July - November - Human  Courage: The courage to Act

courage words map 

Tue 12 September 12:15pm - 1pm

The courageous society and personal courage: Speaking truth to power and acting truthfully to yourself

Paul Gibson, recent Disability Rights Commissioner

Paul smiling high res printPrecis: Throughout my life as a disabled person, and in particular when I was Disability Rights Commissioner, I was privileged to hear the courageously shared stories, celebrations, and challenges of many disabled and otherwise marginilised people.

When taking these experiences to a strategic level, there was empathy, but not the corresponding level of courage from decision makers to act and courageously build a fairer, more inclusive society. I will share some personal reflections, and attempt to emulate the courage of the story tellers who have inspired me.

Bio: Paul Gibson was the Disability Rights Commissioner for the Human Rights Commission from 2011-2017. He is a former president of the Disabled People's Assembly and was involved in the development of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD).

Paul is partially blind and uses Braille and assistive technology. He has 20 years of experience in the health and disability sector including working for Capital Coast District Health Board as a senior disability advisor.



Tue 8 August 12:15pm to 1pm - Two speakers!


1 - Christina Leef, Maori Women's DevelopmentChristina Leef


Topic: Cultural reconnection, my involvement with Flourishing Fellowship and the work that I do alongside young rangatahi Māori through my role at Māori Womens Development Inc.


Bio:Christina descends from Te Rarawa, Ngāti Manawa, NgaPuhi, Kuki Airani, and grew up in Glen Innes Auckland. As a teenager she received a First Foundation scholarship, which gave her an opportunity to attend university, receive mentorship, and paid employment with New Zealand Post.


Christina studied Māori Business at Victoria University and was especially interested in Indigenous entrepreneurship and how local solutions can solve many of the problems humanity faces today. Christina is an Alumni of Lifehacks Flourishing Fellowship. The Fellowship enabled her to share her passion for the wellbeing of rangatahi Māori which culminated in Kamp Kaitiaki, a curated experience supporting young wahine Māori to reconnect with their environment and their holistic wellbeing. Today she works for Māori Womens Development Inc, a charitable trust that focuses on supporting Māori women and their whānau to succeed in business through the provision of business and financial capability programmes. Christina is committed to supporting, connecting and enabling rangatahi to unleash their inner entrepreneur in an ever-changing world.


2 - Mikaia Leach is a member of the successful winning team of the 2017 Te Matatini Kapa Haka competition in Gisborne (East Coast-based Kapa Haka group Whāngārā mai Tawhiti)and is a graduate of a Kura Kaupapa – Maori Language education.

Bio: Mikaia was born and raised in Tairāwhiti (East Coast). She descends from Ngāti Konohi, Ngāti Ira and Ngāti Porou. As a Kōhanga Reo, Kura Kaupapa Māori and Wharekura graduate Mikaia always knew that going to university was going to be part of her future.

Mikaia successfully completed a Bachelor of Arts with Honours majoring in Māori Studies at Victoria University. She is passionate about Te Reo Māori, language revitalisation, kaupapa Māori research and Kapa Haka (Māori Performing Arts). Kapa Haka has had a huge influence on her life because it has helped her actively use te reo Māori and keeps her connected to her whānau, hapū and iwi. Mikaia has been performing since she was a young child and is a life member of Te Kapa Haka o Whāngārā Mai Tawhiti who are the current Te Matatini champions.

Today she works for Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori - Māori Language Commission, a Crown entity that was set up under the Māori Language Act 1987 to promote the use of te reo Māori as a living language and as an ordinary means of communication.

Mikaia is a Policy Analyst who is committed to making a difference in the policy space within government to acknowledge and support the use of te reo Māori within the wider Public Sector.


View the programme HERE

Hear Christina Leef HERE

Hear Mikaia Leach HERE

Read a write up of this lecture HERE


Study Trust Annual General Meeting follows this lecture at 1:30pm in the conference centre, Conference Room 1.




March to June - Human flourishing / July to November the Courage to Act

As part of a review of the Trust during 2016, it was decided that we focus our study activities based on the idea that the trust will “be a catalyst for transforming religion and society to be more compassionate and accepting”.

The plans for the coming year are focussed around 2 weekend conferences and a series of associated lunchtime meetings. In the first half of the year the theme is on Human Flourishing and from July on the Courage to Act. There will be a number of invited speakers and an opportunity for participants to develop and discuss the topics they introduce in greater detail. People who take part will be encouraged to identify and act to develop the elements of flourishing and courage in our lives and communities.


Overview -  Human Flourishing: March to June 2017

GDP is high and some say we have a rock-star economy but does that translate into human well-being? For many of the things that are truly valuable to our humanity there is a paradox. Often the most valuable elements can be hard to justify with a purely economic viewpoint such as studying the humanities or investment in museums, arts and culture. In contrast those things like love and connection can are generally not subject to the transactional or the money economy no matter how plentiful the money is.


Audio/Video of events are available HERE


12:30 - 2:00pm Thursday June 15

The art & science of human encounter – Theodore Taptiklis

Precis: In public life a long slow march has begun away from individualism and towards collaborative group practice. But efforts so far have revealed how ill-prepared we are to truly recognise each other, and to make proper use of each other's talents in our daily interactions. Our work at Human Methods Lab seeks to open us up to the detailed reality of our influences upon one another, and then to help us to channel these influences in helpful and productive directions. This approach values our differences, and starts to bring a new language of understanding and coherence to our shared efforts.

Bio: I’m dedicated to creating and deploying methods for people to recognise, relate to and learn to work strongly with one another.

After 25 years in the artifice of the corporate world, I looked for ways for us to sense and make sense of our differences together.

My search led first to storytelling and listening and by degrees to Enspiral and to Loomio, now my home.


Public Good SATRS Logo

Friday evening and Saturday May 5/6 - Human flourishing Seminar

The seminar will be part presentation and part workshop with a series of keynote speakers on the Friday evening.



7pm, Friday evening May 5th : Panel of Speakers
Heidi Thomson The Role of Humanities
Carwyn Jones New Treaty Traditions
Danielle Shanahan Living with Nature
Rev Dr Jim Cunningham
Rev Dr Susan Jones

9am - 3:30pm Saturday May 6th
Experience a creative participatory day of storytelling, workshops, and the power of singing with Julian Raphael.

Speakers: Julian Raphael The Power of Song
John Pennington Public Engagement Projects
Christina Leef Flourishing Fellowship
Paul Bruce Our Climate Declaration
Max Harris The NZ Project (video link)

Conference hosted jointly by St Andrews Trust for the Study of Religion and Society (SATRS) and Public Good

For more info and to register visit bit.ly/whocanwetrust  or text: 0221261839

To register for the conference you can pay by cash or cheque at the St Andrew’s Office,
or by direct debit to SATRS KiwiBank Account  389012 0627557-00 or online booking at http://bit.ly/humanflourishingNZ2017


27 April, 12:30 to 2pm - Winton Higgins talks on The Politics of Decency

Winton Higgins 2016 1000x1503The tide of xenophobia, misogyny, prejudice and callousness towards ‘the Other’ is rising. This is the politics of indecency, so how do we create a sea wall that will turn it back? How do we respond forcefully with a politics of decency? What sort of communities and civil society do we want to build? How can we flourish as humans, living in harmony with each other and with nature?

Winton has been a Buddhist practitioner since 1987, and a teacher of insight meditation since 1995. He has contributed to the development of a secular Buddhism internationally, and is a senior teacher for Sydney Insight Meditators and Secular Buddhism in Aotearoa New Zealand. He also teaches an annual course at the Aquinas Academy in Sydney on various ethical, social and political topics.

Born in 1941, Winton grew up on a sheep and cattle station in outback NSW, and then in Tennant Creek in central Australia. He was an academic at Macquarie University, Sydney, and the University of Technology Sydney. Cultivating a wide range of intellectual interests, three came to dominate: social-democratic theory and practice, especially the Swedish experience 1928–76; genocide studies, with special reference to the Holocaust; and standardisation.

His most recent book is the novel Rule of Law. His website is at wintonhiggins.org, and much of his dharma writing can be found at secularbuddhism.org.nz/resources/documents/#wh.
– This meeting has been organised jointly by St Andrew’s Trust for the Study of Religion and Society and Wellington’s secular Buddhist community, One Mindful Breath


There are other events happening around Winton's visit as follows:

Rule of Law: Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 12:00pm12:45pm, Unity Books.
Winton Higgins will be in conversation about his new novel, Rule of Law, with Sir Anand Satyanand, a former lawyer, judge and ombudsman who was the 19th Governor-General of New Zealand and the current Chair of the Commonwealth Foundation

Certitudes and how to move beyond them: Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 7:15pm 9:15p, Wellington Friends Centre, Moncrief Street.
Winton Higgins will encourage those who attend to meditate with an open awareness, and then speak about how responding skilfully to the context in which we all live is key to human flourishing.

Meditation, & being a global citizen – dharma practice and solidarity in a troubling time: Saturday, April 29, 2017, 9:00am 5:00pm, Lyon Room, Home of Compassion, Island Bay.  In this workshop, Winton Higgins will explore what we need to do to retrieve a wider, ethical vision of dharma practice in the face of today’s social, political and environmental challenges.

Information on these events can be found at the One Mindful Breath website events page here: http://onemindfulbreath.org.nz/events/


Thursday 6 April 12.30 – 2.00 - A group of younger people answering the question ‘what needs to happen to create a flourishing NZ?’  Speakers are Morgan Godfery, Laura O'Connell Rapira and Christina Curley

Morgan Godfery is a writer and political commentator. He is based in Wellington and specialises in Māori politics. Morgan has worked for the Hon. Parekura Horomia and Rino Tirikatene MP and he edited the Bridget Williams Books set of essays titled The Interregnum which was published last year The book gathered ten of New Zealand’s sharpest emerging thinkers to debate ‘morbid symptoms’ of the current moment, “when the old is dying but the new cannot be born”. Essays address issues from precarious work to climate change, and to discuss what shape change might take, from ‘the politics of love’ to postcapitalism. Although about New Zealand the book anticipated the Trump and Brexit phenomena by discussing whether we are also approaching “that ambiguous moment between society-wide discontent and political change” in New Zealand.
Morgan will talk about The Interregnum - how did where get here, what can we expect - and then focus on what a progressive programme looks like under these conditions.
The Interregnum is available from Bridget Williams Books http://bwb.co.nz/books/interregnum

Laura O'Connell Rapira is Action Station’s Director of Campaigns. She is also the Co-Founder of RockEnrol - a volunteer-run organisation dedicated to building and activating political power for young people. In her work with ActionStation she is dedicated to taking people on a journey that takes them from small beginnings to increasing confidence in citizenship working with political advocacy and campaigning. ActionStation’s current campaigns include building support for improving mental health services, including in Christchurch, and against sexual violence. Often ActionStation works alongside other advocacy organisations to develop and run a campaign. The People’s Commission on Public Broadcasting is an example. ActionStation is working with the Coalition for Better Broadcasting on a crowdfunded and people-powered investigation to make New Zealand's public broadcasting and media work better for New Zealanders. The Commission is accepting submissions and is holding public meetings in centres across New Zealand.
Laura will discuss this journey and how ActionStation’s 2017 campaigns will build towards a vision of a flourishing and fair New Zealand, with courage and compassion at its core. ActionStation believes in putting everyday people and our precious planet first, and building a society and economy that truly serves us. This involves seeing flourishing through the lens of citizenship - a robust democracy powered by informed and connected citizens and guided by accountable leaders.
You can find out more about ActionStation and the current campaigns on the website www.actionstation.org.nz
People’s Commission on Public Broadcasting www.makeourmediabetter.org.nz/


Christina Curley, Social Entrepreneur
Upwards' Founder Christina has an extensive background in digital marketing, online education, and website creation across New Zealand, San Francisco and the UK. However, her biggest interest is in helping young people: from childhood grew an enormous sense of care for others and the seeds for social enterprises Upwards and Savvy Up were sown.

From July - September 2015 Christina was part of the Lifehack Flourishing Fellowship, a cohort of people working in Aotearoa New Zealand to encourage youth wellbeing. Upwards' development was further strengthened by this work, and in November 2015 Upwards was one of three projects through Lifehack's four-week startup accelerator, Te Kōanga.

Lifehack works at the intersection of wellbeing science, design, technology and social entrepreneurship to improve the wellbeing of young people in Aotearoa New Zealand. Lifehack is an initiative from the Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health Project

More information about Lifehack and Christina’s work on Upwards


Thursday March 9 12.30- 2.00   Susan Jones Introduction to Human Flourishing