Rebuilding Christchurch business: Kaila Colbin - Missing Link

By Kim Triegaardt

Missing Link founder Kaila Colbin talks at TEDActive in Palm Springs, California about her vision for a new carbon neutral Christchurch. Photo / Supplied
Missing Link founder Kaila Colbin talks at TEDActive in Palm Springs, California about her vision for a new carbon neutral Christchurch. Photo / Supplied

When presented with a world stage on which to share the tragedy of Christchurch, founder of social media consultancy Missing Link, Kaila Colbin, didn't hesitate.

Although scheduled to talk at the February 28 TEDActive event in Palm Springs, California about why everyone's goal should be to talk at a TED event, the organisers gave rare permission for the Christchurch-based marketer to change the subject of her talk at the last minute.

"I had a three minute platform and had to think about how I could use that to be of the most service to the people of Christchurch," she says.

With its tagline, Riveting Talks by Remarkable People, TED events have snowballed into cult affairs around the world and only a handful of New Zealander's have been accepted to give talks so Colbin knew she would have everyone's attention.

Even as she stood on stage and talked about a city brought to its knees, a population skittish and the ground unstable, the message she carried was one of hope.

"I believe the demise of a city is also what contains its promise. Opportunity lies before us. We are city waiting to be rebuilt and we can rebuild in any way we choose," she told the audience.

Colbin says that standing before a room full of the world's leading thinkers gave her the opportunity to appeal to "all the global experts in sustainable living to come together to create the world's first carbon neutral city."

Realising that her talk would most likely trigger some response, Colbin had just a day to set up a website that would be her call to action. She called her IT company in Christchurch, Global Office and gave them a few hours to get a website up and running.

Reimaginechristchurch.org.nz
was the result. "It's a platform that allows users to submit ideas and vote on them," says Colbin.

"Cantabrians have a lot of opinions about what should be done with the city and if we don't find a way to bring those voices together, they will be lost. There will also be lots of frustration and resistance so Reimaginechristchurch.org.nz is a way to channel what we as a community want as a city and then let that voice be heard by the people who are making the decisions."

Colbin was given a standing ovation for her talk and it has inspired her to think about how she can continue to promote a shared vision for the city.

"We've got some exciting plans which it's too early to talk about. But watch this space," she says.

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