Public lecture series

Follow our cutting-edge research and learn more about topical issues through the University's public lecture series.

Watch or listen to lecture recordings

Catch up on our public lecture series with the following selection of recordings.

 Nikki Hessell, flanked by Nic Smith and Sarah Leggott. All three are wearing academic robes and standing in front of a large wooden door.

Reading romantic poetry as one of Cook’s people

Professor Hessell discusses how the poetry of William Wordsworth can help us understand the intellectual worlds of early Pākehā settlers

Two professionally dressed academics with gowns standing in front of a piece of artwork.

How to melt an ice sheet

Professor McKay explores Earth's history to understand how rising CO2 levels impact Antarctica's ice sheets, shedding light on future.

Three professionally dressed academics standing in front of a photo featuring a serene lake scene, with a man engrossed in reading a book by the lakeside.

Te Ahi Tupua, an exploration of Māori pattern geometry through computation

In his inaugural lecture, Professor Derek Kawiti delves into the realm of Māori geometry, unveiling the power of Te Ahi Tupua sculpture.

The logo for Te Wiki o te Reo, on a black background

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori webinars 2023

Celebrate Te Wiki o te Reo Māori 2023 by learning about te reo Māori from our very own Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington staff.

Three professionally dressed academics standing in front of a wooden staircase.

Reimagining the law of the sea—evolution or revolution

Professor Joanna Mossop asks whether changes to regulate ocean activities more sustainably can be achieved through evolution of the law.

Three academics standing in a line

Tuatara time—from sex determination to faecal matters

Professor Nicky Nelson presents research case studies into the biology of tuatara.

Three academics standing in front of a wood-paneled wall.

Myth-busting management ideas

Professor Todd Bridgman explains why he’s spent the past 15 years myth-busting management.

Professor Nancy Bertler, flanked by two other academics, at her inaugural lecture

Antarctica’s response to a warming world—living in the age of consequences

Professor Nancy Bertler discusses how Antarctica’s ice sheets revealed critical insights into our future and why the response is a matter of urgency for us all.

Professor Paul Teesdale-Spittle, flanked by two other staff members, at his inaugural lecture

Bringing molecules to life

In his inaugural lecture, Professor Paul Teesdale-Spittle discusses how life depends on complex interactions.

Maria Bargh, flanked by two other academics at her inaugural lecture

Māori politics—tradition, activism, and shared authority

In her inaugural lecture, Professor Maria Bargh discusses tradition, activism, and shared authority in Māori politics.

Nicholas Golledge, dressed in a suit, flanked by two other suited men on the evening of his inaugural lecture

Earth, life, and climate—in search of nature's 'invisible hand'

Professor Nicholas Golledge discusses our world's processes of self-organisation.

Head and shoulders portrait of Professor Ehsan Mesbahi, Professor Nicholas Long, and Professor Nic Smith dressed in academic robes.

Superconductivity—enabling breakthroughs in medicine, energy, and aerospace

Professor Nicholas Long discusses how superconducting materials are being used to address some of the world’s most challenging problems.

Professor Karl Lofgren, flanked by two other staff members, at his inaugural lecture

Public administration—innovations, policy, and people

Professor Karl Löfgren's research focuses on public administration. He shares his academic experiences based on three themes—innovations, policy, and people.

Nic Smith, Stephen Marshall and Wendy Larner standing together in academic dress

A public university for the 21st century—Generational change and the common good

In his inaugural lecture, Professor Stephen Marshall reflects on the future of the university in New Zealand.

Three people in academic garb pose in front of a polished wood panel wall.

Out on the town—music on the streets of colonial New Zealand

In her inaugural lecture, Professor Samantha Owens explores the music-making around the turn of the 20th century.

Three people in academic garb pose in front of a polished wood panel wall.

Open innovation—Realising its potential

In his inaugural lecture, Professor Urs Daellenbach discusses what truly open innovation might look like and how it might be realised.

Professor Rod Badcock with Professor Ehsan Mesbahi and Professor Jennifer Windsor

Engineering superconductivity into power intensive applications

Professor Rod Badcock outlines the engineering journey he and his team undertook, including developing new talent and removing engineering roadblocks.

Three academics wearing formal gowns, from left to right Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Jennifer Windsor, new Professor David Capie, and Associate Dean Dr Diana Burton.

New Zealand and the end of the Asia-Pacific era

Professor David Capie discusses the rise and fall of the Asia-Pacific era and how New Zealand can prepare for its challenges.

Three academics wearing robes in front of a wall showing sponsors of the Business School, from left to right Mark Hickford, John Randal, and Jennifer Windsor

He aha te mea nui o te ao? What is the most important thing in the world?

Professor John Randal describes some of the adventures of his journey towards becoming the University's first professor on the new teaching-intensive pathway.

Three gown-wearing academics in front of a multi-paned window in the Hunter building, from left to right Ehsan Mesbahi, Karen McBride-Henry, and Jennifer Windsor

Occupying 'in-hospitable' spaces

Professor Karen McBride-Henry discusses her research into the experiences of parents of children repeatedly hospitalised with acute respiratory infections.

Three suit-wearing academics in front of a multi-paned window in the Hunter building, from left to right Ehsan Mesbahi, Bing Xue and Jennifer Windsor.

Artificial Intelligence: state of the art, applications, and impact

Professor Bing Xue discusses her cutting-edge AI research and its implications for solving real-world problems.

Framing people at work

Professor Jane Bryson discusses how taking different perspectives on people at work can transform the field of human resource management.

Three academics wearing formal gowns on the stairs of the Old Government building, from left to right Professor Mark Hickford, Professor Joel Colón-Ríos and Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Jennifer Windsor.

Sovereign Encounters

Professor Joel Colón-Ríos discusses the concept of sovereignty and how constitutions can serve as instruments of popular self-rule.

Sailing in another direction: Researching vocabulary outside comfort zones

Professor Averil Coxhead discusses how her collaborative vocabulary projects have influenced her research in linguistics and applied language.

Three academics on the stairs of the Hunter building, from left to right Jennifer Windsor, Martyn Coles and Ehsan Mesbahi.

The periodic table is my molecular lego

Professor Martyn Coles discusses the fundamental building blocks of matter and how we can use them to synthesise new chemical compounds.

Sticking to her knitting: Reflections on a historian’s craft

Professor Kate Hunter discusses the importance of apparently trivial snippets of historical evidence.

Racial dimensions of screen aesthetics

Raqi Syed and Missy Molloy challenge us on the racial and colonial aspects of the increasing use of digital representations of people in film.

New Zealand Sign Language Week 2022 mini webinars

Experts Sara Pivac Alexander, Micky Vale, and Rachel McKee take you through some basics of NZSL in a fun and interactive way.

Mātauranga Māori: Here to stay

Ocean Mercier and Spencer Lilley discuss mātauranga Māori from different angles and mahi, including science and the heritage sector.

How can we improve youth mental health in Aotearoa New Zealand?

Terry Fleming and Tania Wilson discuss the cohesive approach required to ensure we meet the mental health needs of our young people.

Is unemployment insurance a smart idea?

Max Rashbrooke and Simon Chapple discuss whether the Government's proposed Social Unemployment Insurance scheme is a smart idea or poor policy making.

Psychology bite sized for you

Watch the videos from for this series of online webinars, covering topics from conspiracy theories to childhood anxiety and gender discrimination.

Psychopathic blending abilities in the courtroom

Dr Corinne Seals and Dr Hedwig Eisenbarth discuss how forensic linguistics and forensic psychology are used to uncover deception in the courtroom.

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori mini webinars 2021

Watch the videos from our Te Wiki o te Reo Māori 2021 mini webinars to improve your pronunciation and discover some easy ways to use te reo at work.

Cryptocurrency scams and criminology

Professor Simon Mackenzie discusses some of the scams currently flourishing in this new—and largely unpoliced—alternative financial system.

A distractible astronomer learns some statistics

Professor Richard Arnold explains how statisticians think about the world, and why their thinking seems so different to everyone else.

The importance of seaweed in our natural world

Professor Joe Zuccarello discusses his research on algal diversity, genetic variation, reproductive biology and evolution.

Professors Sarah Leggott, David O'Donnell, and Grant Guilford in the Hunter Building.

What has theatre contributed to New Zealand culture?

Professor David O'Donnell examines the contribution of the theatre to the cultural capital of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Professors Ehsan Mesbahi, James Bell and Grant Guilford standing in front of a wooden doorway.

The rise of sponges in the Anthropocene

Professor James Bell describes how marine sponges are likely to be one of the ‘winners’ as organisms adapt to anthropogenic changes to the climate and oceans.

Facial recognition technology: great enabler or threat to liberty

What issues does facial recognition technology raise regarding our collective and individual rights and interests, and should we be concerned?

A flourishing future: ensuring intergenerational wellbeing for all

In this public lecture Sophie Handford and Prof Girol Karacaoglu discuss how to ensure that public policy improves and sustains intergenerational wellbeing.

The costs of climate change

Professor Ilan Noy and Belinda Storey discuss how extreme events show that existing economic models underestimate the costs of climate change.

Pale shelter, cold hands: making criminal justice better

Prof Yvette Tinsley examines the harm caused by the adversarial process in its attempt to be objective about deeply personal aspects of people’s life stories.

Three academics in formal robes - from left to right Provost Professor Wendy Larmer, Professor of Law Nicole Moreham and Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Mark Hickford - standing at the foot of an impressive wooden staircase in the Old Government Building.

Conversations with the common law: Exposure, privacy, and societal values

Prof Moreham examines what the development of the tort of privacy tells us about the common law and the way it shapes and responds to changing societal values.

The price of being ‘Friends of Harvey’: men, power and sexual violence

Professor Jordan discusses the socially embedded nature of patriarchal legacies.

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori mini webinars 2020

Want some help with your te reo? Watch these informative mini webinars and be part of making Māori language moments.

Turning power into empowerment: Researching language in the workplace

Professor Marra illustrates how language research can contribute to empowerment.

What now? The short-term economic responses to COVID-19

Our panel discuss the short-term economic outlook, the effect lockdown had on families, what sectors have been worse hit, and what can the government afford?

In search of the New Zealand middle class

Professor Jim McAloon looks at the New Zealand middle class as it was around 1900.

Regulatory philosophy, theory, and practice: Ka mua, ka muri

Professor van der Heijden will reflect on the long, and often remarkable, history of regulatory reform.

Towards a New Public Ethics

Professor Michael Macaulay explores the tension between rhetoric and reality, drawing on almost seven years of New Zealand-based research.

Beyond horizons…and forward to the Moon

Dr Alexander Gerst, astronaut and distinguished alumni, shares his experience of space travel.

More lecture recordings

For more recordings of lectures on topical issues, see our previous events and spotlight events series.