Te Hui Nui o Te Tai Tonga

This last weekend I spent in sunny Ōtautahi (Christchurch) in the amazing surrounds of the Arts Centre (see the photo above if you don’t believe me). It was the weekend of the second Great Southern Unconference or Te Hui Nui o Te Tai Tonga (which I reckon sounds cooler)

For those new to the lingo, check out what an “unconference” is here. Team Gnat does a great job explaining it. As an aside, if you are a corporate entity of some kind and are thinking you need a shake-up of your annual conferences, perhaps give Team Gnat a call.

Anyway, back to the Unconference at hand. It was a great melding together of minds across five action-packed sessions and punctuated by amazing coffee (Thanks Coffee Supreme!) or tea (Thanks Noble & Savage) and some amazing conversation and networking.

While I can’t give you details of exactly what was discussed (What goes on in Vegas, stays in Vegas) you can see some of the highlights in this tweet thread, and here are some highlights that I feel I can share:

Lightning talks

The three lightning talks, a la pecha kucha style (20 min, slides move by themselves, talk FAST) were interesting and varied. It set a great mood for the Friday evening and probably helped to spark some more ideas amongst those gathered. From kindness in science, to the potential of an avocado with some popup art in the middle, it was a whirlwind into the minds of three very different people.

The Schedule

While I can’t go into the particulars of who said what and when, this is a vague idea of what we set out to talk about…

The cool tea contraption

I know this probably doesn’t need its own heading, but this contraption was the coolest thing I’d ever seen to provide tea. I mean, there was a button for the tea to end up into the pouring jug things and it was on a stand and everything. The only thing better would’ve been a timed automated robot arm pressing the buttons, but you know, it doesn’t have to always be techy (yea it does).

The Conclusion

The only thing I struggle with when I go to these things is what kinds of actionable things will come out of it. That, of course, remains to be seen. However, there have been all the right noises about connecting up afterwards, and possibly not leaving it for two years till the next one. I felt like an interloper coming over from Te ika a Māui, but there were a few others that had also made the trek. Perhaps we need to do one up here, and link the two? hmmm…

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks to InternetNZ for suggesting that I’d be interested in this. You were right, I was and it was amazing!