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Agri-Food Research Network Conference – December 1-5, 2019

This summer, the University of Canterbury (UC) and Lincoln University will play host to the 26th annual Australasian Agri-Food Research Network (AFRN) meeting. The event brings together leading social scientists from New Zealand, Australia and the world who conduct interdisciplinary research on the socio-ecological dynamics of food — from farm production, through local and global commodity chains, to its consumption, including the waste generated. The conference venue usually alternates between Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand universities; plus Indonesia in 2017.

This year’s theme is Re-territorialisation Unleashed. Presentations will examine the continued transformation of global capital and financial networks in agri-food systems, while some will grapple with non-human agency and the moral and economic landscapes of food production. Other topics addressed include consumption (health and nutrition, values and ethics) and food ‘cultures’ across time and space, the ‘mainstream’ food system (supermarkets, banks, brands, and food security policy) and alternative food systems such as organics, urban and local food movements, and fair trade.

Sessions and workshops will include: postcolonial approaches to agri-food, the pursuit of new and improved proteins, the circular economy, regenerative agriculture and a shared responsibility approach to sustainability.

Keynote speakers will address food packaging and indigenous foodways. Professor Emerita Anne Murcott (SOAS Food Studies Centre, London) will address the broad question ‘how did food packaging get this way?’, while Dr John Reid (Ngai Tahu Research Centre) will explore the spaces between indigenous tradition, tribal corporatism, and productivism in relationship to current and future agri-food systems in New Zealand.

A full-day field trip on 1 December will examine the implications of dairy intensification in the Te Waihora/ Lake Ellesmere catchment. Stops will include on-farm conservation associated with Ngai Tahu and Environment Canterbury co-governance, Lincoln University’s research farms and a local winery. An evening field trip on 2 December will visit Cultivate and Ōtākoro Orchard in the CBD.

As well as full price and student registration, a day registration is also available. A postgraduate day on 5 December, and social events are organised and these will introduce people to the local food scene.

For more information, email or visit our webpage at: for registration information.

Update on E tū, kia ora process – UC Strategy

Following the E tū, kia ora staff consultation process, students were enaged via an online survey, that invited their views on the future direction of the university. More than 1700 students responded to the online survey, which asked them to allocate a notional $10,000 to ten activities that the university could invest in. Three activities featured as the most important to students when allocating spend: supporting student success and wellbeing, sustainability, and improving UC’s teaching and research. As a result of this survey, and other feedback through the process, the draft strategic plan now strongly features both student and staff wellbeing and sustainability initiatives. 

Recently the strategic planning team has been busy refining the draft strategic plan in preparation for final submission to the Academic Board and the Council. The high level of engagement and feedback has meant additional time has been required to more fully develop our wider objectives. Also, during the E tū, kia ora consultation process, participants made it clear that the University has a significant opportunity to improve the way we work together. With this feedback we have broadened our focus to include kotahitanga, sustainability and impact.

Information about the UC Strategy is now on the Intranet

More information about the progress of the UC Strategy (prepared following the E tū, kia ora consultation process) can be found on the University’s intranet. This content will be reviewed and revised over the coming months so be sure to check back regularly for updated information.

Major announcements about the strategy will also continue to feature here on Intercom | Pā mai tō reo.

Our Land and Water Symposium | Kia Mauri Ora te Whenua

Can we pick Aotearoa New Zealand’s next billion-dollar food and fibre industries? How can scientists help landowners diversify farming systems to better suit their land? How do we harness the power of collaboration to build trust and make better decisions?

If you are passionate about the environment (and planning a trip to Wellington in mid-August), why not head along to the Our Land and Water Symposium | Kia Mauri Ora te Whenua at Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington, 12 and 13 August 2019.

This year’s Our Land and Water Symposium will showcase research completed as part of its first three years, drawing in social, cultural, environmental and political contexts to generate new ideas and inspiration. For researchers, it’s a great opportunity to connect with, and ask questions of, other researchers and industry leaders, share your ideas, and make connections between people and ideas.

Be part of the solution, alongside people working to restore our land and water from within regional councils, universities and CRIs, industry bodies, NGOs, on farms and within iwi, hapū and businesses.

Early Bird tickets are just $119 for two days (including kai!) and are on sale until 21 July – get yours today.

For more information, head to 


Improving student communications – how you can help

Communication with students is a vital part of the job for many staff members. To improve the process – and free up time for staff – the Student First Programme is undertaking a new project to simplify and improve the communications students receive during the enrolment process.

This complements the work the programme is already doing to simplify and streamline student administration>

The team has already met with several groups of student-facing staff to map current communications and over the next few weeks will continue to seek feedback on how and when we communicate with future students during the application to enrol process.

If you haven’t yet spoken to the team, but you communicate with students during enrolment or you have feedback you’d like to share, please let us know by emailing

Staff are integral to this project and the feedback received will be used to shape the future direction of student communications. The improved communications process will also allow staff to spend less time following up incomplete applications to enrol and more time focusing on other activities.

Upcoming workshops

The information gathering sessions will be followed later this month by workshops with staff and students to co-design a new process for student communications during the enrolment period, based on the feedback provided.

Look out for more information and a summary of feedback coming soon.