Reflecting on Festival for the Future

How was Festival For The Future 2019? In two words: MIND BLOWING! Our experience of this epic annual event ticked every box that a changemaker could ask for:

  • Inspirational leaders

  • Meet-ups with young dreamers and doers

  • Life changing learnings

  • Quoteable take aways

  • Quality time with our very own Seed Waikato whaanau

Want to read more about what our Seed Waikato whaanau felt, did and heard at #FFTF2019? Here’s what each young leader had to say:

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How would you sum up your weekend at FFTF?

Brittney Benn: My weekend at the FFTF is one I’ll never forget. Not only was I surrounded by my loving friends at Seed Waikato, who accept me for all of me (surprise rapping and all), but I had the opportunity to grow as a person through the experiences of peers, speakers and leaders. It was a weekend filled with inspiration, love, acceptance and comradery. I had the opportunity to become closer with my Seed Waikato Whanaau and that in itself is a golden nugget (we have some pretty amazing people). Also, did you know Laura is our Committee Secretary?

Rachel Bauer: FFTF was an amazing experience, and I was hugely inspired by seeing so many young people engaged in big issues and knowing that they have the power to create the future they want. Many of the speakers were young people talking about their passion, sharing their story and ways they are working in their communities to make a difference. Not only was this incredibly brave and vulnerable, but it was so inspiring and mind blowing to see how far ahead these young people are in terms of their thinking and commitment to inclusion, wellbeing, the climate and government and leadership.

Chloe Bell: AMAZING!!!!!! So much inspiration in one jam packed weekend. I am so grateful for the personal and professional inspiration and development I got from the weekend. Added bonus of doing it with the most amazing team!

Chantelle Cobby: Awe-inspiring! There is nothing quite like the atmosphere at FFTF, so to be a part of that, and to feed off the incredible energy of hundreds of inspiring people, for three whole days, was an incredible honor and privilege that definitely stands as a highlight of my year to date. Being confronted with the hard-hitting issues we’re all facing, yet simultaneously equipped with the tools and resources to deal with these, and take positive action (thanks to the empowering, raw and authentic stories shared by the speakers), was an immensely powerful experience that has truly empowered me.

Josephine Makuden: The festival was so inspiring and moving in ways that I can not describe. It also helped us as whanaau to bond over the trip. The weekend was perfect weather wise and also experience wise. I interacted with so many people who knew about us and so many who loved to hear about Seed Waikato.

Isaac Kerr: The weekend away for Festival for the Future was amazing! It was really cool for the Seed Waikato team to be away with each other and bond a lot more, we squished all of us into 2 cars and old school road tripped the whole way there and back, sharing stories, our backgrounds and many laughs (like we do at our Monday night hui haha!) It make my sense of team much stronger and it was great to get to know everyone on a more personal level.

I also really enjoyed the workshops, keynote speakers and overall sense of empowerment the weekend transmitted to all of us. Seeing so many different people come together to celebrate young people and their successes was really inspiring!

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What is your biggest takeaway from FFTF?

Brittney Benn: The 4 day work week was something that definitely sparked my interest. It’s a way in which employees can balance their work and personal lives, decrease levels of stress and increase overall work satisfaction. But I think the main takeaway from this was that your actual job performance increases when doing it over 4 days instead of 5 as employees are seen to be more productive so as to compensate for the “lost day”. This is something I am hoping to trial in the future.

Rachel Bauer: If we give our young people the space to lead and act the difference they can make is huge. They believe there are answers, they believe in the causes they are passionate about, and they believe they can make a change. They believe there is hope and a better way. They’ve got this and we need to step back and enable them, rather than believe we are the only ones with the answers.

Chloe Bell: Hard to pick the biggest but I am definitely going to take more time out for my personal wellbeing. Aiming to get outside for at least 20 minutes per day.

Chantelle Cobby: I have so many takeaways from Festival, but one quote in particular has really stuck with me and I can’t quite shake it from my mind; it came from Sophie Handford, and is, that:


The things we are facing now, may be scary, but they are nowhere near as scary as the future we face if we don’t take that action.


Josephine Makuden: My biggest take away was the phrase that Sophie shared with us at one of the sessions - 'We are more powerful when we empower each other!'

Isaac Kerr: All of the speakers had some amazing quotes that expressed their journeys and way of thinking, the one that landed with me the strongest was; “The only time it’s acceptable to say ‘I can’t’, is when ‘yet’ is on the end of it.”

Although, quite a straight forward message, this resonated with me because of its simplicity. There were many young people with far worse obstacles to overcome than me at this festival and they were doing some wicked things. Their example inspired me to do the same.

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How are you going to turn that golden nugget of inspiration into bold action?

Brittney Benn: I’m hoping PKF can support me in trialing the four day work week. I aim to see my productivity increase, my overall happiness to increase (I’m a pretty happy gal anyways, but stress is a real thing), and to be able to juggle the extra-curricular activities without feeling as though I am sacrificing myself. Whether this mean an extra day to study for my exams, a day to myself, or even work some overtime for PKF if required.

Rachel Bauer: I’m excited to engage with our youth population more. To hear their ideas, understand their experiences, be inspired by their openness and support them in the many important causes and struggles we face. I’m also going to start believing more – being open minded and believing that anything is possible, rather than playing devils advocate and coming up with all of the reasons something won’t work.

Chloe Bell: I have already spoken to my manager about starting early and taking a longer lunch break to go the gym. Also asked our manager if we can play the change game.

Chantelle Cobby: Just do it! Simple as that - whatever ideas I have, whatever things I’m thinking of doing, to just face the fears that accompany them and do it - that’s exactly what every speaker who we heard from has done, and that is what enabled them to stand on the stage. I’m going to lean into networks of support from FFTF and beyond, and just take bold leaps of action.

Josephine Makuden: My biggest take away was the phrase that Spohie shared with us at one of the sessions - 'We are more powerful when we empower each other!'

Isaac Kerr: It makes me want to take all the things that I procrastinate about, and prioritise them in a way that I will actually get them done. To breath, think clearly and formulate a plan. Let’s do this!


The Seed Waikato Team and Committee members would like to thank our sponsors and employers for supporting us in attending Festival for the Future. It has been an invaluable experience and an opportunity for our growth.