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Power to Innovate released at Claudelands

Four hundred educational leaders assembled at Claudelands Conference and Exhibition Centre in Hamilton in the final week of Term 2 last week for an annual New Zealand Principals’ Association Conference which was branded “world class” by attendees.

Delegates from Atiamuri to Woodend gathered for a three day conference on the theme of “Power to Innovate” with presentations from an outstanding group of New Zealand and international speakers. The speaker’s diverse backgrounds covered everything from advertising and comedy, to film-making, pharmaceuticals and rugby, and they focused on 21st century leadership challenges.

Ad man Michael Hutcheson,UK educational consultant James Nottingham and rugby coach Sir Graham Henry covered the topic of leadership and innovation, sharing their strategies and drawing on lessons from around the world.

Insights from offshore also included the inspirational presentation of Khoa Do. Having crossed the ocean in a small, overcrowded boat from his home inVietnamas a child, Do was well qualified to speak about overcoming big obstacles to win significant opportunities.

Do explained how he built teamwork and motivation amongst a group of marginalised and troubled young Sydney-siders in 2002.  The collaboration resulted in a celebrated film which saw the group treading the red carpet with major international film stars two years later. Do went on to be voted ‘Young Australian of the Year’ in 2005.

Like Do, pharmaceuticals entrepreneur and benefactor Sir Ray Avery galvanised listeners with his address, which encouraged people to look at challenges and difficult circumstances from a different perspective to discover what could be achieved.

On the final day New Zealand Principals’ Federation President Phil Harding was full of praise for both the conference and for Claudelands.

“Having attended major international education conferences I can say that both this meeting and the venue were absolutely world class,” said Harding.

“Claudelands flowed like a dream. We used three beautiful spaces and the venue has everything that an international conference venue needs. The standard of catering and organisation has been outstanding”, added Harding. 

A conference highlight was the masquerade-themed dinner, held in Claudelands Arena, featuring feather plumes, red velvet, comedian Te Radar and pop-funk band ‘Late 80s Mercedes’.

Hamilton City’s Event Facilities Director of Business Development, Murray Jeffrey is pleased 400 educational innovators chose Hamilton as the place for their conference.

“It is rewarding to see Claudelands used for this exchange of new ideas by leaders in business, science and education,” said Jeffrey.

“Claudelands continues to produce solid benefits to the Waikato by attracting important and influential conferences of this kind to the region, and growing its reputation for innovation, flexibility and quality,” he said.