Sharing Extraordinary Stories at TEDxChristchurch 2018: The Campfire

International educational disruptor Hamish Brewer and ActionStation Director Laura O'Connell Rapira head the list of the talented speakers taking the TEDxChristchurch stage this Saturday.

Key Points

  • TEDxChristchurch 2018: The Campfire event is sold out

  • People can watch via live stream or attend a public viewing party

  • Next year’s event at the Christchurch Town Hall set to celebrate TEDxChristchurch’s 10-year anniversary

Christchurch, New Zealand—There’s a good chance you've heard of Hamish Brewer, the relentless, tattooed, skateboarding, Kiwi principal in Northern Virginia. With an approach that doesn't match the traditional vision of a school principal—incorporating innovative concepts like black light parties, deskless and audio-enhanced classrooms, and skateboard giveaways to empower his students—Hamish has become widely known as an educational disrupter who transcends the status quo and typical educational norms. This Saturday, Hamish is returning to Aotearoa to share his story with attendees of TEDxChristchurch 2018: The Campfire.

Among others, he’ll be sharing the stage with Laura O’Connell Rapira, another no-nonsense rebel with a cause. Like Hamish, Laura has used her work to empower youth to take charge of their shared future—this time in the local political arena—through co-founding Rock Enrol, acting as Director of Campaigns at ActionStation, and helping to create an online community of more than 180,000 like-minded members who participate in campaigns designed to drive a fairer, more just and sustainable Aotearoa.

Hamish and Laura are just two of the extraordinary speakers set to take the stage at TEDxChristchurch 2018: The Campfire, happening at The Piano this Saturday. Other carefully curated voices include teenage inventor Zach Preston, world champion freediver William Trubridge, Professor and Researcher Maggie-Lee Huckabee, father and son scientists Professors Anthony and Phil Butler, NZ Needle Exchange Programme Executive Director Kathryn Leafe, Professor of Political Science Alex Tan, and New Zealand Slam Poetry Champion Daisy Lavea-Timo.

Christchurch-based alt/pop and indie musical duo The Response round out entertainment on the day, and the whole show will be opened by the 50-voice strong Christchurch Pops Choir.

Similar to the TEDxChristchurch 2017: Unplug. Reconnect. event, this year’s experience is strikingly intimate, with only 320 attendees; the show is fully sold out. But the extraordinary line-up is accessible via live stream or at one of the many viewing parties happening around Christchurch and the South Island and listed on

The event’s partners, including Christchurch City Council, Computer Concepts Limited, Davis Ogilvie, creative partner Strategy Creative, and catering partner Richard Till, have all been active champions of the TEDxChristchurch platform for years, providing the foundation for ample flickers of awe, inspiration, and connection around The Campfire.

And despite being laser focused on Saturday’s event, the team is also ramping up for next year—at the newly restored Christchurch Town Hall—as TEDxChristchurch celebrates its tenth year of sharing ideas worth spreading.

Gwen Hooper
TEDxChristchurch Welcomes Gold Partner Computer Concepts Limited for 2018 and 2019

We’re delighted to announce Computer Concepts Limited has joined us around The Campfire at The Piano this year, and that they’ve also committed to supporting our 10-year anniversary event next year at Christchurch Town Hall.

While Computer Concepts Limited prides itself on delivering innovative solutions—including infrastructure, data protection, network services, security, project management and more—they recognise that none of their professional services would be possible without their talented and passionate staff. Their viewpoint on this is simple. It’s all about the people.

This commitment to retaining their human-centered values is what makes Computer Concepts Limited such a welcomed TEDxChristchurch partner. We look forward to continuing this relationship for many years to come.

Gwen Hooper
Davis Ogilvie Joins TEDxChristchurch as Silver Partner

TEDxChristchurch welcomes partnerships with organisations that share our desire for a forward-looking, innovative, sustainable city. And that’s why we’re so happy to welcome Davis Ogilvie back this year as Silver Partner.

Davis Ogilvie provides a complete range of multi-disciplinary engineering, surveying and environmental planning services within one company, covering structural, civil and geotechnical engineering, land surveying, resource management planning and environmental science.

They’re also one of the South Island’s first engineering consultancies to achieve CarboNZero certification, a major accomplishment and something we’re proud to be associated with. The company is committed to managing and reducing its emissions and has neutralised its remaining unavoidable emissions.

We’re looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship with Davis Ogilvie, and hoping many other companies follow their sustainable lead.

Gwen Hooper
CCC Supporting TEDxChristchurch as 2018 Gold Partner

TEDxChristchurch is delighted to welcome Christchurch City Council as a returning partner for our 2018 event, The Campfire.

Since the first post-quake TEDxChristchurch in 2011, we’ve been gratified to receive support and encouragement from Council. While we’re an apolitical organisation, we are always open to conversations, connections, and relationships that help our political leaders embrace ideas worth spreading.

Our partnership with CCC is a significant factor in allowing us to deliver the calibre of event our attendees have come to expect. We look forward to continuing this relationship into the future.

Gwen Hooper
Bringing back the woolly mammoth. TEDxChristchurch 2016: 360º is bringing the past to the present.

You don’t need a ticket to Jurassic Park to experience a bygone time. This year TEDxChristchurch is transporting attendees to the past to make a difference for the future. From the resurrection of species to the revival of discarded wind turbines for playgrounds to the restoration of New Zealand’s bird population, TEDxChristchurch 2016 has it all, minus the dinosaurs.

Today, TEDxChristchurch announced the next four speakers in the 2016 lineup: Dr. Amy Fletcher, Jos de Krieger, Sophie Rea and Grant Ryan.

We’re taught that extinction is forever – but scientists today are proving otherwise. Dr Amy Fletcher, associate professor in political science at the University of Canterbury is looking into the big questions around “bringing back” extinct species. As just one example, we’ve nearly completed sequencing the woolly mammoth genome and it is only a matter of time before scientists have the ability to “revive” extinct species, including the giant sloth, the saber-toothed tiger and New Zealand’s own giant moa.  

Dr Fletcher’s research and teaching, focused on life sciences and biotechnology, have helped shaped our understanding of wildlife, nature, animals, the role humankind has to play with de-extinction and whether we should be raising creatures of the Ice Age back from the dead. Are we overstepping stepping the field of science? What will become of our conservation efforts if we know there’s a backhand solution? And how far will resurrection go before we’re in the realm of dark arts?

Aiming to intervene before de-extinction becomes necessary, the ‘addicted inventor’ Grant Ryan is putting his energy into helping make New Zealand predator-free with The Cacophony Project. The creator of Eurekster, YikeBike and PurePods is harnessing yet more Kiwi ingenuity, using artificial intelligence and big data to eliminate pests and restore New Zealand’s bird population to its former glory. As James Cook’s botanist Joseph Banks explained, the singing of the birds ashore was the “most melodious wild musick [he’d] ever heard… the most tuneable silver sound imaginable.” Ryan is inventing new ways to bring back that soundtrack.

Further improving the quality of our environment, Netherlands-based Jos de Krieger and the team from Superuse Studios cleverly manipulate the disused into the useful, leaving nothing to spare. One of the team’s most publicised projects turned recycled wind turbine blades into a children’s playground. Five discarded rotor blades were cut up and into parts to serve as tunnels, towers, bridges, hills, ramps and slides. de Krieger and his team have reused other locally sourced ‘waste’: PVC cable reels into multipurpose storage, airplane seatbelts into fashion accessories – even a whole house made entirely of “waste” materials. de Krieger and his partners are pushing the boundaries of design and building methods while promoting the idea that sustainability, functionality and creativity all go hand in hand.

Finally, slam poet Sophie Rea is an up-and-comer to listen to. Taking out first place in the Christchurch Poetry Slam competition and the Rising Voices National Slam, Sophie will win your heart over as she did ours at TEDxYouth@AvonRiver in 2015. One of TEDxChristchurch’s youngest performers, Sophie reminds us that everyone has a story, and she conveys her message with power and conviction. Her words are beautiful to listen to while holding deep meaning and important lessons for society.  

Following the highly successful return to the CBD last year, TEDxChristchurch 2016: 360º will take place on 29 October at TEDxChristchurch Village, encompassing the iconic Isaac Theatre Royal and surrounding area. This year, the Village expands to include the new Centre for Music and Arts, The Piano, around the corner.

Youth memberships sold out within days but General Memberships are still available. The all-day event costs $189.00, which alongside the inspiring talks includes delicious food, the famous goodie bag, entertainment, free espresso all day, and more.

The non-profit event is choreographed by a dedicated team of more than 40 local volunteers. 

Seamus Dunn