Inspiring Stories was founded in 2011 by Guy Ryan. Guy is an Edmund Hillary Fellow, and was awarded Young New Zealander of the Year in 2015. Guy has led Inspiring Stories since inception, including the development of our big Festival for the Future, the Future Leaders programme, The Impact Awards, and Inspiring Speakers.


Young New Zealander of the Year.

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The Founder & CEO of Inspiring Stories, Guy Ryan, was awarded Young New Zealander of the Year in 2015 (pictured second from left). 


From a tiny little town on the West Coast called Granity...


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Guy grew up in Granity – a tiny town on the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island. After finishing High School his passion for adventure and surfing took him to Otago University, where he completed a double degree in Commerce and Design, and then a Masters in Science Communication. It was at University he discovered his passion for entrepreneurship – from trying to build tech company, to creating an adventure festival, to co-founding a film production company and winning international awards for filmmaking.

In 2010 he co-directed and produced a film called Carving the Future, a 25-minute documentary about four young New Zealanders taking action on climate change and environmental issues. The film won Platinum Best Film at the Colorado International Film Festival, was one of three finalists in the world for the BBC’s Best Newcomer Award, and was a finalist for Best New Zealand Film at Reel Earth.


“Imagine – if every young New Zealander unleashed their potential to change the world. Imagine of the stories of those young people could inspire others – peers, communities, nationwide and beyond.”

Building on the lessons of previous ventures and the success of the film Carving the Future, Guy founded Inspiring Stories in 2011, initially winning a ‘World of Difference’ scholarship from the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation. The next few years would become a whirlwind adventure of developing and testing programmes, partnerships, and building the organisation into the phenomenal force it is today.


Above: the 90-second trailer of the 25-minute film Carving the Future, which Guy co-directed during his Masters at Otago University.

Above: Guy spoke at TEDxWellington in 2014 – the early days of Inspiring Stories, sharing his vision for Aotearoa New Zealand.