Small Island Big Ideas is Aotea’s festival for the heart and mind.

Its intention is to arouse curiosity and conversation that takes our world and communities forward.

Small Island Big Ideas is pleased to announce this years festival – Outside In: Finding Island inspiration elsewhere by going global. 
We have set a bold intention to be in communication with other small islands around the world whose unique ‘big idea’ has created a social and economic reset for the community. We are curious about how other islands do it and seek to be inspired and perhaps ourselves inspire others to foster an off-grid lifestyle like our own).
So, if you know of a small island, much like Aotea in size, that is doing something really interesting that is helping that community to flourish, please drop us a line at Tim@SmallIslandBigIdeas.co.nz

Small Island, Big Ideas - A History

In in the Spring of 2023 we hosted Aotea’s inaugural Writer’s Festival. 
In the summer of 2023 we hosted the ‘world premier’ of Nova Paul’s Sundance-selected Hawaiki short film.
At the tail end of 2022, we hosted a series of fireside talks in the Currach pub called ‘The Winter of our Discontent’, after plans the previous year were thwarted by the global pandemic.
No Barriers: Small Island Big Ideas festival was originally conceived by Gendie Somerville-Ryan, based on BBC programme format and was designed to give Aotea a wake-up call at the end of winter.
It was first held in 2015 on the somewhat prescient theme of ‘Pandemics’!
‘Is there life out there?’ was hosted in 2016, catalysing community efforts to make the island a Dark Sky Sanctuary.
Man or Machine? (2017), The Nature of Time (2018), Death (2019) and Laughter (2020) followed, organised by Gendie and a team of volunteers.
Aotea, Great Barrier Island, Medlands Beach

The team behind Small Island Big Ideas

Tim Higham, Sandy Burgham and Bree Biederman are the current guardians of Small Island Big Ideas (SIBI).
Tim is an island-based writer who has helped champion conservation projects, big and small.
Sandy is the founder of a consultancy practice that partners with leaders and large organisations looking to enact  transformation.
They met walking their dogs on Ōruawharo Medlands Beach.
Bree arrived on Aotea in the spring of 2018. She has worked as a market gardener, waste minimisation champion, wetland restorer and website developer.
Collectively, they sense Aotea Great Barrier Island is a place that can inspire curiosity and change hearts and minds.



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