lot so far about the factors that have for decades driven New Zealanders to live and work overseas – including the strong magnetic pull of the big city. But this year, with the pandemic, subsequent lockdowns and economic and political uncertainty, it was almost like the polarity of that magnetism reversed. So what were the factors that led so many New Zealanders with established lives and careers in other countries to decide to come home? Was it push or pull – or a bit of both? For blockchain entrepreneur Mahoney Turnbull it was mostly push – being laid off from her job in San Francisco during a wave of Covid-19 related redundancies had grave implications for her visa status and health insurance. For editor Rachel Morris it was a bit of both, with a job in New Zealand forcing her to reconsider her life in the US, and where she ultimately wanted to live. Others, like HP strategist Julia Arnott-Neenee and top chef Peter Gordon, felt a pull to return. For Julia it was to co-found People For People, a social enterprise with a goal to bring more Pacific people into tech. For Peter, who had been based in London for more than three decades, it was time to set up his new restaurant and cooking school Homeland. Their energy and motivation for starting these projects is invaluable to New Zealand, and hints that not only can we make it out of this bad year, but if we handle this right we could even end up better off. Coming Home is brought to you by The Spinoff and Kiwibank. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
11/30/202027 minutes, 10 seconds
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The lives they left behind

In this episode we hear from more recent returnees about their motives for heading overseas and the kinds of career opportunities that were open to them there. For many it enabled them to attain levels within their industries that would have been off limits to them had they stayed here.  We hear from Julia Arnott-Neenee who, after an afternoon of applying for jobs around the world, ultimately found herself as global lead social strategist for HP based out of San Diego. We also talk to Polly Fryer, non-fiction production executive for Netflix who is away from the company’s headquarters in Hollywood and instead working remotely from Auckland.  Joel Kefali, acclaimed TV commercial and music video director, tells us about the decision to move his family to Los Angeles and the opportunities that opened up once they landed. Finally we hear from Jarrod Kerr, an economist for Kiwibank who spent years trying to return home but struggled to find his place after more than a decade of working in global financial markets. While their individual experiences vary, our returnees have gained a few things in common from their time working internationally. They’ve all had invaluable exposure to new networks of brilliant minds, they’ve operated in dynamic global workspaces, worked at a scale they hadn’t previously known and secured roles that simply don’t exist back home.  These are the people who were frustrated by the lack of opportunities in New Zealand and quietly left our shores in order to make a big impact on the world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
11/23/202023 minutes, 31 seconds
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Like nothing we've ever seen before

Hosted by Duncan Greive and Jane Yee, Coming Home is a five-part series about the influx of highly-skilled New Zealanders returning in 2020 and what it means for us as a country. In this episode: why do people leave in the first place? Back in June, Duncan wrote a story about a phenomenon he’d noticed over the previous couple of months – a remarkable number of high profile overseas-based New Zealanders were coming back to live, work and start new businesses. The reason why seemed fairly obvious – a global pandemic – but lots of other questions remained. In the first episode, Duncan and Jane meet recent returnees Julia Arnott-Neenee, Mahoney Turnbull, Rachel Morris and Polly Fryer to ask how and why they left in the first place. These are the individual stories at the heart of what we call New Zealand’s ‘brain drain’ – but what does that term even mean? Paul Spoonley, demographer and author of The New New Zealand, can explain. Coming Home is brought to you by The Spinoff and Kiwibank. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
11/16/202027 minutes, 9 seconds
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Coming Home - Trailer

Coming Home is a five-part series exploring the current 'brain gain' that has seen an unprecedented influx of high-achieving New Zealanders returning to our shores due to Covid-19. Who are these people and what ultimately drove them home? What does their return mean for Aotearoa and how can we maximise their global experience? Brought to you by The Spinoff and Kiwibank. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit
11/9/20203 minutes, 17 seconds