Lecture Programme

Lecture Programme for March – July 2017

 Venue and Times

All lectures are held from 10.30am – 12 noon in the Paramount, 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.


Tuesday 7 March

All New Zealanders are equal, but some are more equal than others
Professor Lisa Marriott

Lisa Marriott is an associate professor of taxation at Victoria University’s School of Accounting and Commercial Law. Her research interests include social justice and inequality, and the behavioural impacts of taxation. She has worked in industry in the UK, the public and private sectors in NZ, and since 2008 in academia. In 2013 she was awarded a 3-year Royal Society Marsden Grant to investigate the different treatments of tax evasion and welfare fraud in the New Zealand justice system. Her presentation includes some of the findings from this study and subsequent related work, and outlines circumstances where those less advantaged in society can expect to be treated differently from those in relatively privileged positions.

Friday 10 March

Portholes to the past
Sir Lloyd Geering
Lloyd holds a Doctor of Divinity from the University of Otago, and a master’s degree in mathematics. He was a minister in the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand (PCANZ) and turned to theological teaching in 1956. This talk traverses Lloyd’s reflections on two world wars, the Great Depression, the changes he has experienced in education, family life, growth in personal freedom, life in the churches and more.

Tuesday 14 March

PMs wise and wonderful, PMs great and small
Professor Nigel Roberts
Nigel Roberts is emeritus professor of political science at Victoria University, and was an election-night commentator on Television New Zealand for more than 20 years. He has written extensively about New Zealand prime ministers, and is currently researching the life and times of the first National Party Prime Minister, Sid Holland. In this talk, Nigel will analyse the performance and reputation of a range of New Zealand’s 20th and 21st century prime ministers.

Friday 17 March

The life and work of Suzanne Aubert
Sister Josephine
Presented by archivist and historian. Sister Josephine. Better known to many by her cleric name Sister Mary Joseph or Mother Aubert, was a Catholic sister who started a home for orphans and the under-privileged in Jerusalem, New Zealand on the Whanganui River in 1885.

Tuesday 21 March

The role of police in modern society
Greg O’Connor
Do the Police reflect their communities? What challenges face them in the future? How will they tackle problems such as organised crime and illicit substance use? These are some of the questions which Greg O’Connor, recently retired from 21 years as President of the New Zealand Police Association, discusses. The Association is a business with annual revenue of $45 million and a $60 million asset base, which not only represents police politically and industrially, but also provides a wide range of services to police and their families. Greg was also involved in the foundation, and is a past chair of the International Council of Police Representative Associations, which represents 1.5 million police worldwide.

Friday 24 March

Old St Pauls. Bringing stories out of the woodwork
Elizabeth Cox
This talk explores the architecture and objects of the church, its congregation, clergy and community, and its myths and mysteries presented by historian Elizabeth Cox, who specialises in social and architectural history, and Rebecca Nuttall, a student at Victoria University.

Tuesday 28 March

My life in film
Gaylene Preston
Gaylene Preston, one of New Zealand’s leading producers and directors of feature films and documentaries, discusses her work over the past 40 years. She has received many awards and distinctions for her films, including the Arts Foundation Laureate Award in 2001. She has chaired the Academy of Film and Television Arts and the Film Innovation Fund, and has served on the boards of the NZ Film Commission and NZ on Air.  For her services to filmmaking she has received both the New Zealand Order of Merit and the New Zealand Women of Influence Award. Gaylene was honoured by SPADA, becoming Industry Champion 2016.

Friday 31 March

Travelling in Iran repairing rugs, and viewing the demise of the carpet trade
Anna Williams
Anna Williams is a professional Oriental rug repairer and restorer who regularly travels through Turkey and Iran, to study with rug restorers for her professional development, and to purchase top quality yarns, wools, cottons and silks.

 Tuesday 4 April

The kidney: medical history
Dr Peter Hatfield
As well as being President of U3A Wellington, Peter Hatfield is a retired renal physician who has worked not only in New Zealand but also in England, the USA and Iraq. He was head of the Department of Renal Medicine at Wellington Hospital, and is a former president of the Medical Historical Society. In this talk, he traces the role of the kidney in the development and evolution of modern medicine.

Friday 7 April

Researching the everyday life of NZ Women who self-identify as “fat.”
Julie Howe
Presented by Julie Howe BA (Hons), Sociology and Criminology. “Fat” is used in this talk, and throughout this research, in the spirit of fat studies literature – as a non-stigmatising descriptor. This talk is based on qualitative research data gathered as part of a PhD dissertation. Large body size is typically studied from a perspective where ‘obese’ persons are indistinguishable from one another; however, this study actively seeks an alternate understanding: one from individuals who intimately know the life of the fat woman. Using a critical feminist viewpoint, this study uses the narratives of thirty women to explore how their large, or previously large, body size affects their daily activities and choices. This work is intended to break down some of the barriers to forming a better understanding of what it is to be a fat person in New Zealand. It is not designed to normalise fatness, but is intended to work towards reducing harm, to improve personal wellbeing and quality of life, and to foster acceptance of difference.

Tuesday 11 April

Psychiatry, blindness and me
Dr Toni Marks
Psychiatrist Toni Marks has experienced many changes during the last 45 years, not always for the better. He qualified in medicine at Otago University and, after post-graduate training in New South Wales, worked at Wellington and Hutt Hospitals, and later in private practice. He became blind at the age of 32, and in this lecture discusses how that affected him. Though always challenging and sometimes frustrating, blindness was often helpful in his psychiatric practice, as his main task was always to gain an appreciation of what was bothering the person who came to him, not to capture an image of them. As a specialist in Wellington, he was a big fish in a small pond, and so sometimes encountered extremes of human behaviour.

Friday 14 April (Good Friday) – Friday 28 April
Term 1 Holidays – No lectures

Tuesday 2 May

Making and managing orchestral music in Aotearoa
Christopher Blake
NZ’s professional orchestral era spans little more than 70 years, although the history of orchestral activity extends back to the 1860s. What is the legacy and what is its future?  Christopher Blake, the current Chief Executive of the NZ Symphony Orchestra, examines the evolution of orchestras in NZ and how this has influenced, shaped and supported the creation of music by NZ composers. His compositions include Till Human Voices Wake Us for orchestra and tenor soloist; a piano concerto, The Coming of Tane Mahuta; Clairmont Triptych for piano and wind quintet; Bitter Calm, an opera premiered at the 1994 International Festival of the Arts; Symphony – The Islands; and Concerto Aoraki premiered in 2006. A CD of his work for string orchestra, Angel at Ahipara, won the Tui Award for Best Classical Album in 2012. The NZSO premiered his second symphony, Symphony – Voices in 2016.

Friday 5 May

NZ Radar, raiders and speed cops
Cam Smart
Cameron is an engineer. He first heard the story of NZ’s radar pioneers at a DSIR Happy Hour during the 1970s, and was delighted to realise he knew and had worked with several of them. During the 1990s and early 2000s he worked for Broadcast Communications, now Kordia On taking partial retirement in 2012 he began research for the story, since then has written a book, and is now looking for a publisher. New Zealand first heard of the “new scientific technique of a defence nature” in the middle of 1939. By December 1939 the first NZ-built radar set was working from the top floor of the Wellington East Post Office, and by March 1940 a better NZ-built set picked up the inter-island ferry Rangatira from an aeroplane. This is a story of hardship on hill-tops in remote Pacific Islands, intrigue in the corridors of power where NZ snubbed the UK and the US, a story of defence then offence then air traffic control, meteorology, radio astronomy, and speed cops.

Tuesday 9 May

The role of business in achieving gender equality
Dr Jackie Blue
Business has a pivotal role to play in realising gender equality in New Zealand. Dr Jackie Blue is the Equal Employment Opportunities and Women’s Rights Commissioner at the New Zealand Human Rights Commission.  She pioneered the role of breast physicians in the late 1990s. She was a List MP from 2005 until June 2013 when she joined the Human Rights Commission. She chaired three cross-party parliamentary committees, all of which had a focus on human rights and in particular women’s rights in the Pacific Islands.

Friday 12 May

Applied Mathematics: Problem solved
Dr Mark McGuinness
After a PhD in Physics in 1978 at the University of Canterbury, Mark was three years on a postdoctoral fellowship at University College Dublin, Ireland, then two years as Instructor in the applied math group at CalTech, Pasadena. The time has come to talk of many things; steaming volcanic bombs and frozen Southern seas, cooking crispy cereals, tall tapered feeders, and fast heavy fruit, to mention but a few. Mathematics is what binds these themes together and Mark will talk about how math has helped him to understand what is going on, and sometimes to solve the problem

 Tuesday 16 May

Turning knowledge into value
Bill Macnaught
The National Library’s strategic directions aim to achieve greater impact through collaboration. New knowledge will be created through the collection and preservation of our documentary heritage and taonga, access to and sharing of knowledge resources, and enhanced literacy skills. The National Librarian, Bill Macnaught, discusses the proposed outcomes. He began his career in his home town, Stirling, before moving to Gateshead in north-east England in 1984. As Director of Libraries and Arts in Gateshead, he championed several major initiatives and was awarded the CBE for services to public libraries and cultural life.  In 2005 Bill became Manager of Puke Ariki, New Plymouth, and was appointed National Librarian in 2011.

Friday 19 May

Maori relationship building at Treasury
Atawhai Tibble
In this day and age, one of the biggest issues for Maori and Iwi business is not the business itself, but the need to understand government risks and opportunities, to engage effectively with, and manage key Wellington based relationships, and to also understand, and manage the needs and expectations of the community. Atawhai Tibble (LLB) is focused on resolving these issues.

Tuesday 23 May

Mike Mendonca
Preparing Wellington for the shocks and stresses of the 21st century
Mike Mendonca is Wellington’s Chief Resilience Officer, an appointment funded by the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities initiative, which looks to build city resilience to the shocks and stresses of the 21st Century.  He has worked for Deloitte, local government, central government and the New Zealand Army.  Mike discusses the global and local background to the Wellington Resilience Strategy.  He explains the challenges the city anticipates, including earthquake, sea level rise and social challenges, and the proposed courses of action to address each of these.

Friday 26 May

60 years of NZ Science Endeavour in Antarctica: What we learned and why it is important
Nancy Bertler
BSc at Ludwigs Maximilians University, Munich, Germany, MSc at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK, and PhD at Antarctic Research Centre, Victoria University, New Zealand. Nancy is a NZ Rutherford Discovery Fellow and is jointly appointed by Victoria University and GNS Science. She is the leader of the National Ice Core Research Programme and manages the NZ Ice Core Research Facility. In 2016, Nancy was awarded the Blake Leaders Award and was named Wellingtonian of the Year in the Category of Science and Technology. NZ led scientific expeditions to Antarctica every year since 1957, when Sir Ed Hillary led the NZ team to build Scott Base, NZ’s home of its Antarctic Research Programme. In 1967, the first tetrapod fossil was discovered by Prof. Peter Barrett, which provided critical support for the then newly developing theory of continental drift. NZ’s research success is based on world leading technology, international collaboration and environmental stewardship. Here we will explore some of most exciting scientific discoveries of the past 6 decades and look towards the future, how rising seas from collapsing Antarctic ice sheets will affect every New Zealander now and for generations to come.

Tuesday 30 May

The state of play in our media
Colin Peacock
RNZ’s Colin Peacock is the producer and presenter of Mediawatch. He looks at forces at work behind the scenes at New Zealand’s news media companies, and how this is changing the nature of the news and information we get from them After his postgraduate diploma in journalism from Canterbury University, he went to London where he worked for BBC World TV, the BBC’s 24-hour news network 5 Live and BBC World Service, before returning to New Zealand in 2002.

 Friday 2 June

VUW: A true-blue green university
AProf Marian van den Belt
Internationally respected and sought after as an adviser and speaker on sustainability, Associate Professor van den Belt comes to Victoria from Massey University, where since 2009 she was Director and Principal Ecological Economist of Ecological Economics Research New Zealand. As well as explaining the essence of ecological economics (which takes a system-wide approach to terms like ‘capital’ and ‘value’—i.e. natural, human and social capital are measured alongside financial and manufactured capital; and price is only one element of value), Associate Professor van den Belt will draw on such experiences as helping to found a co-housing community of privately owned energy-efficient homes in Vermont, United States, and running her own research consultancy on waste minimisation in Stockholm, Sweden.

 Tuesday 6 June

Victoria University: past, present and future
Sir Neville Jordan
Sir Neville Jordan is an engineer. In 1975 he founded a telecommunications microwave company, later listed on the main board of NASDAQ. He founded Endeavour Capital Ltd in 1998 and established two venture capital funds. He is an honorary Captain in the Royal New Zealand Navy, Past President of the Royal Society of New Zealand and a Chartered Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Directors. He has received numerous professional and business awards, and was Wellingtonian of the Year in 2012. He was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1999 for services to telecommunications and exporting, and in 2015 he was knighted for services to business, science and the community. In 2014 he was elected Chancellor of Victoria University. In this lecture Sir Neville reviews the University’s history, its contribution to the Wellington region’s economy, and where its future lies.

Friday 9 June

Co-creating with a computer
Ross Stevens
Ross Stevens is an industrial design icon and design futurist. He co-founded and is the design director for Pure Audio which involves hand building high end audio products for people who love music. He is senior lecturer on complex 3D digital form at Victoria University School of Design in Wellington, New Zealand. As co-designer of the Fisher & Paykel Smart Drive™ washing machine, between 1987-1991, Ross has been integral to the evolution of innovative industrial design solutions in New Zealand and world-wide. He sees his products go from dreams, to production, to sale, to use, then inevitably to disposal. Ross will talk about his recent experiences collaborating with computer programs to produce product well beyond his limited imagination. He will illustrate this with objects he has produced using a wide range of 3D printing technologies ranging from nano scale through to architectural.

Tuesday 13 June

Translation as socio-political commentary: Heaney and history
Dr Marco Sonzogni
Can history be experienced in literature? Can words be as powerful as actions? Can translation generate hope and initiate change? These questions continue to divide writers, scholars, readers. The Irish poet and Nobel laureate Seamus Heaney credited poetry’s “power to persuade that vulnerable part of our consciousness of its rightness in spite of the evidence of wrongness all around it,” and chose verse translation of literary classics to address current concerns affecting histories and private and public decisions. Marco Sonzogni, Reader in Translation Studies at the School of Languages and Cultures at Victoria University, illustrates the way Heaney used translation as socio-political commentary. Marco is an award-winning literary translator, poet and editor and has been reading, studying, translating and annotating Heaney’s work for over 20 years.

Friday 16 June

Stone rubble masonry buildings – can they survive earthquake effects?
Win Clark
Win Clark is a structural engineer with over 46-years of experience in building design, assessment and construction. A notable heritage project was the design and construction monitoring of the replacement piles and foundation substructure for the 4 storeys historic “Government Wooden Building”, Wellington. Win was involved in heritage assessment, repair and retrofit projects as a consequence of the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence and recently the Kaikoura Earthquake. His role is to provide technical support, review of retrofit projects, and work with building owners to assist with the process for repair and/or strengthening, and identify options available. Since 2008 Win has been the Executive Officer of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering Inc. The presentation will explore the topology of stone rubble masonry construction, characteristics that enhance seismic resistance, and identify possible retrofit solutions. Overseas research into identifying failure modes and structural strengthening solutions will be introduced, and discussion on how these techniques can be applied to New Zealand’s small population of stone rubble masonry buildings. Examples will be shown of recent retrofit construction in New Zealand that uses these techniques.

 Tuesday 20 June – Mid-winter lunch

‘While I don’t agree with everything you write…’
Dave Armstrong
Dave Armstrong talks about his life as a freelance writer, including his weekly Dominion Post column, plays and television. Dave’s plays include Anzac Eve, Central, Niu Sila (with Oscar Kightley), The Tutor, King and Country, The Motor Camp, Rita and Douglas, Where We Once Belonged (with Sia Figiel), Kings of the Gym, and the children’s opera Kia Ora Khalid (with Gareth Farr). His television credits include Billy, about legendary comedian Billy T James, Seven Periods with Mr Gormsby, Shortland Street, Spies and Lies, and Spin Doctors. Dave also wrote the National Radio political satire Down the List, and co-wrote the TV series Hope and Wire, set in the aftermath of the Christchurch quakes, with director Gaylene Preston.

Friday 23 June

The past and future of virtual reality
Prof Neil Dodgson
Professor Dodgson grew up in Taihape. His first degree was in Computer Science and Physics, from Massey University, where he studied under Prof. Paul Callaghan. In 1989 he was awarded a scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge. Originally planning to be in Cambridge for 3 years, he went on instead to a semi-industrial post-doctoral position helping to design and develop a novel 3D TV, becoming one of the world’s experts in the various ways that 3D TV can be built. In 1995 he was appointed to a lectureship at Cambridge. His research expanded over the years to include ways to model three-dimensional shape and then to considerations of the intersection of art, design, computing, and psycho-physics. At Victoria, he has become interested in the burgeoning field of virtual reality Over the last two years, virtual reality (VR) has burst into the public’s consciousness. Neil will talk about the history and pre-history of VR, about visions for where this might go, and about other technological successes and failures that cast light on where the world might be headed with VR.

Tuesday 27 June

The complexity of youth offending – the more we know the harder it gets
Judge John Walker
Young people in the Youth Court come with histories of trauma, exposure to family violence, neurodisabilities, emerging mental illness, alcohol and other drug dependency. How does the Youth Court deal with those challenges?  What are the opportunities for early intervention? Judge Walker was admitted to the bar in 1976 and was appointed as a District Court Judge in 1994.  He has been instrumental in developing court-assisted interventions for alcohol and drug dependency, including the establishment of the Youth Drug Court in Christchurch and the Adult Drug Courts in Auckland.  As Resident Judge at Porirua, Judge Walker encouraged better engagement between the Court and the community, mainstreaming the community justice centre model and developing a solution-focused judging approach. More recently, he has been leading the development of District Court responses to family violence.

Friday 30 June

Economic developments in China and Asia: What NZ needs to know and look out for
Prof Siah Hwee Ang
Professor Siah Hwee Ang (PhD) is the inaugural BNZ Chair in Business in Asia. In this role, Siah works closely with various stakeholders and companies on their strategies in Asia and Asia’s engagement in NZ. Before joining Victoria University, he was Professor in Strategy and Associate Dean Postgraduate and International at the University of Auckland Business School, research fellow at both Cass Business School, City University in London and National University of Singapore, where he completed his PhD in Management. The development and diversity of Asian markets pose significant challenges to any NZ organisation looking for a way in. There are various regulatory, cultural and business practices that need to be understood. Then there is the competitive and aggressive behaviour of other organisations clamouring for market share to contend with. This talk explores some of the recent developments in Asia and in China, the likely evolution, and what NZ needs to know and look out for.

Tuesday 4 July

Living together: Aotearoa/New Zealand’s new religious diversity
Professor Paul Morris
NZ is increasingly religiously, ethnically, linguistically and culturally diverse. This lecture makes a detailed historical and contemporary examination of our religious and cultural demography. How did a country that was overwhelmingly made up of Maori and Pakeha Christians become one where the fastest expanding religious category is ‘no religion’; less than half the population is now Christian; and there are now substantial and growing migrant religious communities? The lecture also explores the implications of this diversity for education, work, health, moral debates and social cohesion. Paul Morris is Professor of Religious Studies at Victoria University and holds the UNESCO Chair in Interreligious Understanding and Relations in NZ and the Pacific. He has published on a wide range of religious subjects. He is the author of the New Zealand Statement on Religious Diversity and is currently writing about radical theologies.

Friday 7 July

War on superbugs
AProf David Ackerley
A major theme of David’s research is directed evolution, artificial acceleration of rates of mutation and recombination in genes and genomes, and selection of variants with improved qualities. His lab group employs these techniques both to improve specific functions of enzymes and bacteria, and to study their physiology.

11 – 21 July
Term 2 Holidays – No Lectures