Bruce McIntyre


Bruce McIntyre is stepping up to the TEDxChCh stage with a message of innate creative brilliance—not his own, but our children’s. Bruce bought Macpac in 1973 when he was 19. Living the classic entrepreneurial narrative, he dropped out of university in his first year and purchased Macpac with money his parents raised by putting their own house up as collateral. After making design partners out of a group of Canterbury men venturing into Andes, the company flourished on the back of their customer-centric pack, and export orders poured in.

But by the late 1980s, Bruce was disillusioned with traditional business culture and instigated a prolonged cultural and organisational reform project which transformed the Macpac workplace into an open, highly participative, team-based, human-focused environment. (These reforms have since been presented at the two Workplace NZ conferences and are still taught at various universities.)

His quest to explore human consciousness and understand the connection between our environmental problems and the prevailing human condition inspired him to read an ever-widening range of subjects, like quantum physics, cell biology, neuro-chemistry, psychology, therapy, education, contemporary spirituality, and ecology. The knowledge gained from these diverse sources resonated with his personal journey and his practical daily experiences as an individual, a father, and a businessman. It became clear to him that the awareness needed to “upgrade” the human condition and subsequently our effect on the planet already exists, though in many separate fragments and unshared languages. It also became clear that, as education is the only institution in society that reaches all of us, and at the most formative time of our lives, “upgrading” the human condition must become the goal of education. Education urgently needs to reset its purpose and to be reinvented to equip children for the lives they long for, in the world that is emerging.

Bruce sold Macpac to Mouton Noir in 2008 to lead the world on a Journey to Brilliance through education reform. He directed the establishment of a hothouse of learning excellence including a model school, Seven Oaks Education Centre, which has the primary intention of revealing the innate creative brilliance within every student.

Bruce says, “Business is not very different from any other organisation in society. The lessons we’ve learned at Macpac over many years of trial and error can be applied to education. Because we are afraid to believe our individual inner truths, we look to the major institutions of society to tell us how to think and act. Therefore, I’d like to see the education system change its focus from training our children to be mindless replicators of past ideas, to encouraging and inspiring us to explore ourselves and the world as it really is.