Message on behalf of TEU, urgent meeting at Victoria University of Wellington this afternoon.

Media Advisory:
Meeting 4pm Thursday 18 August, MacLaurin Lecture Theatre,
Kelburn campus, Victoria University

The decision announced earlier today to sack two lecturers in Victoria University’s International Relations programme to make way for new “themes” in the programme based around Security Studies and the Asia-Pacific region will lend urgency to a meeting of staff, students, University Council members and MPs scheduled for 4pm Thursday 18 August at the Kelburn Campus’ MacLaurin Lecture Theatre 102.

“We can’t tell exactly who will be attending the meeting other than students and staff at this stage,” says Tertiary Education Union Organiser, Michael Gilchrist, “but we see the current changes as a watershed issue for the future direction of the university.”

“There is no question of a lack of funds or student demand in the programme. On the contrary, an additional investment is being made. But younger staff, attempting to raise a family and build an academic career, are losing their jobs.

“We are particularly concerned that the university’s Academic and Faculty Boards, representing students and staff have not been consulted and that recent resignations in the programme have not been used to avoid making staff redundant.

“Likewise, students see the alarming implications for the courses they are taught, the relationships they have with lecturers and their plans for progression within disciplines if changes in the wind of management thinking can have this kind of effect.”

**For further information please contact**

Michael Gilchrist 021 770 846 or 04 463 5058

Further information on the situation at Victoria is also available at

There is another meeting happening to discuss the change proposal and responses to the VUW Council, on Wednesday 24 August at 5pm, until 8pm, in the Adam Art Gallery, Victoria University of Wellington.

This meeting is being called to discuss, organise and coordinate nationwide resistance on campus.

Amongst other things, the university is under attack from the government, with VSM set to pass in the next month. It is also under attack from its own management, with lecturers being sacked and research shut down in Wellington; whilst key academic conditions are being taken from academic staff in Auckland.

Robbie Shilliam, a lecturer in International Relations at VUW, will speak briefly about general issues.

Joe Kelly, an ex-student, will speak about past experiences of occupations which have occurred at VUW.

We will then discuss how to most effectively build resistance on campus, and make some plans.

Please invite anyone you think might be interested.

The change proposal can be accessed here.

Fancy helping out Women’s Refuge?

Everything you need to know.

It’s that time of the year again, folks, when grumpy-looking feminists (and others) stand on windy street-corners in Wellington, collecting to fund emergency services for victims of domestic violence, to cover the fact that the Government doesn’t consider this service to be highly-valued enough to completely fund it. Yep, I get grumpy just thinking about it.
As Cath Delahunty put it during Volunteer Awareness Week recently, volunteers are often holding families and communities together by their contributions. A couple of hours in the fresh air isn’t much to do, so have a go.

Sustainable business, fashionably!

Yesterday’s Weekend DomPost had, in it’s glossy ‘your weekend’ section, a rather good article by Sharon Stephenson, about Laurie Foon of Starfish, a designer I’ve long been a fan of.
[My attempt to post the link has failed, as the stuff website seems to jealously guard the contents of the weekend magazine!]

During the last election campaign, her staff were unfailingly helpful if I was doing the rounds with posters or fliers to put in shop windows; and we often took a while, having a chat about new products they had in stock using recycled or sustainable produced materials, such as their sneaker lines and some of the new textiles that were coming in for summer.

I was a ‘Jive Junkies’ regular back at the turn of the millenium, and frequently had Sarah, the manager of the Cuba St store, send items back to the Starfish workroom to be altered to fit me perfectly. Never a quibble, just an attitude of ‘make it work’.
One time, I brought in a vintage ‘little black dress’, and asked Sarah if we could swing it through the workroom, before I wore it to a showing of ‘Les Miserables’ at the St James. Not only did she set that up, she also whipped out her pintin, heaved me into a dressing-room, and made sure that we had the dress pinned to the exact fit. Those were the days!

I was a fan for life, until the redoubtable Sarah was finally beaten into submission by the Left Bank body corporate, shutting her shop and heading back to hometown, Auckland.
However, my love of Laurie Foon’s designs has stayed with me, and I am frequently a ‘swing through’ at the beginning of the season to check out what’s new in fabrics and styles.

This year, as the article says, Starfish have a winter collection inspired by the Rita Angus Exhibition at Te Papa, curated by Jill Trelawney, who I interviewed about her biography of Angus. I can’t wait for this lot to hit the racks, and I imagine I’m going to seriously compromise my budget somewhere, because from the pix shown in the paper, this will be a lovely collection to own a piece or two from.

More about Starfish’s sustainable ethics here, from the Wellingtonian, and here, from the DomPost again, when Foon first began promoting her sustainability credentials.

I’m probably the fashion industry’s worst nightmare, in spending terms – I rarely buy on a whim, I prefer to buy directly from NZ designers, (most preferably local to Wellington) and I have made some spectacular wins in the Auckland sales in times past. And, god forbid, I occasionally sew my own designs up for special occasions, like the dress I finished at lunchtime on my graduation day, last year!

I’m a fan of vintage clothing, a trick I picked up from a few great set-dressers I worked with at one time. ‘Recycled Clothing’ has gained a cachet that old-school opp-shopping never had – and I both buy from, and donate clothes to, my favourite second-hand charity shop. (Opportunity for Animals, if you’re asking – branches in Newtown and Kilbirnie, all proceeds go to animal welfare projects in Aotearoa/New Zealand)

So, file this story under ‘fangirl’, ‘buy local campaigns’, and ‘Welli fashion celeb’s’, however you like; but do go and have a look at a designer who has put her ethics and her profits into the same (beautifully stitched) pocket, and manages to find a sustainable win-win even in the current recessional business climate.

Consumption and growth theory

Flipping through frogblog today, I found this post What politicians dare not say except for the Greens, which reminded me of a small viral campaign run a few years ago against SUV drivers, parked in public carparks here and there, so I thought I’d share this with you., yes, YOU!, yes, YOU!

These came as stickers, some full size for the really enormous bumpers, and some half that, for the less extravagant over-consumers.
As a quick aside, could my esteemed friend overseas get in touch, if she still knows where the printable jpeg/pdf files are? 😉

These days, they could be attached to supermarket trolleys at the Warehouse, the way credit-card marketing has turned everyone with a credit rating into an overconsuming member of the national household debt figures.