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Lightning Talks share a little magic

Updated: Mar 1, 2023

Lightning talks were back in the Tāiki E! whare this spring, generating some of the vibrant energy that keeps us going. For those new to the format, Lightning Talks are quick fire presentations on who-knows-what topics, 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide. Presented by a mad mix of clever, creative community champions, these talks entertain and inform and are a great way to connect and find out what’s buzzing in Gizzy. We had two lightning talk events this spring, with a total of 14 presenters, including two of our rangatahi from Tāiki E! Next Gen.

Our August event started with a deep dive into the world of neuroscience as Sam and Leigh presented the wide array of intriguing research they do at Mātai with their MRI scanner. Those who know them for their work on concussions now know their research covers many more topics and more body areas than just the brain!

Our second duo for the night, Terry and Raukura, walked us through their mahi at Toro Studio’s where their digital and creative skills bring stories to life. More creative energy came from our youngest (and arguably most entertaining) speaker of the night Ngahuia, who gave us a peek into the weeks they recently spent in London at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. Avneesh, one of our local journalists at The Herald engaged the crowd in a bit of exercise in philosophy as he reflected on the human condition and the goodness he sees at its core.

The human potential for good showed its innovative side as Jacopo shared how he finds sustainable solutions for businesses, integrating a wealth of knowledge on regenerative agriculture and renewable energy. Heron stole the show that night taking us along on her journey growing kumara, a humble presentation by a mighty wahine. Closing the night, another powerful wahine took the limelight. Rhona Tibble summed up her experience of the past years and energetically pitched her motivation for running for Council and Major in the local elections. What an amazing night this was, the uplifting energy was just what was needed during all that rain at the end of a long winter. It kickstarted the beginning of spring and the whare has been gathering momentum ever since.

The October event was riding the wave of energy that always follows Startup Weekend, as many new people come to check out the Taiki E whare and meet the whānau. Kicking off the night with her “It's a great day to have a great day” vibe, Monica had us in tears right away. Who knew becoming a real estate agent could be such an inspiring story of resilience and self-belief!

Following her was another speaker courageous enough to show some vulnerability. In his uniquely crack up way, Fergus explained how he shed tears of recognition when recently diagnosed with ADHD. Suddenly his world made a lot more sense, triggering a passion for education and awareness-raising around what it’s like to be wired this way. Next up, one of our Startup Weekend winners, Georgia took it to an even more personal level and declared to the room that it’s time to talk about sex. This lady is on a mission to normalise healthy sexuality and tested her Pleasure Chest idea on the crowd. Watch this space!

Representing our Next Gen, Mac, shared how it was for her and Fiona to attend the Social Enterprise World Forum 2022 where she discovered her talents as a professional chatterbox. True to her nature, she was the only person that night to have time left at the end of each 20 second slide even though she probably used twice as many words as anyone else. Following Mac, an avid maker and gamer Chris revealed a world of magical nerdiness involving tabletop war games where battle scenarios are re-enacted amid 3D-printed landscapes. Imagine the stories that could be told! Another Startup Weekend winner was up next. Reagan, legendary dad, marine biologist and surfer from Tokomaru Bay, took us through a wave of emotions (pun intended). His first photo was of himself walking with crutches. He shared how his doctor broke the news that he would not be able to surf as well anymore due to his injury. Well, the joke is on the doctor because not only did Reagan recover much more rapidly than predicted, he also forged ahead and won gold at the Māori Surf Nationals!

Wrapping up for the night was our very own Steph who took us on a (rather romantic) aunty-travel-slide-show-journey to Chile where she spent three weeks meeting her partners friends and family, rediscovering her love for photography and bathing in the joys of travel to spectacular places such as a desert in bloom. That night filled our cups once again and we’re grateful to everyone who came and shared, infusing positive energy into our whare and beyond.

Te Tairāwhiti holds a wealth of innovators, creatives, entrepreneurs and thinkers. We like to track them down and invite them to do a Lightning Talk so that they can share a little magic with the community. Let us know if you have any speaker suggestions!


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