Day two of Sport NZ’s Connections 2022 Conference in Christchurch featured an eclectic mix of speakers with sports broadcasting graphics pioneer Sir Ian Taylor, Auckland University professor and creative writing lecturer Selina Tusitala Marsh and champion sailors Peter Burling and Josh Junior delivering keynote addresses.
Sir Ian highlighted the opportunities created by the COVID-19 pandemic, which had seen his company, Animation Research, face the grim prospect of global sport – and with it sports broadcasts – come to a complete halt in mid-2020.
With international travel impossible even when sporting competition did resume, Animation Research adapted its capability so it could produce its graphics packages for global broadcasts in real time from its offices in Dunedin.
The company continues to deliver its services for many events remotely, reducing travel significantly and with that its carbon footprint by an estimated 80 per cent.
“Doing that was never a challenge of technology – it was a challenge of attitude,” Sir Ian said.
Marsh, who served as New Zealand’s poet laureate from 2017-2019, gave delegates a crash course in poetry writing - and was impressed with the results.
“Tell your story,” Marsh implored. “Because if you don’t tell your tale someone else will - or won’t!”
Sailing stars Burling and Junior closed out the event in fitting style with a talk about sustainability and marine conservation – an area in which Burling has been particularly active in since encountering filthy seas at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
“The water there was so bad,” he said. “It is the most beautiful topography – white sand beaches inside the harbour. But pretty much the whole sewerage of the city goes into the bay. You didn’t want to get into the water.”
That experience – combined with some alarming insights gained in an around the world ocean race - motivated Burling to start a conservation-focused non-profit, Live Ocean.
The pair of champion sailors also provided insights into Team New Zealand’s sustainability programme, which includes the development of hydrogen powered chase boats.