Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Kea Kaha

One rainy evening in London a few weeks back I had the pleasure of speaking at an event organized by Kea. Kea is a great organization with the mission "to connect New Zealand with the rest of the world by building a network of global citizens who take an active interest in the future of our country". It rings out across hemispheres in harmony with NZEDGE, and after several weeks bouncing around the globe it was good to be back with a bunch of kiwis. No other group could have expressed such a murmur of excitement when it was mentioned early on that hot pies would be served later.

The event was opened by Dave Currie, the Chef de Mission of the New Zealand Olympic Committee, who gave a call for people to feel connected and get involved in supporting everyone in the NZ team coming across the Atlantic to London 2012. They’ve got an exciting program planned to get people asking themselves “When were you most proud to be a New Zealander?” so keep an eye out for that.

I had been asked to give some comment on where New Zealand is placed in the world currently, and a “loving nudge” on where the country should be focusing on for the future. I think New Zealand has huge untapped potential, and called for a heavy dose of passion and ambition to come to the fore, led by a revolution in language (for the full download on the new lexicon you can read my script from the night here). In this age of people-power and the democratization of knowledge, NZ has the potential to be a vibrant hub for world champions in every sphere of business. The key is for our people to embrace that attitude.

There are so many opportunities to reframe the way we think. There’s no brain-drain – there is a growing network of inspirational New Zealanders around the world, brilliant points of presence spreading the net of influence and opportunity for our country; they’re essential to a big haul. New Zealand isn’t remote or irrelevant – it sits at the edge, where all innovation takes place. We can forget “tall poppy syndrome”; let’s talk about legends (for a dose of inspirational education on our electric DNA check out the heroes page on NZEDGE). We don’t need to aim to be world-class. Good is the enemy of great. New Zealand can be world changing, competing not just by following the rules, but by creating a whole new game.

Above all, we need people full of energy and enthusiasm, living and breathing the New Zealand Dream in the world, an irresistible force of nature. That starts with attitude, wired by language and more emotion than reason. As George Bernard Shaw once said: all progress depends on the unreasonable man (or woman). To press ahead we need a show of strength from the heart. Kea Kaha, New Zealanders at large.

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