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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.

Va Ala/ara/hala: New Pathways

Written by Duane Stanley, Senior Service Delivery Manager, Microsoft NZ

Auckland War Memorial Museum: Duty of Care – Thursday 2nd

Everyone in some way carries a taonga. A sound, a scent, an object and for some, a memory. I had always considered these to be deeply personal. However, our experience at the museum with the PCAP team was the first time I had seen a large team caring for and preserving the taonga of a culture. To see the professional commitment of the PCAP team to tell an authentic and accurate story for each piece. With each photograph, each stroke of glue on the decorative pieces it seemed that the love and care flowed through the restoration work of the team. In this way, many of these items could continue to be taonga to us all.


St Francis Retreat Centre: Trail Blazers – Friday 3rd

The messages and stories from each presenter were absorbed and dissected to help me gain a higher understanding of their respective journey’s. 3 of our trailblazers stood out for me for different reasons. Precious Clark is a person who has resonated with me for a couple of years now. I love how she is so grounded in her family, culture and intent. Identity and connection have provided her with a pathway to differentiate herself and to drive her personal ambitions. Jo Brosnahan, by her own accounts sought not to differentiate herself but only to step forward with a belief that she could affect necessary change. It didn’t occur to Jo that as a woman she was often in primarily male dominated organisations or industries. It only mattered that she “could get things done!” And there was Leo Foliaki, partner at PwC. What worked, was that Leo’s story in some ways was a retelling of my own story. Many of his professional development, corporate and cultural challenges mirrored my own trials. Leo’s persistence and success are a guiding light for me.


St Francis Retreat Centre: Your Greatest Fear - Saturday 4th

With all of the introspection to this point, perhaps it was time to get a good shake. It would have been so easy to share a fear in the form of a weaker guise. Yet, I felt that it was appropriate for me to be completely honest about my greatest fear. I was embarrassed and vulnerable. However, this fear among others needed to be named. Like identifying an obstacle so that we could navigate a way forward. This fear among others, so that I could understand that none were insurmountable. E leai se gaumata’u na o le gaualofa. What you do out of love endures, what you do out of fear will not.

There was so much to enjoy and to learn about Retreat Five. Coming together again with my new family. Learning and sharing new stories. But for me, it was these experiences, these moments that have endured.