Is there a war on cars? 40 years studying health and transport

Speaker: Alistair Woodward, School of Population Health, University of Auckland

Date: Thursday 22 February 2024, 5:30pm

Venue: Napier Sailing Club, 63 West Quay, Ahuriri, Napier

Admission: Gold coin donation

How we get around is an issue for everyone, and there is no shortage of opinions on what works and what doesn’t. Some claim those who want to change things are engaged in a ‘war on cars’. Is this true? Come to this talk and find out. 

At present, in New Zealand, the burden of illness and injury caused by transport is probably as large as the effects of tobacco, or obesity. But transport systems, well done, can be health-improving.

Alistair Woodward will draw on 40 years of studying health and transport to describe the progress we have made, and will share his thoughts on what improvements lie ahead.

Professor Alistair is an epidemiologist and public health doctor who was born and raised in Ōtautahi Christchurch. He was Head of the School of Population Health at Auckland from 2004-2012 and previously led the departments of public health at the University of Otago Wellington, and the University of Adelaide. Ever since his years as a junior hospital doctor he has been curious about the influence of environmental factors on human health, since here, it often seemed, is an excellent opportunity to prevent disease and injury. His first position after postgraduate training in the UK was in a Road Accident Research Unit, and since then he has worked on many aspects of transport and health. Recently his research has focussed on environmental health issues in China; climate change impacts in the Pacific; the effects of street changes on health and safety; pathways to sustainable, healthy and fair transport systems; and the future of the bicycle.

Biology and conservation of kororā (little penguins) – 2024 Seaweek lecture

Speaker: Dr John Cockrem, Massey University, Palmerston North

Date: Tuesday, 5 March 2024, 6:00pm (Door open from 5:30pm)

Venue: National Aquarium of New Zealand, 546 Marine Parade, Napier

Admission: Gold coin donation

In the face of declining kororā (little penguin) populations along New Zealand’s coastlines, Dr John Cockrem’s upcoming lecture aims to shed light on the pressing challenges these charming birds face. As human activities and climate change continue to threaten their existence, understanding the biology, conservation status, and the impacts of these threats becomes crucial. Dr Cockrem, with over three decades of experience in penguin research, will delve into the life cycle, breeding biology, and feeding habits of the kororā, complemented by insights from at-sea tracking studies.

Dr Cockrem’s extensive career began with his pioneering research in Antarctica, focusing on Adelie and emperor penguins, and has evolved to spotlight the kororā as his main study species. His impactful work includes establishing new nestbox study sites across New Zealand and engaging in comprehensive field studies to determine the breeding success and survival of kororā. His dedication to penguin conservation is further demonstrated through his roles as a trustee and patron of penguin trusts, providing expert advice to local councils, and advocating for penguin protection in both legal and media arenas. Dr Cockrem’s efforts in kororā research and conservation have been recognized with prestigious awards, marking him as a key figure in the fight to preserve these unique creatures.

Individual and Systemic Climate Action: Aotearoa New Zealand from an international perspective

Speaker: Kai Greenlees, Watson Fellow

Date: Thursday, 14 March 2024, 6pm

Venue: Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (159 Dalton Street, Napier)

Admission: Gold coin donation

Have you ever wondered if or how individual climate action makes any difference? What’s the relationship between your household composting and the international Paris Climate Agreement? In this conversation, we will explore how international climate commitments, national climate legislation, regional climate plans, and household action are all essential for enabling rapid and equitable climate mitigation.

Kai will present a framework to visualise how our daily individual actions and grassroots efforts enable systemic change at a large scale, and how system change, in turn, can reinforce localised efforts. While Kai comes with an international perspective, climate action will be framed within the current New Zealand and Hawke’s Bay Region context. This solutions-oriented conversation will aim to challenge the dominant framing of individual action, discuss what systems change means in practice, and explore what a sustainable transformation could look like locally.

Kai Greenlees is an interdisciplinary social scientist with a background in geography and social psychology based in the UK. Originally from the U.S., Kai graduated from Vassar College in 2020 and has been studying and working at the nexus of psychology, sustainability, and systems science. This year, Kai is supported by the Watson Fellowship to carry out a year-long independent passion project titled, ‘Individual and Systems Change: Exploring interconnected pathways to rapid climate mitigation’. Through the fellowship, Kai has been travelling to connect with grassroots organisations, businesses, and civil servants from different sectors and communities to explore how diverse actions across multiple scales contribute to the ecosystem of change needed to address the climate crisis. Prior to the Watson Fellowship, Kai received their Master of Research in Sustainable Futures from the University of Exeter and was a Policy Analyst for the Carbon Trust in London. Kai is also a member of the UK Youth Climate Coalition, supporting the Systems Change working group.

Generative AI – a lecture series in May and June 2023

Four lectures on this topical and important subject are being broadcast free of charge by the Faculty of Science, University of Auckland

Thursday, 11 May: 2023 Gibbons Online Lecture – AI and the New Creative Revolution

The 2023 Gibbons Lectures series is intended to describe ongoing research in Computer Science to a wider public, organized by Faculty of Science, University of Auckland.

Tim Gibson, Stolen Glances Studio

Thursday 11 May, 6:30pm

Venue: Lib B15 Lecture Theatre General Library Basement, (109-B15) The University of Auckland 5 Alfred Street, Auckland CBD, register your place here.

This lecture will be available to livestream here.

Generative Artificial Intelligence like ChatGPT and its visual equivalents Dall-E, Midjourney and Stable Diffusion have shaken up the creative workforce, often producing industry level copywriting, editing, illustration and design at a fraction of the time and cost of a human worker. Their capabilities have set off a technological arm’s race at the world’s largest tech companies while simultaneously building a user base of enthusiasts faster than the most popular social media platforms.

What can Generative AI be used for, how powerful is it really, how could it be used ethically, and what impact will it have on our creative industries and the people who work for and engage with them?

What could a world look like where creativity is ‘free’? 

In this talk, Tim will showcase some of the current technologies’ capabilities, the hot takes and debates from within the creative industries and attempt to predict what is next for creative Generative Artificial Intelligence.

Tim Gibson is a Creative Director, Animator and Illustrator who has worked for companies big and small across film, television, comics, branding and packaging design. His work has appeared for Garage Project, Weta Workshop, Le Monde Diplomatique, Penguin Random-House, Te Papa Tongarewa and more.