Festival for the Future draws 500 world-changing young Kiwis

Published: Thu 3 Sep 2015 09:24 AM
Festival for the Future draws 500 world-changing young Kiwis
AUCKLAND - More than 500 young people from across New Zealand, Australia, and the Pacific are bringing their dreams and plans for a better world to the fifth annual Festival for the Future this weekend.
The three-day event, held from September 4-6 in Auckland, is run by the charity Inspiring Stories - founded and led by 2015 Young New Zealand of the Year, Guy Ryan.
This year’s Festival is drawing a record number of young people - mostly aged 18-30 - all hungry to tackle the big issues their societies and world faces: social, environmental, and economic.
The 2014 event drew crowds of 400; this year, 400 tickets sold out five weeks ahead of the event, and the organisers had to make extra room for those who missed out. There has been a waiting list for tickets for the past fortnight.
Festival director Guy Ryan says that’s in keeping with the growing demand for all Inspiring Stories’ programmes - designed to see every young New Zealander unleash their potential to change the world.
“What we’re hearing from people under 30 is that they’re keen to orientate their lives - their time, energy and resources - to doing good and making the world a better place. They recognise that some of the pressing challenges they face as a generation won’t get sorted unless they get stuck in.
“More than any other generation before them, they want to spend ethically, give their time generously, and prioritise jobs that do good. Festival for the Future is a celebration of young people who are already doing an outstanding job of that - and a call to action for attendees to step up, and identify what they can do to make the world a better place.”
50 attendees at Festival for the Future are fully-funded scholarship recipients, who were selected based on their passion and commitment to leading change in their own communities. Many are from some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable and marginalised areas.
Guy Ryan says more than 200 scholarship applicants have attended past Festivals, and some have used the opportunity as a springboard to drive positive change back home.
One such young Kiwi is Sophie Ross, a 2014 scholarship recipient, who after attending Festival for the Future started a youth volunteering network in her hometown of Nelson. 125 students are now signed up.
Sophie has been invited back to this year’s Festival as a speaker.
Inspiring Stories this week launched a fundraising campaign for its new Future Fund, an endowment that will back young New Zealanders with opportunities such as scholarships to Festival in coming years. The campaign challenges New Zealanders to back young Kiwis who want to change the world.
Other speakers at this year’s Festival include leaders in a range of disciplines, with a range of passions for social change.
They are: Sasha Fisher from Spark Microgrants, who is traveling from East Africa to attend; Elliot Costello of YGAP; Alicia Darvall of B Corps Australia and New Zealand; leadership expert Holly Ransom; Bonnie Howland of ethical cosmetics company Indigo & Iris; LGBTQIA+ rights advocate Tabby Besley of InsideOUT; Paul Young of Generation Zero; Rich Bartlett of Loomio; Ben Dowdle from Unmask Palm Oil; disability rights advocate Muskan Devta; Charlizza Harris of 2Face Drama; Dr. Hong Sheng Chiong, who’s curing treating blindness; Naotia Atiana and Wilson Lesa of Black Bulb; and Agnes Naera of AUT.
Artists performing through the weekend include Tiny Ruins, Jamie McDell, Beau Monga, Lost Bird, Brendon Thomas and the Vibes, Little Oceans, Hipstamatics, and Elliot Taylor.
There will also be stalls, a range of workshops to teach new skills for creating change - including by cartoonist Toby Morris, whose stories for The Wireless about inequality in New Zealand have gone viral - creative projects, and food.
The Festival lineup can be seen in full at
And donations can be made for future attendees’ scholarships at

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