It?s cold and frosty in Wanaka and everyone is pleased to see snow on the hills. But here in the office we are looking forward to Spring and our inaugural Aspiring Conversations festival. By now many of you will have seen our announcement that we are launching Aspiring Conversations as a stand-alone festival to run 10 ? 12 October 2014. The sessions will run in both Wanaka and Queenstown and we have some inspiring and thought provoking speakers lined up.
Without revealing the whole programme here?s a sneak preview of what?s on the Aspiring Conversations agenda:
? Google, Facebook, apps and websites ? information technology is having a big impact on business and society ? James Manyika, a director of the McKinsey Global Institute, comes from the US to lead a session on the rapid changes we are witnessing
? We also have economist Loretta Napoleoni who divides her time between the UK and the US ? she will be talking about China ? her latest book is Maonomics ? how Chinese make better capitalists than we do. She is also an expert on the funding of international terrorism and the Russian banking system!
? And we have two members of a writing family ? the grand old man of NZ letters CK Stead and his daughter Charlotte Grimshaw. Karl Stead is an outspoken figure in the literary world but he and his daughter share a huge passion for writing. Karl writes novels, poetry, short stories and lots of criticism! Charlotte has been a successful criminal lawyer and writes novels and short stories about crime and politics. She is also, like her father, a prolific and successful reviewer.
? And there?ll be two panel discussions debating hot topics of the day and plenty more speakers to be announced when we launch the programme on 26 August 2014.

So put those dates in your diary now – programme launch 26 August and Aspiring Conversations 10 ? 12 October. And look out for updates on our new look website at www.festivalofcolour/aspiringconverstaions and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Our thanks to Gold sponsors global management firm McKinsey & Co, silver sponsors Milford Asset Management, Mt Difficulty Winery and PWC and all the other sponsors and grant makers that have made this possible. And a core group of dedicated patrons and benefactors that have increased their support to Patron Plus and Benefactor Plus ? thanks to Judith & Ian Shawe, Sally & John Angus, Peter & Jane Wardell, Leigh& Nickie Overton, De & Peter Gordon, John Hogg & Jennifer Connolly, Prue Flacks, Mike and Kate Sidey and Dafydd and Christine Lewis.

Aspiring Conversations will still run as part of the Festival of Colour ? and plans are well underway for the 2015 festival programme. We are pleased to have had funding support confirmed from First Sovereign Trust and we also have three new local business sponsors ? Turnkey Homes, Amigos and Peak Accommodation. The sponsor base is growing all the time and we are delighted to welcome Westpac as a new Sponsor. ?Westpac is extremely proud to be associated with The Festival of Colour for 2015, the iconic arts event for the Southern Lakes region”, said Simon Power, GM Business Bank & Wealth, Westpac New Zealand. And we?re very pleased to have them on board too and hope they will be around for many years to come.

Nick ? An Accidental Hero. If you haven?t got your tickets yet for ?Nick: An accidental hero? playing at Luggate Hall on Friday 18th July, then do get your tickets now. There are only a handful of tickets left for this outstanding show about an ordinary man overcoming extraordinary challenges. An Arts on Tour show ? tickets $25 adults and $10 students from (link). ?Nick? is full of unexpected humour, poignancy and heart. Award winning actress Renee Lyons plays no less than eight characters in the exploration of triumph over adversity and the unlikely road to true love.

Boosted Appeal ? On the Upside Down of the World was our audience favorite in the 2013 Festival of Colour. Laurel Devenie stars as the crippled yet intrepid and intelligent Lady Martin in this powerhouse solo performance. Auckland Theatre Company are planning on taking the show to Edinburgh festival and need some help to raise the funds ? for more information and to donate visit Boosted page

And for those festival go-ers that have enjoyed the work of Flox and Michel Tuffery, read here about their latest collaboration inspired by Matariki