12 February 2020

Marilyn Waring and Chlöe Swarbrick (pictured), the two youngest members of Parliament in the past 100 years, lead the programme for the Aspiring Conversations Festival of Ideas, to be held in Wānaka in April.

Swarbrick and Waring feature in the Festival’s opening session, ‘New Kids on the Block’, discussing the struggles and the successes of two political careers that shook the system. Elected as a 23 year old National MP in 1975, Marilyn Waring was at the centre of major political decisions over nine years. When she told Prime Minister Rob Muldoon she would cross the floor to vote to make New Zealand nuclear-free, he called the infamous 1984 snap election. The government fell. Chlöe Swarbrick ran for Mayor of Auckland as a 22 year old and came third, despite a tiny campaign budget; since entering Parliament on the Green Party list she has made headlines for her work on drug law reform, but it was her Parliamentary put-down “OK, Boomer” that went viral

Festival director Philip Tremewan calls this year’s programme “a chance for our community to come together face to face and hear speakers with real experience and expertise in areas from politics to wellbeing, from medicine to poetry.”

Eleven speaker sessions will cover a diversity of subjects, including fake news, taxation, peeling back the map of Wānaka and our region, and Shihad frontman Jon Toogood discussing being a Muslim in New Zealand.  Four singer-songwriters will also explore blues music and its impact in Aotearoa.
New for 2020 is the ‘Streetside Soapbox – Big Issues, Short Talks’ with a line-up of quickfire soapbox talks and slam poets on the pavement in central Wanaka.

Aspiring Conversations takes place at the Lake Wanaka Centre from Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th April. Tickets for the Festival will be on sale from Friday 14th February through