Speak­ers fire up Wanaka event au­di­ence

Central Otago Mirror - - WANAKA NEWS - By MARY-JO TO­HILL

Still rev­el­ling in TEDxWanaka’s re­cent suc­cess, li­cense­holder Jo Guest is al­ready gear­ing up to hold another speak­ing event next year.

The non-profit event at­tracted speak­ers from all over New Zealand, to talk about their work in tech­nol­ogy, entertainment and de­sign.

For the in­au­gu­ral event, TED rules lim­ited seats to 100 peo­ple, who paid $115 a ticket. How­ever, fund­ing was still tight, Guest said.

‘‘Fi­nan­cial spon­sors were hard to find, but we had lots of gen­er­ous in-kind sup­port from the com­mu­nity, which had a snow­ball ef­fect, and a great crew of lo­cal vol­un­teers, who were skilled and pas­sion­ate, sup­port­ive and en­cour­ag­ing.’’

The Scot­tish-born Wanaka res­i­dent, who co-founded Mis­sion WOW, an out­door sports or­gan­i­sa­tion for women 12 years ago, in­vited peo­ple who were ‘‘change mak­ers’’.

For ex­am­ple, TEDxWanaka speaker Dr Michelle Dick­in­son also known as ‘‘Nano Girl’’ went straight from the event to use her su­per-nano tech­nol­ogy pow­ers to help Sir Richard Bran­son solve the world’s wa­ter pu­rifi­ca­tion is­sues. The Auck­land sci­en­tist joined a hand­picked group of tech­nol­o­gists as­sem­bled at the ty­coon’s Caribbean hide­away, Necker Is­land. Bran­son him­self had been a past TED speaker.

While Dick­in­son’s comic­book analo­gies about why Spi­der­man has sticky hands had the au­di­ence on the edge of their seats, re­tired Wanaka psy­chi­a­trist and old-age ad­vo­cate Ken­neth Bra­gan got them to their feet.

Also au­thor of the book Do not go gen­tle, which deals with get­ting the best out of old age in an in­creas­ingly tech­no­log­i­cal age, the 86-year-old’s rous­ing words earned him a stand­ing ova­tion, help­ing to se­cure TEDx’s suc­cess.

Ref­er­enc­ing Welsh poet Dy­lan Thomas’s poem about old age and death, Do Not Go Gen­tle Into That Good Night, Bra­gan told the younger gen­er­a­tion to ‘‘slow down’’ and ‘‘get with it’’ about the im­pacts of cli­mate change and tech­nol­ogy.

Guest said she would re­new the li­cense for next year, with a date to be con­firmed.

New Zealand al­ready holds sev­eral TEDx events, with Auck­land the long­est es­tab­lished. It also runs in Queen­stown, Christchurch and Welling­ton.

Fea­tured ride: New ZealandSnow­boarder magazine’s past front page cover rider Deano John­ston and direc­tor Phil Erick­son cel­e­brate the 60th is­sue of the magazine at a launch party at Gin and Rasp­berry in Wanaka on Fri­day night. Prizes, in­clud­ing a snow­board and skate decks, were drawn for the sold-out crowd who took part in the event. Ex­clu­sive footage of New Zealand’s top rid­ers, in­clud­ing Will Jack­man, was also on dis­play. The magazine, which is over 20 years old, was cre­ated by a small group of ded­i­cated snow­board­ers and the first is­sues went on sale in May 1993. John­ston was on hand to help DJ the event.

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