Young provide hope for future

At a time when our youngsters receive so much bad press it has been uplifting to participate and view some extraordinary performances from our young people.

Along with most of you I've glowed in the reflected glory of our Olympians; what wonderful young ambassadors for their country. But it was events at home in the Waikato that swelled my pride in the young, and not so young, people of the Waikato.

Viva Vivaldi or ‘a spot of Viv' as poplar violinist Nigel Kennedy would put it, rounded off a wonderful week for me. The local Cantando choir and Music Ensemble filled the Gallagher Performing Arts Centre with their voices and music. Even to my untrained ear they were fantastic listening.

As a Trustee of the University of Waikato Foundation I remember the day, some 14 years ago, when the then Vice Chancellor Bryan Gould told us that he had just committed us to a further $1 million dollars of fund raising. He had unilaterally lifted the acoustic performance level of the new building of the concert chamber of the Performing Arts Centre from AA to AAA. It meant we were going to have to raise our efforts in gathering the new required total of $13 million in donations.

Today I look at the Performing Arts Centre, which is shared between the city and the university, and wonder how we built it for only that amount; it looks like a $50 million edifice. Listening to the Cantando Choir and Music Ensemble made it all worthwhile. Not only was the sound of near to 100 mixed voices just magic, but you could even hear the third violinist whisper to her colleague at the conclusion, "wow, wasn't that great". She was right, it was.

One of the joys of my recent appointment as chair of the Sky City Hamilton Community Trust is that I'm invited to see how our donated money is being spent; I can tell you it's more fun giving it away than collecting it.

Under the terms of its licence to operate, Sky City Casino provides this trust with one and a half per cent of its operating profit. Last year, we allocated over $600,000 to local voluntary organisations. And so it was great to see Smart Waikato Education Business Network celebrate the efforts of our youth from various local schools in their commercial endeavours.

These individual groups of students had entered into the world of capitalism by producing, promoting and selling their own ideas and products. It meant they were beginning to understand that it is a hard world out there and success was hard to come by; a great lesson.

Several evenings later I was fortunate to be invited to attend the Waipa District Council's Youth Awards. This time I was wearing a different hat, that of spouse of one of the judges, but the theme was much the same, the celebration of the success of our local youngsters from the Waipa.

The awardees, some 70 of them, covered disciplines ranging from kick boxing to leadership to dress designing and musical prowess - well done Waipa District Council.

It makes one realise that the future looks pretty good and that the human values that have survived down the generations are being carried forward by these young people from the Waikato.

The icing on the cake was that I noticed that some of these young people had all the gifts needed to become our future political leaders.

It was a good week.

Waikato Times