“Did someone attach jumper leads to my brain? I’m fizzing on the cognitive cocktail of Aspiring Conversations.” ? 2016 audience member

Summer has announced itself in Wanaka with two weeks of stunning weather, and it?s just two months until we launch the programme for the 2018 Aspiring Conversations, presented by Milford Asset Management. We have had strong support from our community stakeholders, and from grantmakers, and we are again working in association with McKinsey & Company.

Aspiring Conversations 2018 special preview

April 2018 truly will be a time for thinking, with a programme of high-calibre speakers confirmed to touch on social, political, cultural, creative and environmental issues.

Here?s a special preview of two of our speakers, and what they?ll be bringing to the Aspiring Conversations stage.

John D. Potter, Chief Science Advisor to the Ministry of Health and Professor at Massey University?s Centre for Public Health Research is an internationally renowned biomedical scientist. We will be launching his new book, which examines what we know about chronic disease and our eating and drinking habits. Given that humans have always had to eat, what does diet have to do with causing illness? How different are our eating habits now?from those of the gatherer and hunters of old???Why does that matter anyway??And what are we doing to the planet with the way we now raise food? Potter is himself a vegetarian and does not drink alcohol.

A former Rhodes Scholar and Green MP, Holly Walker wrote with exceptional honesty in her book The Whole Intimate Mess about her journey through depression, and what is was like to become a first-time mother and first-time MP at the same time. She will discuss these experiences at Aspiring Conversations and talk about bringing mental health issues out of the shadows.

The full Aspiring Conversations programme for 2018 will be unveiled at our launch event on Monday February 12.

Making the festival happen

Milford Asset Management has continued as our naming rights sponsor?thank you to Alistair, Andrew and their team for supporting Wanaka?s unique festival of ideas.

Global firm McKinsey & Company returns as a partner. They have a similar relationship with the Aspen Ideas Festival and we are pleased to work in association with them for our Wanaka event.

We are also delighted to welcome PlaceMakers Wanaka as a Bronze sponsor for 2018, and to confirm that Allenby Farms Ltd are returning as a Bronze sponsor. Big Fig, who have a dedicated following thanks to their delicious ?slow food served fast?, have come on board as a local business sponsor.

As always, our valued Patrons and Benefactors continue to make it possible for us to put on our events. Aspiring Conversations and the Festival of Colour are very much a part of our community, and it is our community that has the stakeholding, and helps make these festivals happen. Thank you also to all those who have upgraded to Patron Plus or Benefactor Plus by offering an additional donation of $250 (Patron Plus) or $1000 (Benefactor Plus) to directly support Aspiring Conversations.

If you would like to learn more about supporting Aspiring Conversations and the Southern Lakes Festival of Colour as a business or individual, please get in touch with GM Laura Williamson at laura@festivalofcolour.co.nz.

To all of our supporters: thank you, we could not do this without you.

Aspiring Conversations bookings

General ticket sales open at 8:30am on Friday, February 23.

Patrons and Benefactors of the Festival of Colour can book online from 9am on Monday, February 19.

Special priority bookings for Patron Plus and Benefactor Plus supporters, as well as our Sponsors, start at our launch event on Monday, February 12.

Time for school

The Festival of Colour has long brought performers off the stage and into our local schools to make sure the younger generation gets a taste of what our festival has to offer, and next year we?ll be doing the same with Aspiring Conversations, with three of our speakers scheduled to stay on after the weekend and talk to students at Mount Aspiring College.

The 2019 Southern Lakes Festival of Colour

Save these dates too: The next Southern Lakes Festival of Colour is scheduled for April 2 to 7, 2019. Our director, Philip Tremewan, has already started planning an exciting programme for us.

A call for volunteers

Volunteering is a great way to get involved with the festival and meet some like-minded people?we need help with everything from ushering, to driving, to distributing programmes. If you have a few hours to spare to join our brilliant team of champions of the arts and of ideas, contact Anna at anna@festivalofcolour.co.nz.