Forthcoming events at the Centre

Our next public events

'Conversation After Pentecost: The Shape of Distinctly Christian Engagements with the Postmodern Other'

Friday 22nd May, 3.00 - 4.15pm

Burns 7 Seminar Room

Public seminar with Professor Trevor Hart, (Rector of Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Scotland). He retains the position of Honorary Professor at the University of St Andrews where he was formerly Professor of Divinity, Principal of St Mary’s College, and Director of the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts. He continues to teach and publish in Christian doctrine and systematic theology and is currently working on a three volume project engaging Christian theology in constructive conversation with other disciplines. His books include:

'Non-Toxic Religion: The Churches in the Peace Movement in 1980's New Zealand'

Thursday 28th May, 5.15 - 6.30pm

Burns 1 Lecture Theatre

Open lecture with Reverend Dr Peter Matheson, hosted by the Centre for Theology and Public Issues and the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies. Peter Matheson studied in Otago, (History) Edinburgh, and Tübingen (Theology); edited Critic; taught religious history in New College Edinburgh, Otago and Melbourne. He has been active in the peace movement in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Germany and New Zealand. He is the author of fifteen books and countless articles on reforming movements, radical and women's history in the Early Modern Period in Germany, and on aspects of New Zealand and Third Reich history. He is a Presbyterian minister and Honorary Fellow of the Department of Theology and Religion at the University of Otago.

Faith Thinking Courses coming up in April, May and June

Faith Thinking courses are jointly organised between the Department of Theology and Religion and some Dunedin churches, and supported by Continuing Education at the University of Otago.

Below is some information about the courses:

i) 'Forgiveness, Freedom and Faith: An Exploration of Christian Forgiveness as an experience of Freedom'
Presented by Professor David Tombs, (Centre for Theology and Public Issues, Department of Theology and Religion, University of Otago)
Friday 8th May, 7.00 – 9.00pm, Burns 2 (Albany Street), University of Otago. This session will include showing the film 'Forgiveness', directed by Ian Gabriel; and Saturday 9th May, 9.00am - 12.30pm, The Gathering Place, Knox Church, George Street

ii) Dealing with Conflict: Biblical insights and some skill training
Presented by Rev Helen Martin, Minister, Mosgiel Presbyterian Church
Thursday 11th June, 7.00 – 9.00pm, Thursday 18th June, 7.00 – 9.00pm and Thursday 25th June, 7.00 – 9.00pm, Humanities Common Room (1W9), Arts Building, Albany Street, University of Otago.

Cost of each course: $20

For further information go to:


If you have any queries about these Faith Thinking courses, please contact Paul Trebilco by email:

Podcasts now available for the recent events:

'Child Poverty: Myths, Misconceptions and Misunderstandings'. Open lecture with Professor Jonathan Boston, (Co-chair, Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty).  Here

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News and Events Archive

2015 events

14 May: 'Syria Behind the Lines'. The open lecture with Chris Clarke, (World Vision New Zealand), was followed by a screening of the film 'Syria Behind the Lines', which examines the sectarian division in the conflict. The film (60 mins) was followed by a discussion.

14 May: 'Beauty and Brokenness: Reflections on the Syrian Crisis'. Chris Clarke, (Chief Executive, World Vision New Zealand), spoke on the devastating impact this crisis has had on a generation of Syrian children, and asked "Where is God in all of this?". Chris has spent most of his career in the public health sector and is a visiting scholar at Green Templeton College, Oxford University.

30 April: 'Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert'. The conversation with Mark Powell was followed by a screening of the film 'Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert'.

30 April: 'Public Conversation with Mark Powell'. Professor Murray Rae (Department of Theology and Religion) was in conversation with Mark Powell (CEO of The Warehouse). Topics for his conversation included: a living wage; Chief Excutive Pay; economic inequality; Christian approaches to business, and more.

16 April: 'In My Country' Film Screening. Based on the acclaimed book Country of My Skull by Antjie Krog, an Afrikaans poet who covered TRC hearings for South African radio.

16 April: 'Faith and Reconciliation: Insights from the South African Experience'. Open lecture by Emeritus Professsor Piet Meiring, (Theology and Missiology, University of Pretoria, and a former member of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission chaired by Desmond Tutu). View the notes from the lecture here Pre-requisites for Forgiveness, Faith and Reconciliation

24 March: 'Romero' Film Screening. The film was preceded by a CTPI panel discussion on Freedom of Speech. This powerful film features Romero's time as Archbishop of San Salvador, when he became known as a 'Voice for the Voiceless' until his murder on 24 March 1980.

24 March: 'Freedom of Speech: Rights and Responsibilities?' panel discussion with Associate Professor Greg Dawes, (Department of Philosophy), Dr Najibullah Lafraie, (Department of Politics), Mr Murray Kirkness, (Editor of Otago Daily Times), Associate Professor Selene Mize, (Faculty of Law), Professor David Tombs, (Centre for Theology and Public Issues) and chaired by Professor Murray Rae, (Department of Theology and Religion).

11 February: Hosted the launch of the Salvation Army's annual state-of-the-nation report, 'A Mountain All Can Climb'.

2014 events

17 October: 2014 Quaker Lecture: Standing in this Place an open lecture with David James, Jillian Wychel, Murray Short and Linda Wilson. Hosted by the Society of Friends, in association with the Centre for Theology and Public Issues. Listen to the audio recording here

11 August: The Marriage Amendment Act One Year On: How are the Churches Responding? An open panel with Rt Rev’d Kelvin Wright, (Anglican Bishop of Dunedin); Rev'd Greg Hughson, (University Chaplain); Rt Rev'd Dr Graham Redding, (Principal of Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership, and former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand); Rev'd Mark Chamberlain, (Roman Catholic Priest, Church of the Holy Name); Rev'd Dr Bruce Hamill, (Minister at Coastal Unity Presbyterian Church and Convenor of the Doctrine Core Group, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand); Mr Neill Ballantyne, (Queer Support Officer, OUSA). This event was hosted by the Centre for Theology and Public Issues and Otago University Students’ Association Queer Support.

17 July: Future Visions: Ecology, Economics at the End of the World. Open lecture with Dr Andrew Shepherd (Adjunct Lecturer in Theology; Dr Andrew Shepherd has worked as a Research Fellow and Teaching Fellow at the Centre for Theology and Public Issues, University of Otago. He is the National Co-Director for A Rocha Aotearoa New Zealand, a Christian conservation movement). This was followed by the launch of his book, The Gift of the Other: Levinas, Derrida, and a Theology of Hospitality (Eugene, OR:. Pickwick Publications, 2014).

7 July: Believers of the World - Unite. Otago Tertiary Chaplaincy and Dunedin Abrahamic Interfaith Group Eleventh Annual Open Peace Lecture with Rev Dr Lord Leslie Griffiths, (Dr Griffiths, the Lord Griffiths of Burry Port, is a Methodist Minister and Superintendent of Wesley’s Chapel, London, and a Labour member of the House of Lords). Introduced by Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne.

7 July: How to communicate meaningfully with ordinary people - the challenge to Theology. Seminar with Rev Dr Lord Leslie Griffiths, (Superintendent Minister of Wesley’s Chapel, London, and a member of the House of Lords).

12 June: Child Poverty: Myths, misconceptions and misunderstandings. An open lecture with Professor Jonathan Boston, (Co-chair, Expert Advisory Group on Solutions to Child Poverty). View the powerpoint from the lecture here. View the podcast  here.

12 June: Governing for the Future: Stewardship, sustainability and the tyranny of the present. An open lecture with Professor Jonathan Boston, (Professor of Public Policy, Victoria University School of Government). View the powerpoint from the lecture here

26 March: Religious Leaders Building Peace and the Practice of Interfaith Dialogue: Drawing on the Experiences of Mindanao, Burundi and Nigeria. A public conversation with Professor Ed Garcia (Senior Conflict Advisor at International Alert in London), Dr Najibullah Lafraie (Department of Politics), Dr Sung Yong Lee (Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies) and the Revd Greg Hughson (University Chaplain).

18 March: Third World Development: Opportunities and Challenges. The Centre hosted three National Directors from World Vision's offices around the globe, who each made a short presentation and answered questions on 'Hot Topics in Development' such as: Tackling poverty in conflict situations - Alex Snary, (National Director, World Vision Jerusalem-West Bank-Gaza); When doing good does harm - Gilbert Kamanga, (National Director, World Vision Uganda); When aid and business collide - Chris Herink, (National Director, World Vision Myanmar). Chaired by Chris Clarke, (CEO of World Vision New Zealand).

17 March: Public Conversation with Archbishop John Sentamu. This was another chance to hear the Archbishop John Sentamu, (the Archbishop of York), in conversation with Archbishop Philip Richardson, (Archbishop of the New Zealand Dioceses). The conversation ranged widely over issues concerning the church locally and internationally, and considered particular projects and themes of Archbishop Sentamu's own work in the UK.

17 March: Poverty: Global and Local. A one-day symposium with Archbishop John Sentamu, (the Archbishop of York), and his wife Margaret Sentamu, (Principal Consultant and Head of Diversity at Odgers & Berndtson). Other speakers included the Revd Jono Ryan (New Zealand Co-ordinator of Servants to Asia's Urban Poor), Professor David Fielding (Professor of Economics, Otago Business School) and Gillian Bremner (CEO of Presbyterian Support). The symposium considered the nature, causes and extent of poverty and explored strategies for alleviating poverty that make a difference both locally and globally.

13 February: Hosted the launch of the Salvation Army's annual state-of-the-nation report, 'Striking a Better Balance'.


© Centre for Theology and Public Issues
Department of Theology and Religion
University of Otago
PO Box 56
Dunedin 9054
Aotearoa/New Zealand

Tel 643 479 8450