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AJ Mason

Founder, Innovation Queenstown

New Zealand

Bio

AJ used to have more letters to his name, but then Twitter happened and most of them fell off.  

Pure geek, AJ has represented NZ in physics and math and, after doing the uni thing (astrophysics - inventing warp drive a persistent career goal), left NZ to work for the White House on sustainable development. His inside the beltway circuit was predictably wonky - accreting expertise at the intersections of sci/tech and government - followed by an eclectically disorganised (albeit charming) body of work out of US, NZ, and Europe across private, public, and NGO sectors.

A heptagramatic peg without a matching hole, AJ tells his mum he’s a technology strategist - figuring that more or less covers it - with a side of international science.

Following the standard kiwi "global nomad" model, he's called a lot of places home, including his perpetual preference of Queenstown,  New Zealand.  Someone once made the mistake of telling him that you get to call yourself a local when you give something back to your community, and e's been trying to earn that badge ever since.

Consequently, AJ pops up in an idiosyncratic panoply of community projects, including founding Innovation Queenstown, cofounding StartUp Queenstown Lakes and Catalyst Trust, Executive Chair of Shaping Our Future, mentoring the high school "Science Buskers" extension program, directing the inSight science festival, contributing educational activities to LUMA, sitting on various advisory groups focused on future Queenstown, and one or three other things.  He figures they mostly keep him around because every group needs someone to send out for coffee.  For approximately 7 minutes in 2019, he was a Queenstown Lakes District Councillor, till the Fates intervened and a coin toss sent him back to his basement to play with Lego, where he happily resides to this day.

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