Come along to Victoria's Butcher Shop Series

Butcher Shop Series

How do meat, wine, dairy and wool influence our social and cultural—as well as economic—life? Join us for the Butcher Shop Series of public discussions.

Is New Zealand a butcher shop or a milking shed? Do we live on the sheep’s back with our glass of sauvignon blanc? New Zealand’s long economic dependence on primary products has had a profound effect on our national imagination. What weight do they carry in the social and cultural, as well as economic, life of New Zealand?

This May, Victoria University of Wellington—Te Whare Wānanga o Te Ūpoko o Te Ika a Māui—will be hosting a series of lively public discussions on the culture surrounding four of this country’s primary products: meat, wine, dairy and wool. The series comes under Victoria’s Enriching National Culture theme, one of the University’s eight areas of academic focus.  

The title of the series, ‘The Butcher Shop’, evokes the presence of our frozen lamb in British high streets for more than a century. It is borrowed from Jean Devanny’s 1926 novel, which asked hard feminist questions about life in New Zealand and was immediately banned on publication. Our invited speakers include contemporary figures in primary production as well as writers, art historians, fashion designers and lawyers.

Meat—Monday 1 May 2017

Since the 1890s we have been the land of frozen meat. The Sunday roast, the barbeque steak, spring lamb—meat has been everywhere, including in our national imagination. What is our relationship to meat and how do we think about it in the twenty-first century?

Featuring panelists: Ashleigh Young, award-winning essayist (and vegetarian); Associate Professor Roger Blackley, Victoria University of Wellington art historian; and Kiritapu Allan, Kahui Legal Lawyer. This session will be chaired by playwright and Dominion Post columnist Dave Armstrong.

Wine—Monday 8 May 2017

From beer swillers to wine sippers—is the change in our drinking habits the real revolution in New Zealand?

Featuring panelists Neil McCallum, founder of Dry River Wines; John Saker, wine writer and author of How to Drink a Glass of Wine and Pinot Noir: The New Zealand Story; and Professor Susy Frankel, Chair in Intellectual Property and International Trade at Victoria University of Wellington. This session will be chaired by RNZ National's presenter Kim Hill.

Dairy—Monday 15 May 2017

Milk in schools, dying waterways, trusted baby formula and the Anchor family—what does dairy mean to us and to twenty-first century Chinese consumers?

Featuring panelists: Roy Meares, creator of 1980s/90s Anchor family advertisements; Dr Jason Young, Senior Lecturer in Political Science and International Relations at Victoria University of Wellington and a Acting Director of the New Zealand Contemporary China Research Centre and Dr Tim Mackle, Chief Executive, DairyNZ. This session will be chaired by lawyer and commentator Linda Clark.

Wool—Monday 22 May 2017

Sheep numbers may be plummeting but wool is passing muster in the world of high fashion—why does our high country have such a firm grip on our collective romantic imagination?

Featuring panelists: Rachel Easting and Anjali Stewart, founders of clothing label twenty-seven names; Claire Regnault, Senior Curator New Zealand History & Culture, specialising in fashion, at Te Papa Tongarewa; and Dr Anne Galloway, Senior Lecturer in Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Design and leader of the research project Counting Sheep: NZ Merino in an Internet of Things. This session will be chaired by Simon Morton, presenter of RNZ National's This Way Up.

The discussions will be held from 5.30–7pm, at Victoria University of Wellington, Lecture Theatre 4, Faculty of Law, Government Buildings, Pipitea Campus, Lambton Quay. Numbers are limited—to RSVP, email Deborah Levy by the morning of each event to reserve a seat.