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7X7 Takes on NZ Big Opportunities



10 July 2008

7X7 Takes on NZ Big Opportunities


Ideas forum 7x7 is back to give Wellingtonians a fresh dose of inspiration and the chance to grapple with 35 leading minds on New Zealand’s future.

Called "The Big Think: New Zealand 2008", this series of five events commencing 22 July at the Ilott Theatre will deliver a concentrated hit of ambitious ideas, innovations, success stories and provocations in the popular 7x7 format.

7x7 is presented by Wellington companies SweeneyVesty and Blair Wakefield Productions, and is sponsored by the Wellington City Council.

7x7 originated in Wellington in 2000 as an ideas forum focused on technology, entertainment and design.  It ran quarterly in this vein for four years.  In 2006 the event was reprised at the instigation of the Wellington City Council, with four events taking place around the theme of “Winning the World from Wellington”.

Producers of 7x7 Brian Sweeney and Jan Bieringa have invited 30 leaders across economics, primary, science, technology, finance, media, and art to present big picture looks at the opportunities and issues facing New Zealand in 2008 and beyond, with an emphasis on economic transformation. Each speaker has seven minutes to present their vision.

The series is to be hosted by business and economic commentator Rod Oram, who will chair and lead audience Q&A with the speakers.

“With our economy, culture and environment in a state of rapid change and evolution, and with the 2008 election fast approaching, The Big Think will examine where we’re going as a country by asking big questions and putting aspirational answers on the table,” said Mr. Oram.

The themes and dates for the five sessions are:


·        Seven Foundations: Tuesday 22 July. A reality check on where we are today, and where we could be 20 years from now.

·        Seven Trailblazers: Monday 4 August. Insights from New Zealand entrepreneurs taking on the global market.

·        Seven Directions: Tuesday 12 August.  Bold steps for transformation – big ideas with the potential to change our society, our economy and our culture.

·        Seven Connections: Monday 18 August. Creating the New Zealand Powerhouse through more dynamic relationships at home and with the world.

·        Seven Imaginations: Tuesday 26 August. Things to do today – where change begins.

The lineup for the first session includes founding Chief Executive of The New Zealand Institute David Skilling, independent scholar and commentator Dr Brian Easton, leading agricultural scientist Jacqueline Rowarth, environmental advocate Morgan Williams, and 7x7 co-founder Brian Sweeney. Bios for speakers follow at the end of this release.

Wellington City Councillor John Morrison, welcomed the return of 7x7: “This is a unique opportunity to engage with a group of people who are passionate about New Zealand in a format tailor-made for big ideas and straight talking. For anyone who is ambitious about our future this is a series not to be missed.”

Co-producer and programmer Jan Bieringa says that the collaboration with the Wellington City Council heightens the “town hall meeting” aspects of 7x7. “We have programmed and priced 7x7 to attract anyone with an interest in where New Zealand is going over the next 20 years.”

Each event will be held at 6pm in the Ilott Theatre, Town Hall. Entry is $7. Go to for more information. Tickets are available through Ticketek 0800 842-538.


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