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TEDxManukau - leading from within

TEDxManukau - leading from within

“People told me nothing good comes out of our neighbourhood,” Manurewa’s Dave Tims told an audience of 100 at the first TEDxManukau, proudly held at Ko Awatea. “It all depends on your lens.”

Arriving on the TEDx stage wielding a chainsaw and sporting ginger dreadlocks, Dave argued effective solutions are the ones created by the people facing the challenges.

Leading from within was the overriding message of TEDxManukau, and the event, which at times triggered tears from within the auditorium, lived up to its theme: Bright Spots; inspiring ideas, transforming lives.

Dave told the audience of impassioned delegates that creating a space for people gives them a voice. It was this desire to give voice to his local community which saw him become an active member of the Randwick Park Residents’ Association, which has since redesigned a local reserve and constructed a new skate park, working with the local board but led by locals for locals.

“As we become well, our behaviour changes. We are becoming the change that we want to see in our neighbourhood.” Dave said.

Walz Brown can testify to this. Dealing drugs in high school and an alcoholic at 21, Walz said his life changed when Dave approached him in the park one day, with a simple proposition: stop drinking in the skate park and then help design a new one.

This was the beginning of Waltz’s own personal transformation. Today he no longer drinks or uses drugs and he is committed to helping others.
“The day I got asked to build a skate park gave me hope.”

Susan Dunlop is the principal at Otara’s decile-one Yendarra School. Recognising the impact poor food choice was having on students’ learning, attendance and behaviour, she approached the parents, and found their response differed greatly from the messages in the headlines, which suggested apathy. “They did not want a charity feeding their children. They saw that as their primary role.”

TEDxManukau focused strongly on youth – and speakers weren’t afraid to broach the dark subject of suicide.

Media teacher Jasmine Maclean fell “madly and deeply in love” with her Papatoetoe High School students and was devastated when a 14-year old female student took her own life. Her need to reach teenagers in the wake of the tragedy gave life to her photographic project Humans of South Auckland, and her aim is to publish a book full of hope and pride, and deliver a copy into every school in South Auckland.

It was a spate of youth suicides (five) that took former stand-up comedian and ambassador of the Key to Life Charitable Trust, Mike King to a school in the Far North. Students told him they were frustrated at being given pre-packaged solutions from visiting “experts”.

Mike stressed the importance that youth be involved in creating their own pathways towards help, and urged parents to more consciously communicate with their children.
“How we talk to our kids becomes their inner voice.”

TEDxManukau also took learnings from beyond South Auckland. Chief executive of World Vision New Zealand Chris Clarke spoke about a 12-year-old Syrian refuge called Adel. Adel’s father died when his village was bombed and Adel, his mother and five sisters fled to Lebanon, where they lived in a freezing tent. Adel rose early and spent his days chopping wood and digging for potatoes in an effort to repay a debt the family had incurred. He told Chris proudly he was reducing this debt by $2 a day. Angry and baffled Chris told TEDxManukau delegates the situation caused him to shake his fist at the world and its suffering. But then he thought of the active grace of Adel himself.

“A young boy aged 12, not with a fist shaking but a hand open. In Adel lies the response to injustice and unfairness,” he said. Whether it be chopping wood, building a skate park, improving a school’s nutrition or handing out soup. “We all have the choice of shaking our fist or opening our hands.”

*For more on the speakers at the first TEDxManukau, August 31 2015 held at Ko Awatea, go to www.tedxmanukau.com

About TEDx (x = independently organized event)
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or fewer) delivered by today's leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED's annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, and made available, free, on TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.

TED's open and free initiatives for spreading ideas include TED.com, where new TED Talk videos are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from thousands of volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed; the annual million-dollar TED Prize, which funds exceptional individuals with a "wish," or idea, to create change in the world; TEDx, which provides licenses to thousands of individuals and groups who host local, self-organized TED-style events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, which selects innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

Follow TED on Twitter at http://twitter.com/TEDTalks, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TED or Instagram at https://instagram.com/ted.

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