An innovative approach to ‘New Zealand of the Future’ earned a young Hutt student top honour at the ‘Future U’ competition held recently.
Stephen Lines of the Hutt International Boys’ College presented a ‘Whole Package,’ which the judges believed focused on the theme of the contest.
“It was a vision of New Zealand as a food basket for the world, with 100% renewable energy production and a strong focus on education.”
Presenting a broad picture of the vision he has for his country in 2050, Stephen said that his key message was about the important role skilled people would play in the country’s future prosperity.
“New Zealand will be relying on its people in the future. We cannot compete with the manufacturing output in China, or the mining booms of Australia and hence we should focus on its talent and education if we are to succeed,” he said.
A joint initiative of Massey University and Westpac Bank, ‘Future U’ aims to encourage the youth to become thought leaders.
The contest was an invitation to high school students to post videos outlining their vision for New Zealand in 2050.
Stephen was one of 12 finalists from all over the country to be chosen to workshop their vision at Massey’s Albany campus.
The institution’s academics mentored the finalists for a day to help them think critically about their vision and refine them in preparation for presentation to the Future U judging panel and a live audience.
Massey University Vice-Chancellor Steve Maharey, who was on the panel of judges, said that the 12 presentations outlined some of the changes New Zealand will face and how they should be addressed to produce a positive outcome.
“We had a variety of answers, ranging from promoting a vegan way of life to environmentalism and using technology in innovative ways. The great thing was the balance of idealism and realism, a sense of trying to look forward to a society where people have done things to try and make it better,” he said.
Westpac’s Director of Corporate Affairs Sue Foley agreed.
“It is encouraging to know that we have a future generation that is intelligent, innovative and switched on. They are clearly passionate about seeing the country that they call home develop and achieve great things,” she said.
Stephen will return to Auckland on December 3 to give the opening address at the ‘It’s Our Future: The new New Zealand Forum,’ an invitation-only event, bringing together prominent international and national thought-leaders.
He will share the stage with Daniel Franklin, Executive Editor of The Economist, and Editor of Megachange 2050,’’ a book that outlines the shape of things to come.