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Winter Symposium Series, with Joe Bennett

This year the University is revamping what used to be the Winter Lecture Series into the Winter Symposium, turning it into three events with multi-disciplinary panels providing commentary on current issues in Wellington and Auckland in July, and Queenstown in August

Joe Bennett
Joe Bennett, MC/moderator

The working title for this year’s symposium is Why Should You Care?

The idea is to cover big issues that matter to New Zealanders close to the 2017 Election. We are fortunate to have Lyttelton satirist and columnist Joe Bennett who will be MC/moderator for all three events, and we have chosen an exciting group of Otago panellists, a group of our best and brightest leading thinkers in these chosen topics.

We want to elicit from our academics their ideas on policy changes that would-be politicians will need to listen to and offer their views on before the election.

The events will be in Wellington, Auckland and Queenstown. The idea is that each panellist will talk for five to seven minutes, with an opportunity for questions from the audience.


If you are interested in attending, please see details below:

Wellington – Wednesday 5 July 2017

The future of work

Start: 6:00pm

Venue: Parliament, Theatrette

Registration has now closed for Wellington


Professor David Baxter

Dave Baxter

Professor David Baxter, of the School of Physiotherapy, is Professor and Director of the New Zealand Ageing Well National Science Challenge. David’s research expertise includes physical activity and health, musculoskeletal pain, including low back pain, and laser medicine. His current projects include ageing well with chronic pain, laser therapy for treatment of lymphoedema, and clinical effectiveness of acupuncture in the treatment of pain.

Dr Andrew Coleman

Andrew Coleman

Dr Andrew Coleman holds joint positions in the Department of Economics and the New Zealand Productivity Commission. In recent years he has investigated the way New Zealand's tax, banking and superannuation system causes intergenerational transfers through its effects on savings behaviour and housing markets.

Professor Richard Porter

Richard Porter

Professor Richard Porter is Head of the Department of Psychological Medicine, Christchurch, and a consultant psychiatrist with the Canterbury District Health Board. Recently his research has focused on impairment in memory, thinking and emotional processing in depression and bipolar disorder, and the relationship of this to general impairment in function. He is also researching ways in which these functions can be improved.

Dr Sara Walton

Sara Walton

Dr Sara Walton, of the Department of Management, researches and teaches in the area of business, sustainability and the natural environment. She is part of a team of researchers investigating “Work Futures” and developing scenarios for future worlds using thoughts from business leaders, futurists and global environmental scans.

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Auckland – Wednesday 12 July 2017

Regionalism and the dominance of Auckland

Start: 6:00pm

Venue: Rydges Auckland, Kingston Rooms 1 and 2

We are taking registrations now.

Please email with the following code: AKL Winter Symposium, to show your interest.


Dr Sergio Biggeman

Sergio Biggemann

Dr Sergio Biggemann, of the Department of Marketing, specialises in industrial sociology, specifically how organisations relate to other organisations and the modelling of dynamics of relationships between businesses with a view towards creating business solutions.

Professor Claire Freeman

Claire Freeman

Professor Claire Freeman, of the Department of Geography, specialises in environmental planning, where she focuses on planning with children, older adults, urban nature and community planning. She is passionate about creating better, more sustainable city environments for people of all ages, as well as cities that work for wildlife.

Professor Robin Gauld

Robin Gauld thumbnail

Professor Robin Gauld is Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Commerce) and Dean of the Otago Business School. Considered to be New Zealand’s leading analyst of the healthcare system, he has led many studies of different elements of healthcare policy and delivery in New Zealand and internationally, including into how New Zealand’s health funding is allocated.

Professor Etienne Nel

Etienne Nel

Professor Etienne Nel, of the Department of Geography, specialises in local and regional development. He has previously worked on World Bank and other development agency projects and has research interests in small towns, marginality and local government.

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Queenstown – Tuesday 8 August 2017

Something in the water – water quality, tourism and the economy vs the environment

Start: 7:00pm

Venue: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront, Conference Room 1

We are taking registrations now.

Please email with the following code: QN Winter Symposium, to show your interest.

With the support of Catalyst Trust



Associate Professor Brent Lovelock

Brent Lovelock

Associate Professor Brent Lovelock, of the Department of Tourism, specialises in sustainable tourism, ethical tourism and outdoor recreation. He has carried out his research in North America, across the Asia-Pacific region and in New Zealand.

Dr Sarah Mager

Sarah Mager

Dr Sarah Mager, of the Department of Geography, has research expertise in surface water hydrology specific to pristine alpine rivers, water yield and tussock grasslands. Her focus is on understanding natural fluxes of material through headwater catchments, including nutrients, sediment and components of chemical weathering.

Dr Marc Schallenberg


Dr Marc Schallenberg, of the Department of Zoology, is a freshwater scientist who has studied more than 80 New Zealand lakes, from Northland to Campbell Island, and is the current president of the New Zealand Freshwater Sciences Society. He has been studying Central Otago lakes for more than 20 years and is fascinated by their unique ecology and their responses to catchment development, climate change and the arrival of invasive species.

Associate Professor Nicola Wheen

Nicola Wheen

Associate Professor Nicola Wheen, of the Faculty of Law, is interested in New Zealand environmental law, especially the law about the allocation and conservation of freshwater resources. (She is also very interested in fishing and Treaty of Waitangi issues in environmental law. 

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