Jul 17, 2022

Dear Catalysters,

It’s been a long time between Catalyst Conversations, and we are thrilled to announce that we are now back on track to provide some thought-provoking discussions for our Wakatipu community.
We already have four great speakers lined up over the next few months, we’re in the process of organising others and will be in Dunedin meeting with some of our University of Otago collaborators this coming week.
So a reminder about how we run (Covid caveats permitting…):

We post our events on our Facebook page one month ahead of each event (unless it is a last-minute opportunity we have grabbed).

That’s when registration opens on our Eventbrite page. Registration is required to ensure your seat, as per the link on our Facebook page or Early Warning System newsletter.

Masks are to be worn throughout every event.

Most of our events run 6-7.30 p.m., with an emphasis on Q&A - but this might vary if speaker/Catalyst organiser/venue requires.

Catalyst trustees have decided again this year to give all koha donated by our audiences to relevant local community groups, as agreed by the speaker and Catalyst Trust. Last year, this resulted in almost $2000 being given to six groups to help fund their great work in our community.

If you find you can’t come to any event after you have booked your tickets, please, please, please cancel them on the Eventbrite page. Just because they are free doesn’t mean they are worthless! We often have waiting lists and we can pass your ticket on to someone else when you cancel. Several times last year we had rooms only half full despite each event being booked out, because people hadn’t bothered cancelling. As a small group of volunteers working to encourage a thinking and informed community in Queenstown Lakes, this was hugely frustrating. As it is for those who miss out on the event. Your help on this would be much appreciated.

We will continue to send out these EWS newsletters to give you advance warning of upcoming events when we can. And we post events run by others, any last-minute events we run, in and media tidbits on topical issues on our Facebook page.


Co-governance: what does it mean, where is it headed and why is it so feared? Chris Finlayson, Wednesday August 10, 2022.
Government proposals for Three Waters and health sector reforms have sparked alarm among some about what co-governance might mean for them and the country. But are these proposed reforms actually co-governance? And if so, is it a threat? Former National Party Treaty Negotiation Minister and Attorney General Chris Finlayson will background the evolution of co-governance, what it entails and where it might lead us. He says it is not the same as co-government, it is happening already, “and the sky has not fallen in”. He is keen to lead Catalyst Trust’s discussion of this hornet’s nest to help trigger “a sensible conversation about the substance of power-sharing”.

Wednesday, August 10, 6 - 730 p.m. at the Hilton Hotel’s Remarkables Room. Registration required here to ensure your seat. Please bring cash for your koha, which will be given to Happiness House. Masks must be worn throughout.

Disinformation, Misinformation and Democracy.  Sanjana Hattotuwa, Thursday September 1, 2022

Dr Sanjana Hattotuwa has watched “splintered realities” emerge in New Zealand, as divisive, denigrating and destructive disinformation and misinformation spread through social, media and political landscapes after the pandemic.  His fears for democracy in his adopted country are based on having seen and studied this before, in his homeland Sri Lanka, since 2010. For six months prior to the start of the occupation of Parliament, he analysed often poisonous, conspiracy-propagating threads and live streams as part of The Disinformation Project - https://thedisinfoproject.org. The more extreme the comment, the more engagement it gained. The exchanges he has seen, he says, are “so horrific that I don’t think most Kiwis would recognise their country in the content I study, produced by and engaging fellow citizens”. If nothing is done to rein in the online disinformation, he says, the trajectory is chilling for its impacts on democracy at next year’s general election, and the very foundations of New Zealand's democracy.

Prof Paul Spoonley, topic to be finalised, probably November 13, 2022

Some of you will remember Paul Spoonley speaking to Catalyst previously. He has researched and written on social cohesion and diversity, racism, party identity, demographic change, the far right, white supremacism, anti-Semitism, immigration policy and settlement. Last month, he was announced as interim director of the Centre of Research Excellence for Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism, He Whenua Taurikura, set up in response to the Royal Commission of Enquiry report into the Christchurch Mosque terrorist attacks.  Which of his many areas of speciality is most topical to talk to will be decided nearer the time.

Prof Richard Shaw, topic to be finalised, probably Thursday November 24, 2022
You might have read recent commentary by Richard Shaw, politics professor at Massey University, about the “historic amnesia” afflicting New Zealand. Last year he wrote “The Forgotten Coast,” a family memoir tracing the arc from his immigrant great-grandfather who was part of the Armed Constabulary that invaded Parihaka, to the family becoming landed gentry within a generation on some of the confiscated Maori land.  Exact topic to be decided nearer the time.

That’s it for the scheduled events. We are continuing planning for a space-focused series in October/November, a discussion with researchers from the Dunedin Longitudinal Study who are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, and various other events.
Do feel free to pass this EWS onto others you feel might be interested in keeping their grey matter active, taking part in informed community debate on public issues and meeting others in our community who like to talk and think about things beyond the fabulous outdoor lifestyle we can all enjoy here.  Anyone can put their name/contact email on to our EWS database via the link on our website at the bottom right of our homepage.
And if you would like to get in touch with us about anything from suggesting a speaker/subject to volunteering to help, please email us at connect@catalystnz.org
We look forward to seeing you soon!
Ngā mihi nui
Cath Gilmour and AJ Mason, Catalyst Trust co-chairs

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