What if New Zealand launched Thankyou?

Words by Daniel Flynn
15 June, 2018

Dear Thankyou Australia and New Zealand (woooooo),

Today is a significant day in the history of Thankyou.

Mark this number in your diary; 785,568

I’ll get to why in a minute.

Today is the official launch of Thankyou New Zealand. Almost 2.5 years ago, many of you made this dream possible when you purchased our book, Chapter One at a pay what you want price to crowd fund our future.

For that, we want to say a big THANK YOU. Thank you for believing in us and investing in this idea we think could change the course of history.

It’s been over a two year journey to get here, and wow has it been a journey. We’ve had to delay this launch too many times to remember.

I’ll save some of the story of why for a future date, but if you want a window into the last 18 months that led to some of the delays check this out: Better Before Bigger. No person, organisation or idea is immune to challenges and the reality is that great things take time to build.

This week product hits the shelf nationwide in New Zealand at New World, PAK’nSAVE and Four Square with more major retailer partnerships to be announced in the coming weeks.

13 weeks

I was sitting down with the CEO of the largest product company in NZ two weeks ago and he explained how the FMCG world is not different here to Australia. ‘The 13 weeks is a real thing’. We have 13 weeks to hit the industry average hurdle sales rates with our supermarket partners or we risk losing products on shelf. We’ve lost product before, we don’t want to lose products again.

The Baton

Thankyou is a grass roots movement. Its strength is found in humble beginnings and we feel the most important, bold, game-changing thing we can do is to let go. To truly trust another country to write their own Thankyou story.

We loved the metaphor of ‘passing the baton’. Taking what has been created over 10 years and handing it to New Zealand to write their own Thankyou story. We decided to take the metaphor literally.

We passed the baton to New Zealand. But how do you pass the baton to a country? It’s a good question. Is there one person you give it to? Can you even pass a baton to a nation?

We settled on making 4963 batons. Yep, 1% of the population. It was a cool idea. But the key to a baton race is that no baton can be dropped. Which made us feel the number was too big. We talked about 100, 200, 300, 400 ... and 300 felt right. The story behind why will give you goosebumps, and I’ll share it another day.

The people

So, we wrote a list of our 300 closest supporters and gathered them over the last 3 nights to brief them. These are people that over the past few years have let us crash on their couches, helped open doors for us and have been key supporters of the Thankyou New Zealand story.

Over the past two years we’d had a call to join the launch team on our Thankyou New Zealand website. We thought maybe we’d get a few hundred passionate supporters who want to use their influence to help Thankyou launch in NZ.

We got 3830 – what?! Now we know there are probably a few of our competitors in the list who want to keep an eye on us, so we can minus a few.

But 3830 is both humbling and hopeful – that there’s an army of New Zealenders who, like the team at Thankyou, see that a world without poverty can be achieved in our lifetime, and they’re all-in for it.

Choose Thankyou, Take Action and Tell Two 

The call to action is the same for both groups: Choose Thankyou, Take Action and Tell Two.

Thankyou is a collection of stories of people taking action, from stocking the product, gifting it to friends and family, posting on social networks, volunteering their skills or business, finding creative ways to raise awareness (ok creative has sometimes translated to epic and extreme like when Peter & Geoff flew their helicopters over the Coles and Woolworths head office with a banner inviting them to change the world with us to get their attention).

Two boys from the Nelson in the South Island sent us a video pitch a few weeks before launch asking if they could use their talent and skills to help. We picked up the phone straight after we watched it and two weeks later they created this:


Tim and Josh are a classic example of taking action with what’s in your hand.

This is the hero piece of this launch that we want to ask you to share with every single Kiwi you know. We need you to help spread the word!

Over the next 13 weeks and beyond we have great anticipation for what New Zealand can do with Thankyou.

The biggest movements and ideas always start small.

In Wellington this week one of our supporters was telling me this story about Obama. Obama turned up to a room of about 30 people to speak.

This is a man who clearly can hold the attention of much bigger rooms but in this room one lady started chanting “Fired up, ready to go, fired up, ready to go”. The room joined in.

If you follow Obama you’ll know that this became a war cry for his supporters and in some of the biggest stadiums around America he would shout, “Fired up” and the audience would say back “Ready to go”. The point? Little ideas that start in small rooms can go further than you or I could ever imagine.

Our first global step is New Zealand and our first supporter dinner was in Christchurch (one of the most southern capital cities in the world). As I looked around the room of 38 people I thought how cool that this one-day global movement’s first step was in a room of 38 people. That is a night I will never forget.

In November last year I had the humbling opportunity to be interviewed by President Obama alongside two other young change makers for 25 mins. He asked when Thankyou would expand into other markets. Our answer, New Zealand was first.

What if New Zealand launched Thankyou?

So to our Kiwi mates. It’s over to you. To take this idea one giant leap further. You are a country that’s batted above your weight globally in sport, entertainment, music and business.

You were the first to ascend the impossible Mount Everest and your history is full of remarkable stories of how you used your ingenuity to create remarkable change. And to our Aussie mates, please share this with every Kiwi you know, every share will add to make a big difference.

We have 13 weeks to prove sales on shelf, so we need you.

I asked you to write down 785,568. Because as of today that’s the number of people who have been served in communities all over the world by the work of our partners and everyone that’s bought our products and been part of Thankyou so far.

One day we’ll all look back at that number in awe of how much further it grew.

Thank you.