Our Changing World

A series of 10 free public lectures - Auckland campus

Will cyber-terrorism or North Korea be the biggest threats to our security? How will a culturally diverse society hold together, and what impact will the digital age have on future learning? Can mindfulness, poetry or religion be our secret weapons to cope with it all?

These are among themes in a thought-provoking series of free public talks by leading lecturers, researchers and writers from Massey University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, aimed at helping us get to grips with captivating and unsettling developments at home and abroad.

Watch online

These public lectures are available to view online via webcasts. If you can’t join us in person, why not join online?

Watch Webcast Live via these links (will be stored so can also be watched after the event):


Beehive and Seddon statue Vision or diversion: what do State of the Nation speeches really tell us?

Thursday 22 February 2018 | Associate Professor Grant Duncan, Dr Damien Rogers

We begin 2018 with a new government, and a new political cycle. It’s timely to analyse our political leaders’ State of the Nation speeches, looking for the underlying issues that they do – and do not – address. New Zealand’s domestic social and economic situation and its trade and security relations with the wider world will be under the spotlight in a talk by politics and policy experts Associate Professor Grant Duncan and Dr Damien Rogers.

Ethnically diverse people Close encounters in cosmopolitan NZ

Thursday 5 April 2018 | Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley, Dr Rand Hazou, Dr Trudie Cain

You and me. Us and them. With New Zealand’s increasingly diverse population and a recent surge in migrants from over 100 countries, how well do we know and relate to one another in Aotearoa 2018? Are our core institutions adjusting to superdiversity? What about our local and national policies? What are the challenges ahead, and what is needed to ensure social cohesion – and not division – in our culturally rich, complex society? Well-known demographer Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley and colleagues, Dr Rand Hazou and Dr Trudie Cain, will explore these issues.

World War 1 planes Flying under the radar: New Zealand’s fearless airmen of WWI

Thursday 26 April 2018 | Dr Adam Claasen

For much of New Zealand’s commemorative history of the Great War, the land battles of Gallipoli and Passchendaele have dominated our imagination. But New Zealanders were also pioneers in the new field of military aviation. Flying the open cockpit wood-and-wire biplanes of WWI, New Zealanders undertook reconnaissance sorties and bombing raids, photographed enemy entrenchments, defended England from German airships, and battled enemy fighters. Drawing on extensive archival material from Australasia and Britain, historian Dr Adam Claasen explores the fascinating and untold endeavours of New Zealand’s first military airmen.

Book and flowers Can poetry save the Earth? 

Thursday 31 May 2018  | Associate Professor Bryan Walpert, Dr Jack Ross, Dr Jo Emeney

Can Poetry Save the Earth? A Field Guide to Nature Poems is the title of poet and critic John Felstiner's 2009 exploration of how the human and natural worlds connect. Can writing and reading poetry change both? It’s a question that resonates with one of the most pressing issues of our time – the impact of climate change. Poets and editors Associate Professor Bryan Walpert, Dr Jack Ross and Dr Jo Emeney, from Massey’s creative writing programme, discuss how imagination and thinking about nature can be opened up through poetry and will read from their own work.

Surveillance Watching over you: surveillance and security in New Zealand

Thursday 28 June 2018 | Dr Rhys Ball, Dr Damien Rogers

From combatting cyber terrorism to uncovering data theft – these days it is generally accepted that national security agencies are necessary for the preservation and protection of democratic institutions and the safety of the public. International relations and security experts Dr Rhys Ball and Dr Damien Rogers explore the opportunities and challenges confronting those responsible for managing New Zealand’s intelligence and surveillance efforts in today’s evolving security landscape.

Chinese and North Korean flags Can China call the shots with North Korea?

Thursday 5 July 2018 | Dr Marc Lanteigne

Nerve-wracking incidents last year, when the world feared a nuclear catastrophe sparked by North Korea's missile tests and warhead detonation, as well as impulsive rhetoric between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump, have caused much global concern. Is China prepared to step up and play a critical role in reducing regional tensions and brokering a lasting peace? Asian politics and security specialist Dr Marc Lanteigne shares insights on the complex historical relationships and political currents that will determine North Korea’s next moves.

Syrian monument Whose community? What can the Ancients teach us about merging and mixing?

Thursday 30 August 2018 | Dr Anastasia Bakogianni, Dr David Rafferty

As the turbulent 21st century unfolds, we can look to the ancient Greeks and Romans when facing the challenges of living together as a democracy. As pioneers in participatory government they continue to speak to us about one of our world’s most contentious issues: how to accommodate migrants and other outsiders in existing communities. Dr Anastasia Bakogianni and Dr David Rafferty will reveal how ancient practices can be a source of inspiration, as well as offering cautionary examples. Either way, ancient texts can provide us with an alternative perspective which can help us more clearly view our own problems.

Stylised face In the moment: mindfulness for changing times

Thursday 27 September 2018 | Dr Heather Kempton

Mindfulness is the practice of being aware and attentive in the present moment, while adopting a non-judgmental attitude to experiences that occur. The practice, derived from Buddhist teachings more than 2,500 years old, have been adapted for secular application. Clinically, mindfulness can help address health issues such as depression and pain. With its surging popularity, Dr Heather Kempton discusses mindfulness in terms of original teachings, that is, to free oneself from suffering by profoundly appreciating that everything is impermanent and subject to change. We are often reminded that we live in changing times –  but the times have always been changing, and mindfulness can help see us through.

Teacher and students with computer Yearn to learn – how the digital revolution is sparking creativity

Thursday 25 October 2018 | Dr Lucila Carvalho

In richly networked societies, we are able to work, shop, access large amounts of information and interact with others, through simple touches to personal mobile devices. The rise of innovative technologies and the Internet have created new opportunities, not only for work and leisure, but also for education. A new culture of learning has emerged, challenging educators to rethink learning and pedagogical practices in the digital age. Dr Lucila Carvalho will explore how learning in the 21st century is a more open, connected and participatory activity, where learners are no longer seen just as passive consumers of information, but also as creators.

New Zealand church

In search of church – does religion have a future in Godzone?

Thursday 29 November 2018 | Professor Peter Lineham

The decline of religious, and in particular Christian, institutions in New Zealand has led some to suggest that religions are in mortal decline. Renowned historian Professor Peter Lineham will challenge this interpretation, suggesting that religiosity is changing fast. He will discuss new trends in the way our society experiences, practises and shares religious and spiritual aspects of life, and point to different scenarios for religious groups in the next 30 years.

Event details

Time: 6pm to approx. 7.30pm

Date: Thursdays 22 February, 5 April, 26 April, 31 May, 28 June, 5 July, 30 August, 27 September, 25 October and 29 November 2018.

Location: Sir Neil Waters Lecture Theatre Building (SNW300), Massey University Auckland campus.

East Precinct Auckland campus map

Light refreshments provided.

Register for free now!

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