Think: Christchurch with Hila Oren

Thank you Facebook AI engine for suggesting I go to this event:

Think: Christchurch with Hila Oren
The Piano: Centre for Music and the Arts
Monday, 10th September 2018
“The following guest speakers will be joining our ‘Thinker in Residence’ on the stage to share their thoughts on how Christchurch, a city of explorers, could leverage our unique selling point.
Simon Hunter | KPMG, Nigel Watson | NZ Antarctic Heritage Trust, Jasina Gurung and Thomas Akolo | Linwood College, Lianne Dalziel | Christchurch Mayor and Tim Loftus | ChristchurchNZ

“Are you an explorer? We think most people from Christchurch are. Come along and hear from some talented and passionate people about where they think being a city of explorers could take Christchurch.”

Christchurch on progressive path
“Christchurch’s first ‘thinker in residence’ believes the city is moving in the right direction. Ms Oren, who is the chief executive of the Tel Aviv Foundation, is considered a global leader in creating a city’s narrative, supporting entrepreneurialism and philanthropy.

She has been brought back to the city for two months by the Christchurch Foundation as the first ‘thinker in residence’ to engage with city leaders, charities and social enterprises on several projects. She has shared her infectious enthusiasm for ‘city making’ at this week’s Think Christchurch workshop, delivering a thought-provoking keynote address.

Ms Oren heard about Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s expeditions when she was on a leadership programme at Harvard University in the United States.
‘You need to celebrate your links to history and tell the stories of Shackleton, Edmund Hillary, New Zealand’s suffrage leader, Kate Sheppard, and others who have played such a huge part in what your city is today,’ she says.

‘Explorers from all over the world should want to touch Christchurch’s spirit to inspire them.’
‘As to the future, your city is at a crucial stage of considering ‘where to, now’. Even just bringing me from the other side of the world to help you think through ideas demonstrates that you are bold in taking the next step.'”
https://www.ccc.govt.nz/news-and-events/newsline/show/2980

Elevating the City’s Quality of Life
Education | Arts & Culture | Social Services | Innovation | Environment
https://youtu.be/qdaobm0f85w
Building Knowledge | Speaker Series 2017/18 | Hila Oren

My Story…
For me the “Think: Christchurch” event, was inspiring and encouraging, listening to the guest speakers speaking my language, using words I use, talking about a vision for Christchurch similar to mine.
I am a Christchurch resident ‘thinker’. I went to the above event because I have a creative growth mindset. I’ve been listening/learning/researching and creating ideas to help our community.

During this week I’ve read articles/comments regarding this event and listened to: ‘What does a thinker in residence do?’ Chris Lynch/NewstalkZB asked Christchurch Foundation chief executive Amy Carter.
https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/christchurch/canterbury-mornings/audio/what-does-a-thinker-in-residence-do/
The irony is that without ‘thinkers’ sharing their thoughts on talkback radio, this radio show wouldn’t exist as it does, the ‘thinkers’ help provide the content.
‘Thinkers’ have value and add value to our communities.

When I started with this ‘project’ https://www.10shirleyroad.org.nz/imagine/ in April 2018, I didn’t have a clue where this journey would take me.

In May 2018 I presented my verbal submission ‘You Are Here’ to the Christchurch City Council’s 2018 Long Term Plan, for the rebuild of the Shirley Community Centre, to create a multi-cultural centre as a ‘Gateway to the East.’

Afterwards I went to the Christchurch Art Gallery for the first time.
I walked through the exhibitions admiring all the artworks, and then I found ‘Our Collection: 19th and 20th Century New Zealand Art’.
The saying goes ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’, but standing in front of the Māori portraits, the 3 words that came into my mind were: ‘Tell Our Stories’.
https://christchurchartgallery.org.nz/exhibitions/1058-historic-2018-changeover

I had been given a map of the Art Gallery, and as I was looking for the name of the Māori portraits exhibition, another name jumped out at me ‘You Are Here’.
It took me awhile to find this in the Outer Spaces. It is a signpost.
“- looking at the influences these artists had drawn on
– related to distance/directions from these artworks to this location
– how isolated we are in NZ and how we draw on influences from outside
– you are here, and what are you going to do about it?
– a challenge to the people of Christchurch post earthquakes”
https://christchurchartgallery.org.nz/events/outer-spaces-guided-tour-with-guest-artist-matt-ak
https://christchurchartgallery.org.nz/multimedia/artist-interviews/matt-akehurst-interviewAC

Christchurch, The Garden City, known for its English heritage, Avon River, Botanic Gardens, Christchurch Cathedral…
“The city suffered a series of earthquakes between September 2010 and early 2012, with the most destructive of them occurring at 12.51 p.m. on Tuesday, 22 February 2011, in which 185 people were killed and thousands of buildings across the city collapsed or suffered severe damage. By late 2013, 1,500 buildings in the city had been demolished, leading to an ongoing recovery and rebuilding project.”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christchurch

Post earthquakes the people in the East have been waiting/fighting for repairs/rebuilds, our footpaths/roads are ‘munted’, some of our schools have been closed/relocated, and our mental health/well-being has suffered.

The quintessential photo Hila captured of the girls dressed in kilts, walking to school through the trees and daffodils, had me thinking.
– Why was this image important?
– How many of us have driven passed the same scene and thought nothing of it?
– Did you notice their school uniforms? How are they designed?
– Are the girls just talking? Or are they making connections that will last them a lifetime?

Hila is right, we need to start appreciating what we do have.
We need to reframe some of the stories we have been telling ourselves.
Yes the earthquakes happened in Christchurch, we can learn from them and share our learning with others around the world, but they aren’t our identity.

Christchurch is still ‘The Garden City’.
How many photos did you see on social media this weekend, of people admiring the cherry blossom trees in full bloom around Hagley Park?

Yes we are explorers, it is in our DNA, and in our school uniforms (logos, kilts, Māori designs).
Our roots go back to the brave explorers, our Māori people and those who travelled on the First Four Ships. They went on a journey to discover the unknown, to learn more about the world and the new lands they would find.

Standing in the foyer during the break at this event, I was reminded again as we introduced ourselves, a person’s identity in Christchurch is connected to ‘what school did you go to?’

Learning is part of our Christchurch identity.
Our communities are centered around our schools.
Our education connects us to social networks/employment.
We value learning and the places it can take us.
“The MORE that you READ. The more THINGS you will KNOW. The MORE you LEARN. The more PLACES you’ll GO!” – Dr. Seuss

Q. Why is identity, well-being and learning important for our people?
A. When we know who we are (identity), what we need to be healthy (well-being), and the importance of a growth mindset (learning), this causes a positive ripple effect in our businesses, communities and economy.

Through my research I realised the ideas I had created, had a common theme: learning.
Shirley Community Centre: library with learning spaces available for anyone in the community to use
Sutton’s Place: arts/crafts community with learning spaces for local/overseas teachers to provide classes/workshops/retreats, opportunity to learn about W. A. (Bill) Sutton and his teaching/artworks and house/garden
Māori Heritage Park: indoor/outdoor learning spaces for Māori architecture/arts/crafts, opportunities to learn about the Māori language/culture/stories/legends
River Bank Centre: research/design/technology hub with learning spaces to inspire/educate with STEAM, opportunity to see startup/innovation businesses and to learn about Richard Bedward Owen and why he was called ‘River Bank’ Owen.

Q. Why do we need these types of learning facilities in the East?
To inspire/educate the children/teenagers living in the East, who now have fewer options for schools, and limited access to continued learning outside of the schools.
We need to open the eyes of every child in Christchurch to what is possible through learning.
In the south of Christchurch, children/teenagers see those attending Ara Institute of Canterbury.
In the west of Christchurch, children/teenagers see those attending the University of Canterbury.

Our access to knowledge and where our locals have gathered since the earthquakes, is currently hidden in the car park of The Palms, as our Shirley Library.
I see the 10 Shirley Road site (opposite Shirley Primary School) for the rebuild of the Shirley Community Centre, as an opportunity to show our children/teenagers that continued learning is possible once they leave school, and to inspire them to become ‘explorers’ and pursue their dreams.
The rebuild of the Shirley Community Centre represents laying a new foundation stone as the ‘Gateway to the East’, that says ‘we value our children and we value their learning’.
Hila Oren is right ‘it starts with our children’.

“Tangata ako ana i te kāenga, te tūranga ki te marae, tau ana.
A person nurtured in the community contributes strongly to society.”
https://www.facebook.com/ChchFoundation/

We do need to ‘reframe our mindset’. We don’t need to rebuild our communities back to what they were pre earthquakes.
Post earthquakes we have the opportunity to tell the unique stories of our local people, to inspire/educate a new generation, leave a legacy for the generations to come, and to create new spaces/places/attractions, for the local/New Zealand/overseas ‘explorers’.

We need to move forward from ‘Think: Christchurch’ to ‘Get Creative Christchurch’!

“Think: Christchurch with Hila Oren” Post | Links
https://www.telavivfoundation.org/team/hila-oren/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdaobm0f85w Building Knowledge | Speaker Series 2017/18
https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/106339468/new-thinker-in-residence-announced-for-christchurch
https://www.ccc.govt.nz/news-and-events/newsline/show/2980 Christchurch on progressive path
http://www.metropol.co.nz/creating-global-cities-qa-with-hila-oren/
https://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/on-air/christchurch/canterbury-mornings/audio/what-does-a-thinker-in-residence-do/
https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/106961822/let-it-go-global-thinker-tells-christchurch ‘Let it go’, global thinker tells Christchurch