Sir John Kirwan

Sir John, or “JK” as he is affectionately known, is focused on bringing a world-class surf park in Auckland to life, and leading our mental health and wellbeing initiatives in New Zealand.

An elite athlete and Kiwi icon, Sir John is a household name in New Zealand. A gifted rugby winger for the All Blacks, he played 63 times for his country including as part of the Rugby World Cup-winning team in 1987. In 1989, Sir John received an MBE for services to rugby, and in 2012 he became a Knight Companion of the NZ Order of Merit for his services to mental health. He has also served as an ambassador for some of the world’s leading brands including DHL, Westpac and Landrover.

A passionate mental health advocate, Sir John aims to save at least 1 million lives from suicide. He speaks openly about his personal battle with anxiety and depression, and why fostering mental wellbeing should be a priority for organisations and individuals alike. His wellbeing platform Groov aims to help leaders and their teams embed a positive culture of wellbeing within workplaces. Through the Sir John Kirwan Foundation, JK is leading the development of Mitey – an evidence-based, NZ school wide approach to teaching mental health education to children in Years 1 to 8.

Sir John lives in Auckland and is an avid surfer, rugby fan and wine enthusiast. He can often be found cross-stepping on a longboard off his beloved Waihi Beach on NZ’s East Coast, and spending time with his family.