Shared History with First Foundation Special To Sponsorship Partners NZI



The history NZI has with First Foundation is very special to the insurance company, and it stems back to 2008. 

That was the year when one of IAG’s (NZI’s parent company) own, Austin Hemmings stepped in to save a stranger from being attacked at knife point, only to be killed tragically. 

NZI Executive General Manager Garry Taylor says NZI and First Foundation’s partnership was influenced by this tragedy. 

“We wanted to honour Austin’s legacy through a charity that shared the same values as him,” Garry explains. 

“First Foundation stood out because it prepares New Zealand students worthy of support to go on to positively influence and benefit their communities.” 

Each year, NZI is proud to award the Austin Hemmings Memorial Scholarship, and over the last decade, the team there has seen some incredible students come through the programme, that have gone on to achieve great things.

Garry has been with IAG New Zealand for more than 25 years, working in various parts of the business.

Currently, NZI sponsors three First Foundation Scholars who are doing work experience with various NZI teams around the country, depending on where the closest office is to where they live and study, and where their interests lie. 

Scholars are provided a minimum of four to five weeks paid work experience per year which allows our students to develop skills and build new networks.

“Here at NZI we like to try and tailor our students’ work experience to suit their interests and professional goals,” Garry says. 

“This includes finding appropriate Mentors for them and making sure they are gaining experience in parts of the business they are interested in. 

“We also have several social groups within the organisation including Māori and Pasifika, Pride and Women in Leadership groups, which our First Foundation students are welcome to join if they want to.” 

The NZI team ensures its First Foundation Scholars feel like they are one of the team, and are included in all aspects of working for a business. 

They participate in team meetings, planning days and occasional social get-togethers with their workmates. 

The Executive General Manager says the goal at NZI is simple when it comes to supporting First Foundation Scholars. 

We want to help our scholarship recipients to achieve what makes them happy. 

“We aim to do what we can to help eliminate obstacles and provide them with the right guidance to achieve their goals in their chosen professions and to be able to go on to be role models in their community.”   

It is always a boost to hear from previous Scholars who have come through the programme, and Garry says he recently heard from Warrick Isaachsen, one of NZI’s first scholarship recipients. 

He is now a Construction Logistics Manager. 

“Warrick was thrilled we’ve continued our partnership with First Foundation over the last decade - he was given a ‘hand up’ in 2008 in partnership with First Foundation and is now a Mentor himself though the programme. 

“It gives me a real buzz to know that the students we see come through go on to do great things.” 

We are looking for Businesses, Organisations and People who are eager to get involved with helping reach the next generation through First Foundation Scholarships. If you, your business or someone you know would like to find out more about First Foundation and how you could be involved, we would love to hear from you. Send us a message or you can contact Amanda Gilchrist (Corporate Account Manager) directly: