Fifty years of New Zealand politics for Professor Stephen Levine

Professor Stephen Levine's fifty years with Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington will be acknowledged next week at an event at Parliament.

In the 125th year of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, the University is happy to acknowledge 50 years of service from the longest-serving member of staff in the Political Science and International Relations programme, Professor Stephen Levine.

Professor Levine was honoured by Labour MP Ginny Anderson in the New Zealand Parliament’s Order Paper on Wednesday 11 May, for this significant anniversary.

Speaker Trevor Mallard will co-host an event alongside the School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations (HPPI) and the Wellington Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Parliament on Tuesday 7 June to honour Professor Levine for his long service and scholarly contributions. Also mentioned in the Order Paper is the fact he founded and continues to organise the university’s Parliamentary internship programme, which is now in its twenty-third year.

“The University’s first Chair of Political Science was Professor Leslie Lipson, recruited as I was from the US, but in 1939. There is another curious alignment with our lives in that I was recruited at the age of 26, as he was,” says Professor Levine.

He recalls the advertisement in the New York Times in 1972 that saw him take up his role here in Wellington, without having any previous knowledge of New Zealand or its politics.

“I was recruited by Professor Ralph Brookes, whose recruitment notice specified a new PhD who had expertise in survey research. If I had been seeking to write an ad to describe me, that would have been it,” says Professor Levine.

Professor Levine received his Bachelor of Arts with Honours, majoring in political science, from the City University of New York; and his Master's in international relations from American University’s School of International Service in Washington DC. While completing his PhD in political science at Florida State University in Tallahassee, he began teaching—this was something he insisted he be allowed to do when requesting a place in the university.

“It is difficult to overstate the importance of Professor Levine’s tenure at Te Herenga Waka,” says Professor Simon Mackenzie, Dean of the Wellington Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

“As well as being the longest-serving member of the Political Studies staff, he founded the Leslie Lipson Archive in 1996 to collect staff and students’ publications, he was the first head of HPPI when the programmes combined administratively and has been lecturer to thousands of political science students and mentor to hundreds of parliamentary interns he has placed with MPs from 2000 onwards.”

Professor Levine’s 50th anniversary will be celebrated at a ceremony at Parliament on Tuesday 7 June, which will feature speeches from MPs Ginny Anderson and Simon O’Connor as well as several of the Professor’s university colleagues.