Sample lectures

We have special sample lectures from our faculties throughout the day. Learn what makes our staff passionate about what they teach.

What makes our academics passionate at Victoria?

Come along and sit in on one of our sample lectures offered during the day. You'll get to know what it is like to sit in a lecture theatre and hear about the exciting and cutting-edge research our faculties are involved in.

Charismatic Leaders, Personality Cults, and Dictatorships

Dr Xavier Marquez, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences


KKLT303, Kirk Building, Kelburn Campus

From Hitler and Stalin to Hugo Chavez and Donald Trump, many modern political leaders are said to be charismatic and to develop personality cults. In this lecture, Xavier Marquez will take a look at the personality cults of modern dictators: how they emerge, what functions they serve, and what happens when these cults appear in more democratic settings.

Health: What are you talking about?

Professor Annemarie Jutel, Faculty of Health


HULT119, Hunter Building, Kelburn Campus

Health is a topical subject for individuals and society alike, contributing to personal wellbeing; at the same time as being the focus for policy and politics. The political health of the nation is often measured in the physical health of its citizens.  Yet, health is not a straight-forward concept. You may have an idea of what health means for you, but that may or may not be the same as someone else you know, or as what someone from another walk of society might propose. Let’s talk about how these differences make a difference.

The kauri dieback fight back

Dr Monica Gerth, Faculty of Science


TTRLT1, Te Toki a Rata, Kelburn Campus

Our mightiest trees are being brought low by kauri dieback disease, which is devastating forest ecosystems and jeopardising one of our native taonga. There is no cure, no way to be sure of preventing its spread and even the details of the microbe causing the disease are not well known. Dr Monica Gerth leads the only research group studying the deadly pathogen. Find out how she’s combining biochemical techniques with mātauranga Māori to develop new tools to halt the spread of kauri dieback and save our trees.

Our world is socio-technical

Dr Markus Luczak-Roesch, Victoria Business School


HULT323, Hunter Building, Kelburn Campus

The World Wide Web is the largest information system in existence, it has deliberated humanity through borderless information sharing, but it is also increasingly under threat. In this lecture I will revisit the original decentralisation ethos of the Web, and by referring to various contemporary issues, such as the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, I will demonstrate why it is an obligation of the current generations to preserve it.

Drug law reform in New Zealand

Dr Fiona Hutton (CRIM, SACS), Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences


SUMT228, Student UNION Memorial Theatre, Kelburn Campus

Do you think cannabis should be legalised in New Zealand? Did you know that the New Zealand government is planning to hold a referendum about cannabis law reform in 2019/2020? Our current drug law, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, is woefully out of date and not ‘fit for purpose’ as noted by the New Zealand Law Commission in 2011. The global ‘War on Drugs’ is also widely recognised as having failed to control illegal drugs, their production, supply and use. What could, or should, New Zealand do instead to develop an approach to drugs such as cannabis that reduces harms from drug use? This lecture examines the debates surrounding drug law reform and the legalisation of cannabis in light of the upcoming referendum on cannabis legalisation.

Designing cities and environments

Associate Professor Peter Connolly, Faculty of Architecture and Design


TTRLT1, Te Toki a Rata, Kelburn Campus

We want our cities to be so much more than just functional – places we live in and enjoy. But we live in a time where these spaces are threatened by social, economic and developmental forces. This is an exciting challenge for designers of cities and environments. This talk will present some of the emerging opportunities in the way we design our world – and share glimpses of new ways of living and experiencing that are being explored.

Motivation in learning environments: Identifying obstacles and formulating effective strategies to overcome them

Dr Flaviu Hodis, Faculty of Education


MCLT102, Maclaurin Lecture Theatre, Kelburn Campus

The importance of learning is widely recognized in schools, tertiary institutions, and society. Nevertheless, both research findings and personal experiences suggest that people often lack motivation to learn. This presentation will focus on two key aspects that could help alleviate this problem. First, the presentation will discuss some important factors that could (a) reduce motivation to engage productively in learning tasks or (b) increase the desire to abandon or postpone learning-related work. Second, it will highlight how the detrimental influences of these factors (obstacles) on engagement with learning-related tasks can be mitigated. In doing so, the presentation will illustrate that motivation research and theory facilitates access to knowledge that can be used to support student motivation in learning settings.

The future of the fashion industry in New Zealand

School of Design, Faculty of Architecture and Design


Lecture Theatres 1 and 2, Te Aro Campus

Join us at the Te Aro campus to learn more about Fashion Design Technology, a new major in the Bachelor of Design Innovation. Discover how fashion is used to tell stories and how garments are being designed and constructed for the needs of the modern world.

Combatting poverty: Renewable energy for remote communities

Dr Daniel Burmester, Faculty of Engineering


MCLT101, Maclaurin Lecture Theatre, Kelburn Campus

Globally, there are more than a billion people that do not have access to electricity. The majority of these people are living in remote communities, where poverty is common place.  Things we take for granted, like street lights in the evening, or a cold drink on a hot day, simply do not exist. However, in recent years, renewable energy systems have offered a new opportunity to combat these circumstances, and provide power to the masses. There are still a number of electrical, environmental and control based engineering problems to solve, but these challenges bring with them the ability to deliver positive change to billions of lives. This talk will explore the problems, and potential solutions engineering and computer science can offer these communities through electrification.

How to try a terrorist?

Professor Geoff McLay, Faculty of Law


HMLT205, Hugh Mackenzie Building, Kelburn Campus

How do we balance protecting the rights of someone suspected of serious crime, with the need to keep national security information secret. Can there ever be a fair trial if someone isn't told all the evidence against them? Can someone really be denied a New Zealand passport for reasons they will never told? Can someone be sacked from a job without being told why? Geoff McLay will talk about this problem faced by New Zealand, and other Western Democracies.