Wednesday, 26 April 2017
The Centre for Global Migrations at the University of Otago held its launch on Wednesday 26 April 2017. The event also paid tribute to our friend and colleague, Associate Professor Jacqueline Leckie.
Among the distinguished speakers at the launch were Dunedin City’s Mayor Dave Cull, the University’s Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Enterprise, Professor Richard Blaikie, and Professor Judy Bennett from the Department of History and Art History.
In his speech, the Mayor noted Dunedin’s strong Scottish heritage but also emphasised the importance of migrants from around the world who came to seek gold: ‘The result is that cultural and ethnic strands and colours, some broad, some just a thread, have been woven together to make a multi-coloured plaid, a city of Dunedin community tartan … Chinese, French, Lebanese, American, Irish, Poles and European Jews all added their distinctive strands to the district.’
Mr Cull went on to note the ever changing nature of Dunedin’s migrant flow. With the influx of ‘Dutch, British, Germans, Pacifica people, Americans, Indians, Vietnamese, Lao and Cambodians’ and more recently Syrian refugees, ‘Dunedin's cultural tartan ... is now a gorgeous, highly chequered plaid’.
In his concluding remarks, the Mayor expressed appreciation at seeing so many representatives of different migrant communities at the launch and congratulated the University ‘for the way it has supported and nurtured this initiative and made Dunedin the home for this global migration research theme.’
Professor Bennett, in her tribute to Associate Professor Jacqueline Leckie, noted their enduring friendship over the last three decades. She highlighted Jacqui’s ‘strong commitment to scholarship and the Pacific. And to migration studies and Indian heritage in the Pacific – not many academics have one of their books launched by the Governor General at a national celebration of Diwali in parliament!’
In attendance were members of the Centre, friends and colleagues at the University, representatives of ethnic and migrant groups, and heritage professionals.