Our Story

How did the idea for TribeUpp form?

Emily came to NZ back in 2015, with her partner from England, and naively thought it would be pretty easy to meet some new people and build a new friendship circle. It was probably about 3 months in until she realised that’s not really how it is.


After joining various Expat Facebook groups, she was exposed to so many people saying the same thing, even people who had been here for decades... they were home sick, they missed old friends terribly, and just couldn’t build the connections here like they had back home.

Fast forward a few years, and Emily was discussing this issue she was seeing on a daily basis with her friend Tash, who as a Kiwi, realised that this wasn’t just an Expat problem, this was a problem for adults in general.


The passion was fuelled for the two of them to make a solution to stop this being such a massive problem, and find a way to combat this loneliness of trying to make friends as an adult. 

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Emily and Tash advertising The Expat Game Experience on Queens Street in Auckland

The problem we’re determined to solve.

We’re now living in a world where we just expect things instantly, the ways we contact each other, our food, shopping and now even our relationships


As humans, we’re built to thrive in small communities. Science says that we can only effectively maintain 5 close friendships, but we’ve all been given this tool to connect with everyone, everywhere at any moment and it’s too much, and overwhelming for our mental health. In fact, social media and the internet and the pressures it brings, is having a huge ironically detrimental effect on our social connection, with loneliness and depression on the rise. In New Zealand, 1 in 10 adults suffer from prolonged loneliness.


So they’ve brought out apps and things to try address this, and give people a super quick and easy way to connect with other people, but we’ve tried these methods ourselves and it’s a kind of shocking way to be selecting your next friends, swiping left or right based on the look of them or how well they sell themselves in their profiles. And even if you do go past that point and meet someone, there’s this expectation of wanting to INSTANTLY click and be best friends, otherwise it’s just too awkward and you never end up meeting up again. All because you judged a whole future relationship from that one quick coffee, before the real barriers people wear have really come down.


So we wanted to create something that really focused on building friendships in the way it’s supposed to happen, over time. Where we take off the pressure of finding that instant connection, and we just let a group of people at a similar life stage and interests go through a fun experience together, where yeah they can just have a good time, but over the course of the 8 weeks, they’re also able to build a real relationship that isn’t so forced.

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Our Vision

To eradicate loneliness in adults to the best of our ability! We want to create a world where no one will ever feel anxious or held back about starting from scratch with their social circle, whether that’s because they're moved somewhere, broken up with someone, or are just entering new life stages and looking for people to relate to. That they'll know there will always be an authentic way to help them start afresh and find their new tribe so they never have to face life’s challenges alone.

Group of friends

Our Mission

To make TribeUpp a compelling and successful option for those who want to meet new people and make new friends. We envision these experiences being in major cities all around the world, and we’re starting off with getting the formula right here in New Zealand.

Auckland City