UPFRONT : LETTERS Art of the long view

I read your article “Opportunity knocks” in the October issue of the magazine with considerable interest. I am now aged 72 and am an associate fellow of the NZIM with professional lifetime background in accountancy/regional development advocacy.
I am also former member of the New Zealand Forestry & Tourism Councils, the New Zealand National Park Centennial Commission, Dunedin City Council and many other Otago regional bodies with special interest in forestry research. My wife and I have created six-hectare park, Jolendale Park, covenanted with the QEII National Trust as its sole “semi-arid woodland reserve” located on the upper slopes of Bridge Hill, Alexandra.
I have been keen follower of the late professor James Duncan and the New Zealand Futures Trust – sort of voluntary follow-up of the former New Zealand Planning Council and New Zealand Commission for the Future.
One of my regular referrals in recent years is The Art of the Long View – planning for the future in an uncertain world, by Peter Schwartz (Currency Doubleday 1991). He lays special emphasis on the migration through the natural lifecycle of the postwar baby boomers whose first members are celebrating this year their 60th birthdays.
Some of them are now very wealthy, having enjoyed comparative peaceful employment throughout their working lives – and few recent prominent ‘lifestyle’ settlers coming to inland Otago and few other icon landscapes have been described as BOBOs (burnt out but opulent).
Through much of my working life I was an advocate of ‘universal sabbatical leave’ as means of bringing forward in the lifecycle some ‘time out’ years at seven-year intervals for the purposes of closer family involvement, educational update, overseas experience or community volunteer service participation – all of which can be smothered by employment priorities. Such space can allow for fresh look at employer/employee relationships as parties on both sides can better appreciate the change we all experience in maturity and wisdom.
In recent years I have been especially interested in the role of the University of the Third Age education update packages and the Elder Hostel Movement. The whole question of senior travel is well illustrated in most useful chapter published in the book, Global Tourism – the next decade edited by William Theobald (Butterworth Heinemann 1994). The article, “The Senior Travel Market: distinct, diverse, demanding” by Jan van Harssel points the way ahead for the semi-retired postwar baby boomers.
I was therefore interested in your quotation from Robin Gunston, chairman of Futures Thinking Aotearoa, group that I had not come across before, and your quote: “Gunston also sees an opportunity within the provision of goods and services for the 60-plus age group and mentions ‘pseudo-education’ services. Perhaps educational tourism – allowing older people to learn while they travel.”
Throughout my lifetime I have been engaged in the purposeful constructional use of leisure time – hence the creation of the wonderful parkland property in Alexandra – and useful environmentally conscious contribution to the welfare of both this and future generations.
We need to advocate more than consumerism of short term “buzz” and often little regard for the over-use of finite Planet Earth resources of soil, water, air, and other partners in the complex and beautifully unique biosphere that we have been so privileged to inherit and enjoy.
I would be pleased to have reference to Mr Gunston’s views on education tourism.
Thank you for most timely and relevant contribution to Management magazine, which is followed by an equally inspiring story of Rob Fenwick “Weaving green threads” and my favourite management guru Peter Drucker. His view expressed in the book on the management of non-profit institutions, namely that in our visions and goals we need first to look from the ‘outside-in rather than the inside-out’, is quite profound observation. His later linking up of the worldwide impact of the internet with the much earlier expansion to all continents of railway communication was equally inspirational.

Jolyon Manning, JP, Alexandra

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