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We hold events for our alumni, friends, and the general public for people to connect with the important conversations in leadership.

Subject matter experts and prominent New Zealand leaders share their knowledge and engage with the audience, sparking new ideas and innovation as minds from different backgrounds converge and focus their energy on a salient issue or theme.

Session Five: Sustaining Our Wellbeing and Values

by Morehu Athony Wilson, Crew Chief at Auckland International Airport


The excitement of three days in Hanmer Springs in the crisp and clear climate was so overpowering that I promptly missed my flight direct to Christchurch at 6.55am. Alan Williams had contacted me the day previously and we had organised to welcome our first speaker, Sir Tipene O’Regan. Now, I was going to be late (having to fly to Wellington and then reconnect to Christchurch).  Fortunately, after a very helpful Christchurch taxi driver had shown me the rural backblocks of Christchurch, I eventually arrived at the PGG Wrightson Kimihia Research Centre. (Thanks Annette – 2nd driveway on the right.) At the time I arrived, Sir Tipene O’Regan was in full flight giving our group great insight into the dynamic philosophy of Ngāi Tahu following their Treaty of Waitangi settlement. I was privileged and humbled to listen to his provocative statements and feel his authenticity.

Following Sir Tipene O’Regan were Paddy Pawson and Peter Townsend. Both these speakers are salt of the earth, garnished with touches of pepper and dazzlings of much brilliance. Their recounting of the devastation of Christchurch and the collective resilience of Canterbury’s communities reflected in my mind the qualities exhibited consistently by the Canterbury Crusaders – that in the face of adversity sleeves are rolled up and the job is done, simply and effectively.  Paddy’s gem of recapturing the adventurer within our souls is profoundly prophetic when technological advancements are opening the doorway to a different world.

Our Friday afternoon session touched on themes of sustainability. We were each challenged to adopt a practice of sustainability that we could live with. One of these was to not use plastic bags from supermarkets. That failed at the very first bus stop at New World! Merv the bus driver was a wonderful host with his fine taste of music.

Saturday was a clear day with the snow-capped peaks of the mountain ranges looking down upon us. Our day included rare glimpses of the Vivikean Venezuelan Blue Sea Slug and the Texan Coastline! Nature is so full of amazing creatures. The Inter-Galactic Judge was slightly rattled when Lauder violently surprised the Judge from his train of thought and promptly lost his crown jewels. This was an entertaining session that ultimately drove home the underlying important messages of connection, responsibility and guardianship.

Our time in the woods was peaceful, grounding and nourishing. It taught me that taking time to sit alone and connect with nature is so critical; not only for adults of today but more importantly for the adults of tomorrow. We are often so busy that we don’t have the time to admire and feel the beauty that surrounds us.

The Leadership NZ environment has helped to create and foster a deep emotional and spiritual connection between many of the cohort. The safety and support that is so evident in the face of such bravery and courage shared through our stories has been an emotional roller coaster for all. I’m sticking to my seat though, ‘cause I don’t want Dave to tinker with it using his screwdriver.

Pizza dinner was well organised by Andrea and extremely appreciated by all.  The All Blacks won, and the locals at the bar performed for us. What more could you expect in two days at Hanmer Springs?