There was great energy and a buzz amongst the 200 people who crammed into the St James Theatre foyer on 1 August 2017 to attend the Forum put on by Wellington Rotary. They asked the question, 'What would it take for Wellington, the city and region, to be the best in the world?'
It was an exciting and thought-provoking day with an array of great speakers. These were the speakers:
Hon. Paula Bennett, Deputy Prime Minister, Delivering for New Zealanders on 'Wellington - a creative hub. ICY hotspot ... all fuelled by the country's best coffee and craft beer'.
DK, Licensee, Producer and Speaker Coach at TEDxWellington, Advisor, Speaker, Producer on 'A city hungry to build creative intersections, globally-minded / intriguing and which dares to reach beyond its cultural grasp'.
Sir Wire Gardiner, Chair of the Local Government Commission, Grandfather, Matekite - Futurist on 'Let's throw the ball out as far as we possibly can and run after it really hard'. 'A Wellington with more obvious signs of the first settlers, which actively manifests our three official languages. A Wellington which significantly expands its tourism potential and draws together the vast resources of its connected region. A place where my mokopuna come to study, work and play'.
Tui Te Hau, GM at Mahuki (Te Papa) Innovation Pioneer on 'Every person in Wellington goes home to a warm, dry home. The cost of power and utilities is minimal from our investment in smart infrastructure. Our older and younger residents are cherished - no-one is lonely or alone. Art and culture flourish alongside innovation and entrepreneurialism. Every part of the city feels safe. Our city is beautiful and inspiring'.
Wendy McGuinness, CE at McGuinness Institute on 'Wendy is fascinated by the development and implementation of public policy, in particular how New Zealand might secure its future in the long-term and in doing so, how New Zealand might become an exemplar for the world'.
Peter Biggs, Chair at Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency, Creative Thinker and Agitator on 'Wellington city and region is admired as one of the most livable and vibrant places in the world, and a magnet for the planet's creative talent'.
Ludo Campbell-Reid, GM and Design Champion at Auckland Council, Urban Design Disruptor and City Change Agent on 'Wellington city and region is the warmest place on earth, where the warmth of the welcome is stronger than the wind, the urban design and open spaces are aligned to the sun, and the entrance is open to the world'.
Pinaman Owusu-Banahene, Founder at ADJOAA and Producer at Africa Fashion Festival, the Accidental Creative Social Entrepreneur on 'A place where ideas are birthed, dreams are nurtured and supported to thrive on a global scale to create lasting social impact'.
Stacey Shortall, Partner at MinterEllisonRuddWatts, Founder at WHO DID YOU HELP TODAY? on 'My dream for Wellington is a place where everyone, including all children and women, can reach their full potential'.
Bishop Justin Duckworth, Anglican Bishop of Wellington, Proclaimer of Hope on 'What would it look like for Wellington to have sustainable residents, not just a sustainable environment?'
Grant Robertson, Labour MP for Wellington Central, Champion and Crusader for All Things Wellington on 'A colourful, creative and caring city that embraces all that we have and becomes all that we can be.'
Melissa Clark Reynolds, Director and Future Foresight Practitioner, Digital Strategist on 'A Wellington where cycling was the norm in the city without risking lives and cars weren't needed from Courtney Place to Lambton Quay. A vibrant safe city. A city with 1G a second internet, like every home and business has on the Isle of Jersey.'
Wellington Rotary is inviting anyone and everyone to indicate if they would like to contribute some energy and time to a collaborative project to implement any of the following 'Impossible Dreams'. If you would be interested, please let Wellington Rotary know which 'Impossible Dream' you are interested in to be a leader and/or member of a project team.
The following are 'Impossible Dreams' that we heard on the day. Some of the dreams were common to several speakers. They are, however, roughly in the order in which they came out on the day.
Wellington Rotary says that if your dream isn't covered by any of those below, and you are prepared to lead or be a member of a team to implement your dream, please say so and they will add it to the list:
- We will eradicate homelessness in Wellington
- Wellington will be the first city to have nobody on the unemployment benefit
- Creative Welly
- Wellington will embrace technology and innovation as key enablers for social, cultural and economic reform.
- Wellington city and region will be a magnet for the planet's creative talent
- Wellington will be the Te Reo capital of New Zealand
- Wellington will have the world's best ethically aware, socially conscious consumers of fashion
- Vulnerable people won't have to turn somersaults to get the support they are entitled to
- We can all answer positively the question "Who did you help today?"
- Wellington will be the 'opposite of loneliness'
- Wellington will embrace its weather with more indoor outdoor spaces, a greener 'hairy' city, a place for people with pedestrianised streets, and better connected with rapid transit to the airport
- Wellington will be designed as a safe place for children to walk to the dairy, and we will keep our wild spaces where children can take risks
- Wellington will be the most accessible little capital in the world
- Improve Oriental Bay by creating a breakwater at the eastern end of the beach and a new west-facing beach
- Student-friendly Wellington with affordable public transport and housing
- A city focused on climate change, with major reduction in emissions and preparing for impacts.
- A city of opportunity for the young (in a world dominated by the self-interest of the old)
- Congestion-free Wellington
- Walkable, vehicle-free CBD with zero emissions trolley buses, and a fast light rail spine to the eastern and southern suburbs
- Thriving wildlife in the heart of the city
- A bigger pot of philanthropic funding to super-charge implementing these 'Impossible Dreams'
What would Greater Wellington look and feel like if even a few of these dreams became a reality? Could you offer your help to join the Dream Team?