Who are you, what’s your story
As people told me when I arrived, ‘I’m not from round here’. To summarise I am am a Malaysian Chinese Australian, working with partners in Canada and have proudly chosen to live in New Zealand. I am good at not fitting in and simultaneously finding some commonality to the patchwork global town called Queenstown.
Your work. What drives you, what makes it unique to you.
Oooh. Are you defined by your work or by what you do? Ok I am the Ziptrek guy. It sounds cliche but my favourite part is going out on tour and seeing people’s reactions. Everytime I think we are doing the right thing. My extracurricular is TEDxQueenstown and the TEDx world and I love the community we have created and opportunities for people development here. Lots of things really drive me but I would definitely say that people and my own personal development that drives me. There is a lot to do which is everybody’s opportunity. Don’t worry about robots yet.
Tell us more about the Queenstown community you live in, why you’re there, what keeps you there and what you love about it.
I think it is easy to see a group of people from the average person yet it fails to tell you anything about the diversity. It may suggest that our people here are grey when they are shades of every colour. I love one of the things that many hate. People move here and move away. From this we have infinite energy of life, connection with the world and my aim is that we can influence and create memories of the greatest place in the world, indelibly carried with a person forever of that time I lived in Queenstown. We need to remember daily is most people’s fantasy. That is what we need to look after.
Favourite spot that feels like ‘yours’ and why you go there.
Even though it is not, I feel the place that we live is our retreat (my beautiful wife and I). I live in a little house on a farm property which has roosters which drown out any hope of silence. It is a beautifully simple retreat from the busyness of Queenstown central.
What do you hope the future looks like for you and Queenstown? How are you investing in your community? What worries you, what makes your heart sing?
I am quite involved in future planning and community groups trying to design our way out of a growth disaster. Many unfortunately say that we are ‘behind the eight’, but I think that any place in the world that grows at our rate feels the same way. Annual count and we are up 11% in jobs and population up 7%. Crazy.
I think when you think of the future of this district we have to watch that we don’t have a static perception. I call it the ‘day I arrived’ syndrome. Anyone that comes here on that first day will have romantic notion that they would like to maintain but unfortunately everyone gets here on a different day.
What are the key values that need to remain, whether we are in self driving cars, living to 100 years with medical life extension, with drone follow me robots at your heel? Despite inevitable change that happens I think we must invest in the environmental and social sustainability which is non-negotiable. What I found through my work with the Shaping Our Future process was that despite the diversity of views we actually agreed about these fundamental values of place and people. My heart will only sing with simple moments in the outdoors connected to a community that cares for each other.