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Vaughn Davis : Saying yes to TED

Saying Yes To TED

By Vaughn Davis
TEDxAuckland Homepage
Buy Tickets For August 3rd TEDxAuckland 2013

Saying yes leads you to all sorts of interesting places.

Saying yes to helping out with TEDxAuckland last year has led me here: the cockpit of my wee plane, 6500 feet above the Kaimanawa Ranges between Taupo and Hastings (well that’s what it says on the iPad I’m using to navigate the thing).

“What would happen if the engine stopped right now?” asks TEDxAuckland Producer Elliott Blade over the intercom.

A question like that deserves a well thought-through answer, I reckon. So after a good look at the snow-covered hills and gorges below, I provide one. “We’d be fucked, I think.”

We’re half way through a day-long roadie (well, there are no roads in view from up here, but you know…), visiting two of our out-of-town TED speakers, Dale Williams and David Trubridge. Sadly, the budget doesn’t quite stretch to flying to see our two New York-based speakers too, but maybe next year?

Dale is Mayor of Otorohanga, a King Country town so small it shares its airfield with neighbouring Te Kuiti. He’s been practicing his talk while riding his motorbike and it shows – his rehearsal is brilliant. While getting the aeroplane ready to depart, we run into a few locals waiting for a helicopter. Dale, they reckon, is a top bloke. They’re almost as proud of him as they are of their town.

Click for big version
TGF Airways in a field in Te Kuiti last week

Pride is something that runs through my whole TED experience. Not among the speakers themselves – they’re mostly pretty humble characters, even though they’ve all done amazing things. But hanging out with them, in speaker selection meetings (50 or more), rehearsals (2 to 6 for each of our 17 speakers) and on the day itself makes me proud to live in a place where ideas like theirs can happen.

Ideas like Dale’s – connecting businesses, school leavers and the entire community, to not just reduce but eradicate youth unemployment. Or ideas like Jimi Hunt’s – fighting crazy with crazy by traveling the length of the Waikato River by Lilo and building the world’s longest waterslide to tackle depression. Or world-changing ideas like Richard Faull’s – whose team demolished the scientific “fact” that the human brain can’t regenerate.

We’ve been up since before dawn today, but two hours later, heading home over the friendlier terrain of the South Waikato, I’m buzzing, thinking about the rehearsal we’ve just had with designer David Trubridge.

While building an export business employing 20 or so people in his Hawke’s Bay headquarters (which he also designed) would be enough for some people, he’s been thinking about the relationship between art, craft and design and how that relates to the way the hemispheres of our brain work. It’s a beautiful talk, and even in his office with just two of us listening, his energy and love for what he does are infectious.

I’ve heard David’s talk twice now and, like all 17 of our speakers, I can’t wait to hear him deliver it on stage at the Aotea Centre on Saturday 3 August. I hope you can join us.

The author

Vaughn Davis is Content Director at TEDx Auckland, owner and creative director at The Goat Farm, co-organiser at Auckland Social Media Club and a regular contributor to Idealog Magazine and Radio Live. He says yes to lots of things.

SCOOP EDITOR'S NOTE: Scoop is delighted to be one of the Sponsor's of this years TEDx Auckland - last year was amazing and this year looks like it it will be even more amazing. See you there - Alastair Thompson (Scoop Editor)

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