Category Archives: Diversity

Queer Agendas panel with Canterbury University Press author Jack Cottrell – online this Sunday

Going West Festival is going online & that means audiences can join the Queer Agendas panel this Sunday with Canterbury University Press author Jack Cottrell (Ten Acceptable Acts of Arson) – free, koha welcome.

Check out the online festival here: Documented Reality streaming — Going West Writers Festival 
Read more about Jack Cottrell’s book here: Ten Acceptable Acts of Arson, and other very short stories | University of Canterbury.

More information:

Going West Festival’s 26th season moves online for September, offering three freshly curated live conversations with Aotearoa’s finest writers of prose, poetry and culture. The events, which can be accessed from the Festival’s website, are perfectly proportioned bites for lovers of books, words and ideas.

The events will be free, with an option for viewers to pay as they would like.

Sunday 12 September 7.30 pm: Queer Agendas

Mark Beehre’s new book A Queer Existence is composed of beautiful and intimate portraits of queer men born after the Homosexual Law Reform Act passed in 1986. Jack Remiel Cottrell’s debut book Ten Acceptable Acts of Arson features stories from his life as a queer man of that generation. Facilitated by playwright Victor Rodger, they discuss what might now be on the ‘queer agenda’ as we move through the 21st century.

Keep up to date: Equity Review next steps

Thank you to those who have provided their feedback so far in response to the Equity Review findings. Before we moved Alert Levels, the majority of workshops had taken place, including workshops for leaders and managers, open workshops and most of the sessions for student and staff representatives of underserved communities at the University. However, there are still a number of workshops that were postponed due to Alert Levels 4 and 3 restrictions, which has halted the overall process to some extent.

If you (or your students) had registered for the sessions that were postponed, please note that we will be in touch with those affected to advise of a new date and all the information you need to know.

Please remember that if you wanted to attend an open workshop but missed the opportunity to register, you can still email your feedback to

The feedback we are gathering will be highly beneficial in completing the Response Plan, and especially in defining a shared understanding of equity. This is a pivotal step in giving effect and meaningful outcome to this work going forward at the University of Canterbury.

As we work through this process, I recommend spending time familiarising yourself with the Organisational Values that have been introduced to UC this year. Embedding these further into your work life will help us build a stronger sense of wellbeing and connection with each other, as we strive to provide a more equitable environment for all people in our community.

He mana tō te tangata | We value people and their differences.

Ngā mihi,
Jessica Maclean

Equity Review Open Workshops full

Thank you to those who have provided their feedback so far in response to the Equity Review findings. Three workshops for managers and leaders have now taken place. Over the rest of August and into early September we have scheduled numerous sessions for student and staff representatives of underserved communities at the University. 

The open staff workshops that are coming up this Friday and next week are now full, however if you wanted to attend but missed the opportunity to register, we encourage you to email your feedback to 

The feedback we are gathering will be highly beneficial in completing the Response Plan, and especially in defining a shared understanding of equity. This will be pivotal to give effect and meaningful outcome to this work going forward at the University of Canterbury.

Ngā mihi,

Rīpeka Tamanui-Hurunui and Jessica Maclean

2021 Women of Influence

The search for 2021 Women of Influence continues! We would like to encourage everyone to nominate an incredible wāhine they know who helps making Aotearoa a better place, especially as we have so many here at UC. 

There are ten award categories that can be entered into, and you have until 16 August to make your nomination. 

The Women of Influence programme is also hosting its annual Speaker Series in July and early August, with breakfast events in Tauranga, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Please find details for the Christchurch Speaker Series here>

These events provide great networking opportunities for your work teams, colleagues and friends with a stellar lineup of speakers and hosts that make for an engaging and thought-provoking morning –  a great way to get out of the office for a couple of hours and come away feeling inspired!

For more about the speaker lineup and to book tickets, as well as more about nominations, visit

Equity Review Findings and Next Steps

Tēnā koe,

In October and November 2020 SLT endorsed Te Waka Pākākano | the Office of the AVC Māori, Pasifika and Equity to conduct research to inform a complete Equity Review. The aim of the review was to examine equity, diversity and inclusiveness in the University of Canterbury (UC) context, with a Tiriti o Waitangi-centred and intersectional approach.

We wish to acknowledge and sincerely thank all who participated in the review, particularly those who shared their lived experiences.

The report has now been presented to Council and shared with participants. The results (summarised below) identify the importance of breadth of focus across the University.


The Equity Review draws attention to the challenges the University faces in defining equity, diversity and inclusiveness and in delivering commitments into meaningful outcomes for underserved[1] communities. These communities include, but are not limited to Māori, Pacific, Rainbow, people with long-term disabilities (physical and mental health-related), people of faith, migrants, people of refugee background and women.

Qualitative research data was collected to inform the review through semi-structured interviews with targeted groups of students and staff. This was supplemented with an anonymous online questionnaire, which was distributed to gather broader UC student and staff input. Approximately 700 responses were received online and in excess of 80 in-person interviews as part of this process.

Findings highlight confusion about the meaning of equity in the UC context and it is clear that the implementation of the Equity and Diversity Plan, policy and aspirations were not met in full, as a result of this lack of clarity. Many research participants reported experiencing various forms of discrimination in the University. Others talked about the ongoing reproduction of structures of privilege. Many participants from non-marginalised groups denied or were unaware of the reality of marginalisation for others, and voiced concerns that acknowledging diversity could cause a reduction of teaching and learning standards or even threaten the value of the dominant culture.

It is encouraging that despite the significant challenges identified in the feedback, students and staff recognised the valuable equity work already under way across the University. This included the development and implementation of UC Values, Takere Māori and Pacific Academy and the Kia Angitu Student Success Framework. These developments demonstrate UC’s commitment to providing equitable access for Māori, Pacific, first in family, those from low-decile schools, and students with disabilities as they enter tertiary education.

In particular, focus on a strengths-based approach and research-based evidence drive action to meet UC’s aspirations for equity. It was also clear in participants’ feedback that research without committed leadership and an improved organisational culture would not lead to meaningful change.

[1] The term ‘underserved’ is used in the review report to refer to individuals, groups and communities that experience discrimination and exclusion (social, political and economic) because of unequal power relationships across economic, political, social and cultural dimensions.

What’s our response?

In response to the Equity Review findings, an Equity Response Plan is being developed to determine how UC will achieve positive change. The approach will be phased, prioritising short, medium, and long-term strategies and tactics. The Equity Response Plan will be finalised and circulated later in 2021.

This is a step in our journey to creating an equitable community, and we are committed to continuing to engage in conversations that facilitate this. Over the next month there are workshops and open sessions scheduled for line managers, leaders, and all staff. These will be led by Tumu Whakarae | Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey. Information on registering for these workshops will be shared via Tū ki te tahi (staff newsletter).

The workshops will provide opportunities for you to identify where you can respond to the review and take action within the context of your department, as well as providing feedback that will contribute towards the Equity Response Plan. We also welcome your feedback and ideas on the response to the review via email to

There are actions we can take even as we establish a meaningful implementation response. The first step is to define a shared understanding of equity, which is pivotal in achieving meaningful outcomes to this work. While the workshops and response planning phase take place, we will also refine and confirm a definition that is concise and specific to UC’s aspirations for equity, diversity, and inclusiveness.

As a UC staff member, what can I do now?

There are numerous resources already available which we encourage you to use in support of your personal journey to building awareness and understanding of equity:

  • UC’s Organisational Values were developed at the time the review process was undertaken. They have been endorsed by UC’s Senior Leadership Team and Council, and will be integrated and recognised as part of the proposed Equity Response Plan – bookmark this page and get to know the values!
    • Whanaungatanga: we value people and their differences
    • Manaakitanga: we extend care and empower others
    • Tiakitanga: we will enhance and nurture our resources
  • Sign up to a Learning and Development course to further develop your understanding. Find the landing page with a full list here.
    Here are some great courses to look out for:

    • Culturally Responsive Pedagogy: From Theory to Practice
    • Pasifika Talanoa Development Day
    • Rainbow Awareness Workshop
    • Tangata Tū, Tangata Ora
    • Te Reo Māori for the Workplace

Nāhaku noa, nā
Dr Darryn Russell and the Equity Reference Group


Seeking support

At Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | the University of Canterbury, everyone has the right to be treated in a respectful and equitable way and we support anyone in our community to speak out against behaviours that don’t support this. Please talk with your manager if you require any support. The HR Advisory team can provide support to managers as needed.

Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)  provides UC staff access to voluntary, confidential, safe and professional counselling assistance. Click here for more information on this service.

If you identify a student who requires support, here are resources and support services for them:

There are also additional resources and support services in the community:

  • Need To Talk: 1737 (free text or phone)
    • Lifeline: 0800 543 354