Forthcoming events at the Centre

Our next public events

'Freedom of Speech: Rights and Responsibilities?'

Tuesday 24th March, 5.15 - 6.30pm

Archway 2 Lecture Theatre


The deadly attack on 7 January 2015 at the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris prompted mass demonstrations to protest the shootings. The ‘Je Suis Charlie’ slogan became a widely used endorsement of the right to free speech. At the same time, hate speech laws were used against those who spoke in support of the killing. This panel discussion will explore issues arising from the affair, and examine freedom of speech issues more generally, including the attack on a free speech debate and a synagogue in Copenhagen on 14 February. The discussion will look at what responsibilities and limits, if any, should go with the exercise of free speech and a free press in a democracy.

This panel discussion will be chaired by Professor Murray Rae, (Department of Theology and Religion).

Film Screening: 'Romero'

Tuesday 24th March, 7.30-10.00pm

Archway 2 Lecture Theatre

On 24 March 1980, right-wing death squads gunned down Oscar Romero, the archbishop of San Salvador, at the altar while he celebrated mass. On 3 February this year Pope Francis decreed that Romero was killed out of ‘hatred for the faith’. This declaration of his death as a martyrdom clears the way for Romero’s beatification as a saint. Romero was widely known as El Salvador’s ‘Voice of the Voiceless’. To remember Romero’s work for justice and reconciliation in El Salvador on the 35th anniversary of his murder, the Centre for Theology and Public Issues will be screening the movie ‘Romero’ (1989, directed by John Duigan).

The film will be preceded (5.15pm-6.30pm) by a CTPI panel discussion on Freedom of Speech. A distinguished panel from the University of Otago and Murray Kirkness of the Otago Daily Times will discuss freedom of speech issues in light of recent events in Paris and Copenhagen.

All welcome.

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) Going Deeper into the Gospel of Luke
Presented by Dr Deborah Bower, (Synod of Otago & Southland Church Leadership Support Advisor)
Friday 17th April, 7.00 – 9.00pm and Saturday 18th April, 9.00 - 12.30pm
Burns 5 (Albany Street), University of Otago

ii) '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 and Saturday 9th May, 9.00am - 12.30pm, The Gathering Place, Knox Church, George Street

iii) 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

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