Rotorua played (virtual) host to Sir Bill English and a panel of local innovators for a Zoom panel discussion focused on the city’s future.
The event was organised by Rotorua Economic Development on behalf of the Rotorua Inc. Whakahouhia te Whare Ohanga Steering and Sector Groups, as part of their role to build back better for the city.
Facilitated by Sir Bill English, the panel featured a group of thought leaders who all have a long term vision for Rotorua:
- Cliff Curtis: of Te Arawa and Ngati Hauiti descent, actor and producer of many of New Zealand's most celebrated movies.
- Anna Grayling: ecologist, entrepreneur, and former principal advisor Rotorua Lakes at BOPRC.
- Matt Browning: founder of Salt & Tonic, a creative consultancy working in the area of apps, virtual reality and data management.
- Arapeta Tahana: of Te Arawa descent, entrepreneur and strategy, culture & partnerships advisor to iwi and local government.
Around 60 of Rotorua’s business leaders also joined the call.
Chief Executive of Rotorua Economic Development, Michelle Templer said: “The event was organised at the request of the four Sector Groups who are leading the city’s recovery. We asked Sir Bill English to share his experience of leadership through high impact economic events such as the Christchurch earthquake, the late 80s recession and the Global Financial Crisis. He then invited the other panellists to discuss the contribution that culture, the arts, sustainability and innovation can make to Rotorua’s economic recovery.”
Key themes that the speakers had in common included the importance of long term sustainable thinking; the need for innovation in both thought and technology to drive change; the role of leadership in caring for people and preserving talent; and the importance of story telling as a destination so we can be clear about the value we offer each other, and the rest of the world