New Zealand's Internet forum, NetHui, is coming to the South Island in November. 21-22 November in Christchurch will see a gathering of South Islanders interested in shaping the future of the Internet's development, and applying the opportunities the Internet presents to shape Canterbury's future development.
It's a fascinating time in the region's development. From the conversations I've had with locals, they're keen to turn attention to the future development of their communities and the economy. It isn't all about earthquake recovery any more: there's a vitality and energy to try new things out, try new business ideas, seek new sources of growth, and to really be open to change and innovation that provides some lessons New Zealand should be paying more attention to.
The event will be one that is a great opportunity to share progress on all these through the prism of an Internet perspective: how it can help, and what it offers to help other plans move along.
InternetNZ brings NetHui to the South Island (the event is NetHuiSouth) for a few reasons. We want that forum to be accessible to as many interested people as possible, and it's easier for many to get to Christchurch than it is to get to Auckland. We see that the Internet can contribute to local communities and their growth, not just on the national level - and so breaking down in a regional setting makes sense. Finally, as Canterbury moves beyond "earthquake recovery" and towards the 2020s and beyond, the opportunities the Internet can offer blend well with the spirit of freshness and innovation we see in that region in particular.
The event relies on local sponsorship to bring it south, and it relies on local energy and passion to make sure the right set of issues are on the table for discussion. Some will be national issues attracting attention; some will be Canterbury specific.
You can chip in your suggestions for topics, or find out how to be a sponsor, on the website: www.nethui.org.nz. Registrations will be opening in a few weeks, but for now getting the programme sorted is the important thing.