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Lecture Programme March - July 2014

VUW Continuing Education
Lecture programme archive


Venue and Times

All lectures are held from 10.30am - 12 noon in the Paramount, Courtenay Place.

Entrance Fee

The entrance fee to all lectures is $3.
Coffee is available in the foyer from 10am at a cost of $2.

Please note that current membership cards must be shown for admission to the lectures.



Tuesday 18 March

A Wellington actor 
Ray Henwood

Welsh-born Ray Henwood moved to New Zealand in his 20s, and began a long-running theatrical career. Along the way, there has been a host of screen appearances, most famously on classic Roger Hall comedy Gliding On and a run of Moro Bar advertisements. In 2006 he was awarded the Order of Merit for services to film and theatre. He has also toured one-man shows playing Richard Burton and Dylan Thomas.

Friday 21 March

Keyhole surgery: The journey from candle to robot
Dr Dynes McConnell

One of the most impressive success stories of modern healthcare is the introduction of minimally invasive surgical techniques.Medical science has sought to reduce the invasive adverse impact of surgery on the body whilst maintaining safe access to internal organs. Dynes will examine the journey of minimally invasive surgery, with particular reference to women’s health, and will discuss the relationship between advancing age and surgical outcomes.

Tuesday 25 March       

The Kermadec Islands: Vignettes from their history
Steven Gentry

Steve’s recently published Raoul and the Kermadecs: New Zealand’s northernmost islands is the first history ever written of these fascinating islands. That it has taken so long for pen to have been put to paper on this topic is quite remarkable as New Zealand’s sub-Antarctic islands have been well traversed in this regard. Steve’s appetite was whetted as a result of participating in the first tourist visit to the islands in 2005. A former consulting engineer with an interest in the natural and human history of the South Pacific, Steve will present some highlights of the Kermadecs story from prehistoric times to the present day.

Friday 28 March

An insider’s view of the World Bank
Helen Sutch

Helen held senior roles in the World Bank for many years. Now living back home in Wellington she will share her perspectives on the World Bank and the—sometimes controversial—role the donor community plays in poor countries.

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Tuesday 1 April

A year on an island adrift in time
Gwen Levick

Gwen and her husband spent a year as volunteers with Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) in a remote province of the Solomon Islands. She will share some of the challenges faced and insights gained from an assignment focused on working with the local education authority to strengthen education in Makira Ulawa Province after a period of neglect during the ethnic tensions in the country from 1999 to 2002.

Friday 4 April

High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) Pole 3 Project: The inter-island link

Andrew, Engineering Manager, System Operator, Transpower NZ Ltd, and formerly their HVDC Project Director, will outline the background to Transpower’s HVDC inter-island link, the new HVDC Pole 3, along with the challenges in implementing the project.

Tuesday 8 April

What goes on at our Interest Group meetings?

Convenors of some of our 13 Interest Groups will talk about their activities, with members of the Writing Group reading some of the work they have written last year.  Find out what goes on, where and how often these groups meet.  Come to listen, ask questions and make suggestions for any new groups that could be set up.

Friday 11 April

River dog
Grant Muir

Grant is a farmer and artist who paints modern landscapes.  For the past eight years Grant’s focus has been devoted to the health of the Pahaoa River which surrounds his Hinakura property.  He set up a national water lobby group, WaiNZ, and a monitoring partnership with Victoria University.  His ongoing effort to get stock out of the waterway and address the wider issue of environmentally unsound farming practices was the subject of the international award winning documentary, River Dog, filmed and produced by his son James Muir.

Tuesday 15 April

What do unions do?
Helen Kelly

Helen Kelly has been President of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (CTU) since 2007. She is the CTU’s chief spokesperson on a wide range of issues including economic development, employment law, climate change, social partnership and ACC. A vigorous advocate for women’s pay and employment equity she also co-chairs the Workplace Health and Safety Council. Helen is responsible for CTU international work through the International Trade Union Congress and the International Labour Organisation.

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Tuesday 6 May

New Zealand in political time: The 2014 general election and beyond
Dr Jon Johansson

Jon is a senior lecturer in comparative politics at Victoria University.  His major specialties are domestic political policy, political leadership, political psychology, political rhetoric and US politics, particularly the study of the presidency. He has been a political analyst for Television New Zealand’s current affairs programme Q & A, and has appeared across various media platforms during the past decade, including election-day coverage in both New Zealand and the United States.

Friday 9 May

Modern weather forecasting
Dr Mike Revell

Mike is principal scientist and manager for the Meteorology Group at NIWA.  He pioneered the use of computers for forecasting in New Zealand.  His current research interest is looking at the airflow over hills and around buildings.  In his talk he will cover the history of weather prediction and how a modern numerical weather forecast system works.  Mike will include a forecast of the weather for Wellington for the next few days.

Tuesday 13 May

Sewing freedom: Philip Josephs and early New Zealand anarchism
Jared Davidson

Anarchism as a philosophy and social movement has long been misunderstood. Yet as a force for social change, anarchism has an appeal for many people worldwide. Philip Josephs—a Latvian-born Jewish tailor and anti-militarist was founder of one of New Zealand’s first anarchist groups in 1913. This talk will highlight his life and ideas. Jared Davidson is an archivist, member of the Labour History Project and writer on the intersections of power, culture and class. He has published two books, including Sewing Freedom: Philip Josephs, transnationalism & early New Zealand anarchism (AK Press, 2013) which will be available for $15 on the day.

Friday 16 May

New Zealand fossils
Dr James Crampton

Because of New Zealand’s location astride the Earth’s great oceanic and atmospheric currents, scientists in New Zealand are making crucial contributions to the understanding of global environmental and climate change. Our extremely rich rock and fossil records allow us to place modern observations into the context of deep time. How does modern change compare to the upheavals and transitions that have occurred over millions of years? James will share with us how their research into the use of chemical, fossil and physical evidence and computer models is yielding surprising and sobering findings.

Tuesday 20 May

‘Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink’: Vision and violence in Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Heidi Thomson

Heidi is the Romantics specialist at Victoria University.  Her lecture deals with Coleridge’s 1798 ripping yarn about the mariner who shot the albatross and who was forced to tell the tale forever.  The poem crosses psychological and geographical boundaries in a way that no poem has ever done before, and readers have been fascinated with the enchanting terror of the ballad ever since.

Friday 23 May

The New Zealand coast watchers in the Pacific in WW II
Dale Williamson

During WW11 a number of young New Zealand civilians, mainly from the Post and Telegraph Department, volunteered for ‘Special Duty outside New Zealand’ as radio operators and coast watchers. They were placed on islands in the Pacific to keep watch for principally Japanese naval and air force activity. Dale will share with us where they were sent and what became of them.

Tuesday 27 May

The role of the Banking Ombudsman scheme
Deborah Battell

In her fifth year as Banking Ombudsman, Deborah Battell will share her insights on banking today. The global financial crisis is now behind us, but its impact resulted in big changes in the way disputes with banks are resolved. The banking sector is constantly evolving, and dispute resolution is evolving with it. What are the big issues facing banking customers in 2014? Cases resolved this financial year range from disputes over how much money was handed over to the bank teller, through to out and out identity fraud through email hacking on public Wi-Fi. Are you doing all you can to manage your banking relationships and keep your finances safe?

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Tuesday 3 June

Remembering war: New Zealand’s changing international situation
Terence O’Brien

Terence O’Brien is a former senior diplomat who has lectured and written widely on New Zealand foreign policy and international affairs. The great wars of the 20th century had a direct influence on shaping New Zealand’s international identity. How we decide to commemorate our country’s part in them will tell us something about ourselves and influence the perceptions of others about modern New Zealand.

Friday 6 June

A New Zealand environmental issue
Dr Jan Wright

Jan Wright, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, will speak on a topical issue based on one of her latest reports.

Tuesday 10 June

To be advised.

Friday  13 June

Wellington’s roads of national significance
Rod James

Rod, the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) Highway Manager for the Central Region, will provide a brief history, followed by an overview of Wellington’s roads of national significance, the transformational impact of these projects on the region, and an update on current progress.

Tuesday 17 June

Colours of India
Valerie Carson

. . . ‘no other land enjoys such a profusion of creative energies for the production of textiles as the subcontinent of India’quote from John Gillow, friend and colleague of Valerie Carson. Valerie, Te Papa’s first textile conservator, was employed in 1980 by what was then the National Museum. She retired in 2007 after 27 years of service and remains active in the textile community, practising conservation and leading workshops and study tours.

Friday 20 June

Sustainable utilisation of fisheries resources in New Zealand 
Dr Kevin Sullivan

Kevin is the Fisheries Stock Assessment Manager at the Ministry for Primary Industries who chairs the fisheries assessment working groups, reviewing the stock assessment advice from the researchers and managing the competitive tendering process for research contracts. He will outline the system used to manage New Zealand’s fisheries with specific case studies on rock lobster and orange roughy fish stocks and the approach to management of fisheries interactions with protected species.

Tuesday 24 June   Midwinter lunch

Exhibiting colonial culture
Dr Rebecca Rice

Rebecca is Curator Historical New Zealand Art, at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. She confesses to a long-standingpreoccupation with the culture of exhibitions and colonial art. In her current role at TePapa, she faces the challenge of conveying this passion to visitors,and finding ways toengage those in the present with the art of the past

Friday 27 June

Linking eco-restoration, reproductive behaviour and climate modelling to predict tuatara offspring sex ratios
Anna L Carter

Anna Carter, a doctoral candidate in the School of Biological Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington, will share some of her research examining how climate change could impact one of New Zealand’s most charismatic endemic species. Environmental variation is ubiquitous in nature, whether the direct result of human activity or of ‘normal’ climate-driven processes. Predicting the impacts of climate change on vulnerable populations is, arguably, the hottest topic in ecology. Anna has combined cutting-edge computer modelling techniques with creative data mining to explore how female nesting behaviour interacts with the environment to influence hatchling sex ratios in tuatara, a long-lived reptile with temperature-dependent sex determination.

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Tuesday 1 July

The Translation Service
Liz Seymour

Liz Seymouris the Chief Executive Officer of  NZTC International.

Friday 4 July

Environmental sustainability in New Zealand depends on people, cows and water. What can you do?
Dr Mike Joy

Dr Mike Joy is Senior Lecturer, Environmental Science/Ecology at Massey University. He is an outspoken advocate for environmental protection in New Zealand. In 2013 he received the Charles Fleming Award from the Royal Society. Mike teaches environmental sustainability to ecology and environmental management undergraduate students in the Institute of Agriculture and Environment.He teaches community ecology, global environmental issues, freshwater ecology, microbial ecology and runs a field-based paper looking first hand at environmental issues in New Zealand.

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