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Lecture Programme March - July 2015


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.
Tea 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 3 March

New Zealand Art on the World Stage
Dr Rebecca Rice

Rebecca Rice, Curator of Historical NZ Art at Te Papa, looks at New Zealand’s representation at the Venice Biennale in light of a history of New Zealand on show at nineteenth-century International Exhibitions.

Friday 6 March

Rainwater Collection
Stan Abbott

The Roof Water Research Centre at Massey University in Wellington is run by microbiologist Stan Abbott. Stan is an enthusiastic advocate for collecting rain water from roofs in both urban and rural situations, yet he’s also aware of potential contamination from seabird droppings and wind borne pollutants.

Tuesday 10 March


Friday 13 March


Managing and Minimising Your Power Bill
Bruce Medcalf

Given that virtually all of us use electric power to light, cook, and heat our homes, the monthly power bill is a fact of life. Bruce, formerly avionics engineer with Air New Zealand, then corporate IT software engineer will give an illustrated presentation describing the elements comprising your power bill, so that you have a clear understanding of how it is made up, what you can do to minimise it, and then get maximum value from what you pay for. The goal is to end up with a house that is warm, well lit, comfortable and healthy, while at the same time reducing your power bill. Having installed solar water heating and solar PV panels etc on his own new house, this is a very practical and realistic discussion of the costs and benefits of doing so.

Tuesday 17 March


Friday 20 March


The Science of Geodesy: Measuring a Dynamic World
Dr Graeme Blick

Graeme Blick, Chief Geodesist, Land Information New Zealand will describe the science of Geodesy, one of the world’s oldest earth sciences. It is concerned with measuring the shape and size of the earth and how it changes through time. It provides the reference frame from which we determine our property boundaries, measure plate tectonics, and determine global change such as sea level rise. He will look at a number of examples including measuring the effects of earthquakes in New Zealand and Turkey.

Tuesday 24 March

New Zealand Schools: A Changing Landscape?
Dr Cathy Wylie

Dr Cathy Wylie is a Chief Researcher at the NZ Council for Educational Research. She has undertaken research on educational policy and its impacts since 1987.  New Zealand schools have been changing the way they work. What's behind these changes, and where are they headed? How well are our schools equipped now to meet the country's expectations of them?

Friday 27 March

Radiation Technologies. Science, the Public and Controversy
Dr Peter Roberts

We encounter radiation technologies in many aspects of our everyday life. A few, especially in the medical area, are well-known and have strong public support. Many others, came into existence with little or no fanfare but are now probably regarded as nearly indispensable. Food irradiation is a prime example of the tensions that can occur in today’s world between science, public understanding, consumer rights and consumer activism. Peter was a senior scientist and manager at the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS Science) 1974 - 2001. Since then he has been a consultant for the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Tuesday 31 March

New Zealand Trade Policy: CER Today
Charles Finny

Closer Economic Relations (CER) is a free trade agreement between the governments of New Zealand and Australia which came into force in 1953 Charles Finny has been with the public policy firm Saunders Unsworth since 2010. He was CEO of the Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce and prior to that, he had 22 years’ experience in international trade, economics and diplomacy having served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Prime Minister’s Department. He has worked in Singapore, Beijing and Taipei.


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Tuesday 21 April

Stealing Beauty - The Fate of Great Art in Wartime
Judge Arthur Tompkins

Art always suffers during wartime. This illustrated lecture will survey fascinating examples of these sorts of crimes, the people involved, and some of the stories and myths surrounding them. We will cover, amongst other histories, the centuries' long story of the Four Horses of San Marco’s Basilica in Venice, the thefts of the Ghent Altarpiece and Veronese’s Wedding at Cana, the sack of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade, the miracle of the Alt Aussee salt mine, and the bizarre story connecting Goya, the Duke of Wellington, James Bond, and television licensing fees. Judge Arthur Tompkins is a District Court Judge in Wellington. He has presented at numerous international conferences and workshops, in New Zealand and elsewhere, on a variety of topics, including international art crime. Each year he teaches Art in War at the Graduate Certificate Programme in International Art Crime and Heritage Protection Studies, presented annually by the Association for Research into Crimes against Art in Umbria, Italy."

Friday 24 April

Crohn's & Colitis (Inflammatory Bowel Disease or IBD): a New Zealand Story
Brian Poole

As a Crohn's Disease patient for many years Brian, Chairman of Crohn’s and Colitis New Zealand was puzzled about the dearth of information available about the disease.  In his retirement he has worked with a team of people in establishing 12 support groups around the country, together with a Charitable Trust (Crohn's and Colitis NZ) New Zealand has one of the highest rates of the disease in the world. It mainly affects young people 15-35 years. Treatment is costly and the quality of life is often poor.

Tuesday 28 April

Organised Crime: It’s What We Do
John Goddard

The theme of the presentation is that organised crime is an activity not an organisation. A sub thread looks at “How we KNOW!” as against “HOW we know!” John (JG) Goddard holds the position of Training Advisor at the Royal New Zealand Police College – Intelligence Practice, where he has been for three years.

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Friday 1 May

Accelerating Today for a Better Tomorrow
Dr William Rolleston

Dr William Rolleston is National President of Federated Farmers and he farms in South Canterbury and operates a family owned biological manufacturing business in Timaru. As he says, the modern world presents humanity with many challenges and opportunities. The world population continues to grow, demand for dietary protein is increasing and there is concern for the environment and in particular climate change.  In order to face these challenges and make the best of the opportunities New Zealand must continue to invest in science, particularly in the primary sector. Farmers must be innovative and have access to all the tools of modern science and technology.  As a country we must increase our investment in science and strive for a society which is science literate. His presentation will traverse these issues and explore the technologies available to the farmer now and in the future.

Tuesday 5 May

The NZ Legal System Today – Changes, Themes and the Future
Christine Grice

New Zealand is reputedly one of the least corrupt countries in the world. It has robust legal institutions, a highly regarded judiciary and a strong organised legal profession. What is the role of these institutions of justice and what changes are on the horizon? Issues surrounding access to justice and the role of lawyers, judges and the changes to criminal and civil systems pose challenges to ensuring the maintenance of our international reputation, while at the same time meeting modern demands. Christine is the Executive Director of the New Zealand Law Society and a fellow of the Institute of Directors.

Friday 8 May

The NZ – Germany Bilateral Relationship: A Proven Recipe for Success in a Changing World
Dr David Lowe

Dr. David Lowe, NZ/Germany Science and Innovation Co-ordinator, will share with us the Science and Innovation part of the 37 year relationship that NZ and Germany have maintained. It has been an extremely successful bilateral science and innovation relationship involving close co-operation across hundreds, probably thousands, of projects in all scientific disciplines. The projects range from basic scientist to scientist exchanges between the countries to multimillion dollar ventures with win-win benefits to both NZ and Germany. In this talk he will present a wide ranging series of projects across all disciplines including a medical robotics venture launched in Auckland during the November visit to NZ by the German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel.

Tuesday 12 May

Patients’ Rights and Citizens’ Rights: Reflections from a Former Health and Disability Commissioner and Current Parliamentary Ombudsman
Professor Ron Paterson

When things go wrong in general practice, in hospital, or in a rest home, we have a statutory right to complain; so too when public agencies act unlawfully or unreasonably. Parliament has given us rights of redress (including the right to information), and has created public watchdogs – the Health and Disability Commissioner and the Ombudsman – to enable the exercise of our rights. This talk will explain the nature of our rights and give examples of the interesting range of cases dealt with by the Commissioner and the Ombudsman.

Friday 15 May

Place Names in New Zealand
Wendy Shaw

Wendy is the Secretary of The NZ Geographic Board, Nga Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa is New Zealand’s national place naming authority, responsible for making place names official. It is an independent statutory body of government that Land Information New Zealand administers.Find out about the Board and why it is important to have standardised, consistent and accurate place names that help us identify locations on the landscape and preserve our heritage, culture, identity, connections and language.

Tuesday 19 May

Transparency International & the Broader Implications of its Work for NZ
Suzanne Snively

Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) is the recognised New Zealand representative of Transparency International, the global civil society organisation against corruption. TINZ’s vision is a world with trusted integrity systems in which government, politics, business, civil society and the daily lives of people are free of corruption.  Suzanne is the Chair of Transparency International New Zealand & has had a distinguished career in New Zealand since she arrived as a Fulbright Scholar in the early 1970’s.

Friday 22 May

The Surveying of New Zealand
Tony Bevin

Tony Bevin was the Surveyor-General of New Zealand, 1996-2004: An outline of the surveying and mapping of New Zealand in the context of its settlement and development. It will include examples of the role of surveying in implementing land administration policies and in scientific research, with particular reference to the geology and tectonics of NZ.

Tuesday 26 May

The Independent Bookseller’s Response to the Electronic Age
Lincoln Gould

Lincoln Gould looks at the facts and myths of the effect of the digital age on bookshops in New Zealand and internationally, how readers have responded, and how booksellers have developed responses. Lincoln is CEO of Booksellers NZ (BSNZ), which represents the national bookselling trade to government and other regulatory and non-regulatory agencies, and manages national promotions including the New Zealand Book Awards, the New Zealand Children’s Book Awards and New Zealand Book Month.

Friday 29 May: Note - Programme change

No lecture today

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Tuesday 2 June

A 12th-century manuscript in the Alexander Turnbull Library
Ruth Lightbourne

What does it look like?  What is this about? How did it arrive in New Zealand? Accompanied by images, Ruth, who is the Curator Rare Books and Fine Printing , Alexander Turnbull Library,  will show you some of the physical characteristics of this manuscript, look at its content and its two authors, Boethius and Guido of Arezzo, and trace the manuscript’s previous owners and how the it arrived in New Zealand.

Friday 5 June - Note: Change of topic & speaker

What Lies Beneath? - Wellington's Archaeology
Mary O’Keeffe

Mary, who is a consultant archaeologist with postgraduate qualifications in Anthropology, will give an illustrated talk of various archaeological projects she has worked on over the last 18 years.  These include small developments and large infrastructure projects.  The information gained tells us about how Wellington developed as a city and a community.

Tuesday 9 June

Investigative Journalism: “How it is Done and Why it is Needed"?
Nicky Hagar

Nicky Hager is an author and investigative journalist based in Wellington. He lectures regularly on investigative techniques and has written six best-selling books including “Secret Power” (1996), “The Hollow Men, a Study in the Politics of Deception” (2006) and in August 2014 “Dirty Politics.”

Friday 12 June

The Corporation Yard: A Forgotten Microcosm of Wellington’s Urban Working-Class
Gábor Tóth

On the edge of the CBD, Waitangi Park is today enjoyed by families, dog-walkers and skate-boarding teenagers. But for more than a century the area was known to generations of Wellingtonians as the Corporation Yard. Over this period thousands of Council employees, many of them migrants toiled in often dirty and dangerous conditions. This talk will reveal some of the stories of the yard and the people who worked there. Gábor Tóth is the Local and NZ History Specialist, Wellington City Libraries.

Tuesday 16 June

A 3D Printed World
Ross Stevens

Ross, a Senior Lecturer at Victoria University’s School of Design will explore (with images and objects) the connection between 3D printing and biological growth. He will examine how computer code and DNA play a similar role in determining the characteristic of things and how this similarity could blur the distinction between manmade and natural objects.

Friday 19 June

Surviving Pol Pot
Dr Max Stevenson

Dr Stevenson is a New Zealand GP who has worked in medical missions in the Philippines, New Guinea and Thailand. In 1980 he worked in the Thai refugee camps for Cambodian refugees, and this is the subject of his talk.

Tuesday 23 June

Midwinter Lunch

The speaker will be Hewitt Humphrey. With a long and respected history as an award-winning national broadcaster, many people have described him as “the voice of New Zealand”. His experience covers the whole spectrum of radio and television broadcasting, as a presenter, reporter, interviewer, writer, newsreader and actor.

Friday 26 June

Fruit and Vegetables for Human Health
Professor Julian Heyes

Julian Heyes, is Professor of Postharvest Technology, Massey University; and Chair, Commission on Fruit and Vegetables for Human Health, International Society for Horticultural Science. Are fruit and vegetables really important for our health, and if so, why? Can we still call them 'fresh' if they have been stored for six months or shipped half way around the world? What about pesticide residues or pathogenic bacteria: how safe are fresh products in NZ? In this lively presentation Prof Heyes will tackle some common questions about the value of fruit and vegetables in our diets and the contribution being made by his research team.

Tuesday 30 June

Niue Island Involvement in World War I
Margaret Pointer

A former history teacher, Margaret became involved, while living on Niue, in a project to uncover the largely lost story of the 150 Niueans who were accepted for service in the Maori Contingent. Margaret, now an independent researcher, has an ongoing interest in Niuean history and has just completed a 200 year history of Niue to be published by Otago University Press in May.  She will also discuss some of the research challenges encountered while writing about this small Pacific Island.

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Friday 3 July

Food and Food Manufacture in the Future
Professor Richard Archer

The future of food and the technology that makes it are inextricable. In today's urban world technology maketh the food and the technologies to come next depend on what the consumer wants next. Professor Archer is a Fellow of the Institution of Professional Engineers of New Zealand (IPENZ), Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology - NZIFST; and former head of the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health, andInstitute of Technology and Engineering at Massey University.


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