#60: Edge of Knowledge

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Edge Message #60 from Brian Sweeney, producer NZEDGE.COM


The edge metaphor is our way of situating New Zealand in the world. This month, two new speeches assert that the world needs to know about our beautiful mind, not just our beautiful body. This mind-body dualism is the catalyst for a call for broad-scale marketing of this country’s capabilities. This need was consistently expressed at the Investment New Zealand conference in Auckland, to which nzedge co-founder Kevin Roberts ebulliently presented this nation’s record of rampant innovation and the innate creativity of our people.

The Knowledge Wave conference in Auckland gave an opportunity to to present six tough ideas to make the New Zealand Edge a global competitive reality. The ideas: know where we’re going; market New Zealand; find the missing million; unlevel the playing field; close the gaps; and bring the future into the present.

Our newest addition to the image galleries is ‘Building’, an evolving survey of our built landscape: from the egalitarianism of corrugated steel roofing and painted timber weatherboards, through bachs and beehives, marae and modernism, to state housing and digital design. As well as on-island buildings the gallery includes designs built overseas by Nzers, such as the Pompidou’s acclaimed rooftop ‘blobby’ restaurant. Developed by Paul Ward with Wellington-based architect Sam Kebbell, recently named in North & South magazine as “the most talented young architect in the country.”

A commercial request we are happy to help with. Telecom New Zealand has a series of giant billboards at the main airports in New

Zealand, featuring people in all parts of the country connecting hands, keeping in touch. The campaign is soon going to extend to combine New Zealanders overseas. If you want to be part of the international “Keep in Touch” billboard, you can contact rose.bater@saatchi.co.nz about where you live in the world, your profession and availability to be photographed over the next six weeks.

It is a happy, affirmative campaign.Telecom will supply participants with a 25 hour international calling card. Other forms of compensation are also available.

Born Roseneath Wellington 1912, of French and Maori descent, Nancy Wake came to be the most decorated service woman of World War II. Now 90 and living (with the support of Prince Charles) in London, Nancy had a heart attack 12 days ago and is recuperating in hospital. I am sure she would be buoyed by messages of aroha from New Zealanders, so write/fax her at
The Stafford Hotel,
Piccadilly 16-18 St
James Place London,
fax +44 20 7493 7121;
email info@thestaffordhotel.co.uk

Read her extraordinary story at

In today from a NZ journalist, 14 years away in London: “I’m constantly checking myself to stop seeing NZ through the rose-tinted glasses of memory and childhood. It ain’t like that anymore and never will be. And that is the way it should be. I suspect that much of what annoys, irritates and depresses Nzedge correspondents, including myself, about life off-shore exists back home too. Just in diluted doses. But Jeez, I do miss that can-do, my glass is half-full attitude, a sea with a decent wave and a mountain with a proper ridge. The plan is to return in five year’s time and it’s not going to be easy.”

And from Mother of Two, Wellington: “I have just stumbled across your wonderful site. What fantastic articles about great Nzer’s! I am planning to read them to my seven year old son. I am sure these stories and your site will help to re-energise me and will provide my children with a wonderful resource from which to learn and become inspired.”

The edge is a conviction affirmed powerfully on a Wellington summer’s day where the blues and greens and multi-coloured iron roofs are particularly ours. As K Mansfield captures it: “planted at the edge of a fine deep harbour like a lake. Behind it, on either side, there are hills. The houses are built of light painted wood. They have iron roofs coloured red. And there are big dark plumy trees massed together, breaking up those light shapes, giving a depth – warmth – making a composition of it well worth looking at.”

Producer, The New Zealand Edge
With Editor PAUL WARD

New Zealand Edge

Thumbnail Credit: Waikato river, near Atiamuri. Photo by Andy Reisinger, in >Legends of Aotearoa, by Chris Winitana, Harper Collins, Auckland, 2001.

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