Drawing the Threads
Programme Leader Annette Bartlett and Programme participant Kaye-Maree Dunn share their experiences and thoughts on Session Nine held at Waitakere Estate, West Auckland
Day 1 Gathering (Annette):
Auckland's Waitakere Estate is a peaceful place, surrounded by rainforest high in the Waitakere Ranges with views extending east of the city to the Hauraki Gulf and the Coromandel Peninsula. It was here we commenced our final retreat, drawing the threads of the year's learnings. After initial greetings with now old friends, we welcomed the Rt Hon Dame Jenny Shipley. A commanding and impressive leader, she gave an interesting korero on her leadership journey in politics and beyond.
This was followed by a panel comprising Dr Huhana Hickey, Professor Brad Jackson, Peter Kerridge and Tim Miles. An important part of our closing retreat, this part of the session is where the panelists present their visions for the future of Aotearoa New Zealand, followed by the participants doing the same. The remainder of the afternoon was taken up with reflection processes led by Louise.
In the evening, the 2014 cohort were welcomed to the Leadership NZ whanau by Founder Jo Brosnahan and her husband Chris, Leadership NZ’s Judy Whiteman, and alumni Mark Dunlop, Maureen Crombie and Kimberly Rees. This year’s participants have established firm, supportive friendships, holding them in good stead for their future in leadership.
Day 2 A journey inward (Kaye-Maree):
As a team we were fortunate to be nestled in the middle of a rainforest where we reviewed the variety of psychological models that we have gone through over the year, diving headfirst into our psyche/psychology and power states.
As a team we were acutely aware that our formal time together was coming to a close, going through our models enabled us to revisit real life instances where these tools supported many of us through difficult and challenging situations.
We were encouraged to examine our own authenticity and honesty, to look deeply within to see how well we are living and most importantly whether we are living life fully aligned to our values.
Spending independent time and time with our triad gave us an opportunity to wrestle with these models but most importantly start to craft a powerful vision of who we want to become moving forward into the future and how we might be able to use our influence and distinct leadership style to co-create transformational change. We also were introduced to the "if you’re late sing a song band". We had a few solo opera singers emerge from the group...
In the evening we had the opportunity to hear the life stories of Sina, Annette and Louise where we received an insight into their own experiences and how the impact of whanau, loss, learning and the importance of crafting an authentic legacy shaped all three of these women's unique leadership journey.
Finally a dedicated crew danced the night away until the wee hours of the morning.
Day 3 Reflection (Kaye-Maree):
A day of emotional highs and lows
We started our final day with more reflection and a selection of poetry that Louise shared with us, in particular Love after love by Derek Walcott. We were also given a sheet of key points we might use as pointers on how to expand our consciousness and perspectives.
We were challenged with actually taking time to look in one another’s eyes and to see each other’s true essence. What a glorious yet at times disarming and uncomfortable feeling that was. It definitely helped us deeply connect with each other.
Finally we started to wind our day down with a speed intentional thank you process, where we took time to thank each other for the learnings and strengths we have observed over the year.
Graduation was a glorious evening with a very articulate and sharp MC as well as Whaea Tariana Turia sharing her vast leadership insights across her personal and political career. My favourite part was her sharing that the greatest learnings in leadership were those she received growing up on Putiki Pa. As we were getting ready to graduate each of us introduced one another through framing our magical super powers. My, what a rag tag bunch of x-men, avenger super heroes we are!
We were spellbound by the fabulous Louise who openly spoke from her heart how she felt about her journey with our 2014 cohort, we were then whipped off to Bolder Colorado with Elizabeth’s very personal and reflective final speech and beamed aboard the Starship Enterprise with John Skurr. Live long and prosper!
Fond thanks to Peter who finally wrapped up with his insights and our group gifting of a Mauri stone, taonga and framed haiku - our way of acknowledging the LNZ team for being our guides on what we can only say has been one of the most phenomenal and life changing experiences to have been part of. Thanks goes out again to each of the participants, our whanau, our organisations who supported us and finally the joyful, fierce and challenging leadership that Sina, Louise, Annette and Judy demonstrated over our year.
Nga mihi kau atu ki a koutou katoa.
Love After Love – Derek Walcott
The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you have ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.