Category Archives: Student contributors

Blogs written by UC students.

Big increase in enrolments at UC

UC student numbers have increased by 22% on last year creating a real buzz around campus. UC now has 16,906 students compared with 14,424 in 2017. UC Journalism students Liam Stretch, Jess Gibson, Edward Bramley and Matt Slaughter look at reasons why the numbers have jumped.

Spotted: Lunar eclipse from Mt John

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I was given the extraordinary opportunity to be at the Mount John Observatory for a night in July, observing planets and testing a particular camera technique for my ASTR211 course. A lunar eclipse also occurred that morning, giving me the chance to see it from a fantastic vantage point complete with starry background.

If you don’t know, a lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon moves directly into the shadow of the Earth. The Moon doesn’t reflect any sunlight turning it a red colour as it reflects the light from Earth back to us. Spooky.

After getting up at an ungodly hour to catch a bus, the real adventure began in the early afternoon. While feeling the effects of getting up so early, the afternoon on the mountain was a great chance to have a good look at the view during the last sunlight hours. It was slightly chilly on Mount John, but the sky was clear making for a great night of astronomy. The weather had other ideas though. Setting up at our telescope at sunset, a wild storm appeared and we were forced by the rain and wind to take cover.

One thing about the weather in an environment like Mount John is, it is very unpredictable. One moment the sky is clear and all is calm, the next there’s cloud cover and torrential rain.

After the stormy weather passed we headed to the telescope to look at the planets! Clear as it was, the wind was still howling with gusts of up to 70kmh rattling the dome. Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars were the main attractions of the evening’s work, I took many pictures of all of them to admire and test the new equipment. Mars was especially good viewing that night since it was in opposition, the closest and brightest it’s going to be for the next few years. 

Around 4.00am we saw it. Poking out between a few clouds was the moon, slowly turning red as it moved into Earth’s shadow. Clouds around this area quickly started to grow with the extent of the eclipse. Sadly, most of the eclipse was blocked out by this unfortunate cloud, but the sunrise that followed was spectacular.

Finlay Mably

Eden’s RYLA experience in North America

Student Eden Skipper went to the Rotary Young Leader Award Conference in North America in July. He shares his experience.

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International hour to remember
A two minute showcase of New Zealand either typically in the form of dance, song or poetry.

For this I demonstrated a hongi with one of my peers and spoke my shortened mihi. I finished my act with the proverb ‘Whāia te iti kahurangi ki te tūohu koe me he maunga teitei’.

North America expo
The expo was a chance to share with other delegates New Zealand and or Rotary projects in District 9970.

For my presentation I shared my whakapapa from Birdlings Flat, Waiwera rūnanga. Catching tuna from Lake Waiwera is not only a privilege for any Ngāi Tahu member but also anyone else. The eeling experience is unique, one which I am fortunate to have done and had to kōrero with others in Washington. As a teina I recall waiting behind the pā for what felt like hours in absolute silence in pitch black night. After which we snuck up to the drain and begin to hook tuna with our gaffs. A good nights harvest would exceed 200+ tuna. They would be processed, smoked then given to our extended family with us having a few for kai as well! Unfortunately due to environmental conditions of the lake and the decline of the eel population, harvesting tuna could exhaust them – one of Waiwera’s treasures and natural resources. I also spoke about the exhausting of our land and resources. Lake Waiwera being an example of this due to eutrophication.

See an article of eeling in Birdlings Flat here>

Who are Ngāi Tahu? Who are Māori?
These were some of the questions asked throughout the conference. For the delegates who didn’t know who Māori are, I introduced this in my slide show. The Treating of Waitangi and a very brief background of Māori.

For those who knew about Māori or wanted to know more, I spoke about Ngāi Tahu as a tribe, business and charity, including; scholarships, career opportunities, Whai Rawa (savings scheme), governance, environment all of which sits under the Ngāi Tahu kaupapa. Lots of praise was shown for the interaction of Ngāi Tahu specifically with the environment, governance and education throughout New Zealand.

I believe the collaboration between Māori (iwi) and pakeha is a leading example of biculturalism with the indigenous people.

Mr RYLA competition
The finale night, delegates were given the opportunity to perform a dance/song/poem etc. infront of their peers to compete for Mr/Mrs RYLA 2018. This is not necessarily a cultural requirement. 

For my act I started with the proverb ‘He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!’ this quote was used by past International President Ian Risley. I then spoke about the respect I had for everyone in the room. Each and every one of them were committed to making other lives better. After speaking my respect I showed my respect by performing Tika Tonu.

A question following my performance was ‘when is a time you have shown courage?’, my response was, when I performed this haka six months ago on behalf of my koroua this is also the same time I realised a lot of what he taught me aligned with Ngāi Tahu values and I began to feel the cultural connect to my iwi. 

I had delegates coming up to me afterwards giving me a hongi, shaking my hand and thanking me for showing them. The gratitude I was shown for my performance was incredible, I couldn’t be prouder of how respectful and encapsulated everyone was with our traditions. The selection panel were thankful and impressed, which lead to me being awarded Mr RYLA 2018. My prize is winning my conference registration for 2019.

At the conference I promoted awareness of New Zealand and Ngāi Tahu to over 40 countries, gained the respect of many of the delegates by showcasing New Zealand, Māori and Ngāi Tahu culture in an honourable manner demonstrating our collective mana.

Indigenous practices in educational institutes is one of the core interest areas I focused on whilst at RYLA NA. Of the candidates I asked, none of their respective home countries had indigenous practices integrated in their institute. For education there is not one size fits all for learning. Multiculturalism in education adds differing opinions and challenges others thoughts, all of which helps develop a growing brain. It is also a show of respect acknowledging the indigenous people of the land and the history it holds.

I think UC can be a world leader in this and inspire other universities and businesses to do the same.