Lecture Programme

Lecture Programme for 2018 – May to August

All lectures are held from 10.30am – 12 noon in the Embassy Theatre, 10 Kent Tce, Courtenay Place, unless otherwise notified.

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

There is no admission charge for current members of U3A Wellington City. For visitors accompanying a member the charge is $5 each.

If you have suggestions for possible speakers please contact Bruce Medcalf medcalfba@orcon.net.nz or any committee member.

The Coffee Club

To meet a more social aspect of U3A outside of the Special Interest Groups a fortnightly, free-wheeling discussion will continue being trialled this year on issues, questions or comments from the preceding fortnight’s lectures. Allowing for holidays, this “Koffee Klub” will follow the lecture on the 2nd Friday and last Tuesday of each month, and take place opposite the upstairs cafe overlooking Kent Tce. Each will be announced at that day’s lecture, and prospective dates are: May 22 and June 15 & 26.  For July 13 & 24, Aug 17 & 28 and Sept 14 & 25, continued KKs will depend on interested participants becoming leaders due to Aidan’s absence  Volunteers will be invited at the next few Koffee Klubs, their dates being included in the lecture information below.

Because the Embassy Theatre is unavailable during Film Festivals we are not able to follow our usual three lecture terms. To accommodate the usual number of lectures the following are the lecture terms for 2018.

 Second lecture session Tuesday 3rd April to Friday 25th May

 29th May to 9th June – Two week Break

Third lecture session Tuesday 12th June to Tuesday 24th July

26th July to 15th August – International Film Festival at the Embassy Theatre

 Fourth lecture session Friday 17th August to Friday 28th September

 No lectures 2nd October to 12th October – School Holidays

 Final lecture session Tuesday 16th October to Friday 2nd November


Tuesday 15 May

The Banking Ombudsman Schemes – Complaints Traps and Scams
Kate Kenworthy and Tim Hope

Kate Kenworthy is a Senior Investigator and Chief Resolution Adviser who has worked for the Banking Ombudsman Scheme since 2008.  She graduated from Victoria University with a Bachelor of Laws in 2007 and is an Accredited Mediator (Resolution Institute). Tim Hope is an investigator who has worked for the Banking Ombudsman Scheme since 2014. He also has a role in the Early Resolution Service which focuses on facilitating resolutions of simpler complaints at an early stage. Prior to working for the Banking Ombudsman Scheme, Tim spent several years at various law firms both in New Zealand and overseas. He graduated from the University of Canterbury with a Bachelor of Laws in 2010. Kate and Tom will  talk about what the Banking Ombudsman Scheme is all about and also talk through some common complaints and traps that have caught people out, such as common scams affecting bank customers, lending complaints etc.

 Friday 18 May

Jury decision making
Yvette Tinsley

Dr Yvette Tinsley is Reader in Law, Faculty of Law, Victoria University of Wellington. Her interests include Jury decision-making, and so will discuss the impact of reforms to jury trial management, particularly in terms of judicial direction. Yvette will include some insights into the dynamics of group decision-making and challenges for the system in a technological age. Her team is currently analysing associated data from the study, and so there will be some cutting edge results to share.

Tuesday 22 May

Susan Keall

Sue is a Senior Technical Officer in Conservation Ecology at the School of Biological Sciences, at Victoria University of Wellington. She started as a technical trainee straight out of Polytech over 30 years ago, and has been fortunate to be able to develop her role at Victoria in her preferred area of conservation ecology. She supports field based teaching courses for both under-graduates and post graduate students, as well as being integrally involved in long-term research on NZ reptiles in particular tuatara. This has led to many collaborative conservation projects with other organisations such as the Department of Conservation (DOC) Wellington and Auckland Zoos, mainland sanctuaries, iwi and other universities. Sue has been lucky enough to visit many protected islands inhabited by tuatara, and also cares for 4 adult tuatara living in an exhibit at Victoria University. Tuatara are a New Zealand taonga that occur naturally nowhere else on Earth. In New Zealand along with many other native species they have been severely impacted by habitat loss and more seriously, introduced predatory mammals. Sue will talk about their natural history and one of many conservation projects that have contributed to reversing the decline of the iconic species.

Coffee Club Meets

 Friday 25 May

What’s more important – physical health or mental health?
Bernadine Reid

Bernadine Reid has a BSc and a Masters in Education. She was the Samaritan’s representative at the public consultation meeting at the Ministry of Health draft suicide prevention strategy and is passionate about suicide prevention in NZ.  What’s more important? Physical health or mental health? If you had a broken leg you would go to a doctor to get it fixed. If you have a mental health problem, what do you do? A leading NZ researcher on suicide, Professor Annette Beautrais, argues that suicide is preventable. So why did 606 New Zealanders die by suicide last year, with thousands more being admitted to hospital after serious suicide attempts? Why were there over a million prescriptions for anti-depressants filled out for New Zealanders last year? Why is the state of mental health in New Zealand so bad? And what can you do to look after your own mental health?

Two week break from lectures

Tuesday 12 June

The challenge of governing for the long-term in a short-term world
Jonathan Boston

Jonathan Boston is Professor of Public Policy in the School of Government at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. He has published widely on a range of matters including public management, social policy, climate change policy, tertiary education policy, and comparative government. Humanity faces many significant policy challenges – massive technological changes, large-scale migration, increasing environmental degradation, escalating climate change, an obesity pandemic, and growing antimicrobial resistance, to name but a few. Yet there are powerful political incentives for democratically-elected governments to focus on policy issues of immediate concern to voters and to downplay or ignore long-term risks. Can democratic political institutions and policy processes be designed in ways that better safeguard humanity’s long-term interests? How might democratic societies exercise their stewardship responsibilities more effectively? This talk outlines and assesses some of the many suggested solutions for political short-termism, and discusses which of these might be most applicable in New Zealand.

Friday 15 June

Biodiversity in Borneo
Ghazally Ismail

Datuk Professor Dr. Ghazally Ismail received his Ph.D in Microbiology and Immunology in 1977 from Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, USA. Upon his return to Malaysia, he pursued a keen interest in unravelling the pathogenic mechanisms of a number of bacterial and parasitic diseases in the Tropics. He was widely acclaimed by his peers as a reputable scientist who pioneered research works on the pathogenic mechanism of melioidosis – a frequently misdiagnosed but fatal bacterial disease affecting both humans and livestock. Malaysia is considered one of the 13 megadiverse countries in the world. With over 4,500 species of plants, 326 species of birds, and 100 mammalian species documented to date, it is among the most important biological sites in the world. The slide presentation will take you through the biological treasures of Borneo’s rainforests unveiling some of the most bizarre and rarest of animal and plant life on earth.        Koffee Klub meets

Tuesday 19 June

Midwinter Luncheon, with Sharon Crosbie as after-dinner speaker on
“Lord Reith and his Ideals”.

Sharon was born in Rangiora, 1945 and studied at Victoria University. She joined NZ Broadcasting Corporation in 1969 and had roles in both TV and Radio. Sharon hosted the morning segment of the National Programme from 1978 to 1984, and in 1984 was awarded the Harkness Fellowship and the Neiman Fellowship in Journalism to study at Harvard. She became Chief Executive and Editor-in-Chief of Radio New Zealand, 1995 to 2004, has been Chairperson of the NZ Drama School, member of the Women’s Refuge Trust Board, Chairperson of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on Core Health Services, and is currently Chairperson of Electra Trust. Sharon was awarded an OBE and Companion of the NZ Order of Merit for services to broadcasting.

Venue: Whitby Restaurant, 17th Floor, James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel, 147 The Terrace. Access also available through James Cook Arcade, Lambton Quay.  Public transport recommended.

 Time: 11:30 am for 12 noon (ending 2.30 pm).  Booked for 90 – 100 people.

 Cost: $45.    Registration fee includes smorgasbord, table by table, and one drink. For dietary requirements, please contact Aidan below. Purchase of further drinks available.

 Registration and payment by 13 June via U3A Acc No 03-1540-0009019-01, with identification of surname and event.
Mob:   021 0282 2082.

Friday 22 June

Foreign Aid: What is it and does it work?
Doug Webb

Douglas Webb trained as a lawyer in New Zealand, practising law in Wellington for 18 years. He also worked as a development lawyer with the Asian Development Bank, Manila, The Philippines. He later joined the World Bank in Washington DC, USA, where he led a team of legal specialists advising countries on legal and judicial reform initiatives. On returning to New Zealand, he was appointed as a member of the Commerce Commission, with responsibility for telecommunications. From 2007-2014, he again worked for the World Bank, primarily advising small island states in the Pacific on telecommunications reform. “Developing countries have always struggled with the gap between their domestic resources and their development needs. Foreign aid has for more than 70 years been seen as the means for developed countries to share the load. The UN Millennium Development Goals therefore called on developed countries to ‘make concrete efforts’ to achieve a target of 0.7 percent of Gross National Income as official development assistance to developing countries. This talk will discuss the history of foreign aid, how it has changed over time, when foreign aid works, and how the success rate can be improved.”

Tuesday 26 June

Visualising History
Bob Kerr

This talk, illustrated with Bob’s paintings, will begin with images from his show Gold Strike about the 1912 Waihi gold miners’ strike and end with paintings from his show The Three Wise Men of Kurow about the experience of Girvan McMillian, Andrew Davidson and Arnold Nordmeyer in Kurow during the 1930’s that resulted in the formation of our welfare state. Bob Kerr is a Wellington based painter with an interest in New Zealand’s history and landscape. He has a diploma in Fine Arts from Auckland University. Perhaps his best known painting is on the cover of Michael king’s Penguin History of New Zealand. He has also written and illustrated many award winning children’s books. More about his work can be found at bobkerr.co.nz               Koffee Klub meets

Friday 29 June

A Journey of discovery in Chemistry culminating in a cancer drug on the market
Richard Furneaux

Richard is the Director of the Ferrier Research Institute of Victoria University. His world-renowned team is focused on the discovery and commercialization of ‘Glycotherapeutics’—drugs and dietary supplements. Richard is a Fellow of the Royal Society of NZ, was awarded the Hector Medal in 2006 and the Thomson Award in 2012, was selected as Wellingtonian of the Year in Science & Technology in 2013 and won both the KiwiNet Supreme Award and the Research Entrepreneur Award in 2017. He has authored many papers, reviews or book chapters and been named as an inventor on 22 international patent families. He is the Director of Discovery Chemistry at GlycoSyn, and Director of the NZ companies Humble Bee Limited and Hardie Health Limited. Richard began his career in the Chemistry Division of DSIR in 1980 after completing his PhD at Victoria University and subsequent Post-Doctoral work with at the University of Montana, USA. The Ferrier Institute does chemistry for biology, aiming to develop high value products. This talk will look the team’s origins and the establishment of Avalia Immunotherapies Ltd, to progress synthetic vaccines for treatment cancer and infectious disease and this year in seeing Mundesine, a new lymphoma drug, on the market.

Tuesday 3 July

The Power of the Story
Joy Cowley

Joy Cowley is a writer of books for children and adults. She was born in 1936, has four children, thirteen grandchildren, five great grandchildren lives in Featherston and is married to Terry Coles. She has a Diploma in Woodturning. This experiential talk on writing for children will have six parts (1) background. (2) The pleasure principle. (3) The pre-school child and the importance of story in the home. (4) Classrooms around the world. (5) Writing workshops. (6) Writing specifically for difference – culture and gender.

 Friday 6 July

Crime and victimization: modernising the courts
Andrew Bridgman

Andrew has been Secretary for Justice and Chief Executive since 2011. His public sector experience includes 4 years as Deputy Chief Executive at the Ministry of Health, with 6 months as Acting Chief Executive and Director-General of Health. He worked at the Ministry of Justice in the mid-1990s and was Deputy Secretary of the Policy and Legal Group from 2004 to 2007. Andrew’s career began as a solicitor at Rudd Watts and Stone (now Minter Ellison) in 1987. Courts and tribunals are a public service that many New Zealanders will use in their lives. The District Court alone hears more than 250,000 criminal, civil and family matters every year. Andrew will speak of the work the Ministry of Justice has done and is doing to modernise courts and tribunals, to improve their efficiency and timeliness, and to ensure that they continue to deliver people-centred and accessible justice.

Tuesday 10 July

Where men can do what men do?
Archie Kerr

Archie (Paediatrician and Woodworker) will talk about the history of the Naenae Men’s Shed and where they are at now. He will give some information about the wider movement and some of the results and benefits to the community individuals. Archie has been involved in the Woodworkers Guild and as part of that got involved with the development of the Shed in Lower Hutt. His qualifications for this were thinking of himself as a bit of a handyman round the house, (until he got to know the real experts): some training in the development, behaviour and medical problems of children, and also being the only sucker to “volunteer” to look after the money, communications and grant applications as well as to co-ordinate what happens in the Shed.

Friday 13 July

Medical conditions and harnessing the power of plants
Reg Harris

Reg’s studies at University of Otago [BSc with botany/chemistry, zoology and physics] and Australian National University [BForSc] are augmented by his enduring interest in botany and associated sciences. He is involved with Wellington Botanic Garden as a botanical guide and science educator and, as an extension of this, with Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Biological Sciences in the interests of higher education.

In the mid-1980s, after studying business management for three years at VUW, he began consulting work, specialising in industry development in the metals, food, chemicals, energy, transport, horticulture, science and other sectors. In 2006 he was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship to review the evolution of ‘Centres of Excellence’ for advanced manufacturing in the UK.

Since 2006 he has focussed on the advancement of Regenerative Medicine in New Zealand. The field brings together life sciences and engineering in the development of biological substitutes for the replacement and repair of human cells, tissue and organs damaged by trauma and age-related afflictions.  He is involved with the Consortium for Medical Device Technologies [CMDT] and is an Associate Investigator with the Medical Technologies Core of Research Excellence [MedTech CoRE]. Both of these are academia-industry initiatives.

In 2012-2016 he was a member of a four-country [UK, NZ, Portugal and The Netherlands] EU-funded project, code-named skelGEN, which sought to strengthen understanding of human skeletal regeneration and to expedite the movement of new products and therapies from the lab bench to the clinic.

In his presentation on 13 July Reg will look at a range of medical conditions in humans, and research-based plant therapies used to help ameliorate them. He will cover conditions such as high cholesterol, blood clots, pain, oxidative stress, high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, urinary tract infections, organophosphate/nerve gas poisoning, and some cancers. Particular focus will be on the scientific basis for ‘how things work’.

      Koffee Klub meets

Tuesday 17 July

Zealandia: how social enterprise can transform a city
Denise Church

Last year Zealandia was described as “the little valley that transformed a city.” While it’s true Zealandia’s 500 year restoration programme is already succeeding ahead of expectations, with biodiversity now flourishing in backyards across the city. This presentation will cover how Zealandia is developing, its place in the city and its impact in Wellington and beyond. Denise Church QSO is Director of Leadership Matters Ltd. She is a Wellington based company director and currently chairs the Boards of ESR (the Institute of Environmental and Scientific Research) and the Karori Sanctuary Trust Board (Zealandia), and is on the scouts NZ National Board. Denise was Chief Executive at Ministry for the Environment from 1996 to 2001 and before that worked in environment and conservation management in New Zealand and the UK. She holds science and commerce degrees from Auckland and Canterbury Universities and the University of Wisconsin- Madison.

Friday 20 July

Base Isolation – a safe ride in earthquakes
Cam Smart

As a young engineer, Cameron Smart worked at DSIR’s Physics and Engineering Laboratory in Gracefield, Lower Hutt. He rode the wave of experiments that led to the base isolation system of earthquake defence, designing, building, and operating the test rigs that developed flexibility and energy absorption devices in the foundations of bridges and buildings. In recent years he has maintained the devices in one building and chaired the Standards Committee that amended NZ’s earthquake loading code in 2016. Cameron will demonstrate and explain the mass-spring-damper system that oscillates somewhat like a building being shaken by an earthquake. He will recount some early history of earthquake engineering, the world-leading ideas of Dr Ivan Skinner, and the later contributions of Dr Bill Robinson.  He will illustrate his own contributions of test rigs which twisted, bent, and sheared steel, rubber, and lead beyond physical endurance. He will show how this work has given “a soft ride” to well-known buildings and bridges in New Zealand.

Tuesday 24 July

Can Art Change the World? : How New Arts Build Community and Bring Generations Together
Jo Randerson

Writer and theatre-maker Jo Randerson is the founder and artistic director of Barbarian Productions (theatre company). Jo will discuss her work as Artistic Director of Barbarian Productions, and the way in which new wave art projects can contribute to social change. With examples of her work and other international practitioners, she will cover the shift into participatory art work, and the cross over with activism in contemporary practice. Jo has a Master of Theatre Arts and has received the Robert Burns Fellowship, an Arts Foundation New Generation Award and the Bruce Mason Award for playwriting. She collaborates internationally with visual artists theatre makers and activists most recently in Paris, Moscow and Istanbul with Swedish visual artists Goldin+Senneby at the biennales in each city. Her recent play “The Spit Children” premiered at Antwerp’s largest theatre HETPALEIS in May 2014. She is part of a team who have re-purposed a disused bowling club in Vogelmorn Wellington as a creative community space www.vogelmorn.nz.  She teaches at Massey University, Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School and on the MFA at Victoria University.

 Koffee Klub meets

Friday 17 August

 Christopher Cockerell, of Hovercraft fame
Anthony Fletcher

 Anthony was born in Kenya and brought up in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Anthony always had an interest in how things work, and ended up with a scholarship to Salford University (near Manchester) England. Anthony arrived, at Her Majesty’s expense, in Wellington in 1967 to be an electrical engineer with the Ministry of Works. He did not like the job, which was not anything like the job description provided by NZ House in London, so requested that he be sent back to England. That caused consternation by the MOW management, and to cut a long story short, ended up swapping to the mainframe computer team, and the rest is history. Anthony will cover the question of what an Inventor is, what innovation is, and in particular the invention of what came to be the Hovercraft by Christopher Cotterell in England and how it developed through innovation.

Tuesday 21 August

 The Early History of Anti-Nuclear New Zealand
Dr Matthew O’Meagher

 Dr Matthew O’Meagher is Principal International (International Engagement) at Victoria University. He previously lectured in History at Auckland University and has written papers on New Zealand’s peace and anti-nuclear movement. The enactment of the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament and Arms Control Act 1987 was at the time, and remains, a signal statement of New Zealand’s determination to stand up for a principle in which its people believe. How did New Zealanders come to champion this principle however, and how deep is their commitment to it today?  This talk will explore New Zealand’s anti-nuclear evolution in international context, noting which parts of it were and are parts of global waves and which parts were exceptional. The question will be asked: does fear travel well?

Friday 24 August

 Relations with China
Prof Robert Ayson

 Robert Ayson has been Professor of Strategic Studies at Victoria University since 2010 and works in close association with the Centre for Strategic Studies. He has also held academic positions with the ANU, Massey University and the University of Waikato, and official positions with the New Zealand government. Professor Ayson completed his MA as a Freyberg Scholar to the ANU and his PhD at King’s College London as a Commonwealth Scholar to the UK. He is Adjunct Professor with the ANU’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre and Honorary Professor with the New Zealand Defence Force Command and Staff College. Professor Ayson’s research and teaching focuses on strategic competition and cooperation, especially in relation to the management of armed conflict. He has a particular interest in connecting leading strategic ideas to Asia-Pacific security challenges. This ranges from his work on theorists such as Hedley Bull and Thomas Schelling to his studies of New Zealand and Australian responses to China’s rise and America’s response.

 Tuesday 28 August

 Government in the Pacific Islands
Dr Graham Hassall

 Dr Graham Hassall is an Associate Professor in the School of Government at the Victoria University of Wellington. He has lived in and taught at Universities in Australia, Switzerland, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and New Zealand. His research focuses in two areas; the Public sector in the Pacific Islands, and global public policy and institutions. Graham is a life-member of the United Nations of New Zealand and is Chairperson of the New Zealand Centre of Global Centres. Recent publications include a co-edited book Achieving Sustainable E-Government in Pacific Island states (Springer, 2017. The Pacific Islands is a region of some 10 million inhabitants, on thousands of islands, grouped into 22 dependent and independent territories. Because most media coverage about the Pacific focuses on natural disasters, violence, or unstable government, it is difficult to know whether life in these countries is improving or not.  This presentation provide an overview of how government is working, and how society is evolving, in the contemporary Pacific.

Friday 31 August

 Productivity: What it is and why it matters
Murray Sherwin

 Murray was appointed Chair of the newly created New Zealand Productivity Commission in November 2010. The Commission conducts in-depth inquiry reports on topics selected by the Government, and promotes understanding of productivity issues. Murray’s previous appointments include: Chief Executive and Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry; Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand; member of the Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank; and member of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Group. What separates hunter-gatherer societies from modern, mostly urban, technology-dependent communities is productivity – driven off accumulated investments in education, health, infrastructure, technology, governance and institutions.   New Zealand has been a persistent under-performer in measures of productivity growth over the past 50 years or more. Allied with weak productivity, our incomes have lagged those in comparable countries. So what is going on, why does it matter and what might we do about it?