All posts by tro32

Maurice Askew (1921-2020)

10th March 2020

By the time Maurice came to New Zealand to teach Design at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts in 1962, he had already amassed a lifetime of adventures and a long legacy of ground-breaking creative work.

As an RAF flight engineer on Lancaster Bombers during World War Two, he was shot down over Germany in 1944. Parachuting into a field of snow, he spent the next year and a half marching from one Prisoner of War camp to another. With his wry sense of humour, he once told me that he “…had seen enough of Germany… I don’t feel the need to go back again.”

After the war he had the opportunity, like so many demobbed soldiers, to retrain rather than go back to the old Anglepoise lamp factory that he worked in before his enlistment. He now had the chance to go to art school and follow his love for design and drawing. Subsequently, in the early 1950’s, he was employed by the fledgling Granada Television Studios where he created award-winning animations and amongst other things, was the set designer for the iconic Coronation Street television series.

Teaching was one of Maurice’s passions throughout his life and, in the early sixties, along with Doris his wife and a young family, he embarked on yet another challenge to sail to the other side of the world, to the University of Canterbury and to make Christchurch his new home.

His influence on the shift of design thinking in New Zealand in the 1960’s has been highly underrated but can be seen most strikingly in a series of decimal currency stamps from 1971 especially if compared to earlier designs. Here, Maurice was part of the winning design team alongside a number of recent graduates. During this time he worked on many other design projects such as the University of Canterbury Centenary and the 1974 Commonwealth Games held in Christchurch. The 1970’s was also a time when the Court Theatre evolved and part of their success was due to the vibrant theatre sets designed by Maurice.

By 1975 the demand by his students for film-making was so great that a separate Film Studio at Ilam was created. It remains arguably the oldest Film School in the country and I am very proud to say that it is still going strong today. Amongst its early students, it included NZ directors Vincent Ward and Gaylene Preston as well as the famous Australian producer Timothy White.

Maurice retired from UC in early 1981 and started yet another creative chapter in his life illustrating a number of children’s books and developing his distinctive watercolour style as he rendered striking landscapes locally, and from all over the world.

It is during this time that I first met Maurice who was still heavily involved in the Canterbury Film Society that he revitalised in the 1960’s. I will always remember his wonderful sense of humour and his kind, gentle and generous mentoring which stayed with him right until the end.

John Chrisstoffels
Senior Lecturer in Film
School of Fine Arts

Antigua Boatsheds 1990 M.V.Askew

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update

Work continues across UC to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and support our students in China. It’s challenging working with changeable circumstances and multiple sets of data, which teams are trying to bring together from both internal and external sources such as Immigration NZ.  If in doubt, reach out!  Please stay informed and just ask if you need support.

New information:

Students arriving in the coming weeks

Immigration NZ (INZ) have clarified that people arriving here from other countries, including from Asia, who have not been in China for the previous 14 days do not need to self-isolate when they arrive in Aotearoa New Zealand. Importantly, if someone does not comply with completing 14 days outside of mainland China they will not be permitted into the country. We do expect to have students arriving in the next few weeks who have responded quickly to the situation and have already travelled out of China.

INZ have answered these questions:

If I stay outside of China for more than 14 days can I then travel to New Zealand?


Are there any countries I cannot spend the 14 days in after being in China?

At this stage no, there are no restrictions on other countries.

When do the 14 days start from?

The 14 days is prior to boarding your plane or cruise liner to New Zealand, so if you were boarding at 4:00pm on Wednesday 19 February 2020, you would have had to have been outside of China since 4:00pm on Wednesday 5 February 2020.

What is included in “mainland China”?

Mainland China includes all of China, but not Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR, and not Taiwan.

Summary of key information for UC staff:

  • Travel restrictions from China to NZ remain in place until Monday 24 February 2020 (reviewed by MoH every 48 hours).
  • Technical support is available to help you to provide online delivery – please contact Nick Ford
  • Keep washing your hands frequently, and avoid touching your face.
  • Hand Sanitiser is available throughout the campus. In big lecture theatres and common spaces (eg Library) permanent bottles are being installed.
  • If you need support, speak with your manager and don’t forget that we have an EAP service, call 0800 327 669.
  • The coronavirus operations group is setup to manage the overall situation, so please use to alert the group to any matters you believe need to be handled.
  • The UC website continues to be updated daily. Recent updates on the website include advice on student visas, SSL and enrolling online.
  • Staff and student updates are only sent when important new information comes to hand. 

For more information:

Copy Centre has moved

 The Copy Centre is now located next to K1 lecture theatre, The Warehouse and the Rec Centre. There is easy access from Kirkwood Avenue.

 All print and binding services are now under one roof with UC Print proving a one stop shop.

More information here: 

Final staff forum for 2019

There’s been a huge response to our Staff Forum | Te Wānanga Kaimahi on Tuesday 3 December 2019 – thank to everyone who responded to the Outlook invitation.

This is our last chance to gather together en masse in 2019, hear from our leaders and meet colleagues old and new.

We will then be treated to manaakitanga, hosted by UC Council, as a thank you for 2019 and for all the work that has been undertaken in the years since the earthquakes.

We are proud to support local businesses and our caterers for this event Fritz Wieners started here in Christchurch and have since expanded around the country. They will be serving kai during our usual manaakitanga, located outside the Beatrice Tinsley Plaza (outside C Block) following the Staff Forum. Although they specialise in bratwurst, rest assured that they also cater to all dietary requirements, including gluten-free, vegetarian/vegan and dairy-free along with your choice of a refreshing drink.

As UC embarks on a new direction it is so valuable to hear directly from our leadership and to engage with the new vision that will set the tone for 2020 and the next 10 years.

See you at the December Staff Forum | Te Wānanga!