An inclusive, safe and welcoming culture. Whiria te Taura Tangata #15

Kia ora koutou

I’ve been thinking a lot about inclusiveness over the last few months and the events of the 15 March have increased my desire to support UC as a welcoming and inclusive community.  This means our working and learning culture is one where we all feel safe, respected and comfortable to be ourselves. A place where we can share our sense of belonging.

From an Organisational Culture perspective, three of the constructive (blue) cluster of styles directly talk to this:

  • Self-Actualising: people should feel comfortable to be themselves at work,
  • Humanistic-Encouraging: people are expected to be supportive of each other, and
  • Affiliative: people are encouraged to place a high priority on constructive interpersonal relationships and to be friendly, open and sensitive to the needs of others.

There are many opportunities for us to continue building UC into an inclusive environment. Here are some links I know of:

I know there are lots of people doing heaps of great work in this space so feel free to add a comment about initiatives you are involved in or aware of.

Support – take care of yourself and others

  • Self-care events to be held at the end of April – look out for the special events we’ll be promoting very soon
  • Staff Support
  • Student Support

Find out more

Ngā manaakitanga (with best wishes), 

Karen Mather
Organisational Development Manager


Celebrate Fresh Thinking: Professorial Lecture Series

Join us in celebrating the very substantive contribution to academia made by Professor Richard Green and Professor Adrian McDonald in the first Professorial Lecture Series for 2019.

  • Date: Thursday 4 April, from 4.30 – 6.00 p.m.
  • Location: E14 – Engineering Core

All staff and postgraduate students are encouraged to attend the lecture series to actively support our new Professors, and take the opportunity to appreciate the fantastic research being undertaken in parts of the University you may be less familiar with.

You’ll find further information on each presentation, below.

Ngā mihi

Professor Ian Wright
Deputy Vice-Chancellor | Tumu Tuarua


Presentation details:

Deep learning is Revolutionising Smart Robots, Drones and Vehicles
Presented by Professor Richard Green, Department of Computer Science & Software Engineering.

Over only the last few years, deep learning has significantly improved computer vision and machine learning to finally enable fully autonomous robots, drones, vehicles and other analysis usually performed manually.

Helping computers to unambiguously see and understand the world is a fascinating and exciting research endeavour, but also seriously challenging when they are still so dumb, and almost blind compared with human cognitive capability.

In this Professorial Lecture I will describe my contributions across these research areas, including recent autonomous systems research into drones pruning forests, robots pruning vineyards, general purpose farm robots, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) inspecting mussel lines, scanning ship hulls and wharf pylons to detect invasive bio-fouling species, mapping the seabed to locate scallops and automatic blood spatter analysis.

UC is now a world leader in this autonomous software research, with a large AI Robotics (UC AIR) research group. But this is multidisciplinary research – which only exists through collaboration with Electrical, Mechanical and Civil Engineering, together with domain experts such as those from marine biology, forestry, ESR and Lincoln University Viticulture.

Labour shortages and quality/accuracy/safety are the biggest drivers for so many of these applications – but based on this accelerated capability, how long will it be until all human manual labour tasks can be automated?


Clouds over Antarctica and the Southern Ocean: Their Influence on Aotearoa New Zealand Climate
Presented by Professor Adrian McDonald, Department of Physical & Chemical Sciences.

Clouds have a surprisingly large effect on our climate. In particular, cloud cover reflects sunlight back into space that would otherwise be absorbed by oceans, potentially raising their temperatures.

Despite their significant influence on climate, clouds still represent the largest source of uncertainty in modern climate models.  The frequency of clouds over the Southern Ocean for example is often underestimated, causing models to predict warmer sea surface temperatures than what is observed. 

Models also often misrepresent the composition of clouds because of the importance of small particles, called aerosols, which act as the starting points for cloud droplets and ice to form around. 

These deficiencies in turn leads models to predict the strength and position of the Southern Hemisphere storm tracks incorrectly. These storm tracks impact Aotearoa New Zealand directly via their influence on rainfall, and also bring extreme weather events. It is vital that our models represent clouds well so we can increase certainty in our climate projections for Aotearoa New Zealand.

In this Professorial Lecture, I discuss the use of detailed measurements to compare with simulations of the present-day to critically test the quality of cloud and aerosol simulations.

By analysing these differences and using our understanding of how cloud processes work I show how we can develop improved model simulations.

2019 Flu vaccination available from 3 April

Flu vaccines will be available from the UC Health Centre from Wednesday 3 April.

The vaccines will be free to UC staff, domestic students enrolled at the clinic and all domestic patients with a chronic condition.

International students and domestic students enrolled elsewhere can book a flu vaccine at the Health Centre for just $5 – vouchers can be purchased from the UCSA office.

Clinic times (effective 3 April):

Monday – Thursday:

  • 9.00 – 10.00am
  • 2.00 – 3.00pm


  • 2.00 – 3.00pm

To book an appointment, please call 03 369 4444 or extn 94444.

Measles update

The number of confirmed measles cases in Canterbury has now reached 30.

Measles is a serious and highly infectious illness that spreads easily from person to person through the air, and can be caught simply by being in the same room as someone with measles.

What are the symptoms?
Symptoms are usually a fever, cough, runny nose, sore and watery eyes, and sometimes small white spots in the mouth. Over the next few days a blotchy rash appears, starting on the face and behind the ears, and moving down the body.

If you develop any of these symptoms stay at home and phone the UC Health Centre if you are enrolled there or your General Practitioner (GP) for advice as soon as possible.   


  • If you have had two doses of the measles vaccine (MMR – Mumps, Measles and Rubella), have had the measles before, or were born before 1969 you are unlikely to develop the measles.
  • Those born between 1969 and 1990 are considered to have a good level of protection. This group were offered one measles vaccine and evidence suggests that one dose of MMR protects 95% of people from developing measles.
  • If you’re not sure if you’ve been immunised for measles, contact your health service provider – they can check your vaccination history.

Priority group for vaccination
To ensure vaccines are being provided to those in greatest need, a vaccination programme is being rolled out by general practices which prioritises those who need it most.  

The immediate priority is those aged 12 months to 28 years who have never been immunised. As more vaccine becomes available the MMR vaccine will be made available to other priority groups.

If you are enrolled at the UC Health Centre, meet the criteria for vaccination and have not yet been contacted, please call the UC Health Centre to book in for your MMR vaccine. Otherwise please contact your General Practitioner (GP).