Festival for the Future 2013

22.11.13

Haere mai rā ki whakanui i te karanga o tēnei rā
Haere mai, haere mai
Haere mai ki Te Upoko o te Ika a Maui

E ngā iwi o te motu nei
E ngā iwi o ngā tai e wha
e ngā rangatahi ma

Tēnā koutou tēnā koutou tēnā koutou katoa

Firstly I’d like to acknowledge important guests here this evening:

  • Hon. Nikki Kaye
  • Guy Ryan, CEO Inspiring Stories
  • Te Papa for hosting the Festival - tena koe Mike Houlihan
  • My colleague Cr David Lee - and Cr Ginty McTavish - one of NZ's youngest elected members
  • Contributors and participants

As in Ati's mihi, I acknowledge those who have gone before, especially Koro Sam Jackson who passed away last night.

Welcome everybody to a truly inspirational festival. I'm here to welcome and encourage you - and of course promote Wellington.

This weekend is an opportunity to share ideas, grow your thoughts and set a course for your own personal future while also growing a future for Aotearoa New Zealand.

You are here because you believe you can make a difference.

Together we can make a difference.

I’d like to welcome you all to Wellington - it's wonderful to have you here in a city that celebrates innovation and creativity

I said "Haere mai ki te Upoko o Te Ika" - welcome to the head of the fish - apologies to Auckland - this is the thinking end of the fish - we must learn, think, prioritise and then act to create a better future.

To create the future we must learn from the past - and do some things differently.

Think of Jared Diamond's study of six civilisations, "Collapse" - how can we act and be farsighted and imaginative to avoid our own collapse?

Hundreds of years ago Māori established pa and kainga here - and thrived on the kai moana (shellfish) now polluted in our harbour. The Māori philosophy of kaitikitanga, guardianship of our natural resources, has much to teach the world.

We became the capital in 1865, with a population of about five thousand.

In the 19th Century, British, Indians and Chinese settled in Wellington, welcomed by the ancestors of today's mana whenua. Now we have over eighty different ethnicities and diverse cultural festivities, celebrating with music from the Wellington Batacuda to the City of Wellington Pipe Band - and of course, the Wellington Ukulele orchestra!

Now we are over two hundred thousand and have a far more vibrant cultural life than the size of our population would indicate - because we are the capital, because of our isolation from bigger cities and because of the cosmopolitan creative nature of our inhabitants.

We have a high proportion of 18 to 35 year olds which is critical to our city's future - and welcome more.

Our diversity provides a considerable advantage for Wellington and our population truly values that diversity.

Our global connectivity through ethnic diversity, excellent optic fibre and free wifi means we can be a powerhouse of ideas, creativity and innovation.

Our walkability - and our coffee makes collaboration easy.

We are the place of the possible.

So it is appropriate that we host the Festival for the Future here in the capital for the third year. This festival is absolutely about the possible!

You will enjoy workshops, seminars, keynote speakers, mentoring sessions, screenings and just networking with like-minded, creative young people.

There are many young people who want to make a difference, and many of you are here to share your ideas that have the potential to change New Zealand - and beyond.

This week I saw Time's 2013 list of the top sixteen influential teenagers - Malala who stood up to the Taleban - and our own Lorde & Lydia - 12.5% of that global leadership for a world population share of .05%! Young NZers are modern leaders globally.

Since the last Festival for the Future, Wellington City has taken significant steps for our future. Some examples are:

  • Our Capital Spaces - making the most of our beautiful outdoor spaces, parks, recreation facilities - including defining ourselves as a worldclass mountain biking destination - a reason for people to live and work here.
  • Our Living City - strengthening urban-nature connections and building economic opportunities from a healthy environment, valuing our biodiversity within daily reach.
  • Smart Energy Capital - a matching-fund programme to encourage smart, healthy homes; solar and other forms of renewable energy; and smart grid, demand management and innovation - starting with solar panels on sixteen schools over these three years.

I look forward to leading our council into a time of transformative action.

Strategic cycling networks will need strong support from all of you to get them through any objections and build alliances between modern workplaces, retailers and cyclists.

We need good jobs - whether in social enterprises or more traditional hi-tech companies. We are building an innovative and resilient economy - building Wellington: Smart Capital, with economic wellbeing decoupled from greenhouse emissions. The country's highest growth IT companies are right here.

The new thread of the economy, the new materialism, if you like, is the opportunity social enterprise offers. I'm delighted we have supported Enspiral, Chalkle & Loomio and look forward to expanding facilities for both the tech sector and the social enterprise zone to grow and for the two to cross-pollinate with other organisations.

We have embarked on a journey to put thought into action and to greenhouse city, our country, our world a better, fairer and more sustainable place.

The speech delivered may vary from this text.