Our Changing World - Wellington

A series of free Massey University public lectures in Wellington

Join us each month in Wellington to discover the latest insights from our leading thinkers in humanities and social sciences. Hear first-hand from Massey University scholars and explore with them unique and captivating perspectives to better understand modern-day challenges.


Woman at desk Demographic change meets the changing demand for labour in Aotearoa

Tuesday 16 April 2019 | Professor Richard Shaw

Former Chief Science Adviser to the Prime Minister, Sir Peter Gluckman, says that "technological change across virtually every aspect of human endeavour generates an enormous array of possible implications. Simultaneously, our society is being shaped by population ageing, immigration, the economic centrality of Auckland, and the growing dynamism of a younger Māori cohort." Together, those two phenomena – the 4th Industrial Revolution and demographic change – will have profound implications for the nature of work. This lecture explores factors shaping the future of work in this country and the challenges associated with these momentous changes.


Man on internet Politics of hate in the age of the internet

Wednesday 1 May 2019 | Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley

Recent surveys have shown a significant spike in online hate speech. The opportunity provided by social and online media to be highly personal, or derogatory, about others on the anonymity of the web has seen an escalation in hostile and disrespectful views being expressed. What are the politics behind this trend? And what is the impact on those targeted? How do we define hate, and particularly hate speech? And should we, as part of a liberal democracy that is currently reviewing hate speech laws in the wake of the Christchurch terror attacks, be concerned?

Seating is limited so please register your attendance.


New Zealand map Stories of Aotearoa New Zealand’s borders – how they bound and bind us

Tuesday 21 May 2019 | Dr Germana Nicklin

Aotearoa New Zealand’s geographical borders may seem obvious and unproblematic, but their history is more interesting than you may suppose. This talk explores the impact of Māori and colonial concepts of ‘border’ on our view of our country, and what bounds and binds us today.


Pacific flowers and cloth The contested neighbourhood: New Zealand’s Pacific policy in a time of geopolitics

Tuesday 18 June 2019 | Dr Anna Powles

New Zealand’s “Pacific Reset” was announced at a time of increasing strategic anxiety about power and influence in the Pacific Islands region. Are China, Russia and the US crossing a line? This talk challenges prevalent views about great power influences in the South Pacific.


Hands Suicide risk and prevention – standing at the policy crossroads

Tuesday 16 July 2019 | Dr John Fitzgerald

New Zealand has high suicide rates, especially amongst our youngest and most vulnerable. However, we have no national suicide prevention strategy, with the previous strategy expiring in 2016 and no new strategy agreed despite wide consultation in 2017. What are the research data, philosophical positions, and social pressures that account for this? What are the underlying questions that must be resolved before a meaningful policy direction can be established? This talk will focus on these questions and offer potential solutions.


Palm trees and sea

Cultural pathways to resilience: Indigenous responses to the impacts of climate change  

Tuesday 20 August 2019 | Associate Professor Christine Kenney

How resilient are our communities as we face an increasing number of natural hazards resulting from climate change? Psychosocial, environmental and economic impacts of events such as the 2016 Kaikoura quakes, the 2017 Edgecumbe flood and the drought-induced Nelson/Tasman bush fire of February 2019 have had catastrophic consequences for those affected. This talk draws on global and local examples to showcase how Indigenous approaches to disaster management underpinned by cultural values are effective in addressing communities’ immediate and longer-term needs.


Theatre students Creating a feeling for change: theatre and the arts in the information society

Tuesday 17 September 2019 | Associate Professor Elspeth Tilley

In this world of information overload, do we need to make more space for artistic engagements with the issues that matter? Can theatre provoke new thinking on social justice, inequality, poverty, climate change and other big challenges of our time? Award-winning playwright and researcher in creative communication and creative activism Dr Tilley shares insights from performance-based projects she’s pioneered, including Climate Change Theatre Action, Te Hā Tangata: Human Library on Homelessness, and JustUs (about youth justice). She will discuss how these projects not only inform but also take audiences and participants on an emotional journey that can lead to profound changes in attitudes and even behaviour.


Legs of tango dancers Latin American music: modernisation, migrations and mythologies

Tuesday 15 October 2019 | Associate Professor Leonel Alvarado

For centuries, Latin American music has been moving bodies on dance floors across oceans, city limits, borders and walls. It took millions of European immigrants for tango (it takes two) to come into being. Millions poured into Mexico City to produce romantic and revolutionary ballads, and a wave of Latin American immigrants got New Yorkers moving to the rhythm of salsa. Other music styles, such as Cuban Trova and rock, are all part of the story surrounding some of the different moves – and mythologies – behind the transforming power of Latin American music.


Barbed wire and gate Crimea and Post-Soviet borders

Tuesday 19 November 2019 | Professor Rouben Azizian

In 2014, Moscow-backed forces seized control of Ukraine’s Crimea region, which has a Russian-speaking majority. The Crimean population then voted to join Russia in a referendum deemed illegal by Ukraine and the West. The Crimea takeover by Russia raises questions, both practical and academic, regarding the inviolability of borders in the post-Soviet space and wider Europe, as well as President Putin’s ultimate geopolitical goals and ambitions.  The presentation will discuss the evolution of the Crimean crisis and its implications for international security and geopolitics.

Event details

Time: Doors open 5.45pm. Lecture runs 6pm to 7pm.

Location: National Library of New Zealand, Programme Rooms, Te Ahumairangi (ground floor), corner Molesworth and Aitken Streets, Thorndon, Wellington.

Register for free now!

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