Kevin Biggar

Kevin Biggar – the motivational speaker who takes your staff and clients on a high performance adventure

A hugely experienced speaker and accomplished story-teller – Kevin is the author of three books (including the award winning ‘Oarsome Adventures of a Fat Boy Rower’) and has also presented on hit TVNZ documentary series' ‘First Crossings’ and 'Intrepid NZ'. Kevin will take your audience on a fast-paced unforgettable journey toward high performance.

With a unique background of proven performance in both extreme adventure and business, Kevin will share with your audience powerful (and highly entertaining) techniques and insights into how the principles, frameworks and learnings from each can be applied to the other.

Kevin Biggar first came to public attention when he left the corporate world to take part in the 2003 Trans-Atlantic rowing race. An unusual choice for anyone but particularly for someone who had never rowed before!

Yet, with Sir Edmund Hillary as patron and Jamie Fitzgerald as a rowing partner, he set off on a desperate and thrilling race. In the end he not only won but smashed the previous record, completing the gruelling 5000km challenge in an astonishing 40 days and 5 hours at sea.

Three years later he teamed up with Sir Ed and Jamie again to take on a far greater challenge, the first unsupported manhaul to the South Pole by New Zealanders. To put this in context, more than 5000 people have climbed Mt Everest, 500 have been into space, but fewer than 50 people had ever trekked from the 1200 km Antarctic coast to the South Pole. Kevin is now one of less than a handful of people who have ever rowed an ocean and trekked to a Pole.

To put together these campaigns Kevin has been able to draw on a wealth of experience from his first class academic background and a successful corporate career. Kevin graduated from the University of Auckland with a degree in physics and psychology and a Masters degree in Environmental Development from the University of Cambridge (UK).

His business career has included roles at the New Zealand Treasury in the International Economics Division, as a Strategy Consultant for The Boston Consulting Group, a Strategy Manager with Telecom NZ, and the CEO of a software start-up. Somewhere along the way he also worked as a truck driver in London, a giant chicken for an amusement park, a brick layer in Nepal and has also won the Toastmasters humorous speech competition for the Wellington region!

Delivering value
Now as a full-time professional speaker Kevin works hard to ensure that clients get the maximum value from his session. As you’ll see, a common theme in the client feedback is the lengths Kevin goes to to exceed expectations, by understanding their issues and the presentation to their needs.

“What Kevin did particularly well is the work prior to the presentation where he got to understand our business better and also what we were wanting to achieve out of the conference and ultimately his presentation.” – NZ Safety

As a former consultant Kevin presents frameworks not laundry lists; advice that is backed up by scientific evidence not generic context-free soundbites. When it comes to performance what distinguishes Kevin is that he has walked the talk, rowed the row and trekked the trek. He knows what works because he has used it and these are the techniques he shares with your staff and clients.

His adventures travelling across the Atlantic Ocean and Antarctic icecap means he can illustrate his key messages with vivid, powerful and unforgettable anecdotes that will embed themselves in your company’s culture. Next time you’re talking about facing a difficult challenge you will find yourselves talking about how he turned the roof of his tent in Antarctica into a giant goal-setting map. When you’re forming a team you’ll be talking about the Energy rule he used in the Atlantic.


“When we heard that there was a motivational speaker coming to the conference we thought ‘oh no, another person who is going to make us feel bad about ourselves’ – but he wasn’t like that at all!” – conference attendee.

Kevin’s presentation style is highly visual and engaging, delivered with humility and authenticity. The audience is taken on a breath taking and unforgettable romp across oceans, through storms, down giant waves, in blizzards and across continents in a way that never fails to inspire and motivate. His hilarious and self-deprecating style has led to Kevin being equally in demand to present after-dinner as well as conference key-note.

“His style is warm, highly articulate and very, very entertaining. His content is super relevant to an individual seeking to explore their potential and also a business wanting to take a step forward.” – Bupa Health Care

Kevin’s Experience
Kevin has been presenting to companies, industry organisations and non-profits for more than ten years. He has presented from Lincoln to London, the West Coast to the Gold Coast and Invercargill to Estonia. From 1800 real estate sales people at Sky City, to a small workshop for CEOs, he continues to delight audiences, up and down the country from farmers to financial advisers.

What Kevin talks about
Kevin was a strategy consultant with The Boston Consulting Group when he decided he had to take control of his life. So he quit his job, sold his house, left his girlfriend and went back home to live with his Mum. He sat on the sofa, watched TV, ate fast food and put on weight.

Two years later he stood on the pier in Barbados, winner of the trans-Atlantic rowing race and the holder of two world records. Kevin shares with your staff the strategies and techniques for how he set these outrageous goals, overcame extreme obstacles, and persevered through adversity to achieve success.


Each available as one hour keynotes or half day workshops are around four themes.

• “Fearless facing Challenges”
Few things stay the same in business. Competitors get faster and smarter. Consumers want more forless. To take your organisation to the next level of performance will often require setting and achieving audacious commercial goals – from achieving dramatically raised sales targets to rapidly developing new products.

This presentation confronts those unspoken doubts head-on, and provides tips, tools and realistic strategies to help refocus team members on what they can control, build resilience, create momentum and achieve success.

• “Energising and Uniting Teams”
There is plenty of evidence that shows that teams produce better results than individuals – but only when a team is functioning well! Everyone has experienced the frustration, aggravation and productivity loss of being in a team that is dysfunctional. If the team dynamic is starting to turn sour it is best to address it early before problems become entrenched.

This presentation is about improving the culture within a team, about setting up the ground rules for behavior and heading off problems before they become serious issues. It’s suitable for a team that’s just starting out, a team that is starting to show a few cracks or a team that wants to improve performance.

• “Taking performance to the next level”
Every organisation faces times where performance plateaus, when the work force is firmly within their comfort zone. At these times what is needed is a bit of a circuit breaker, something to knock the problems and challenges back into perspective. Something to get people excited, and believing again in their own ability.

This presentation provides the steps for how to breakthrough the plateaus and get the mindset to achieve even more.

• NEW! Mental Toughness

The single most important factor in achieving success is mental toughness or ‘resilience’ – the ability to bounce back after shocks and setbacks, and persevere through adversity. Think of the young Sir Ed hellbent for the Pole, or Buck Shelford playing on, in some people there seems to be a built in resilience and persistence. For the rest of us sometimes this is easier said than done. Not always but sometimes, there is a tendency to internalise the reasons for a setback, generalise it to other areas and to believe that things won’t improve. Fortunately there are a range of skills and techniques, which if learned, can dramatically improve our mental toughness.

This entertaining one hour keynote, or thought-provoking half-day workshop, is about identifying, exercising and growing your staff’s emotional muscles to they have the ability to roll with the punches, and continue moving forward even stronger than before. Participants particularly enjoy applying their new theories by analysing how X-factor and The Voice contestants, along with presidential candidates and Olympic athletes, process setbacks!

It will boost the performance of any group but particular those staff that are dealing with adversity – for example sales people, call centre or support desk operators, employees coping with change and management of all levels!

Feedback on the ‘Mental Toughness’ half day workshop with Sport NZ CEOs
It was well paced and have fun at the same time as challenging
Visual aids/video (especially X Factor clips) very good
An excellent session with very useful takeouts. Thank you.
Good balance and very enlightening
Very practical, thoroughly relevant, most enjoyable, thank-you
Kevin has credibility/honesty/authentic and a great style.. Thanks.
Awesome practical talk, interesting discussion from someone prepared to be honest and show they were vulnerable
Kevin made it engaging and fun


Kevin Biggar opened the annual Bupa Care Services management conference at the Hilton Hotel, as keynote speaker. We’ve enjoyed many high profile speakers over the years so can compare him confidently with others. He was without a doubt one of our best speakers if not our best overall. He combines hilarious self-deprecating humour with some simple but powerful messages. You would think a Trans-Atlantic rowing champion and Antarctic adventurer would best suit a male audience but you would be wrong. His story is very human and both men and women can relate to his tales. His style is warm, highly articulate and very very entertaining. His content is super relevant to an individual seeking to explore their potential and also a business wanting to take a step forward. We also hugely enjoyed the multimedia content of his presentation which included pictures, video, TV clips and sound bites. This ensured plenty of variety and visual humour and the hour raced by leaving us wanting more. Kevin was a terrific addition to our conference (our theme was unlocking our potential) and the feedback was universally enthusiastic. Thank you Kevin for putting in the effort prior to the conference to ensure you knew who you were presenting to and what our main objectives were. You were a pleasure to work with.”

“Your presentation was indeed "oarsome" and everyone still talks about what a captivating story teller you are, with the message "if I can do it, then you can also reach your goals". Your focus was well planned, tailor made and professional. Thank you for the experience.” Registered Master Joiners

Kevin Biggar was fantastic. What a lovely and approachable guy! It seems everyone I talk to wants me to express appreciation for Kevin’s inspiring presentation. Right from the beginning Kevin captured the audience, and considering there was a “pretty important” rugby game (Chiefs v Crusaders) going on at the time, it was no mean feat! Yet he handled it all in his stride. Once he began you could have honestly heard a pin drop. Considering he only had two weeks to prepare, I appreciated the time Kevin took to really make sure the information he had was relevant and would deliver what we wanted. The way Kevin tailored his presentation to incorporate the theme of our conference, his ability to present the subject in such an interesting way and also managing to include his amazing personal experiences made for a very inspiring and entertaining evening. On behalf of myself and the Region 2 Fire Region Manager Ron Devlin, please thank him for sharing his experiences with us.

Thank you for speaking at our annual conference recently. We have had nothing but positive feedback regarding your presentation and the messages that you have conveyed to our delegates. We were impressed by your down to Earth and amusing approach to sharing experiences that most of us wouldn’t even dream of attempting … our attendees came away with a number of gems to apply to their business dealings in the future. Registered Master Builders

WOW!! Inspirational. Kevin captivated every single person in the room and was very entertaining. A great presenter who articulated messages which hit home. I would highly recommend Kevin as a key note speaker or presenter – Paymark

Kevin was right on the button, we were thrilled with him, couldn't have been more perfect, great messages and very entertaining. " – AstraZeneca

Wow, what a way to end a frantic two days, a perfect culmination of the entire agenda professionally delivered in an inspirational, inspiring positive speech which our staff are still talking about!—Orix

Thank you for a great presentation, brilliantly aligned to project management principles. The Conference ended on a high note, thanks to your ability to understand the needs of the audience and your professionalism in presenting amazing adventures with humility and humour.—Project Management Institute

The presentation was excellent and fulfilled all of our required criteria. The audience took away a sense of what real achievement is and it has helped in some 'defining' conversations on where people see their futures.—IBM NZ Ltd

He captured the audience very quickly and they thoroughly enjoyed his themes coming through as well as relating his adventures to everyone. Very enjoyable presentation and an excellent way to finish the day. What Kevin did particularly well is the work prior to the presentation where he got to understand our business better and also what we were wanting to achieve out of the conference and ultimately his presentation. On that basis he was able to tailor his presentation to present a fine tuned version which fed really well into the overall theme and messaging that worked very well for us. Kevin joined us for our evening function and got the chance to meet people which I know was very much appreciated.—NZ Safety

Delegates thoroughly loved him. His message was inspiring and uplifting mixed with a good bit of humour and visual aids to keep the interest levels up. - Plastics NZ

Featured photo