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Yesterday, there was a great buzz around the St James Theatre at the 2017 Rotary Forum. Every single person in the room was there because they want to see Wellington flourish. We care about the future of this city and about creating a better Wellington.

The conversation on offer? Achieving the impossible dream for Wellington, city and region.

What happened?

We heard a lot of C words! We heard about a dream for Wellington that currently involves coffee, craft beer, and chocolate. But…

We went a lot deeper. We listened and debated a more daring and inspiring dream. The Rotary Forum C words for Wellington:

  • Courageous action
  • Caring
  • Conviviality
  • Celebrating cultural diversity
  • Creativity
  • Communicating confidence
  • Capturing public servants
  • Children

Courageous Action 

  • We need to take the ideas and strengths from today and actually do things
  • “This is a city of action, the world headquarters of that verb”
  • A fully engaged city, where the best ideas flourish, and we collaborate to achieve them.


  • Socially just!
  • Our systems and services are designed for the most vulnerable.
  • We are ethically aware in what we eat and wear.
  • All people can navigate the city socially, economically and physically.
  • Wellington is safe for children for the most vulnerable for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • All people can be the best that they can be.
  • Wellington is the opposite of loneliness


  • We dream of a Wellington that is people focused, warm and welcoming
  • We welcome new arrivals and migrants who move here. We welcome tourists and celebrate the weather.
  • An umbrella for the stadium or a hairy city with more greenery.
  • “We each help someone else everyday”

 Celebrate Biculturalism 

  • “We could celebrate the founding of Wellington by Maori, not by the English settlers in 1840”
  • Visible use of Maori culture, at the airport and around the city.
  • School children are now culturally competent, but let’s accelerate the change.


  • Asking not what’s new but what’s best
  • Both having and using creative ideas
  • Curiosity - think in terms of the “interobang” a question mark and an exclamation mark.
  • "Creativity is not just linear, it is lateral"
  • Wellington as a technology platform.
  • “The elite of this century will be those who can unlearn and then learn again”

 Communicate Confidence 

  • "Wellington is the hinge around which New Zealand swings."
  • communicate what we do well, the world doesn’t always know
  • Think in terms of “Wellington meantime”, recognising that we are first in the world to each new day
  • Confident but careful - get the money right; don’t stuff up.

Capture the public sector

  • The Deputy Prime Minister suggestion “Use the 20,000 public servants in Wellington; capture their social consciences and their intellect’’
  • SiR Wira Gardiner’s suggestion “Ask the State Services Commissioner to lend 10% of his best and brightest to help think about the future of Wellington


  • “Children need whimsy; they need art and nature and safe access all over our city”
  • We dream of building the Wellington we want for our children and mokopuna
  • We want our children and mokopuna to want to live here, and work here, and for their children to do the same
  • We dream and need that children are involved in designing the future of Wellington.

C Words and Impossible Dreams - The Rotary Forum 2017

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