Phone - Carole 021 401 951

Meetings are held at the Te Awa Lifecare Woolshed, 1866 Cambridge Road, Cambridge, from 10am for 10.30 until 12.00 noon on the second Friday of each month.

Friday July 12th, 2024 - Fiona Sussman - Award Winning New Zealand Fiction writer

Growing up in a publisher's home in South Africa meant that I fell in love with language and the written word at an early age. Our house was always filled with manuscripts, books and colourful authors. This was during the apartheid era, and witnessing the brutal regime at work sensitised me to the issues of injustice and racial prejudice – experiences which would inform much of my early writing.

After school, I completed a BA in English Literature at the University of the Witwatersrand; however, the untimely death of my father from a terminal illness saw me change direction and pursue a career in medicine.

In 1989 I emigrated from South Africa to New Zealand, where I completed my medical degree and went on to work as a family doctor.

While I found practising medicine immensely satisfying, I still hankered after the literary world of my childhood. Finally, the call to write became too great. I hung up my stethoscope, returned to university to do a Master of Creative Writing and began to write in earnest.

Most of my days are spent writing, mentoring new writers and speaking at events. I have also been involved, alongside my husband, in establishing a charitable surgical service in Auckland to assist those who have fallen between the cracks in our health system.

Learn more about Fiona by clicking here.

Friday 9th August, 2024 - Emeritus Professor Roberta Farrell - Fire and Ice: Antarctica and Tales of Research from Mount Erebus and the Heroic Era Historic Huts

By the Antarctic Treaty, Antarctica is dedicated to peace and science.  It is also the coldest, driest, windiest continent on the planet.

The talk will describe what it is like as a scientist to be privileged to work on the Ice.

The lecture will discuss the work of Emeritus Professor Roy Daniel, whose research started on Mount Erebus in 1980 and the current research of his wife, Emeritus Professor Roberta Farrell, who has focused on Antarctic fungi, studies which initiated by evaluating the deterioration of the historic huts of the Heroic Period of exploration, the British National Antarctic Expedition (1901-04) and Terra Nova British Antarctic Expedition (1910-13) led by Robert F. Scott; and the British Antarctic Expedition led by Ernest Shackleton (1907-09)).  

When these expeditions ended and relief ships arrived, a rapid exodus allowed only essential items to be returned to England.  The huts and thousands of items were left behind and though the extreme polar environment protected them from rapid decay, it has not from significant biological and non-biological deterioration. The resulting findings led to the ‘hunt for decay fungi’ in pristine areas of Antarctica, with surprising results.

Roberta’s research has had impact in biotechnology, specifically  in the areas of enzymes, fungi, bio-control, and bio-remediation, the latter, in collaboration with Ngaio Awa, was  featured in the documentary "The Green Chain" as well as in Māori Television’s “Project Matauranga“.  

Roberta and Roy have 4 children, 7 grandchildren, are now retired from The University of Waikato, and have enjoyed a wonderful life together.

Friday August 23rd, 2024 - SPECIAL PARTNERSHIP HISTORY LECTURE - Richard von Sturmer - Walking with Rocks - Dreaming with Rivers - My Year in the Waikato

Richard von Sturmer is a New Zealand writer. He was born on Auckland’s North Shore in 1957. His recent books are the acclaimed memoir, This Explains Everything (Atuanui Press, 2016), Postcard Stories (Titus Books, 2019), Resonating Distances (Titus Books, 2022) and the recently published Walking with Rocks, Dreaming with Rivers: My Year in the Waikato (Titus Books, 2023). He is well-known for writing the lyrics of ‘There is No Depression in New Zealand,’ which has become the country’s alternate national anthem.

In 2020 he was the University of Waikato’s writer in residence. During his residency he explored the Waikato region, writing on its towns and geographic features. The result is now a book, Walking with Rocks, Dreaming with Rivers: My Year in the Waikato.

‘This beautiful object, this dream set down on paper, is travel writing regained, and put to rights. The first person invested in it is the reader. You are about to go on a journey. You are in good hands: great travel writing picks you up and swings you along like luggage.’ – Steve Braunias

‘An extraordinary meditation on settings across the Waikato – museums where he’s the only visitor, lifestyle blocks where “you can feel history evaporating,” lakes where the only images reflected are clouds.’ – Tracey Slaughter


Friday September 13th, 2024 -Eileen Bowden - The Importance of Cultural Diversity and Core Values in Business Success.

Ko Tongariro te Maunga

Ko Taupō te Moana

Ko Waikato te Awa

Ko te Arawa te Waka

Ko Ngati Tūwharetoa, Ngai te Ranginui, Raukawa ki Waikato oku iwi

Ko Eileen Bowden toku ingoa

Eileen serves as the Kaihautū (Cultural Advisor) for Miraka, a Māori-owned dairy manufacturer established in 2010, nestled in the heart of the Mokai Valley, 31km northwest of Taupō. Miraka stands as a pioneer, being the first in the world to utilize geothermal renewable energy in the manufacture of their products, exporting to over 22 countries globally.

Since the inception of Miraka, Eileen has held various roles withing the organization, ranging from administration, accounts, on-farm relations, events management, and cultural affairs. She is a member of the Executive team for Miraka.

Throughout the company’s evolution, one fundamental aspect has remained steadfast:

A commitment to respecting cultural diversity and upholding the core values established by its shareholders.

“We may come from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, but we all share common goals and purposes; we simply have different ways of doing business. For Miraka, this is not merely a transformative change; rather, we have cultivated a mindset that respects and embraces what sets a business apart. This inherent affirmation positions us as a world-leading example for other New Zealand businesses.”

Friday October 11th, 2024 - Professor Russell Snell - Centre for Brain Research

Professor Russell Snell was Born in Fielding and raised in South Otago. He studied Physics at Otago and completed a PhD in Genetics in Cardiff Wales in 1993. His research interest is in identifying the genetic basis of disease and also the use of genetics for improving New Zealand’s economy through cow and goat milk production. Russell has a diverse range of research areas but they have a single underlying theme of utilising genetic tools including whole genome sequencing to identify disease mechanism and the development of therapies.

An area of focus has been the long term project with the Minds For Minds group including Dr Jessie Jacobsen and Prof Klaus Lehnert discovering genes and mutations in people with Autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. This project has been very successful with many families benefiting from a definitive diagnoses and personal explanation for the cause of the condition.

Fragile X is a very common condition that often has autism as a co-occurring characteristic. The Cure Kids funding for Russell’s group is for the making of a sheep model of Fragile X to facilitate the testing of therapies. Russell has had extensive experience making and utilising sheep models with a unique very successful Huntington’s sheep line being used by many international groups and drug companies for therapeutic testing. The Fragile X sheep line will also be made available to the large number of investigators working on potential therapies. This work will bridge the gap between testing treatments in mouse studies which unfortunately have not translated into a successful therapies and trials in people with the condition. The Cure Kids funding will establish the line and subsequent funding will be sought with international collaborators to advance the use of the animals.

Friday October 25th, 2024 - SPECIAL PARTNERSHIP HISTORY LECTURE - Dr Warren Gumbley - Archeologist - Title of Talk TBC

Warren Gumbley has worked as an archaeologist for over 40 years and has a Ph.D. from the Australian National University. His principal areas of research interest are: The adaptation of Polynesian horticulture to Aotearoa/New Zealand, the development of pā, the archaeology of mission stations, and the archaeology of the Waikato  Land War of 1863-1864.

“Archaeology deals with the physical remains of what people have been doing, and often that’s associated with day-to-day activities: how people made a living, how they grew their crops, how they fished for eel, how they went about processing their food to eat and storing it, and what sort of houses they lived in,” said Warren.

Friday November 8th, 2024 - Dr Marnie Lloydd - Armed Conflict, the International Red Cross and Humanitarian Dilemmas: My Experiences

What role is there for law in the pain and madness of wars? What role is there for a neutral humanitarian organisation in the face of the dire protection needs of civilians? What is it like to be a New Zealander discussing such issues with the affected populations and the warring parties in countries like Afghanistan, Sri Lanka or the DRC?

Dr Marnie Lloydd specialises in international law related to armed conflict, forced migration, counterterrorism and foreign fighting, human rights and humanitarian law and policy.

Marnie’s current academic role at Te Herenga Waka | Victoria University of Wellington, builds on her extensive prior experience as a Delegate and Legal Adviser with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), representing the ICRC in Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Chad, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as at the Geneva headquarters where she advised on international law and institutional humanitarian policy in support of the ICRC's activities in the Middle East.

 Marnie has taught and spoken on issues of international humanitarian law and the humanitarian sector, foreign fighting, arms control and humanitarian affairs with diverse audiences around the world, including UN staff, diplomats, military legal advisers, and non-state armed groups. In 2022, she was awarded VUW's student association's supreme award of 'Lecturer of the Year' for her teaching. Marnie was also recognised as a Women Leader in Law by the Borrin Foundation in 2022, and has been selected as a Global Scholar with Harvard Law School's Institute of Global Law and Policy in 2018 & 2022. In addition to her teaching and research, she engages actively with Government, media and civil society. She is Associate-Director of the New Zealand Centre for Public Law and serves on NZ's IHL Committee, NZ’s Inter-governmental Working Group on Lethal Autonomous Weapons, and as Co-Chair of ANZSIL's International Peace & Security Interest Group.


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