That's a wrap on Tedx Auckland

  • Inspiration
  • August 6, 2013
  • Siobhan Keogh
That's a wrap on Tedx Auckland

If you managed to avoid Twitter over the weekend, you may not have realised that hyper-intellectual event Tedx was held in Auckland on Saturday.

Ted was born in 1984 in California, but has gained popularity in recent years as streaming video has taken off. The event revolves around a series of speakers who have interesting and inspirational stories to tell about their lives and work. Many of the speakers come from a background in design and technology. 

Tedx is different from regular old Ted – it’s community-organised, and the Auckland team is small. This year the event was organised by Elliot Blade, with Idealog contributor Vaughn Davis hosting.


Speakers included the man who built the world’s longest water slide, Jimi Hunt, former Prime Minister Helen Clark, comms man Brian Sweeney, and musician King Kapisi.

But the beauty of Tedx is that it’s the lesser-known speakers who often surprise and amaze. 

“I don’t know how you decide what event to go to but for me, I look at the speakers, the topics, and if there’s three or four that interest me I buy a ticket,” said Davis on taking the Tedx stage. 

“I suggest to you though that the ones you’re going to get the most from today are not the three or four that you thought you wanted to see, but the 14 you didn’t.”

One of the best-received talks this year was given by the mayor of small town Otorohanga, Dale Williams, who told the story of how he launched a successful youth employment programme in response to two teenage suicides in his community.

The University of Auckland’s Dr. Richard Faull spoke about his team’s world-first discovery that the brain produces stem cells – and their struggle to get the monumental achievement recognised by the scientific community.

It’s hard not to get inspired sitting in the audience, listening to amazing speakers who’ve done some incredible things. Throughout the day, attendees tweeted their favourite quotes and moments. 

The event’s major partner ASB made that easy to do: the company had set up a ‘Tweet Zone’ where attendees could charge their phones, relax on beanbags and follow the #tedxakl hashtag on a big TV screen. 


Supporting partners Telecom, New Zealand Post and AUT University were also in attendance. 

AUT showcased its students’ projects on a huge screen provided by a new company called Big Picture.


Senior marketing and brand manager at AUT, Paul Curry, says it was a “privilege” to be part of Tedx.

“This has been absolutely amazing, the sheer number of undergraduates at that sort of age group who’ve come. We’ve had so many enquiries.”

If you missed Tedx, the organisers are hosting an event at Auckland Museum in October, called TedxYouth. The speakers will all be 18 years old or younger, says Elliot Blade.

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