2016 – Year Six

Kia ora!

It’s been a huge start to the year for Inspiring Stories. It’s our sixth year of operation, and I’m very excited! In February, our 9-week intensive Live the Dream programme finished up across three cities – Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Being our first time running the Christchurch chapter we were a bit nervous, but the team did a phenomenal job. 150 people packed-out the Council venue for the Final Showcase event, which was a huge success – even local Mayor Lianne Dalziel was brought to tears from being so moved and inspired by a couple of our young entrepreneurs.

Since wrapping up Live the Dream, we’ve completed a strong evaluation of what worked, what didn’t, and how we can really strengthen things moving forwards. There’s a lot to build on. We’ve also kick-started monthly meet ups with alumni, and it’s been great to catch up with the crews across all three cities. This is one way we’ll look to develop and strengthen the community throughout the year.

Whether Festival or Live the Dream, a lot of the opportunities we’ve developed for young New Zealanders are more accessible for those who live in the cities. There is a real need for young people from more rural and provincial areas to be able to access these kinds of opportunities, and we’ve got some exciting news. In partnership with the Mayor’s Taskforce for Jobs and a number of Councils, we’re piloting a new programme – Future Leaders. Throughout the year we’ll be working alongside young people in Buller, Kawerau, Opotiki, Manawatu, Palmerston North, and Rotorua. We’re excited to welcome Maddy King to our team, who is leading the programme.

Watch this space. We’re also gearing up for this year’s Festival for the Future – September 23–25 – save the date. Last year was our fifth consecutive year, with 550 people attending the event including young leaders from 20 Pacific Nations – it was epic. In fact, last year the Festival sold out five weeks before the event, and we maxed out capacity. This year we’ve booked the Aotea Centre in central Auckland. It’s going to be a big step up – we’re a tad nervous, but super excited. From here, we’ll be taking a co-design approach working with a range of young people and other key stakeholders to design the experience.

Check out Pippa and I below checking out the Aotea Centre – an iconic venue in the heart of Auckland. Imagine the possibilities!!

Mauri ora – and all the best for an epic 2016!!