By MARIA JI.

Festival for the Future is an annual event featuring inspiring speakers, workshops and entertainment. The programme is designed to inform young New Zealanders about how we can influence our country’s economy, sustainability, education, and social inequalities; its objective is to empower young New Zealanders to take their ideas from inspiration all the way to implementation.

To give you some idea of how passionate and forward-thinking young New Zealanders can be, we asked four of the festival speakers what goals they hoped New Zealand could achieve in 10 years’ time. These were their responses:

“Globally, only one out of two refugees are able to get an education. When children are forced to flee, they often miss out on years of schooling.  And without education, an entire generation is at risk.

I believe education is pivotal to changing the future for refugees, and yet even the most motivated can be thwarted by circumstances. The only difference between me and millions of other refugees worldwide is that I was fortunate enough to be resettled in New Zealand and receive an education. I feel privileged to have the power to determine my own future now – due to the power of education.

However, I feel an obligation to provide a voice for the voiceless. I want to try address the under-representation of refugees in tertiary education and increase the number of refugee background students who have access to, and complete, secondary education and then go on to higher education.”

Rez Gardi

Law clerk and youth advisor to the New Zealand Red Cross

“I would really love to see better deaf awareness – this includes in schools, transport areas and acceptance. Currently many deaf people are not able to gain jobs because of the common belief that because they are deaf, that is enough to prevent them [from doing] the work they need to do.

I want to see young deaf people achieving their dream, and feeling like they actually can. Deaf people in high up places, being lawyers, teachers, doctors. I hope NZ can remove the barriers that come to mind when you meet a deaf person. We have interpreters, we have resources, we live in this modern world where we rely on technology, this is enough to support us in everything we do to the same standard as a hearing person.”

Rachel Berry

Leader of the young Deaf community

“We believe that community is incredibly important when facing any issue. A stronger community allows not only for a greater awareness of issues but more effective ways of approaching them. Within the next ten years we would hope to see much stronger communities that are able to work together when facing major issues.

Generally, we’d also hope to see a firmer dedication to sustainability within New Zealand. Sustainable living, sustainable practices, commitments to national and international goals as well as increased engagement are all things we’d like to see greater interest and action towards in the future.”

Nola Smart & Anzac Gallate

Championing sustainability in schools

This year, Festival for the Future will be held on the 23-25th September at the Aotea Centre, Auckland. Get your tickets here!


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