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Prepared by Helen Algar, presented by Roger Blakeley

Karen Coutts
– Wow! A mihi in our 3 official languages

Marion Cowden – gave us a possible dream from Rotary in 1979 – eliminating polio. By 2018 the numbers have been reduced to 17 cases worldwide.

Jill Day – picked up the dreams from last year:

  • Wellington as a te reo city

  • Wellington as a child-friendly city

Georgina Beyer – not a dream, a recurring nightmare – State Highway 2 through the Wairarapa to future-proof Wellington against cataclysmic events.

Michelle Dickinson – Nanogirl – looking to the way our cells work, to heal our city

  • titanium paint in our tunnels

  • powering our city by walking, with nanofibres woven into our clothing

Susan Freeman-Greene – Wellington as a playpen for human ingenuity powered by STEAM – science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths

Eric Janssen – Eric dreamed a city where truth wins. Wellington is largely values-driven. We are happier than nearly all the cities in the world. But we still have gaps between the haves and the have-nots, and abuse of powers.

In the face of this, we need journalism we can trust.

Nick Kapica – told us about design thinking, looking at living through a different lens.

Some rules for designing cities:

  • be bold

  • get out

  • think wrong

  • make stuff

  • bet small

  • move fast

Nick Morrison – told us about microplastics in beer. Dreamed of plastic as a long-term love, not a one night stand. And … resources moving in a circular, regenerative system.

Ben Johnston – challenged us to walk on the vulnerable path – to reduce the relational distance between ourselves and the vulnerable and marginalised in Wellington.

Also talked about better resource use – food, in this case.

Melissa Clark-Reynolds – told us about the way a vision from last year’s Forum is being achieved.

Told us that the biggest risk to our children going to the corner store is traffic, not stranger danger.

Kim Workman – Parliament resolving issues by bipartisan public discussion of critical issues.

A city of  collaborative conflict resolution – children learn it in school.

Fraser Callaway – Design is a process to creatively solve problems and find a solution.

Together we can change the world by design.

Peter McKenzie – gave us “social cohesivity”. The need to create vertical connections in our communities.

Jaye Glam Morgan – Wellington as the Emerald City.

A city filled with creative arts.

Bring back fashion to the capital.

Grant Robertson

1. Picked up on STEAM and took it to STEAMED – by adding ‘’designed’’

2. Noticed that the Summary related to his framework for the 2019 Wellbeing Budget – human capital, social capital, environmental capital and physical/ financial capital

3. In 2017 he talked about ‘Wellington – a city that is the opposite of loneliness’

4. For 2018 his dream is:

  • A city where we care

  • Where our defining value is Manaakitānga - emphasising kindness above everything else

  • Kaitiakitanga over the resources in our city

5. The importance of third spaces in our community that are available to be and exist, to mix, to share, and enjoy,

  • e.g. community gardens

  • especially a place for people with mental illnesses to be warm, safe, with a sense of identity for a period of time during the day

6. Climate change – the need for a just transition


Dream 1: Wellington as a playpen for human ingenuity

  • powered by STEAM -science

                                                - technology

                                                - engineering

                                                - ARTS

                                                - maths

                                                  finding the power of bringing these together

  • a city powered by walking with nano-fibres embedded in our clothing

  • design as a strong element of the Wellington we want – all of us being involved in designing the city we want to live in

  • a city filled with creative arts and fashion

Dream 2: Commitment and connection to our city and its people

  • looking at life through a different lens

  • different perspectives on the way we look at the city, including children

  • achieving dreams through a coalition of the willing

  • a city of collaborative conflict resolution – using the skills that children already learn in school

  • building community cohesiveness through vertical connections in communities

  • a city where we walk the vulnerable path alongside the vulnerable and marginalised in Wellington

Dream 3: Commitment and connection to the natural world

  • plastic as a long-term lover, not a one night stand

  • resources being re-used in a circular, regenerative system

  • cleaning up our toxic tunnels with titanium paint

  • wild spaces to play

Dream 4: Dreams about transport

  • our transport links as the arteries and capillaries in the body of our city

  • short walls between cyclists and cars

  • drone personnel carriers –will they fix the transport issue over the next 10 years?

  • conscious design of railway crossings

  • ‘fix the bloody buses’

See all the speakers here.


Impossible Dreams for Wellington: city and the region.

‘Impossible Dreams’ follows the highly successful Rotary Forum 2017: Achieving the Impossible Dream for Wellington: the city and the region.




Presented by the Rotary Club of Wellington in partnership 
with Victoria University of Wellington - Centre for Lifelong Learning.


Rotary Forum 2018 - Chair's summary of speakers' presentations


2018 Speakers


Georgina Beyer

The world’s first openly transsexual Member of Parliament and Mayor

Trailblazer, courage, diverse

 A Wellington region where the future will be valued through combined power, dispatching parochialism. 


Dr Michelle Dickinson

Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Nanogirl Labs, manager of STEM outreach programs across five countries in five different languages

Breaker of stereotypes

When we think of cities, we think about buildings and infrastructure, but the heart of a city it it's people. What if Wellington could create the city with the strongest heart beat, powered not by bureaucrats but by the people who know it best?


Susan Freeman-Greene

Chief Executive of Engineering New Zealand (formerly IPENZ)

Resilient, adaptable and curious

Imagine a world where engineering and the arts are inextricably mingled, unleashing our imaginations and igniting innovation.  What would Wellington look like if we fired up our creative capital with a spectacular mash up of engineering, science and the arts? 


Eric Janssen 

Editor, The Dominion Post, Stuff, Neighbourly

Skydiver with vertigo

MJGA - Make Journalism Great Again. Why fake news needs to be trumped.


Nick Morrison

Director and Founder of Go Well Consulting, Co founder of "Bags Not" plastic-free campaign to solve plastic pollution in NZ

Passionate, curious, kind

Imagine a city with no waste and perfectly clean streets. Imagine a city that feeds itself on an abundance of cheap organic produce, grown in the city. And imagine a city with healthy, connected, communities free of diet-related illnesses living in harmony with the natural world.


Nick Kapica

Design Lead at Wellington City Council, Co-chair of the The Wellington Chapter of Society of Experiential Graphic Designers (SEGD), Founder of the Off Grid conference

Urbanist, designer, kitesurfer

Pathways through the impossible with design thinking: How do we think big and dream up ideas for a better future city? How do we identify and navigate the hurdles to shift impossible dreams into feasible ideas?


Benjamin Johnston

Co-Founder of The Free Store: a Wellington non-profit that annually redistributes $3.5m worth of quality surplus food from inner-city eateries to people in need from all walks of life.

Includer, connecter, learner

I dream of a truly inclusive city where our dinner tables and lives are shared with those who are vastly different to us. Where those on the margins of our communities are not problems to solve, but friends to know.


Melissa Clark Reynolds  

Futurist and Professional Director 

Funny, curious, busy

Last year Melissa pitched the idea of Wellington becoming a Child friendly City - somewhere where there wild places to roam and play; bike lanes; and every kid could walk to the dairy and back for an ice cream without an adult in complete safety.  Rotary and WCC took up the challenge and Melissa is back with an update.


Kim Workman

Justice Reformer. Head of the Prison Service from 1989 – 1993. Research Fellow at the Institute of Criminology. Member of the Police Expert Advisory Panel, to oversee the Iwi Justice Panel process

Justice reform advocate

Imagine a city that not only knows how to say sorry, it knows what to say (or do) after that.


Fraser Callaway

Managing Partner at Strategy Creative and Co-Founder of Refold

Ambitious, perceptive, entrepreneurial 

Design has the power to positively change Wellington, and the world. Let’s unleash it together.  


Peter McKenzie

Law, Politics and Mandarin student at Victoria University

Curious, confident, creative

Wellington is beautiful, exciting and full of interesting places - but what makes it our home are the people. Yet too often we feel unable to connect with people outside our close groups and silos. We need to build a Wellington where we can connect with everyone.


Jaye Glam Morgan 

Stylist and fashionista

I am glam 

I will be bringing back fashion to the capital because that’s where it belongs.


Hon Grant Robertson

MP for Wellington Central

Social justice builder

A city that is the opposite of loneliness, where we are connected to each other, our environment, and our future.



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