All posts by Rebecca

UC Students attend Trans-Tasman Postgraduate Weekend School

On May 6-8, the European Union Centres Network NZ (in association with the National Centre for Research on Europe)  ran its annual international Post-Graduate Research Weekend School – this time at UC’s Kaikoura Field Station. 


The Weekend School was  attended by 20 post-graduate students from New Zealand and Australia – all researching the European Union and European affairs from multidisciplinary perspectives (including EU and European Studies, Law, History and Politics and International Relations).

The Australian attendees  came from three EU Centres of Excellence in Australia – ANU (Canberra), RMIT and University of Melbourne (Melbourne). Students presented their research, discussed it in a highly interactive atmosphere, honed their research skills in a series of research mini-seminars, and celebrated Europe Day with an interactive Euro Quiz.

Student attendee Katharina Stirland said the following about the event :

This year’s Postgraduate Weekend School took place from 6 to 8 May in Kaikoura and was attended by 19 students from different universities in New Zealand and Australia. Proceedings kicked off with an informal Europe Quiz on Friday evening and got underway properly on Saturday morning (although students and staff were slightly distracted by the beautiful sunrise and breath-taking views from the Field Station). Students were put into panels and then had the opportunity to present their research and receive feedback from staff and students. Topics ranged from medieval history to cancer detection and climate change issues and proved to be highly interesting and thought-provoking as well as a great opportunity for networking. Students also benefited from a number of different skills sessions, such as thesis survival tips, an insight into publishing and finding employment after graduating. The Weekend School finished with a trip to Ohau Point on Sunday where everyone enjoyed watching the seal pups play at the bottom of the water fall. Many thanks to all the staff involved in organising and running the event!

The Academic Programme of the Research Weekend School was led by Associate Professor Natalia Chaban and Dr Serena Kelly (both of the NCRE) and Dr Chris Jones (UC History Department). UC Chancellor  John Wood presented a key note address to the participants of the Research Weekend School followed by a spirited discussion.

The EUCN NZ Post-Graduate Weekend School is an annual event funded by the European Union Centres Network NZ. The 2017 School will be held across the Tasman, and any UC student studying the European Union or European related topics is eligible to apply to attend.

Solutions to Europe’s Critical Issues – Seminar Series

His Excellency Robert Zaagman opened the National Centre for Research on Europe‘s “Solutions to Europe’s Critical Issues” Seminar Series at UC on Friday 6 May.

Not since WWII has Europe faced a period of such unrest, facing a number of critical issues including the ongoing refugee crisis,  the potential Brexit action,  ISIL, Russia and the Ukraine. In response to this,  the NCRE are hosting a seminar series featuring thought-provoking seminars from European Diplomats, offering their thoughts and possible solutions on the issues facing the European Union today.

Ambassador Zaagman offered his thoughts on a range of issues facing the EU at present, including the Dutch response to the ongoing refugee crisis, his concerns regarding the growth of Russian aggression towards the Ukraine, and his regard for the largest challenge facing Europe at present – the unrest in Syria and the struggle against ISIL. HE Zaagman recommended ‘”drawing a line in the sand” against these issues, and that  only a cohesive Union with a strong connection to its citizens would these issues be overcome.

His Excellency also spoke to the rise of nationalist parties in all Member States of the European Union, categorising the situation in Europe as one of “turbulence outside, turbulence inside”  Ambassador Zaagman recommended that only by creating a Union that citizens feel connected to can the further rise of these nationalist parties be arrested.

The NCRE wishes to that Ambassador Zaagman for sharing his vision for the future with us, and for opening our Europe Day Celebrations – our next guest speaker is Polish Ambassador to New Zealand, His Excellency Zbigniew Gniatkowski who will be speaking on “Ukraine, its reforms and EU aspirations” on Friday 13 May (2-3pm, Undercroft 101).

If you would like to be kept informed of the upcoming seminars in this series please email and we will add you to the mailing list.

Ambassador Zaagman’s address can be viewed here

Europe Week, event with the Dutch Ambassador, Rod Zagman. Martin Holland, Director NCRE, crowd scenes, 6.5.16 Client NCRE.
Europe Week, event with the Dutch Ambassador, Rod Zagman. Martin Holland, Director NCRE, crowd scenes






Watch TEDx talk – UC Graduate – climate change

The Future We Seek – A Climate Change Seminar, held on 02 May 2016 at the University of Canterbury, reminded the audience that climate change is already affecting the planet and human society, and will continue to do so.

See  photos at the end of this post.

The keynote speaker, Dr Sally Carlton from the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, discussed how the challenges presented by climate change interface in various ways with human rights related concerns around the globe.

Following the keynote, the more than 60 guests in attendance viewed the TEDx talk ‘Climate Change: More Than Numbers’ – which was given by Dr. Daniel Price (a UC Graduate) and Dr. Erlend Moster Knudsen.

Dr. Price and Dr. Knudsen have, over the last year, been working on Pole to Paris – an international NGO founded by Dr. Price with the goal of raising public awareness of climate change issues. Following the video, Professor Martin Holland, Director of the New Zealand European Union Centres Network (EUCN), moderated a panel discussion.

The panel was made up of Professor Bryan Storey (Director Gateway Antarctica, UC), Dr. Pubudu Senanayake (UC Graduate and Generation Zero member), Mr. Adrien Taylor (Former TV3 environmental correspondent) and Mr. Jeff Willis (PhD Candidate at UC and Pole to Paris Social Media Director).

The event was organised by the EUCN,  Mr. Thomas Gillman (UC PhD Candidate and General Manager of Pole to Paris) and Mr. Jeff Willis.

For more information on the Pole to Paris campaign please visit their website .

The event was kindly funded by the New Zealand European Union Centres Network , a multi-disciplinary network of all eight New Zealand universities that aims to integrate the three elements of research, teaching, and outreach activities with a unique umbrella theme that focuses on the impact, role and understanding of the EU within New Zealand and the wider Pacific.

The NCRE wish to extend our thanks to our graduate students for proposing and implementing this initiative.

Montage 2


Solving the European migration crisis – students participate in model EU

Ainsley McLean and Thomas Gillman, both postgraduate students at the NCRE, participated in the Asia-Pacific Model EU event hosted by Hong Kong Baptist University from 16 to 17 April. The event was attended by 24 students from all over the Asia-Pacific region.


They say about the event:

We live in a highly complex world where decision making processes seem to be bureaucratic nightmares, with too many voices to be able to find unanimous answers to pressing issues. We were privileged enough to gain a brief insight into how these negotiations actually take place through taking part in the Asia-Pacific Model EU in Hong Kong. This simulation exercise gave participants the opportunity to attempt to reach an agreement on how to mitigate the on-going European migration crisis. We would like to thank the NCRE for giving us this opportunity to gain a clearer understanding of the intricacies of negotiating complex issues and trying to come to some form of common agreement on actions that could be taken.”

Thomas received an Honourable Recognition award from the organisers for his outstanding performance representing France.

The NZ Model EU is an NCRE initiative held annually in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland (in conjunction with UN Youth)  Focusing on the important issues facing Europe (eg terrorism, refugees, youth unemployment) it is attended by NZ students who participate as Members of the European Parliament over the two-day event.  The NCRE is proud to support this initiative in the Asia-Pacific, selecting and funding UC candidates to represent New Zealand.

Europe Week Launches at UC!

Prizes Galore!  A Climate Change Student Initiative! A Concert by the UC School of Music!

These are just a few of the activities UC Staff and Students are invited to participate in to join the 2016 Europe Week celebrations here at UC, 2-9 May 2016.

Europe Day is celebrated annually on 9 May, a date chosen to mark the anniversary of the historic “Schuman Declaration” – Schuman’s proposal is considered to be the beginning of what is now the European Union.  The NCRE traditionally take this opportunity to highlight the strong ties the University of Canterbury has with Europe through a variety of academic and cultural events  – 2015’s celebration was officiated by the European Union Delegation to New Zealand at the official New Zealand Celebration of Europe Day.

The 2016 celebrations at UC combine a number of different activities next week, including seminars, cultural events, an interactive quiz and the chance to taste some European Food.  One of the events the NCRE is particularly proud of is the initiative of two NCRE PhD candidates who have organized a public seminar “The Future We Seek : A climate change seminar”  featuring a TEDx Talk by UC Graduate Dr Daniel Price followed by a live Q&A discussion – this even is to be held on May 2, 6pm in the John Britten Building Foyer and all are welcome to attend!


Europe Week also provides the perfect launch program for the NCRE Seminar Series “Solutions To Europe’s Critical Issues” .  These seminars are held weekly, (Friday afternoons, 2pm) during term time in the Undercroft 101 – the series features thought-provoking seminars from European Diplomats, starting with the Dutch Ambassador to New Zealand H.E. Rob Zaagman on Friday 6th May (10.30-12:30pm).   For more information, or to be added to the mailing list for these upcoming events please contact or follow us on twitter @NCRENZ

We look forward to you all joining in with our celebration .

The team at NCRE