pechakucha is alive and well in New Zealand

©Heather Hapeta 2009

Pecha Kucha Nights are a rapid fire presentation format that’s sort of speed dating about the work, ideas and passions of creative people.

Travelling virus-like around the world – not quite at the speed of SARS or swine flu – the nights started in 2003 by a couple of ex-pat designers Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Kein-Dytham Architecture in Tokyo, Japan. They devised a format that kept presentations concise in order to encourage audience attention and increase the number of presenters in the one night.

The format consists of a data slide-show of 20 images, each of which is shown for only 20 seconds, moving onto the next image whether the presenter is ready or not.It’s a great way to get lots of information to the audience without boring them: even if it’s a topic that of no interest to some of the audience, don’t worry, its all over in 6 minutes 40 seconds.

AQ on its blog ( says “The beauty of Pecha Kucha Night lies in the tension between the chaos of a full-blown party and the politeness of an art school critic, with the snappy pace holding it all together. Like any open-mic night, this is an intense fight for attention. In the red corner, the presenter “selling” his work to the audience, in the blue corner, the bar selling beer to the same audience. The better your presentation, the less beer the bar sells, and vice-versa!”

If you want to present at a PK evening I can guarantee their blog helps us creative people talk about creative things and avoid “death by Powerpoint.

Most nights have about 14 presenters, most of who are (and much of the audience too) from the design, architecture, photography, art, music, and other creative fields

Some presenters in Christchurch (and their topics) have included

  • David Read  Photographer and publisher talking about being a skateboard photographer;
  • Adi Tait  tells us about The Burning Man experience
  • Bill de Friez, film maker among other skills,  is the man who nearly died of embarrassment
  • Cara Gouvea  a student here in Christchurch gives us a love letter to Saint Petersburg  her city
  • Flip Grater musician and writer, just back from her Cookbook Tour of Europe — takes us on a food and music trip across the continent.
  • Heather Hapeta aka The Passionate Nomad, author, blogger, and photographer tells how she helped create 79 Buddhist monks,
  • and Seth Wagoner had us ‘pimping your Firefox’ while immigrant Keinyo White, painter and illustrator shows us Aotearoa from an Af-Am perspective.

I go because I love passionate people talking about their passions: others tell me they look forward the evenings as they find out what others artists are doing; being introduced to new ideas; and of course supporting friends who are presenting.

The name derives from a Japanese term for the sound of conversation (“chit-chat”). A Pecha Kucha Night is a non-profit orientated event that is now part of an international network. According to Wikipedia, Pecha Kucha is usually pronounced in three syllables like “pe-chak-cha” but here in Christchurch we all seem to be saying it as two words each with two syllables!

It’s estimated that around 15,000 people in 200 cities –  from Aarhus, Adelaide, Amsterdam, Athens, Atlanta, Auckland, to Wellington, Worcester, Zagreb, Zaragoza, Zilina, and Zürich – attend Pecha Kucha nights each month, (in New Zealand its in Christchurch, Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Nelson) making this one of the world’s biggest creative networks. As they say – Pecha Kucha is for content not profit, so, join the conversation!

See photos from the first Christchurch Pecha Kucha night

Other sites to check out: