Month: September 2014


You need critical thinking


From Scoop

“STEAM Power: Putting the Arts into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)”.

The University of Auckland’s Dean of Arts, Professor Robert Greenberg, is taking the positive message of the benefits of studying Arts on a lecture tour overseas.

Professor Greenberg will present at two Alumni and Friends Receptions in San Francisco and London next month under the theme; “STEAM Power: Putting the Arts into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)”.

In San Francisco, he will be joined by the New Zealand Consul-General Leon Grice. The pair will talk about the value of the Arts and the role it can play in technology. They will explore this trend focusing on the shining role our Film, Television and Media Studies disciplinary areas play internationally as New Zealand’s leading research centre in this field. He will highlight the contribution alumni, students and staff, such as award-winning filmmaker and 2014 Young Alumna of the Year award winner Roseanne Liang, make to this industry.

“My talk is on the value of the BA/Liberal Arts degree, and how a degree in the Arts disciplines prepares students for jobs of the future.

“Technology leaders have repeatedly praised the skill sets developed when studying for an Arts degree and are increasingly choosing to hire Arts graduates. Notably, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said: ‘Technology alone is not enough. It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing’.”

In London, Professor Greenberg will be joined by Tom Mockridge, Chief Executive Officer for Virgin Media.

Tom is a University of Auckland Arts graduate who has had a successful and fascinating media career in print and broadcasting. He was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Virgin Media in June 2013 following the company’s acquisition by Liberty Global. His appointment came on the back of a 22-year career at News Corporation where he held a series of senior roles. Tom started as a journalist in his native New Zealand before moving to Australia where he worked for the Sydney Morning Herald before becoming an adviser to Prime Minister Paul Keating.

And in a short clip that will be presented at the event, television journalist Carol Hirschfeld will discuss the skills and experience she gained while studying for a Bachelor of Arts in English, Art History and Indonesian at the University.

Professor Greenberg’s lectures coincide with the recent release of the 2014/15 QS World University Rankings that ranks the University’s Faculty of Arts the top place to study arts in New Zealand.

“I am delighted and very proud to announce the faculty’s rankings in the recently released 2014/15 QS World University Rankings by Faculty. We have been placed at number 35 in the world for arts and humanities, while our social sciences were ranked at number 30. These rankings further reinforce our standing as New Zealand’s leading arts faculty.”

The University‘s ranking is out of the 399 universities surveyed worldwide. It puts us ahead of the arts and humanities faculties of Victoria University at 60, the University of Otago at 85, the University of Canterbury at 220 and the University of Waikato at 244.

Professor Greenberg will emphasise the versatility the BA can give students in their careers.

“Thirty-four of the FTSE 100 CEOs have an Arts degree. In this talk I will explore this trend and suggest that the Arts graduates are the ones best equipped to take on the jobs of the future.”

The San Francisco Alumni and Friends Reception is on October 2 at The Fairmont, while the London event is at The Chemistry Centre on October 6.

Please register online by Thursday 25 September at




Someone needs to tell Minister Steven Joyce to get away from his STEM fetish which the Northern Hemisphere is fast finding is not working and get funding into STEAM which again the Northern Hemisphere is finding pays greater dividends in such a global competitive economy.

Someone of our best world leaders are Arts graduates and it shows that a good old Bachelor, and Masters of Arts goes along way. How can we innovate if we do not know history, philosophy (critical thinking), anthropology, Geography, economics, politics, the role of the media as well as many other things that an Arts Faculty teaches.

So come on Minister how about a cool $500m towards the eight universities’ Art Faculties so that we can truly compete against the rest of the world.


Disclaimer: I am an Alumni of the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Political Studies. It is my intention in the medium term to return to do my Masters of Arts in Geography.


Auckland Wants Decent Public Transport AND Affordable Housing

Auckland gets surveyed and responds


From Auckland Council

Public transport tops Aucklanders’ priorities

The majority of Aucklanders say better public transport, less traffic congestion, and more affordable and quality housing are the top priorities for the region.

The results are part of an annual survey measuring what Aucklanders want from their council and how they feel Auckland Council is performing.

The annual survey is a valuable tool to help the council gauge the concerns and priorities of its residents, and to identify where the council needs to improve its services, activities and communication.

The latest council-Colmar Brunton survey was concluded in September 2013 and measures a range of factors, including perception and attitudes towards council’s performance, and what Aucklanders want from their council.

When asked what Auckland needed to focus on to become the world’s most liveable city, 61 per cent of respondents said improved public transport, 54 per cent said reduced traffic congestion, and 44 per cent said more affordable and quality housing.


The report from the survey can be found below

Note: The survey looks at the full efforts and branding of Auckland Council


Helping Out Our Neighbours

Cash for help promote active transport


Walking and cycling is about to become more attractive in the suburb of Mangere thanks to the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board, Auckland Transport, and NZTA stepping up and investing in better walk/cycleways around the Mangere Town Centre Area.

From the NZ Herald

$7m walking and cycling plan to get residents of deprived area out of cars

By Mathew Dearnaley 5:00 AM Tuesday Sep 23, 2014


Mangere Central, one of the country’s most economically and socially challenged enclaves, is in line for an urban project that will make walking and cycling safer.

Researchers with a $3 million government grant have spent 18 months getting close to the community to discover what it would take to get residents out of their cars and into healthier exercise habits.

They are backed to the hilt by the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board, which has voted to spend about $1.7 million on three projects which will among other things form a 2km recreational walking and cycling circuit from Mangere town centre, taking in Windrush Reserve and Mascot Ave.

The reserve has a bad crime record, including a history of sex attacks, but board chairwoman Lydia Sosene hopes opening it up as part of a circuit with good lighting and see-through fences will encourage more people including family groups to use it for fitness and recreation as well as easier access to the town centre.


Ms Sosene expected the initiative to be “a huge game changer” which would lift her community by making it safer and easier to get moving.

Future streets

What it is: Urban design, public health and road safety project for Mangere Central.
What it will cost: About $7 million (including a $3 million four-year government research grant).
When changes will be seen: From next year.



The Full article can be seen here:


I take my hat off to the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board for driving this campaign to improve the street and urban landscape one bit at a time to encourage more people being active in their community and less reliant on the car.

Now to get small schemes like this rolled out City wide.


Inevitable Labour pontification post

I remember a particular shunning of the blue collar worker (I believe it was called the Waitakere Man) prior to the campaign. The blue collar worker found in Wiri, Takanini, East Tamaki, the Airport and Penrose of which are all our big industrial estates and historically natural Labour strongholds. However, this seems no longer as the social conservative vote either went to NZ First or even National.

Labour have a lot to do to become an effective opposition for which our democracy so needs in order to contest ideas.

It will be interesting to see where things go but at the moment National are on a solid foundation for its fourth term