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Future leaders get their chance to be heard
Thirteen of New Zealand’s brightest and most creative secondary school pupils will meet in Auckland next month to develop their visions for the future of New Zealand. One of them will be invited to address the It’s Our Future – the new New Zealand Symposium in December.
The students are finalists in the Future U competition, an initiative by Massey University and Westpac to encourage the nation’s youth to become thought leaders. The online competition invited them to post videos outlining their vision for New Zealand in 2050.
They will attend a workshop at the Albany campus on October 10 to develop critical thinking skills and hone their ideas. After a day of mentoring, they will present their refined visions to the judging panel. The winner will be asked to bring a fresh, youthful perspective to the December symposium, which will challenge prominent thought leaders to start building a platform for the kind of future New Zealanders want.
Competition entries showed young people have a range of concerns about the future, but most are optimistic that with careful planning and innovative thinking New Zealand can maintain its pristine environments, unique culture, and quality of life.
While their visions of 2050 involved a good smattering of flying cars or, in one case, humans living in cylinders orbiting the Earth, most sought practical solutions to problems such as climate change, over-population, food shortages and social disorder.
Some saw salvation in technology and innovative design; others promoted grassroots, community-based action. Keeping New Zealand clean and green was a constant concern, and many were preoccupied with New Zealand’s economic performance. While one entrant described a dystopic vision of a polluted country under the control of a global government, most projected a sense of excitement about the future and their role in shaping it.
Massey University Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey, who will be part of the judging panel on October 10, says he is heartened by the quality of the entries.
“The Future U competition shows New Zealand’s youth have the passion and the confidence to drive our country towards a positive future," Mr Maharey says. "I am looking forward to seeing the finalists hone their visions, and I am sure the winner will represent their generation well at the new New Zealand Symposium."
Westpac’s Director of Corporate Affairs Sue Foley says the competition has unearthed some outstanding thought leadership amongst young Kiwis.
“If the standard of entries for Future U is anything to go by, then New Zealand’s future is in safe and exciting hands.”
Symposium guests include national and international leaders and thinkers. Among the keynote speakers are Daniel Franklin, executive editor of The Economist and co-editor of Megachange: The World in 2050, and leading scenario planner Dr Angela Wilkinson, director of Oxford University’s Futures Programme.
Delegates to the invitation-only event will take part in a scenario-planning workshop to develop a vision for a successful New Zealand in 2050 – and a roadmap for getting there. The symposium is being held in Auckland from December 1-3 and is a joint initiative by Westpac and Massey University.
To see Future U competition video entries, visit: www.future-u.ac.nz
For more information on the ‘new New Zealand Symposium’, visit: www.newnzsymposium.ac.nz
The Future U finalists are:
• Prerena Nair – Epsom Girls' Grammar School
• Joel Robinson – Shirley Boys' High School
• Jonathann Papageorge – Shirley Boys' High School
• David Bassett – Kings Way School
• Peter Scriven – Cashmere High School
• Stephen Lines – Hutt International Boys' College
• Edward Boxall – Ormiston Senior College
• Disha Gomathinayagam – Mt Roskill Grammar School
• Maia Visnovsky – Lincoln High School
• Indya Tolo – Aranui High School
• Saijel Dheda – Pukekohe High School
• Olivia Pearless – Samuel Marsden Collegiate School
• Clare Wu – Auckland Girls' Grammar School