What’s Broken is the We — some thoughts on creativity for the common good

This paper is based on vivian Hutchinson’s keynote speech to the New Zealand Creativity Challenge conference held in Taranaki 27-28 April 2013.


The paper covers reflections on creativity and social entrepreneurship, and the work of Community Taranaki – a citizen-based approach to community development and the regeneration of our community sector.

It can be read online here or download PDF (for printing) at http://tinyurl.com/vivianWe13


For more information www.vivianhutchinson.org.nz


Ralph Kerle, an Australian friend and founder of the Creative Skills Training Council, who came across the ditch [that’s what we New Zealanders call the water between Australia and New Zealand] for The 1st NZ Creativity Challenge finished the challenge off in a novel, entertaining and enlightening way – with Haikugami.

Here is a link to Ralph doing haikugami:   igniteshow.com/videos/haikugami-lost-ancient-art

New perspectives abound  . . . And horizons becoming clearer  . . . . Most inspirational time ever

Creativity Challenge – a Smash Hit!

The First NZ Creativity Challenge created, managed and delivered by Wayne Morris and his local team of volunteers and sponsors was a smash hit!!
As a first –up international creativity conference, this is about as good as it gets.

The conference opened with a Maori language opening ceremony setting the scene for a unique New Zealand experience by acknowledging the local Maori and invoking their ancestors to welcome the visitors onto their lands

Coralie Winn of Gap Filler gave one of the best opening key note presentations I have ever seen at a creativity conference. It focused on Coralie’s work after the Christchurch earthquake disasters in which she formed a small group to activate vacant sites destroyed by the earthquakes within the central city environs of Christchurch with creative projects. The work took her into the domain of prototyping and experimenting with “temporary urban design” and the results are quite astonishing. The concept of a Dance-O-Mat was worth the price of the conference alone. Check out the Gap Filler web site

Vivian Hutchinson, New Plymouth Social Entrepreneur gave a stirring afternoon key note “How Communities Awaken” in which he argued we are colonialised by a contracting culture in which business and government conspire to maintain the status quo with cost as the main reason. In these times of further and further fiscal restraints foisted upon us by the spin of these parties intent on shoring up their own incomes, he exhorted us to surface what he called the Creativity of WE – to form social enterprises built on a model of reflection, resilience and regeneration enabling us to disengage from these colonialising constraints.

As is always the case, I was not able to attend all the workshops I would have liked, yet I only heard good reports about most.

Francois Coetzee’s workshop using Appreciative Inquiry was one I did attend and really enjoyed revisiting the technique from Francois’s South African perspective. Tim Hurson nominated Francois for the CSTC and I was able to second it on the spot so watch out for his short bio when it comes through the network. His specialization, Enterprise Architecture, will add another layer of knowledge to the CSTC.

Tim Hurson’s Saturday Night Key Note set the scene for some great poetry, music and entertainment in New Plymouth’s downtown Mayfair nightclub.

On Sunday morning I had the great fortune to attend a Circle Workshop led by Paora Joseph, a contemporary Maori filmmaker. It never ceases to amaze me when you ask people to talk about their creativity and passion what happens. This circle was one of those circles that was intending to go in one direction but instead, took off and flew half way through to an intensely deeper and more spiritual level as stories such as a Maori grandmother revealing the joy and purpose she had found recently in working with violent offenders and their families; a Maori elder’s story about the tension in Maori culture, its survival and resurgence into respectability whilst not yet being able to find the middle ground with the pakeha (people of non Maori background), a revelation about the meaning of husbandry by a gardener who had planted some 15,000 saplings in the local area in his life whilst thinking about the lack of male role models in the world and how nature dealt with those circumstances and a beautiful exchange between a recent immigrant to New Zealand, a young German man with four children still looking for his identity and purpose in life. He was asked by Paora whether he had developed a relationship with the local mountain, Mt Taranaki, on his walks in his search for his identity. Mt Taranaki, a large extinct volcano that dominates New Plymouth and the surrounding areas, holds a very important spiritual place in Maori culture. The young man said not yet but he was becoming more comfortable with it!! Paora smiled!

New Plymouth somehow feels right for a creativity conference. It didn’t have to try. It just was open and ready and the participants and the local community felt it.

For me, catching up with many CSTC friends, Elisabeth Vaneveld, Tim Hurson, Robert Alan Black (who seems to be growing younger as the years go by), David Kayrouz and of course the host and creator of the event, Wayne Morris made it all that more special.

This conference has the potential to become one of the great creativity conferences…

Kind regards,
Ralph Kerle
CSTC Moderator

Saturday Night

For those who have registered for the conference but not for the Saturday night you might want to reconsider when you have a look at the line-up.

A part from a brilliant buffet meal at the recently restored Mayfair http://www.themayfair.co.nz/ [this used to be the picture theatre where I went to the movies as a kid] we will have:

  • A keynote from Canadian Tim Hurson. You can see Tim in action here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62PgFb2cXSg
  • A performance by Alina Siegfried who is the current New Zealand Poetry Slam champion (performance poetry competition)
  • A performance by the HITMEN. You may have seen them in New Zealand’s Got Talent. This them in action. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3nkBJDxahE
  • and to top it all off one of the best country rock / blues bands around – and I say this from experience. I am their drummer so I may be a little biased www.facebook.com/pages/Hard-Candy/116569885066198?ref=hl
  • and some surprises that I’m not going to reveal because then they wouldn’t be surprises!!
  • All this for only $35.
  • Go to Lilregie and get yourself a place for Saturday night. You may well regret it if you don’t!

Early Bird Extension

No we haven’t gone soft and we are nicely on track with registrations but it was pointed out that New Zealand teachers will have only just got back to school so we have extended our early bird registrations until the 2oth February so if you are thinking of coming book now!

Conversations that matter

You will see in the schedule that we have made space for conversations that matter.

Since our earliest ancestors gathered in circles around the warmth of a fire, conversation has been a core process for discovering what we care about. It’s how we’ve always shared our knowledge, imagined our futures and created communities of commitment. The meanings we make in conversation and the coordinated action that emerges naturally from them help to shape our lives.

What questions do you have that you haven’t found an answer for? What thoughts do you have that haven’t yet been expressed? What itch do you have that has yet to be scratched? What are you challenged by? What experiences do you have to share? Is there someone that you would like to have a conversation with?

The most crucial conversation is the one that matters for you, for now, for right now. . . and that is where conversations that matter come in.

It is an opportunity for you to informally gather a group around a conversation that you want to have. You might invite one of the presenters to expand on their presentation, or you might invite some people to join you in a conversation that matters to you.

The space and time is there for you. You are invited to use it for conversations that matter.