Christchurch shootings – information for students and staff

Source: Massey University

Massey University has followed police advice to close Islamic prayer spaces at its campuses until further notice following the tragic shootings in Christchurch.

Anyone affected and requiring urgent support should do so through their local health or emergency services.

There is also a free national counselling service line to text or call on 1737 from mobile phones.

Massey staff are available to students in all halls at the three campuses to ensure they are supported.

Other students requiring Massey-specific support are welcome to contact its campus-based health and counselling services. Security at any campus can be contacted at any time on 0800 627 750.

New Poetry NZ Yearbook moves in many ways

Source: Massey University

Poetry NZ Yearbook 2019’s featured poet Stephanie Christie, about to read her work at the launch in Devonport Library, with Dr Jack Ross.

Launched last week at the Devonport Library in Auckland to a packed room of over 200, issue number 53 of New Zealand’s longest-running poetry journal and the third to be published by Massey University Press includes new migrant voices, veteran poets and even a veterinary professor-turned-poet.

Dr Ross, a poet, editor and senior lecturer in the School of English and Media Studies at Massey’s Albany campus, says the task of sifting through over a thousand submissions to choose 130 for the book is formidable as well as a tremendous privilege. Always with an ear tuned for fresh and challenging new voices and views, he has mustered a bracing array of poetry from a diverse set of writers.

From modern probes into religion, romance, love, death and loss to the inner lives of a retail worker, a refugee, a doctor, a drunk – the eclectic mix offers poems in a multitude of forms, including prose pieces. As well as captivating lines by emerging poets there is new work by some of the country’s most respected names, such as New Zealand’s inaugural Poet Laureate Michele Leggott, along with Elizabeth Smither, Emma Neale and Bob Orr. There are dual-text poems too, in Chinese, German, Spanish and te reo Māori, as well as 20 poems and an interview with featured Hamilton poet Stephanie Christie.

A number of Massey graduates and staff who are also published authors made the grade, including Professor Bryan Walpert, Dr Johanna Emeney, Dr Matthew Harris, Bonnie Etherington, Sue Wootton and Jessica Pawley, who wrote one of three literary essays in the book.

Wildbase vet a prize-winning poet

Another Massey contributor is Brett Gartrell, a professor in Wildlife Health in the School of Veterinary Science and clinical director of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at the Manawatū campus. He gained second place and a $300 in prize money for his poem; ‘After the principal calls’

Beyond his day job saving injured native birds and animals and teaching others how to do the same, he has been taking courses through the School of English and Media Studies for the past decade, including on fiction writing, creative non-fiction, children’s writing, life writing and poetry. 

“I never thought of myself as a poet previously, but I was inspired by the teaching and poetry of Professor Bryan Walpert in particular,” says Professor Gartrell, who has just completed a portfolio of poetry and essay for his master’s of Creative Writing. “I’ve discovered poetry as something that both challenges and intrigues me.”

His foray into studying poetry has, he says, “given me a perspective on my teaching. I have been challenged and mostly delighted by the teaching excellence of my tutors and lecturers. I think all academics could benefit from this role reversal from time to time.”

What does he most like about writing poetry? “It’s the combination of creative flow and control. It’s the challenge of allowing a poem to find its own direction and surprising conjunctions which then needs to be followed by the control of distillation; of condensing and communicating the most complex of lyrical moments through the words and structure of the poem. 

“As Jasper Fforde writes in First Among Sequels; “Whereas story is processed in the mind in a straightforward manner, poetry bypasses rational thought and goes straight to the limbic system and lights it up like a brushfire. It’s the crack cocaine of the literary world.”

Poetry editor to ghost writer

“I feel the most proud of this volume,” says Dr Ross, of the fifth consecutive edition of the Poetry New Zealand he has edited, not including as a guest editor some years ago. 

He says in the book’s introduction, What makes a poem good?,that being moved emotionally has increasingly become his sense of a successful poem, which may be about something funny, or painful or revealing. “It’s not that I sit here boo-hooing as I read through all the submissions for each issue – but every now and then something in one of them sits up and looks alive, persuades me that something is being worked out here that might be relevant to others simply because it seems so relevant to me.”

Mostly, he hopes the book will help to make poetry more visible, more accessible and maybe ignite new interest among a wider, more culturally diverse audience. This edition is his last as editor for the time being – he is handing the editorial reins for the next issue over to Dr Johanna Emeney, a published poet and creative writing lecturer at Massey. He is hoping to be able to devote more time to working on his own writing, with a project in the pipeline to explore his longheld fascination about ghost stories and the psychology behind them.

Health by Design: new public lecture series at Massey

Source: Massey University

The first Health by Design public lecture will be held on the Manawatū campus next month, focusing on Prevention through Design.

Associate Professor Ian Laird, School of Health Sciences.

In the first of a series of public lectures, entitled Health by Design, Associate Professor Ian Laird will speak about Prevention through Design (PtD) – the integration of hazard analysis and risk assessment methods early in the design and engineering stages so that risks of injury or illness are prevented.

“Designing out hazards is seen as one of the most effective means of preventing occupational injuries, illnesses and fatalities,” Dr Laird says.

“It’s a transdisciplinary process and although this concept is well known, there hasn’t yet been a concerted effort to achieve broad implementation of it, particularly in relation to noise exposure and prevention of noise induced hearing loss.”

Dr Laird says some PtD principles have been successfully applied to noise reduction in the construction and mining industry but have not yet been applied extensively within the agricultural sector. “The research I will discuss utilises PtD principles and applies them to control noise exposures commonly experienced in agriculture.”

His presentation examines two New Zealand-based case studies which highlight how the acoustic assessment methodologies can be used to inform and drive the PtD process.

“The first focuses on an all-terrain vehicle extensively used in farming operations here and internationally. The second case study involves sheep shearing equipment. Noise sources are identified and, in both cases, the PtD process is illustrated to design out the excessive noise,” he says.

Dr Laird is an Associate Professor in Occupational Health and Safety in the Centre for Ergonomics, Occupational Safety and Health, School of Health Sciences, Massey University. He has a Master of Science in Occupational Hygiene from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of London, and a PhD in Physiology from Massey University. Dr Laird was a member of the Occupational Health Advisory Group that advised the Worksafe NZ Board on occupational health. He is a Fulbright Senior Scholar and visiting scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Event details

Time: 5pm start with networking, drinks and nibbles. Event concludes approximately 6.30pm

Date: April 4

Location: Japan Lecture Theatre, University House, Main Drive, Massey University, Palmerston North

Click here to register and for more information about the Health by Design public lecture series.

Making sense of an uncertain world: lecture series

Source: Massey University

Humanities and social sciences scholars share their expertise and insights on a diverse local and global topics in the Our Changing World lecture series.

China’s influence, Auckland’s superdiversity, philosophical issues in health and science research, the transformative power of theatre, music, literature – just a few of the sizzling topics in this year’s Our Changing World public lectures by Massey University humanities and social science scholars.

Exploring, analysing and understanding complex and compelling issues is where philosophers, sociologists, historians, linguists and other arts scholars shine. The series, now in its third consecutive year at the Auckland campus and expanding to Wellington this year, offers a diverse range of fascinating topics of interest to the wider public, offering fresh perspectives and food for thought.

Hosted by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the series kicks off on March 6 with Dr David Belgrave – a lecturer in citizenship and politics – discussing New Zealand’s policy towards China. His talk, Watching China’s Rise: Past, Present and Future Options for New Zealand, will provide historical context to the New Zealand-China relationship and look at policy challenges for the future in what has become a hot button already issue this year.

Next up, French language and literature specialist Dr France Grenaudier-Klijn will explore how the Holocaust of World War II continues to haunt French society and culture in her talk: Ghosts of the Holocaust in contemporary French fiction.

Philosopher Dr John Matthewson will share insights on populations in science research and applications. He will explore how science applications and funding gets targeted to particular groups, moving from philosophical analysis through scientific methodology to ultimately consider practical outcomes. 

The first lecture, in Auckland, looks at past and current contexts for New Zealand’s relationship with China.

Protest origins and sports’ allure

Historian Dr Amanda McVitty takes the audience back to medieval Europe to consider the earliest voices of protest in politics. She will discuss how and why the voices of the people emerged “as a formidable and unpredictable force in medieval politics,” and explore the strategies ordinary men and women used to protest injustice, defy corrupt leaders, and demand change. 

Back to the future and closer to home, historian and author Dr Geoff Watson considers the world of sport in New Zealand and why it is so important to many in our nation, in his talk:Continuity or Change? Sport in New Zealand Society c. 1840-2019.

The Auckland series concludes in November with renowned demographer Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, discussing the latest trends in Auckland’s fast-growing population in his tall: “Superdiverse Auckland: A New City Emerges.”

Professor Spoonley launches the Wellington series on March 19 discussing hate speech in the age of the internet. Following lectures include Professor Richard Shaw on the Fourth Industrial revolution and work of the future; Dr Germana Nicklin on New Zealand’s borders from European and Māori perspectives; Dr Anna Powles on the implications for the Pacific ‘reset’; Associate Professor Christine Kenney on indigenous approaches to disaster management; and Dr John Fitzgerald on policy and strategy for suicide risk and prevention. Associate Professor Elspeth Tilley will share her research insights and experiences from pioneering work in performance arts and activism, while Associate Professor Leonel Alvarado will talk on the impact and influence of Latino music around the world.

College of Humanities and Social Sciences’ Regional Director in Auckland and lecture series convenor, Dr Damien Rogers.

Fresh insights on complex issues of our time

Convenor Dr Damien Rogers, a politics lecturer in the School of People, Environment and Planning, says; “These days, the world around us seems more complex than ever before. For some, humanity is on a precipice, tearing itself apart in some regions of the world as a global ecological crisis appears ever closer on our shared horizon. For others, we live in an era of unparalleled opportunity and unsurpassed prosperity. How are we to make sense of it all?” 

 “We offer these lectures free to the public to better connect with our local communities and to fulfil, in part, our cherished role as critic and conscience of society. We hope the series will inform, and perhaps even transform, the way in which people think about a broad range of fascinating topics.”   


TIME: Doors open at 6pm. Lecture 6.30-7.30pm.

VENUE: Round Room, Atrium Building, Albany campus, Massey University



TIME: 6pm to 7pm, third Tuesday of the month.

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

For more information or to register: 

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‘Salad days’ for Summer Shakespearians

Source: Massey University

(from left) Matt Schaw (as Alexas, a high-ranking member of Cleopatra’s court) and Kathleen van Rooyen (Cleopatra) as Cleopatra laments Antony’s absence. (image/Zak Rodgers)

Massey students taking part in this year’s outdoor Manawatū Summer Shakespeare production of Antony and Cleopatra might feel they are in their ‘salad days’ – an expression that refers to a time of carefree innocence and pleasure of youth.

The phrase, from a line by Cleopatra – “my salad days, when I was green in judgment, cold in blood” – is one of the better known from the play to be incorporated into modern speech as well as for the title of a 1950s musical. The play itself combines politics, betrayal and an exotic love story which ends tragically. 

Director, veteran screen and stage actor and Shakespearian stalwart Ralph Johnson says the play dwells on the attraction between “two flawed human beings” – Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt and Mark Antony, a Roman general. “They’re not heroic types – they fail often, but they redeem themselves through their humanity.”

Antony and Cleopatra begins with the titular lovers living together in Egypt when an uprising against Caesar in Rome forces Antony to return. However, Caesar does not fully trust Antony and begins to scheme behind his back. Cleopatra, meanwhile, is left behind in Egypt, where she sets in motion plans of her own – plans which Caesar may be involved in.

Mr Johnson has acted and directed numerous Shakespearian products in New Zealand and abroad, starred in television dramas such as The Legend of the Seeker, in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong, and tutored theatre studies at Massey’s School of English and Media Studies. In this year’s production, he decided to cut the three-hour play by half, editing out minor sub-plots before rehearsals kicked off a few weeks ago.

From left: Iras (Jayda McIndoe), Cleopatra (Kathleen van Rooyen) and Charmian (Sarah Angland grieving over a deceased Antony (Rob Lloyd). (image/Zak Rodgers)

Gender equality among generals

Gender fluidity, a feature of several of William Shakespeare’s other plays, is also an element of this production. A requirement for 50/50 gender casting means there are women generals in the Roman army. It is a contemporary twist because they are not women pretending to be men, but women generals, he says. The set comprises a modernist Egyptian-style pyramid made of steel, while costumes have a futuristic look with military generals clad in motor cross gear.

Six of the cast members are current Massey students, including actor and publicist Zak Rodgers (Bachelor of Communication in Expressive Arts and Journalism), Sarah Angland (Bachelor of Arts in Media Studies and Theatre), Matt Schaw, Cameron Dickons (Bachelor of Arts in English and Theatre), Jayda McIndoe (Bachelor of Science double major in Zoology and Ecology) and Georgia-Rae Lochore.

“Much of the cast is made up from members and veterans of previous Summer Shakespeare productions, which means we’re already familiar with each other,” says Cameron, who plays Octavius Caesar. “Ralph has an exquisite attention to detail and a real drive to get everyone to their best. He’s also quite fun-loving – rehearsals with him are equal parts intense and goofy!” 

Local actor Kathleen van Rooyen, who plays Cleopatra, says the Queen of Egypt famously played by Elizabeth Taylor on film and Judi Dench on the stage, “is a complex and fascinating character. She is ugliness and beauty, vice and virtue. Many stage and film adaptations often portray her as seductive and cruel. But those portrayals of her do not fully capture the queen that once bewitched the western world.”

Summer Shakespeare poster; and director Ralph Johnson.

Theatre magic under the trees

Mr Johnson, currently Massey’s artist in residence, says he is glad to be working with “an experienced and enthusiastic production team, which feels such a blessing. In the cast, also, I feel that same verve. I feel delighted and privileged to be able to build on such a strong platform, to create the next piece of this tradition to enthral this year’s audience.”

This is his third time directing the Manawatū Summer Shakespeare. He’s been an avid fan of Shakespeare since going to see a production of Henry VIII as a boy at Christchurch’s Theatre Royale. 

Award-winning playwright and theatre studies lecturer Professor Angie Farrow in the School of English and Media Studies, who launched the Manawatū Summer Shakespeare 16 years ago, says; “It’s a delight to have Ralph Johnson back amongst us. His productions of Romeo and Juliet and Comedy of Errors were outstanding – he knows how to get the very best from emerging actors.  

“Since he last directed, the Manawatū Summer Shakespeare has gone from strength to strength attracting huge family audience and gaining a reputation as high-quality entertainment.”

The appeal of Antony and Cleopatra for local audiences? “It’s less to do with Shakespeare and more to do with being with a group of people picnicking, being part of creating magic under the trees,” says Mr Johnson.

Antony & Cleopatra runs from 28 February to 3 March and 7 to 9 March. 

Time: 6:30pm and 4:30pm Matinee (4 March) 
Venue: Victoria Esplanade Arboretum, Palmerston North.
Koha (donation) entry. No booking required

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Beijing trip boosts fluency for Chinese learners

Source: Massey University

Massey Chinese language students in Beijing visiting the Summer Palace

A six-week study trip to China funded by a Prime Minister’s Scholarship to Asia (PMSA) has given 15 Massey students a deeper appreciation that learning Mandarin is a ticket to greater cultural understanding and job opportunities in the future.

Several in the group, including a lawyer, a photographer and a finance banker, have shared their personal experiences in a video. All agree their Chinese language skills improved markedly through the immersion experience involving language classes at the prestigious Peking University (PKU), as well as field trips, cultural excursions and meeting locals during the trip last November to December.

Bachelor of Arts student Haluk Gokcen, who is majoring in Chinese, and also studying Spanish and French to fulfil his dream to work for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, says when he arrived in Beijing he could “hardly hold a conversation. Now, I can write text messages and speak to locals without having to use a translation app.” 

Kate Parkinson, who works in finance banking for a major bank following her Bachelor of Business Studies at Massey’s School of Business and is now completing a Graduate Diploma in Arts majoring in Chinese, says the scholarship trip “really helped to grow my confidence in using the language and understanding the social norms.”

Ukraine-born New Zealander Victoria Kirichuk, who speaks four other languages, says that as well as benefiting her Chinese language ability through the immersive experience, the trip gave her the chance to “get to know the real China.” She says the scholarship encourages people wanting to invest time in language learning and cultural engagement, so they can bring that knowledge back to New Zealand to their own communities; “and become bridge-builders between China and New Zealand.”

The scholarship, worth $112k, was awarded to the School of Humanities’ Chinese language programme, led by Dr Michael Li at the Auckland campus. He accompanied the group of mostly distance students, including some part-time students enrolled in a Humanities 200-level Special Topics course, themed around language, culture and industrial experience to count as an elective credit towards their degree study.

Massey Chinese language students (from left) Llorne Howell, Tim Cammell, Dillon Anderson and Kate Parkinson visiting the Great Wall of China.

Cultural and language exchange bodes well for future

Dr Li says there is a need for more New Zealanders to communicate and understand China in a cultural context due to the growth in trade and business connections between the two countries. “Stronger cultural, language and linguistic ties – ties that sow the seeds for long-term trade and collaborative opportunities between New Zealanders and Chinese – need to be established through language and cultural exchange and business experiences,” Dr Li says. 

Massey’s Bridging NZ and China by language learning and business experiences scholarship application provided such opportunities for New Zealand students to engage with China, he says. “For any New Zealander wishing to undertake business and cultural activities, the acquisition of Chinese Mandarin will be vital to their success. At a time when the study of languages across the university sector is in decline, Massey University sees the Prime Minister’s Scholarship to Asia programme as integral in highlighting Chinese language acquisition in New Zealand.”

The students’ programme included classes in the School of Chinese as a Second Language at Peking University, as well as cultural activities and field trips to the Great Wall of China, a tour of the Forbidden City and Olympic Centre in Beijing, Tiananmen Square, the Summer and Winter Palaces, as well as visits to Chinese dairy group Sanyuan Dairy factory and China Hi-Tech Group, which is involved in the provision of educational technology.

Associate Professor Kerry Taylor, head of the School of Humanities, says that for many decades, Massey has recognised the importance of establishing academic and commercial partnerships with key countries in Asia, particularly in the Agriculture and Environment area. In the last few years, the Institute of Agriculture and Environment of Massey has established collaborative relations with two Chinese universities – Shanghai Jiaotong University and Lanzhou University in Western China – through the New Zealand-China Tripartite Fund. In 2015, a humanities perspective was added. 

“Since that link in 2015 the School of Humanities has taken a leading role in the Massey engagement with China,” he says. “We’ve established a Joint Research Centre with Beijing Language and Culture University. This involves a major ongoing research project on Chinese language teaching mediated through technology, led by Professor Cynthia White and co-hosting a major annual conference in China on Chinese as a second language.”

The School of Humanities has also taken up a three-year commitment to teach a New Zealand history and culture paper at Peking University, and has engaged actively with its New Zealand Centre. In addition, the School has hosted two visiting Peking University professors, while three Massey staff have taken up research fellowships at Peking University. 

“The PMSA group is another important element on growing mutually beneficial links between New Zealand and China, and part of our ongoing engagement with PKU, which is generally regarded as the top university in China,” Dr Taylor says.

New Zealand statistics indicate that the trade with China has nearly tripled over the past decade, with two-way trade rising from $8.2b in the year ended June 2007 to $23b by June 2016. Annual exports to China have quadrupled while annual imports from China have doubled since June 2007.  

To find out more about studying Chinese language:

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Massey University appoints new Deputy Vice-Chancellor Māori

Source: Massey University

Distinguished Professor Graham Hingangaroa Smith, Massey’s next Deputy Vice-Chancellor Māori

Internationally-renowned Māori academic and educator Distinguished Professor Graham Hingangaroa Smith is joining Massey University as Deputy Vice-Chancellor Māori.

Professor Smith, of Ngāti Apa, Ngāti Kahungunu, Te Aitanga a Hauiti and Kāti Māmoe, was chief executive of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi in Whakatane for eight years before retiring in 2015. Most recently, he has been acting director of Te Pourewa Arotahi – the Institute of Post Treaty-settlement Futures at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, where he has engaged in research-informed iwi development projects.
He has a Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts (Anthropology) with Honours and a PhD (Education) from the University of Auckland as well as a Teaching Diploma from Auckland Teachers College.

Professor Smith has been a key figure in the development of Kaupapa Māori theorising, which has had significant impact within the academy in New Zealand and international indigenous settings.

He taught in state and Kaupapa Māori schools in Auckland. After returning to the University of Auckland he was, in 1999, appointed Professor of Education – Māori Education and, in the same year, was appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori and worked in the senior management team of the Office of the Vice-Chancellor.

Professor Smith worked in Canada at the University of British Columbia for six years, heading the Education Policy Studies Department in the Faculty of Education. He also worked building indigenous capacities and capabilities with many different Universities in Canada and around the Pacific Rim.

Professor Smith is known as a builder of transforming initiatives. Three national examples include: the establishment of Ngā Pae o te Maramatanga (the Māori Centre of Research Excellence), the MAI (Māori and indigenous graduate programme to establish 500 Māori doctoral graduates in five years), and he was the inaugural chair of the Council for Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi and led the Treaty of Waitangi claim for their settlement.

Massey Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas says she is delighted to have someone of Professor Smith’s academic standing and mana join the University in a senior leadership role. “Professor Smith is ideally-placed to lead Massey’s Tiriti o Waitangi-led strategy.”

Professor Smith was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori and to education in the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours and in 2017 was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for lifetime achievement in education.

Interactive tool maps Auckland’s superdiversity

Source: Massey University

A screenshot of the superdiversity map for Auckland, part of an international population data comparison website.

A new interactive online tool that visually displays data about Auckland’s fast-growing and increasingly diverse migrant population will give government agencies, and groups such as employers and the media, a detailed understanding of super-diversity.

Massey University sociologist, Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley, with Robert Didham from Statistics New Zealand, helped to develop the Auckland section of the international data comparison site, called Superdiversity. He says the tool is an accessible way to find information on the nuances and trends about diversity and migration.  It is also designed to help to provide an understanding about differences between and within migrant communities. 

“We are trying to better understand the diversification of diversity in gateway cities,” Professor Spoonley says.

Interactive graphics allow users to fill in key characteristics – such as age, sex, ethno-cultural background and immigrant status – and to see the predicted socio-economic prospects under five indicators; employment, tertiary qualifications, home ownership, income and English language ability. It also maps data for a precise visual display of the geographical distribution of migrant communities, with cross-tabulation of data on a range of socio-economic and lifestyle indicators.

The project, created by the German-based Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, focuses on three gateway cities – Vancouver, Sydney and Auckland – to develop this new tool. All three are examples of super-diversity where more than 25 per cent of the population is born overseas and immigrant-related diversity has shaped these cities. 

Professor Spoonley worked on the diversity site with fellow demographers studying international trends in immigration and who are concerned at recent debates, which he says often simplify and define migrant groups by a narrow set of characteristics. This can result in misrepresenting and distorting the realities of immigration. 

Demographer Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley.

Understanding differences and nuances within migrant communities

While many tend to talk about “the Chinese community”, or “the Indian community” as if they are homogenous entities, the reality is that there are major differences within every migrant community based on age, gender, education and socio-economic status or the length of time in New Zealand, Professor Spoonley says. 

“If you look at the Chinese community in Auckland, those aged between 18 to 25 years are very different to those aged 40 to 45 in terms of their English language use, work experiences, family relationships and lifestyle,” he says.

It is important that policy makers, businesses and employers – as well as the wider society – has a better understanding and appreciation of these complexities if we want a more harmonious, cohesive society, he adds.

The site says that, “nearly 40 per cent of metropolitan Auckland’s residents, as recorded in the 2013 census, were born outside New Zealand, and the corresponding figures for Sydney and Vancouver in 2016 were, respectively, 43 and 41 per cent. All three are on a path to become ‘majority-minority cities’, with populations that trace their ancestry to Asia, Latin America, and Africa projected to exceed those who identify as European in origin.”

Professor Spoonley, Pro Vice-Chancellor for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, is the co-chair of Metropolis International – the world’s foremost network of researchers, government officials, international organisations and civil society groups concerned with migration and diversity – as well as a Fellow of the German-based Max Planck Institute. He leads the Capturing the Diversity Dividend of Aotearoa/New Zealand (CaDDANZ) project researching diversity in New Zealand, conducted by Massey and Waikato Universities and funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

Living the tourism dream sustainably

Source: Massey University

Top tourism destination Queenstown has been under pressure with demands for affordable accommodation for tourism workers (image/Wikimedia Commons).

Professor Regina Scheyvens, who heads the Development Studies programme at Massey, has initiated the world’s first Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals conference 2019 (January 24-25). The conference will bring academics and tourism industry representatives together to discuss tourism and sustainability. 

“Tourism’s fantastic. We love it, until we get too much of it – then we hate it,” Professor Scheyvens says. “It provides money and jobs – but suddenly our little coastal towns get crowded and we start getting worried about some of the social and environmental problems.

“New Zealand has been able to trade for a long time on our clean green image, and friendly people. But the welcome to visitors does start declining when locals feel they are bearing too much of the negative impact,” she says. “We’ve seen this in the last two European summers with anti-tourism protests in places such as Barcelona.”

The backlash against tourism in popular European cities of Spain, Italy, Portugal and Croatia, is the result of residents saying things are getting too over-crowded, pushing up the cost of rents. “Airbnb people get up early to catch flights and pull their trolley cases over cobblestones and wake everyone up at 5am. Residents sometimes can’t afford to live in their inner cities anymore, and their parks become over-run with tourists leaving little space for local children,” Professor Scheyvens says. Closer to home, thousands were recently turned away from Australia’s iconic Hyams Beach – said to have some of the world’s whitest sand – because heavy traffic was turning the quiet haven into a nightmare. 

Tourism priorities for NZ?

Professor Scheyvens believes New Zealand has to learn from these situations and encourage quality tourism by developing more conservation-oriented and authentic cultural and indigenous experiences. “We do it better than a lot of other countries – we didn’t used to but thanks to more Māori ownership of tourism products – such as Footprints Waipoua [night time forest tours to see ancient kauri, Tane Mahutu] and Kapiti Island Nature Tours – things are changing.”

In New Zealand, the priorities are how we manage our natural resources, says Professor Scheyvens, who thinks not enough money is spent on conservation.

Concerns for homegrown tourism include freedom campers and how we cater to their needs. “We hear about people in Taranaki who can’t park at their favourite beaches due to the number of freedom campers, or about the state of public toilets freedom campers make use of, with local councils having to bear costs of providing extra facilities but not reaping the rewards of tourism.

“These are difficult things to manage and SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals] talk about the importance of working in partnership so we hear everyone’s voices and find a balanced approach.”

What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

In 2015, 190 countries adopted the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which include; no poverty, zero hunger, good health and wellbeing, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, decent work and economic growth, sustainable cities and communities, climate action and responsible production and consumption.

Professor Scheyvens says the goals can provide guidelines to bring together diverse interests, issues and stakeholders in the tourism sector. “I’m optimistic there is opportunity for some traction [for the SDGs] in that the tourism industry relies on natural beauty and a friendly welcome to bring people to destinations. If we want to continue to have that, tourism businesses have to think through things like their waste management practices or the use plastic packaging, and also treat their employees well and ensure there are local benefits.”

The goals address issues such as ‘decent work for all’, which would mean paying employees a living wage, offering training and progression opportunities, and more secure contracts. A greater awareness of the SDGs also means tourists have a role to play in querying sustainable, ethical practices, she says. “Research is showing more tourists support ethical tours, and putting back into the communities they visit – but they often have a limited understanding of what that means.”

Asking questions – like, “Does the hotel minimise food waste?” and “In what ways do they conserve water and energy?” – can make a difference, she says. “Once a few people ask, hotels may change the way they do things. Often, the higher up the luxury ladder, the more waste is created.”

An expert in South Pacific tourism development, Professor Scheyvens will join 80 other speakers at the conference. While the conference takes a critical approach, she says, “We’re also looking for positive ways of moving ahead so everyone can take away ideas on how to do things more effectively. We want to learn from research about good practices that are already in place, as well as how we get more radical change where it’s needed so that people can see it is possible to make changes and still have successful tourism. But we can’t just go on with a business as usual approach – that’s not going to work.”

Scholars, non-government and government officials as well as tourism industry representatives from the South Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, North America and Africa, will attend the conference at Massey’s Auckland campus, in Albany.

Keynote speakers include: 

Professor Suzanne Becken, Director of the Griffith Institute for Tourism, Griffith University, Queensland. She specialises in sustainable tourism with a focus on resource use, climate change, and environmental monitoring. She founded the Global Sustainable Tourism Dashboard – the only global tool to track tourism’s contribution to the SDGs.

Professor Michael Hall, Department of Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship, University of Canterbury. His research interests are in tourism and temporary mobility, regional development, environmental history, global environmental and climate change, sustainability and wine and food.

Johnny Edmonds, (Ngāpuhi), Director for the World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (WINTA), a global Indigenous organisation established in 2012 by national Indigenous tourism organisations operating in Australia, Canada, Nepal, New Zealand, Sweden and USA. 

For more details on the conference and keynote speakers go to:

Follow on Facebook and Twitter: @Tourism4SDGs  

Going global in sports’ sector work experience

Source: Massey University

Massey student Boy Hei Hei working as a volleyball coach at the United Nations International School of Hanoi in Vietnam, during his work integrated learning placement.

Massey University’s distance learning opportunities allow students to study from many locations globally. The opportunity to undertake Work Integrated Learning (WIL) sport industry projects internationally has provided great personal and professional learning opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate Massey University students.

Professor Andy Martin, from the School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition, supervises the sport practicum placement students and says students have recently undertaken WIL placements in Europe, Asia, North and South America, and Australia.

“There are some challenges in setting up international placements, but clarifying ‘great’ expectations with supervisors, so that students have the opportunity to be proactive, take leadership responsibilities, and take work away from their supervisors is important in students making the most of such experiences, and ensuring it’s a win-win situation,” Professor Martin says.

One student based in Vietnam as a college volleyball coach indicated how much he appreciated the supervision and the self-development that had resulted from the placement.

“It’s an honour to be able to work with my colleagues and these athletes,” Boy Hei Hei says. “My supervisor’s amount of experience and expertise he has coaching, I feel privileged to be working alongside him. I am so impressed in how far I have come in my confidence and knowledge since the beginning of the season. I am really proud of myself.”

Aaron McLelland, an undergraduate student coaching rugby at a secondary school in Canada, says the practicum experience provided valuable mentoring and professional experiences in a school setting.

“Periodic self-analysis and coaching effectiveness review enabled me to experience a school environment from an educator’s perspective. I was mentored by a number of senior and experienced coaches.”

Cameron Lamont is employed as a club triathlon coach in Switzerland, and says the practicum process allowed him to develop as an international coach.

“It has given me a new perspective on the role of a coach and how to manage athletes and allow learning to become a world-class coach. The flexible structure of the practicum allowed the focus of self-reflection to be adapted to address current issues and allow for better personal development.”

Sio Ikenasio is based in Australia and has undertaken a sport development role in volleyball for a regional sport organisation, which has had a significant impact personally and professionally and highlighted the benefits of the WIL process.

“It has been such a rewarding experience where I have been able to put into practice some of the theoretical knowledge I have acquired through my studies,” he says. “I was also fortunate to have a supportive supervisor who provided a nice balance of guidance and encouragement that empowered me to learn through my experiences. My greatest achievement within this placement has been contributing to the creation of a new generation of young volleyballers within my community through establishing and coordinating the “SpikeZone” programme.”

Professor Martin says these international examples highlight the multi-disciplinary area of sport development, which plays an increasingly important role in the initiation, support and promotion of sport and physical activity at the volunteer, club, regional and national organisational levels, from grassroots to the elite level.

“Massey University’s new Sport Development majorwithin the revised Bachelor of Sport and Exercise will prepare students for work in the varied and growing area of sport development by providing knowledge in topics such as sport organisational structure and function, event and facility management and sport coaching, along with sociological, performance and business issues linked to sport,” Professor Martin says.