Psychologist, author & TV presenter
“There is no question that the future is going to bring all kinds of challenges… economic, social, and environmental. Education is the gatekeeper for what kind of future we’re going to build. The truth is that there are enormous opportunities ahead of us, but the potential pitfalls are just as big. Having an education system which is fit, and flexible, and fast on it’s feet will be the deciding factor in whether our future is bright, or very bleak indeed.”
Born and raised in Oamaru, Nigel first attended Otago University, where he completed an MSc in Marine Science. He then moved to Auckland where he trained as a Clinical Psychologist and graduated with a Master of philosophy with 1st class honors in Psychology and a Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology.
After completing his qualifications, Nigel worked for the better part of two decades in several agencies including Drug and Alcohol rehabilitation, Sex Offender Treatment Programmes, Family Therapy agencies, Child Youth and Family, Probation Services, and extensively in private practice. He has also lectured on many senior courses at the New Zealand Police College.
Nigel has written a novel and seven non-fiction books which are now published in nineteen countries and ten languages.
He presented the critically acclaimed television series ‘Beyond the Darklands’, which was based on his work as a forensic psychologist and his book ‘Into the Darklands’, and ran for five seasons in New Zealand. It has screened in Australia, Sweden, Spain and in several Latin American countries. He also presented the top rating ‘Politically Incorrect Guide to…’ parenting TV series which has run for three seasons in New Zealand, and in 2012 presented a season for Channel Nine in Australia.
In addition to this Nigel has also been involved in a number of other television projects including how to help children cope after the Christchurch earthquake, how parents can help teenage drivers stay safe on the road, as well as documentaries on subjects such as inequality, sugar, alcohol, talking safely about suicide, Antarctic science and the science series ‘Nigel Latta Blows Stuff Up’’.
In 2012 Nigel was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for services to Psychology as part of the Diamond Jubilee Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
In 2016, Nigel and two of his colleagues who were instrumental in the making of many of these documentary series, started a production company called Ruckus Media. Ruckus’ first production ‘Mind Over Money’ screened on TVNZ in February 2017. ‘Mind Over Money’ examined the decisions we make about money and ran for two seasons. Ruckus also produced a groundbreaking five part live and interactive TV series called ‘What Next’ which explored how New Zealand might respond to the many challenges of the next twenty years. Nigel co-hosted this series with one of New Zealand’s most respected and award winning journalists, John Campbell. More recently the Nigel and the team at Ruckus produced ‘The Curious Mind’ , a four part documentary series which explores the wonders of the human brain with the help of Baby X, the world’s most advanced virtual human infant.
A sought after speaker Nigel has presented keynotes at a range of industry and corporate conferences both in New Zealand and overseas. His particular gift is blending real world pragmatism with the latest scientific research, and a generous dollop of humor, in presentations that engage, entertain, and challenge the audience.