Preview: TEDxAuckland 2014

TEDxAuckland 2014 event will be held on August 16th this year. The theme is Ascending – “a celebration of resilience, courage amidst adversity and the achievements of individuals who are making a better world.”

This will be the 5th TEDxAuckland event since 2009 and my impression is that the latest speakers group is a thoroughly interesting and mostly home grown group. The hashtag is #TEDxAkl and to follow on twitter @TEDxAuckland

For any special one day events like a TEDx – the temptation is to go for obvious high profile speakers but the discovery network built up over the last few years has resulted in a second wave of awesomeness with speaker selection and prep.

The first group of speakers to be announced is:
Rory Steyn / South Africa, Matt Stone / Australia, Vaughn Rowsell / NZ, Urzila Carlson / NZ, Luke Nola / NZ, Mike Allsop / NZ, Rebecca Mills / NZ, Catherine Bell / NZ, John Boone / NZ, Rachel Callander /NZ.

More details will be announced over on the official TEDxAuckland website and in the usual media channels shortly but here is my quick unofficial summary of who is who in the group.

Where available I have added twitter links to make it easy for you to follow any of the speakers if you want to.

Rory Steyn is Nelson Mandela’s former chief of security. He also served as the security liaison for the New Zealand All Blacks during the 1995 Rugby World Cup. What may be of interest ( if he is able to talk about it?) is the “poisoning” theory. @RorySteyn11

Juliet Arnott sorry folks unfortunately a late update looks like Juliet won’t be speaking.

Matt Stone – Australia. Note this is not the South Park guy but a young chef “Matt challenged legendary chef, Neil Perry on Iron Chef Australia in 2010 (and hosted an off-site sustainability challenge on Masterchef Australia 2011. He is currently filming a pilot for a cooking show which sees him travel the world, cooking consciously.

Vaughn Rowsell is the CEO of VendHQ. “Love retail, impossible things & NZ tech success. Learning to sing, to get a gig… because Dude, it’s Rowsell not Roswell” @rowsell Besides Vend I first came across Vaughn when he rode the length of NZ from Bluff to North Cape to raise money for the spinal unit.

As luck would have it he was in Auckland the day (24 May 2009) that many of us walked over the Auckland Harbour Bridge and so he was able to ride his bike across rather than taking the ferry.

TEDx has strict content rules which preclude commercial sales pitches so my guess is that Vaughn will not be talking directly about VendHQ (which is a great company) but more about the back story of goal setting and personal challenge and how that reflects out. Of course I could be wrong – either way, Vaughn is a larger than life character and I look forward to hearing him talk. That earlier project was called NZ Uphill .

Urzila Carlson and Luke Nola are relatively well know to NZ TV audiences. Urzila from comedy and Luke Nola from “Lets Get Inventing”. See @UrzilaCarlson and @Gooberbrother for more info about them.

Mike Allsop is an Auckland pilot. One recent project 777 “Follow adventurer Mike Allsop as he attempts to run 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents. All in the name of adventure and helping his charity KidsCan.” More on Mike and that project at @777_project Mike usually talks about goal setting. Read more about Mike here

Rebecca Mills “On a mission to catalyse regenerative business, cities and entire countries. Strategist at @thebteamhq ” @_rebeccamills Most recently Rebecca is part of the team behind the shoulder tap project.

Catherine Bell “founded the Garden to Table Trust, having seen the results of her good friend Stephanie Alexander’s work in Australia. Catherine has many years experience as a food professional, writer and businesswoman.” The project is currently in 19 schools in New Zealand.

Garden to Table is “a charitable organisation that teaches primary school children how to grow, harvest, prepare and share food using purpose-built gardens and kitchen facilities.” Based on a Australian project – the KitchenGarden Foundation now in more than 500 schools there so the potential is huge for a grass roots local food appreciation project.

John Boone runs Rhythm Interactive – an interactive percussion business mainly, connecting people through the power of music. @RhythmInteractv For a preview of what John may be planning check out this clip from the TEDxQueeenstown event last year.

Rachel Callander is a portrait photographer. Rachel is co-founder of “The Super Power Baby project is a photographic art book showcasing children around New Zealand who were born with chromosomal and genetic conditions. The initiative aims to change the way in which children with abnormalities are addressed, and to recognise and appreciate the special abilities they have as a result of their perceived disability.”

There are more TEDxAuckland speaker announcements to come and I’m pretty sure that physics / cosmology fans are in for a treat if the rumours are confirmed, either way – see you on August the 16th.

Update:  A list of all the confirmed speaker will be out on about the 18th of June. I will add some new names here when I hear more. Also unfortunately looks like Juliet is not able to make it.