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Centre for Sustainability news archive

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Hefty bags hindering active transport to school

Wednesday, 9 February 2022 9:12am

Heavy school bags are a “significant” issue for teenagers, with one-third of them thinking their bag is too heavy to walk or bike to school, BEATS Research from University of Otago shows.

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Marsden and Rutherford funding success for Humanities

Friday, 5 November 2021 4:36pm

The Division of Humanities celebrates the news that Associate Professor Priscilla Wehi (Centre for Sustainability) and Associate Professor Zach Weber (Philosophy) have received Marsden Fund grants, and Dr Neil Vallelly a Rutherford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship.

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Culture and Sustainability

Tuesday, 28 September 2021 3:45pm

Professor Janet Stephenson's Inaugural Professorial Lecture: Culture and Sustainability has been recorded and is available to view.

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Research must make a difference says new Centre for Sustainability Director

Wednesday, 22 September 2021 9:10am

Newly appointed Centre for Sustainability Director Associate Professor Caroline Orchiston wants to bring her “passion for applied research that makes a difference to our society” to the role.

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Looking at future of Antarctic through an Indigenous Māori lens

Thursday, 27 May 2021 4:29pm

It is time for the management and conservation of the Antarctic to begin focusing on responsibility, rather than rights, through an Indigenous Māori framework, a University of Otago academic argues.

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Response to the Climate Change Commission

Thursday, 8 April 2021 4:43pm

The Centre for Sustainability recently submitted a response to the Climate Change Commission’s Consultation document, the combined submission is a research-informed perspective on the CCC’s draft Advice.

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Dunedin energy study shows worrying trends

Monday, 9 November 2020 4:37pm

More diesel use; less renewable energy; less energy efficiency; more carbon emissions – a new report from the University of Otago’s Centre for Sustainability identifies many worrying energy use trends in Dunedin.

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Call for scholarship applications

Friday, 4 September 2020 12:12pm

The Centre for Sustainability has a three-year PhD Scholarship available to investigate the uptake and implementation of public policies related to seismic resilience in lower seismic hazard zones in southern New Zealand.

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Centre for Sustainability summer scholarships available

Thursday, 3 September 2020 8:41am

The Centre for Sustainability has several Summer Scholarships available for the summer break.

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Policymakers should pre-plan for earthquake cordon use, Otago research

Thursday, 3 September 2020 10:03am

Otago researchers examining the impacts of post-earthquake cordons on residents and businesses say policy makers should pre-plan for cordon use to minimise negative outcomes.

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Pumped storage and the intricate dance of supply and demand

Monday, 24 August 2020 10:21am

The government is allocating $30 million to develop a detailed business case for pumped hydro to address New Zealand’s dry-year storage problem.

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Opinion: Our political parties need a plan for a ‘post-growth’ world

Saturday, 8 August 2020 2:31pm

In's Election Series, Centre for Sustainability Director, Janet Stephenson and School of Geography’s Etienne Nel argue our political parties need a plan for a ‘post-growth’ world.

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NZ wants to build a 100% renewable electricity grid

Friday, 31 July 2020 4:23pm

New Zealand wants to build a 100% renewable electricity grid, but massive infrastructure is not the best option.

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Awakening the taniwha: Unleashing community potential from the rubble of Covid-19

Monday, 15 June 2020 4:04pm

Covid-19 has reset our understanding of the world. From this crisis comes opportunity, and Professor Merata Kawharu (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāpuhi), from the Centre for Sustainability, believes it’s a chance to apply traditional principles to our new normal.

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COVID-19: Implications for NZ’s energy future

Friday, 12 June 2020 9:08am

Janet Stephenson discusses the impacts of Covid-19 and its aftermath on energy systems in New Zealand and globally, and the implications for a low-carbon future.

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Six new approaches in a world beyond lockdown

Friday, 1 May 2020 10:19am

Centre Director Associate Professor Janet Stephenson latest opinion piece looks at what she think we’re learning as a society through the COVID-19 experience.

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PhD Scholarship available

Thursday, 30 April 2020 2:22pm

The Centre for Sustainability is currently advertising a 3 year PhD Scholarship  to study earthquake-related legislation in lower seismic hazard zones.

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Redirecting our economy to a more sustainable path

Thursday, 30 April 2020 1:56pm

Centre Director Associate Professor Janet Stephenson says “There are many things we can be doing to be setting our economy and society into a sustainable future.”

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COVID-19 has nothing on what’s coming

Monday, 20 April 2020 11:26am

The current nationwide pause as a result of Covid-19 is an extraordinary opportunity, and probably the only one we will get, to redesign our economy so that it no longer threatens life on this planet.

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Reducing Greenhouse Gases on Farms

Monday, 6 April 2020 10:40am

Britta Hamill and Associate Professor Janet Stephenson have published a summary of options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions on New Zealand livestock farms.

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Health and wellbeing in parks and nature in 1800s Aotearoa New Zealand

Friday, 3 April 2020 5:04pm

A recent blog from our colleague Dr James Beattie, University of Victoria.

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PhD Scholarships - NOW CLOSED

Thursday, 31 October 2019 9:33am

We are providing three PhD scholarships and fees to students who are interested in looking at solutions to climate change problems for Māori communities. Students would join in a multi-disciplinary team of academics, private sector and Crown Research Institute individuals, along with recent Māori social science graduates from Otago University. THESE SCHOLARSHIPS HAVE BEEN FILLED AND ARE NOW CLOSED

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National research funding for Centre researcher

Thursday, 19 September 2019 9:11am

Professor Merata Kawharu (Ngāti Whatua, Ngāpuhi) from the Centre for Sustainability, has been awarded NZ$7,248,016 over five years for an initiative aimed at empowering Māori communities to respond to climate change.This innovative research project pioneers the development of marae-based and marae-led platforms and processes to help reduce carbon emissions in the community.

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Summer Scholarships available

Friday, 13 September 2019 11:49am

Are you planning on coming back to university next year? Would you like to carry out an interesting 10-week research project over the holidays? The Centre for Sustainability has several Summer Scholarships for the summer break. 

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PhD Scholarship available in the area of tourism, emergency management and rural disaster resilience.

Thursday, 22 August 2019 2:41pm

Inviting applications for a three year PhD Scholarship at the Centre for Sustainability.We seek an applied, interdisciplinary research candidate with exceptional communication skills, and prior research knowledge and practical experience of the tourism sector to join our dynamic research team in New Zealand.

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Coastal erosion challenges councils and communities

Thursday, 11 July 2019 9:55am

New research shows a “business as usual” approach will not work for New Zealand’s regional councils, and over a quarter of our local councils, who are facing extreme exposure to climate hazards like coastal erosion, flooding and rising groundwater levels.

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Reducing power costs for farmers

Wednesday, 10 July 2019 10:02am

Electricity costs are a significant burden for many farms, especially those that run extensive irrigation and dairying operations.

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Māori Research PhD scholarships - NOW CLOSED

Monday, 3 June 2019 9:31am

The Centre is seeking expressions of interest in two PhD Scholarship opportunities in Māori research. APPLICATIONS HAVE NOW CLOSED

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Study reveals Dunedin’s energy use and high uptake of electric vehicles

Wednesday, 10 April 2019 2:43pm

Transport uses half of the energy consumed in Dunedin and produces most of the city’s energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, a new University of Otago study reveals. However, it also shows the city boasts the highest rates of electric vehicle ownership in New Zealand.

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Postdoctoral Fellow

Tuesday, 2 April 2019 2:08pm

This is for a full-time, fixed-term three-year position for a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Sociology of Food and Agriculture. Applications have now closed.

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Project builds resilience in communities preparing for Alpine Fault quake

Tuesday, 11 September 2018 3:12pm

The scientists, emergency planners and numerous agencies involved in preparing for a future Alpine Fault earthquake have modelled the impacts of a major earthquake on the Alpine Fault and highlighted the need for emergency agencies to work across boundaries during a future disaster, University of Otago research reveals.

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Latest newsletter out

Wednesday, 27 June 2018 2:35pm

Dr James Hale discusses his involvement in The New Zealand Sustainability Dashboard, Dr Caroline Orchiston summarises her work on QuakeCoRE's Oamaru Tourism precinct and Postgraduate student Karly Burch shares her completed PhD project.

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Leigh McKenzie shares her experience as an ESRI scholar

Thursday, 31 May 2018 9:48am

For Leigh McKenzie a summer internship at the Centre lead to the unexpected experience of being granted the New Zealand Esri Young Scholar award for 2017 and nominated for the New Zealand Emerging Spatial Professional award.

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Climate change and sea level rise report released

Thursday, 31 May 2018 10:07am

Centre Director Janet Stephenson and Deputy Director Caroline Orchiston were authors recently on a report for MOTU - Communities and climate Change: Vulnerability to rising seas and more frequent flooding. 

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Caroline Orchiston interviewed about earthquake on the Alpine Fault

Thursday, 17 May 2018 12:32pm

Centre Deputy Director Dr Caroline Orchiston  recently appeared on Stuff News through her involvement with Project Alpine Fault Magnitude 8 (AF8)

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Centre staff go the distance for Agri-food conference

Friday, 26 January 2018 12:13pm

The Centre for Sustainability was well represented at the recent 24th International Conference of Agri-food Research Network held in Bandung, Indonesia.

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Halving the University of Otago’s greenhouse gas emissions

Wednesday, 18 October 2017 11:12am

The University of Otago is living its commitment to being a good global citizen by sparking a change that will halve the greenhouse gas emissions created by its energy use, while simultaneously reducing its total carbon footprint by a third.

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Summer Scholarships available

Monday, 25 September 2017 2:29pm

If you are planning on returning to Otago University next year and would like to carry out an interesting research project over the summer break one of our summer scholarships might appeal to you. Both will be based at our Centre and would run for the standard 10-week period.

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PhD Scholarship available - QuakeCoRE project

Saturday, 23 September 2017 11:27am

The Centre is calling for applications for a 3 year doctoral scholarship commencing early 2018.
It will contribute to the QuakeCoRE programme (Flagship 3 – Addressing earthquake-vulnerable buildings – a multi-disciplinary approach). This three-year project will focus on learning lessons from both domestic and international cordoning experiences to inform the planning and implementation of cordons in urban New Zealand.
Applications for the scholarship close January 20th 2018. More information and full application details available

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Centre director joins Science Leadership Team for Sustainable Seas

Monday, 18 September 2017 10:22am

Centre for Sustainability Director Janet Stephenson will be joining the Science Leadership Team (SLT) for the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge.

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Election cycle not helping transport sustainability

Thursday, 14 September 2017 2:32pm

Keeping New Zealanders on the move in an increasingly sustainable way is being hamstrung by our three-year election cycle and policy U-turns.

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Oamaru heritage tourism project

Wednesday, 16 August 2017 3:04pm

The Oamaru Heritage Precinct Project, being carried out by Centre for Sustainability acting director Dr Caroline Orchiston and research assistant Will Stovall, made news in the Oamaru Mail last week

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Flagship Research Centres Launched

Wednesday, 16 August 2017 2:39pm

The University formally launched its reconfigured line-up of 12 flagship research centres recently at the Otago Museum. The Centre for Sustainability was represented by Deputy Director, Dr Caroline Orchiston who presented a short overview of the centre's research alongside the other 11 flagship centres.

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World watching how NZ handles its envied renewable power

Friday, 11 August 2017 12:00pm

New Zealand’s high levels of renewable electricity may be the envy of the world but some thorny issues still need addressing.

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Better understanding of sea level rise in South Dunedin

Thursday, 13 April 2017 11:56am

Our response to sea-level rise affecting South Dunedin should not wait until the science is settled, the University of Otago’s Centre for Sustainability says.

To help with that response, the Centre’s researchers have compiled a multi-layered database with superimposed maps.
ut together by summer scholarship student Leigh McKenzie, the database features more than 140 digital layers of information about the at-risk part of greater South Dunedin, including flood hazards, modelled water ponding under different scenarios, house ages and demographic details from the New Zealand Census.

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Centre wins Postgraduate research Culture Award

Friday, 20 January 2017 12:22pm

The Centre is thrilled to announce it will receive the University of Otago's inaugural prize for small departments/centres for developing a Postgraduate Research Culture. The award will be presented next month at Abbey College. The University Committee was impressed with the strong research culture at the Centre with some great initiatives with evidence of strong student involvement in research outputs.

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Gold status for Energy Cultures

Friday, 20 January 2017 12:25pm

The Energy Cultures research programme has been awarded ‘gold status’ by its funder, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. This status means ‘performing above expectations’ based on MBIE’s evaluation of the team’s annual report [link to annual report – see attached]. Highlights included (a) the widespread adoption, in New Zealand and internationally, of the Energy Cultures framework as a way of understanding behavior, (b) the development of an empirical measure of the dimensions of energy culture, (c) new insights into efficient driving, (d) contributions to electric vehicle policy, and (e) a system dynamics model of electric vehicle uptake.
Congratulations to the Energy Cultures team for this stellar result.

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A shift towards more local and community-based marine resource management.

Monday, 17 October 2016 10:37am

Janet Stephenson, Director of the Centre, recently presented at Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Norway on locally governed and community-based fisheries and marine management systems.

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Upfront price of EVs still hurdle for Kiwi drivers, says Dr Janet Stephenson

Friday, 17 June 2016 9:20am

The government’s package of benefits for electric vehicles has been welcomed by Dr Janet Stephenson but she warns the upfront price is still a large hurdle for Kiwi drivers

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Dr Ben Anderson to visit the Centre in July

Friday, 17 June 2016 8:59am

Dr Ben Anderson of the Sustainable Energy Research Group (SERG) at the University of Southampton was recently awarded a prestigious three year EU Global Fellowship under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie programme.
The two year outgoing phase of the fellowship will be hosted by the Centre for Sustainability where Dr Anderson will be embedded in the ongoing New Zealand GREEN Grid project. Dr Anderson will visit the Centre in July and present a seminar on July 21.

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Latest newsletter from NZ Sustainability Dashboard

Friday, 6 May 2016 12:38pm

The New Zealand Sustainability Dashboard (NZSD) project’s main aim is to build practical tools for sustainability assessment, auditing, reporting and learning. 

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New report details how NZ can tackle climate change threat

Friday, 6 May 2016 12:04pm

Centre Director, Dr Janet Stephenson, is the co-author of a major new report on the many actions New Zealand can and should take now to reduce the threat of climate change and transition to a low-carbon economy.
The report, Transition to a low-carbon economy for New Zealand, was launched in Wellington and Auckland last week. It takes an in-depth look into climate change mitigation options for New Zealand and finds that many such options are already well-understood and achievable.

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Masters scholarship available "Variability in PV uptake in New Zealand"

Wednesday, 20 April 2016 1:30pm

The Centre calls for applications for a Masters scholarship as part of the GREEN Grid Research Programme. 

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Energy Cultures International conference 2016

Friday, 11 December 2015 1:59pm

The Energy Cultures International Conference will be held 6th and 7th July 2016 at the Mac’s Function Centre, Wellington, New Zealand and is hosted by the Energy Cultures Research Group from the Centre for Sustainability, University of Otago.

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I've got the Power! -  latest  blog by Rebecca Ford

Friday, 11 December 2015 2:46pm

I've got the Power! - the latest blog from Centre for Sustainability researcher Rebecca Ford

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New study quantifies Dunedin's energy use

Thursday, 8 October 2015 9:04am

A new study commissioned by the Otago Chamber of Commerce has assessed how much energy Dunedin uses as a city, and from which energy sources it is most reliant.

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Outlook positive for electric vehicle uptake in New Zealand – Otago research

Wednesday, 1 July 2015 11:16am

New research out of the University of Otago indicates Kiwis are keen to make the shift to energy efficient electric vehicles (EVs) but some key barriers are holding them back.

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David McKay PhD success

Wednesday, 20 August 2014 1:24pm

Congratulations to David McKay who recently published his PhD “Learning for Survival, Resilience, Well-being and Continuance: An Epistemology and Pedagogy for Environmental Education/Education for Sustainability informed by Māori Culture”. 

Please see the University of Otago's OURArchive to access a copy of his thesis.

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Rosin part of Panel discussion

Friday, 16 May 2014 2:04pm

‪The Centre's Chris Rosin recently took part in a discussion for Radio NZ show The Panel, responding to a report on research comparing the social character of rice farmers and wheat farmers in China.

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China fieldwork yields local knowledge

Thursday, 24 April 2014 3:59pm

PhD student Yuan Lu has recently returned from a trip to China where she conducted field research for her thesis on the role of local knowledge in nature reserve management.

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HEMS report sheds light on future of household energy

Thursday, 24 April 2014 9:48am

A Smart Grid research project report launched at The Energy Conference in Wellington last month has been well received.

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Cars to face bumpy road?

Thursday, 17 April 2014 4:38pm

Centre Director Janet Stephenson and Post-Doctoral Research Fellow Debbie Hopkins were recently interviewed by Rebecca Priestley for a Listener article looking at the future of the car and the potential for alternative forms of transport.

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Centre well represented at Energy Conference 2014

Monday, 31 March 2014 11:21am

The Centre was well represented and well received at the Energy Conference 2014 in Wellington this month.

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Centre welcomes international researchers

Thursday, 27 March 2014 2:58pm

The Centre has recently welcomed three international visitors - US resource economist John A. “Skip” Laitner, Research Associate in Energy and Behavioural Psychology Gesche Huebner and Fulbright Fellow Laura Ginsburg.

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Indigenous Ecology Symposium blends local and scientific knowledge

Thursday, 20 February 2014 10:37am

The Centre’s Marion Johnson recently attended ECOTAS 13, which is the joint conference of the NZ Ecological Society and the Ecological Society of Australia. Marion had a paper in the Indigenous Ecology Symposium entitled “Transforming Agriculture with Native Plants and Indigenous Knowledge”.

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Director interviewed for "powering the future" feature

Thursday, 20 February 2014 9:24am

The Otago Daily Times recently interviewed CSAFE director Janet Stephenson for a feature on what a low-carbon future might look like.

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Recent papers from the Centre

Thursday, 30 January 2014 12:08am

Centre Director Janet Stephenson and Centre advisor, corporate policy, Maria Ioannou have co-authored a paper “7 assumptions about public reaction to renewable energies”, which has recently been published in Planning Quarterly.

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“Food Systems Failure” now in paperback

Thursday, 23 January 2014 11:47am

"Food Systems Failure: the Global Food Crisis and the Future of Agriculture", edited by Deputy Director Chris Rosin, former Director Hugh Campbell and Assistant Professor Paul Stock (University of Kansas), is now available in paperback.

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CSAFE on menu at AgriFood Conference

Thursday, 16 January 2014 2:46pm

Centre staff and students spoke at the Australasian AgriFood Research Network XX 2013 Conference in Melbourne recently.

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ARGOS prototypes on the way

Tuesday, 24 December 2013 1:07pm

ARGOS Dashboard researchers are working hard to have their first prototype for kiwifruit growers ready by the end of January and tested by March 2014.

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Māori and Mining book launch

Friday, 25 October 2013 3:33pm

Centre Director Janet Stephenson and Centre Kaiārahi Lyn Carter are two of the authors behind Māori and Mining, a publication aiming to highlight the issues and challenges of mining and its impact on Māori communities.

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New book focused on issues of food waste

Thursday, 26 September 2013 3:58pm

Former Centre Director Professor Hugh Campbell has co-edited a book looking at the issues surrounding food waste.

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Tahi Group seeking paradigm change

Thursday, 26 September 2013 4:44pm

It’s time to change the way New Zealanders do conservation says the ‘Tahi Group of Concerned Scientists’.

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Deputy Director wins supervisor award

Thursday, 12 September 2013 9:35am

Deputy Director Chris Rosin has been presented with the OUSA Supervisor of the Year 2013 award for Humanities.

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The Energy Cultures team present at the Climate, Mind and Behavior Conference

Tuesday, 13 August 2013 4:32pm

The Energy Cultures team recently presented at the Climate, Mind and Behavior Conference held at the Garrison Institute.

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Research aims to improve farming through traditional Maori knowledge

Monday, 18 June 2012 11:15am

A University of Otago researcher has been granted $600,000 over two years to create a low-input farming model combining Maori knowledge and science.