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Catching The Knowledge Wave Project

16 February 2001

Dr John Hood
The University of Auckland



The Vice-Chancellor of The University of Auckland, Dr John Hood, tonight outlined the structure and background of the Catching the Knowledge Wave project.

¡§The intent of the conference is to generate possible ideas and strategies for New Zealand¡¦s transition to a knowledge society,¡¨ said Dr Hood. ¡§It will be a catalyst for the effective articulation of government, business, higher education and research, community organisations and other sectors towards the achievement of this goal.¡¨

The project is a joint initiative between the New Zealand Government and the university, supported by leading members of the business community, and has a brief to seek contributions from a wide cross-section of New Zealand society.

Its high point will be a national conference, entitled Catching the Knowledge Wave, from August 1 - 3, 2001, in Auckland. It will be co-chaired by the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, and Dr Hood.

¡§This conference will be a reference point in a national process of establishing consensus and gaining commitment for further action. It will attempt to identify the initiators of growth, the impediments to transformation, and the issues of social cohesion underlying rapid change,¡¨ said Dr Hood.

¡§There is no monopoly on this process. The conference will build on knowledge society-related initiatives being developed by a range of government and sectoral organisations.¡¨

Core themes for the conference will be:

„h Fostering Learning, Innovation and Creativity
„h Macroeconomic Policy and Growth
„h Entrepreneurship in the Knowledge Economy
„h People and Capability
„h Social Cohesion and Cultural Transformation
„h Environmental Sustainability

¡§Behind these themes lies the nature and speed of technological change and its consequences for all aspects of human endeavour and for national prosperity and well-being,¡¨ said Dr Hood.

¡§New Zealand¡¦s history of social and economic innovation is a proud one. However, serious questions are arising about the capacity to generate the levels of economic productivity and growth that will deliver a socially cohesive society.

¡§The New Zealand economy has under-performed in comparison to other OECD countries for several decades. There is an emerging consensus on the need for a national focus on sustaining and improving our quality of life and to ensure New Zealanders respond to the challenges of the ¡¥knowledge wave¡¦ in a manner which regains our prosperity and international competitiveness.¡¨

The conference will include the heads of major companies, creative innovators, senior levels of government including members of Cabinet and heads of ministries, Opposition politicians, leaders in research and higher education, major media, trade unions, and community organisations.

¡§A key element of the conference will be New Zealanders who have risen to positions of leadership and distinction internationally,¡¨ said Dr Hood. ¡§They will be invited back to contribute their insights. Young people will also be specially invited to participate.¡¨

The conference will be highly interactive and will seek wide public engagement. Parallel seminars and other public events, web-casting, in-depth print media and television coverage, and other methods for public contributions are planned.


The Catching the Knowledge Wave website will be live from Saturday, February 17, 2001 at: www.knowledgewave.org.nz .

Media Inquiries to:

Dr Christopher Tremewan, Chairman, Catching the Knowledge Wave Project Team
(09) 3737599 x6934
(021) 618498

Greg Shand, Baldwin Boyle Group
(09) 4866544
(025) 970782

Pattrick Smellie, Baldwin Boyle Group
(04) 4753514
(021) 588203

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