Building awareness around food waste

Jack Whittam

ELDP students Jack Whittam, Katy Byrne and Ailine Kei.

12,856 tonnes. It’s not only the weight of the Eiffel Tower, or even the amount of weight you feel like you’ve put on since the Hot Wok started doing daily $2 rice, it’s also the amount of bread thrown away every year in New Zealand!

In fact, bread is the number one food thrown away in New Zealand, making up 10.5% of all food that is wasted. As a part of a national food waste awareness campaign, in conjunction with Love Food Hate Waste New Zealand and Christchurch City Council, a bunch of keen UC students built a pyramid out of 2,283 loaves of bread, representing how many loaves are wasted in New Zealand every hour.

As members of the Emerging Leaders Development Programme (ELDP), a group of us were able to volunteer at the event, preparing the pyramid for construction and feeding curious students passing by with a ‘meal in a mug’ – a super simple sweet treat that minimises food waste, and maximises easy cooking, convenience and taste!

The ELDP has a great focus on teaching leadership skills to students through community volunteering opportunities, and our contribution to this event punctuated the last of seven service projects the Emerging Leaders cohort has undertaken this year.

Other voluntary service projects have included sorting food relief packages at the Christchurch City Mission, walking rescue husky dogs for Husky Rescue New Zealand, maintaining public spaces for Gap Filler and providing free academic tutoring to high school students.

The student’s enthusiastic contribution toward these events reflects the passion these students have shown to make a real difference in their community.

Written by Jack Whittam ELDP student

Sir John Key officially opens UC Trading Room

Former Prime Minister and University of Canterbury alumnus, the Rt Hon Sir John Key officially opened the new Trading Room in the UC Business School on Monday.

The UC Trading Room simulates a financial trading environment, providing business and finance students with experiential learning and skills in fund management.

The 12-seat facility includes a live stock ticker display, access to business news feeds and a range of electronic business databases including Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters DataStream, Global Financial Data and SIRCA. It will be used primarily for teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses in finance across three programmes – the Bachelor of Commerce, the Master’s degree in Applied Finance and Economics, and the Master’s degree in Financial Management.

Read the news story to find out more.

Check out the coverage on 1 News.

Sir John Key opens the Trading Room in the Business and Law building, 16.10.17 Sir John Key, Rod Carr, Sonya Mazey, Darren Russell, Jadrzej Bialkowski and many others. Client, Lyn Larsen, Exec Assistant Learning Resources. Hannah Seeley SSAC.

Sir John Key officially opened the UC Trading Room in the Business and Law Building on Monday. Left to right: Dr John Wood – Chancellor, Dr Rod Carr – Vice-Chancellor, Sir John Key, Professor Sonia Mazey – Pro-Vice-Chancellor College of Business and Law


Sir John Key opens the Trading Room in the Business and Law building, 16.10.17 Sir John Key, Rod Carr, Sonya Mazey, Darren Russell, Jadrzej Bialkowski and many others. Client, Lyn Larsen, Exec Assistant Learning Resources. Hannah Seeley SSAC.

Sir John Key tries out some of the new technology in the UC Trading Room. 

Are Antarctic Weddell seals threatened? Help find out

In partnership with Zooniverse, Gateway Antarctica is seeking intrepid citizen scientists to help count Weddell seals in the Ross Sea – and contribute to their future. 

Gateway Antarctica student and citizen scientist Stuart Grayson,  set up the counting platform on the Zooniverse website, and volunteers are needed urgently.

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Find out more below.

The Antarctic Air Day on 7 October saw Dr. Regina Eisert offering visitors a chance to become part of a research team as citizen scientists.

Setting the scene –  In Antarctica two land-based automated cameras have captured images in two directions from points on Turtle Rock, Erebus Bay. The pictures were taken every 10 minutes over the periods from 27th November 2014 through to 1 January 2015.

  • The goal is to figure out when seals go for their daily swim (and hence become invisible to remote detection, such as by using satellite images) and determine the daily activity cycle of the seals

By counting  how many Weddell seals there are in the Ross Sea area of Antarctica, we can tell if they are being adversely affected by human fishing for toothfish, or by the ice melting away beneath them due to climate change.It is really hard to count seals – they live in very remote hard-to-reach locations where weather conditions are extreme, and they spend a lot of their time in the water. But during the summer they haul out onto the ice for some time each day. If we can count them then, and also understand the typical pattern of numbers out on the ice, then perhaps we can make reasonable estimates of the population.

  • Zooniverse volunteers are asked to help count the seals in these pictures.
  • The pictures span every hour of the day due to the 24-hour sun of the Antarctic summer and around 10,000 pictures were taken in total.

Meanwhile, back in Christchurch (7  October): – looking at all the pictures takes time and the researchers need a little help getting through them all.

Knowing that it is never too early to become a scientist, Dr. Eisert offered younger visitors a chance to try out their skills at seal counting at the Antarctic Air Day. Top prize winners secured not only bragging rights among their friends, but also a free family pass for the International Antarctic Centre, thanks to their generous sponsorship of the programme.

Want to play a part?  – The Zooniverse project is live now and open to citizen scientists of all ages. Anyone can log onto website (see below) and lend a hand with the counting, and learn all sorts of cool Weddell seal facts.

There are also many cute photos of these photogenic animals.

The goal of the research is determine the daily activity cycle of the seals, who periodically disappear under the ice to feed, or perhaps just for a change of scene.

Dr. Eisert explains, “as one of the key top predator in the Ross Sea region, Weddell seals are vital sentinels for the state of the ecosystem. To monitor their population over the entire region, we need to use remote sensing by satellites or planes, but we can’t get accurate counts unless we know when the seals are present at the surface and what drives their activity cycles over a full 24-hour period: the angle of the sun, tides, or a combination of factors.”

  • Accurate seal counts will help support conservation in the Southern Ocean by supporting  the newly established Ross Sea region Marine Protected Area (MPA) that aims to protect the area from potential effects of fishing for toothfish. With Weddell seals assumed to be a major predator of toothfish, protecting their foraging areas was a key factor in designing the MPA.
  • However, without knowing how many seals there are and whether their numbers are changing, we cannot determine whether the MPA is fulfilling its purpose.
  • Reliable data on this key predator species will make an important contribution to monitoring the Ross Sea region and help meet New Zealand’s international obligations to the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).

If you are interested in finding out more, or wish to be part of this research in support of New Zealand’s international commitments in the Antarctic, click here.

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