Category Archives: UC News

Mobile phone usage

You may be using your UC mobile phone more than usual as you stay in touch with colleagues and use various apps. If you exceed 500MB of data you will receive a warning. You don’t need to be concerned about warnings of data usage, as each staff member has 2GB to use. If you have questions, then log an Assyst ticket here.                                      

Geospatial Research Institute Seminar: Saving your life, without you even knowing it

Join us on 27 March to hear from Steve Abley and Chris Morris from Abley Limited talk about the “MegaMaps” tool – Saving your life, without you even knowing it.

New Zealand now has a tool especially developed to identify high risk locations for safety interventions: The Safer Journeys Risk Assessment Tool or “MegaMaps”. This tool, will help to reduce the horrific financial and emotional cost of road fatalities.

“MegaMaps”, has been developed by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency with the assistance of Abley Limited. Steve and Chris, will explain The Safer Journeys Risk Assessment Tool or “MegaMaps”, how it came to exist and why it is unique nationally and globally.

This seminar will be of interest to students, academics, practitioners involved in data analytics as well as road safety practitioners.

Come for a networking free lunch at 12:30 pm, followed by our guest talk at 1:00 pm.
Haere mai!  All are welcome!

Location: University of Canterbury, Ernest Rutherford building, room 263

Please sign up (free) via the Eventbrite link so that we can accommodate for catering:

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

Linguistics and Civil & Structural Engineering rank top 100

Today the annual QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) World University Rankings by Subject were released.

Linguistics and Civil and Structural Engineering have received a ranking in the top 100 – Linguistics regaining this ranking for the first time since 2013. Nine other subjects have also ranked in the world’s top 200 including: Earth and Marine Sciences, Geography, Philosophy, Environmental Sciences, Education, Law, Sociology, and Politics and International Studies.

For the first time Politics and International Studies has achieved a subject ranking and it is positive to see it ranked in the top 200 globally.

Five subjects increased their ranking outside the top 200 since 2019 including; Chemistry, Accounting and Finance, Economics and Econometrics, Biological Sciences, and Modern Languages.

Subject rankings are important to UC to attract students into subject areas and also as a measure of our international research reputation. The compounding benefit being students attracted to UC for high ranking subjects often enrol in other subject areas too.

UC’s Strategic Vision 2020 to 2030 has set an objective for UC to increase its research profile and the impact of its research both regionally and globally.

UC aspires to be ranked at least in the top 200 for QS global rankings by 2025. There are a number of initiatives being developed to raise the national and international profile of research and rankings at UC including; forming strategic international partnerships and collaborations with international universities, developing new research clusters and raising the international profile of UC’s existing research centres and institutes, and providing greater support to host international academic conferences in Christchurch.

UC will be hosting a lunchtime workshop on 10 March with Tourism New Zealand on bidding and convening international conferences. For more information on this workshop and please email

About QS subject rankings

The QS World University Rankings by Subject cover 48 disciplines, grouped into five broad subject areas. The rankings are compiled annually to help prospective students identify leading universities in subject areas. Research publication citations, and major global surveys of employers and academics are the major factors used to rank universities.