Announcing The Icehouse 20-Year Anniversary Publication

Posted by Ben Whittacker-Cook on 14/09/2021 10:00:00 AM

We caught up with Gavin Lennox, Group CEO, to discuss the behind-the-scenes creation of The Icehouse’s 20 year anniversary publication. You can find it here and we'll be serialising it in the coming months.

Textile Centre_The Icehouse Auckland HQ

The postponement of our celebratory dinner due to the Covid lockdown was disappointing. Aside from missing the opportunity to meet up again with some of the wonderful people who have contributed to The Icehouse 20-year history, it also delayed the unveiling of our new 20th anniversary publication.

Foundations for success

Illustrated with rarely-seen historic photographs and contemporary imagery, and thoughtfully written by experienced author David Williams, the 20-chapter broadsheet intertwines The Icehouse’s past, present and future with the people and places that have built the physical and nonmaterial foundations for success.

‘We wanted to mark our first 20 years in a way that contributed to the conversation; reflecting on some of the milestones and achievements of our first two decades, but in the context of where New Zealand is now, and where it will be in the future,’ says Gavin.

Gavin first came up with the idea for the publication in April 2021 – driven by a desire to permanently record The Icehouse’s history. ‘Early on, we knew we wanted to showcase our customers – small-medium business owners and start-up founders. One idea was to illustrate The Icehouse’s history through a set of objects, similar to those ‘History of the World in 100 Objects’ type of publications you see,’ he adds.

‘While it’s good to celebrate achieving something so remarkable as two decades of significant contribution to the wellbeing of the New Zealand’s business community, the last thing we wanted was an inward-looking publication focused solely on The Icehouse.

‘The more we dug, more really interesting human-interest stories came to the surface. It’s so important to preserve these stories and re-tell them to today’s Icehousers and our community.’ 

A romantic story

In collaboration with the co-founders and other major contributors to The Icehouse, Gavin refined the content ideas, commissioned the writer, and dived into the historical archives concerning The Textile Centre (The Icehouse’s Auckland HQ); speaking with and interviewing local iwi and Māori leaders to help place the building in its historical context and understand its whakapapa.

‘There was quite a romantic story in a way, that connected and respected the past and also looked to what the future could be.’ 

We’ll be showcasing more of The Icehouse story in the coming months – a story that begins well before its launch in August 2001 – even before those early spirited conversations among its co-founders.

It actually begins before settlement, in the ‘pre-history’ of this coastal trading centre, and the stories told those of the brilliant people who have made The Icehouse what it is – brilliant because of their passion, determination, foresight, and their dedication to the wellbeing of the community and the success of others.

Where we stand today

The opening line of the forward particularly resonated with Gavin, which he heard at a recent presentation by Sir Ian Taylor: Kō ngā tāhū ā o tapu wai inanahi hei tauira mō āpōpō: ‘The footsteps we lay down by those before us create the paving stones where we stand today’.

‘Part of your future is part of where you've come from, and that quote resonated with me because The Icehouse and the foundations we have laid all draw on themes from Te Ao Māori – a sense of place, intergenerational investment and vision, respect for ancestry and heritage, and guardianship.’

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Topics: Growth, The Icehouse, Gavin Lennox, SMEs, Icehouse Ventures, Blog, Blogs, 20th Anniversary, Grit Goes Further Together, 20th Anniversary Publication, David Williams