Massey MasseyThe magazine for alumni and friends of Massey University
+ building literacy + caring for oiled wildlfe + the ultimate home brewery
+ the Longburn meatworks remembered
The golden dreams of our student athletes
| 2 | May 2012 | MASSEY
3 London calling
K1 kayaker Lisa Carrington and swimmer Amaka Gessler are among a huge squad of Massey students competing for gold in the London Olympics this year. We catch up with Massey’s student athletes.
12 12 secrets of cult leaders
Dr Heather Kavan has observed at first hand the qualities that successful cult leaders cultivate. Here is what you need to know.
14 Taking care
Florence Nightingale Medal winner Andrew Cameron relishes a challenge, whether it’s confounding the gender stereotypes of the nursing profession or working with the victims of war and addiction.
Ian Williams and Anders Warn are bringing joy to the hearts and palates of well heeled homebrewers.
18 Immersive learning
Professor Marti Anderson’s vocation mixes scuba diving and statistics.
32 In pastures green
Landcorp Chief Executive Chris Kelly has been described as our most influential figure in agriculture.
Massey is published annually by Massey University, Private Bag 11222, Manawatu Mail Centre, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand massey.ac.nz
Website: definingnz.ac.nz Editor: Malcolm Wood [email protected]
Contributors: Kelly Burns, Bryan Gibson, Jennifer Little, Paul Mulrooney, Bevan Rapson, James Gardiner, Redmer Yska Proofreading: Foolproof
Photographers : Graeme Brown, Doug Cole, Mark Coote, Gerry Le Roux, David Wiltshire
Cover image: Lisa Carrington poses for a photo during the 2012 Canoe Sprint Championships at Blue Lake on 19 February 2012 in Rotorua.
(Photo by Hannah Johnston/Getty Images) Design : Grant Bunyan Thanks to: Jeanette McKinnon
For changes of address or to send in your news, visit https://alumnionline.massey.ac.nz or email [email protected].
Copyright: You are generally welcome to reproduce material from Massey, provided you first gain permission from the editor.
Erratum: In the May 2011 issue of Massey, it was stated that Ann Gluckman was the first woman principal of a New Zealand state co-educational school. A reader has pointed out that the first such principal was, in fact, Joan Mckenzie, who was appointed to Mana College in Porirua in the late 1960s.
20 What they did last summer An initiative headed by Professor Tom Nicholson and funded by community benefactor Matthew Abel is addressing the ‘summer slump’ in children’s reading.
24 Pod squad
When Heilala Vanilla joined forces with Massey’s food technologists, the resulting products were anything but plain.
28 Chain reaction
Inspired by a Longburn freezing worker’s singlet, historian Kerry Taylor wants to tell the story of the famously militant Manawatu- works.
36 Lather rinse repeat
Tending to oiled wildlife after the Rena grounding.
5 Campus wide: A round-up of news from Massey’s three campuses.
10 Tools of trade: A look inside the College of Creative Arts’ Type Workshop.
42 Mixed media: A history of New Zealand design, a Kiwi’s epic voyage to the Arctic, how the United Kingdom adopted the cabbage tree, and much more.
49 Alumni notes and news : All about the Massey alumni community.
64 End notes: In 1971, in the pages of the capping magazine Masskerade, William Broughton proposed a new course: Literate Agriculture 111.
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| 2 | May 2012 | MASSEY
FROM THE VICE-CHANCELLOR
The last time Massey arrived in mailboxes, in May of 2011, New Zealand was still very much in shock. Three months earlier, on 22 February, a major earthquake had struck Christchurch, inflicting extensive damage, loss of life and a trail of economic, environmental and psychological consequences that are still with us and will continue to be with us well into the future.
Chr istchurch’s disaster was a national tragedy. One way or other, every New Zealander shared in the city’s misfortunes. Massey, a university profoundly embedded in the life of this nation, was certainly intimately connected. In the aftermath of the quake, as the aftershocks continued, Massey fielded emergency management specialists and a veterinary search and rescue team, and attended to the learning support and counselling needs of its 900-plus Christchurch distance- learning students.
Even now, the staff of the Massey/
GNS Science Joint Centre for Disaster Research remain at work in Christchurch, gathering evidence and advising communities how to become more resilient. There will be other civil emergencies; it is important that the right lessons are taken and applied and that appropriately qualified emergency management staff are to hand.
The earthquake would not be the only instance where time and chance played their hand. On 5 October the container vessel Rena
ran aground on Astrolabe Reef off the coast of Tauranga, unleashing the worst environmental maritime disaster in our history. As the stricken vessel began to spill its bunker oil, hundreds of pitifully distressed, oil-soaked birds began appearing on the foreshore – and, again, Massey was there.
Shortly after the grounding, the National Oiled Wildlife Response Team, headed by Massey’s Dr Brett Gartrell and largely made up of staff from Massey’s Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences, was being readied, and within 48 hours the equivalent of a wildlife MASH unit was materialising on Tauranga’s foreshore – where it would continue working well into 2012.
I cannot say enough in praise of the staff and volunteers – some of whom you will meet in this magazine – who put in long hours with great professionalism. Yes, there were moments when the television cameras were present and the good and great came visiting, but for the most part their work was a smelly and unglamorous round of feeding and cleaning up after reluctantly captive birds.
But the year was not one of unrelieved calamity. One bright spot, of course, was the Rugby World Cup (RWC), with its best of all possible conclusions and which, of course, had its share of Massey connections, one being Kit McConnell, Head of the RWC, another All Blacks coach Sir Graham Henry, who truly earned his place among the pantheon of rugby greats.
So it was with great pleasure at the 2012 Massey Defining Excellence Awards that on behalf of the university I formally recognised Sir Graham for his contribution to rugby and teaching by presenting him with Massey’s most sought-after alumni award, the Sir Geoffrey Peren Medal. He was not the only remarkable individual whose achievements we celebrated that night. We also recognised the achievements of alumni Sue Suckling, Stephen Jennings (in absentia), Dennis Oliverand Luke Di Somma and of a stellar array of teachers and researchers.
S i r G r a h a m ’s awa rd wa s a reminder that Massey’s commitment to excellence across all realms
encompasses sport. We are a university that teaches sport and exercise science, offers a range of sports facilities, and maintains a uniquely flexible learning environment that allows sportspeople to travel and compete while working towards university-level qualifications.
Small wonder then that in 2011 Massey became the first New Zealand university to sign up to the ‘Athlete Friendly Tertiary Network’ set up by the New Zealand Academy of Sport, or that at the 2012 World University Games in China Massey student athletes were responsible for half of all medals won by the New Zealand team.
Good things are to happen in the year ahead. In Wellington, the College of Creative Arts will open its new building, enabling it to attract more postgraduate students to New Zealand’s premier school of design.
On the Manawatu- campus, work will begin on seismic strengthening and refurbishing the venerable and much-loved Sir Geoffrey Peren Building (formerly Main Building) and Refectory. Also on the Manawatu- campus, the turning of the sod will take place for the building that will house the College of Education, which is both relocating from its Hokowhitu site and beginning the process of phasing out the provision of undergraduate degrees in favour of the sort of far-sighted postgraduate education provision that constitutes the future of professional teacher development. And work will commence on a $75 million expansion and upgrading of the buildings and facilities for New Zealand’s only veterinary school. All of this I look forward to.
But if you would like to mark a fast-approaching day in your calendar to celebrate the achievements of the Massey community, let me suggest 27 July when, nation by nation, flags flying, the teams will troop into the London Olympic Stadium.
Look for the Massey members of the New Zealand team. Our contingent includes student rowers, swimmers, cyclists, hockey players, a single sailor and the team sports psychologist Professor Gary Hermansson.
Cheer them on.
Steve Maharey, Vice-Chancellor
Abroken elbow nearly spelled the end of Amaka Gessler’s Olympic dreams. But this steely swimmer and Massey psychology student refused to give up. And later this year, Gessler will compete for gold in London, part of a formidable squad of 28 Massey student athletes within the Kiwi Olympic team.
It could so easily have gone the other way. In November 2011 Gessler was biking to training when, as she crossed a road, her wheel jammed on the kerb. She flew over the handlebars, crashed face-first into the footpath and was knocked unconscious. But when she woke her first thought was that she must get up, and get to training.
Onlookers had called an ambulance, but Gessler shrugged off the fuss and instead asked for a ride to the pool.
Once there, the shock set in. Her face and knee were bloodied, she had chipped a tooth, and her eyes rolled and she shook uncontrollably as a lifeguard cleaned her wounds.
Another ambulance was called and she was taken to hospital, but, ever the optimist, she believed she would be fine.
Twelve hours later a doctor delivered the news with an, “oh-oh”.
“As soon as he said ‘oh-oh’ my stomach lurched. The next day I was due to fly to Arizona for a three-week altitude training camp,” Gessler says.
Her right elbow was fractured and ligaments in her left wrist damaged. “It was one of the worst feelings ever. I thought my Olympic dream was over.”
But the 22-year-old, who won a silver and bronze medal at the
Delhi Commonwealth Games in the 200-metre and 100-metre relays, was spurred on by her coach. Bluntly she was informed that she had that day to feel sorry for herself, and the next she had to move on.
So she did. While her teammates were in the United States, she pushed herself at the gym until she could get back in the pool. “They literally had to hold me back,” she says.
Gessler also used what she had been taught to speed up her recovery. “I used mental imagery and visualisation to help. It was a way to make me mentally stronger.”
In March she qualified third fastest for the women’s 4x200m relay at the Olympic trials.
She was so happy to be London bound that she “jumped for joy”
and hugged the first person in sight.
Among her relay teammates are fellow Massey students Penelope Marshall and Natasha Hind.
“Our team has so much potential, we’re young, we just need to bring it,” Gessler says.
Another star on the rise is kayaker Lisa Carrington.
Unranked when she won the K1 200m world title in Hungary last year, Carrington is one of the country’s top gold medal contenders.
Carrington, 22, a Ma-ori studies and politics student, will also pair with Erin Taylor in the women’s K2 500m event and they’re gunning for glory.
“You don’t go to the Olympics just to compete,” Taylor told 3News.
Penelope Marshall, Natasha Hind and Amaka Gessler.
London callingLondon is calling for a large squad of Massey’s student Olympians, who will give their all to be on top of the world, writes Kelly Burns.
Joanne Kiesanowski Jaime Nielsen Simon van Velthooven
Daniel Bell Amaka Gessler Natasha Hind Penelope Marshall Hayley Palmer Glenn Snyders Matthew Stanley
Michael Arms Louise Ayling
Hamish Bond (just graduated) Fiona Bourke
Julia Edward Sarah Gray Chris Harris Eric Murray Sean O’Neill Anna Reymer
Rebecca Scown (graduated) John Storey
Peter Taylor Storm Uru
As of mid-May, with selection still in progress, the following Massey students and alumni were expected to be on the New Zealand Olympic team.
Michael Dawson (graduated)
| 4 | May 2012 | MASSEY
“We want to go there and we want to do well. We want to be at the front of the field.”
Singled out as the first ‘athlete friendly’ university by the New Zealand Academy of Sport, Massey so far has 26 students/graduates in the Olympic team – more than any other university.
The tally is set to rise as more sports announce their teams closer to the Games.
In the team already is 23-year-old elite track cyclist Simon Van Velthooven.
“It’s been a big goal of mine. Achieving it has put a big smile on my face,” he says of making his first Olympic team.
The Palmerston North rider, who is “chipping away” at a Bachelor of Applied Science, will race in the team sprint and keirin event and fancies his chances.
“I’m going to win a medal… I put pressure on myself to win the medal.
I function well under pressure. It’s exciting and I can’t wait.”
On deck to help the athletes in London is Massey lecturer and sports psychologist Gary Hermansson, who at 71 will be at his fourth Olympics.
As the official sports psychologist, he will support the athletes through their highs and lows and help them work on the personal mental strategies they will need to manage the pressures.
“I’ve worked with gold medallists and people who haven’t performed well,” Hermansson says. “If they do well, it changes their life, they become high-profile figures, so there are adjustments. Those who don’t do well, or do disastrously, have adjustments to make too.”
Although London will be his eighth Games – he has been to four Commonwealth Games, the first in 1998 in Kuala Lumpur – he says the buzz and wonderment never wane.
“There’s always excitement, you’re seeing the best the world has to offer. It’s a privilege to be in that environment. It’s very special.”
Eric Murray and and Hamish Bond.
Elite track cyclist Simon Van Velthooven.
Black Sticks co-captain Kayla Sharland.
Major change is afoot at all three Massey campuses. On the Manawatu- campus, $75 million is to be spent on upgrading and expanding the nation’s only veterinary school. The development will help Massey to maintain its place at the forefront of international veter inary scientific research and teaching and to meet the growing demand for qualified veterinarians. The project will be funded over nine years from the university’s annual capital expenditure budget.
Across the way, work is ready to begin on a building to house the College of Education, which is relocating from its Hokowhitu site.
Plans are also advancing to restore and seismically strengthen the venerable Sir Geoffrey Peren (formerly Main) Building and
Refectory, currently home to staff from the humanities, social science and business.
During the building work, two temporary villages will house the displaced staff and functions.
The Refectory is scheduled to be reoccupied in mid-2014 and the Sir Geoffrey Peren Building by the beginning of 2015.
Elsewhere on Massey’s campuses, builders have been hard at work. On the Albany campus a $15 million student amenities centre housing student services, dining, shopping, clubs and social activity opened in March 2012, and on the Wellington campus a $20 million building for the College of Creative Arts, which among other things will cater to growing numbers of international postgraduate students, is to open in June.
The Turitea campus’s Main Building and the Refectory were designed in the 1920s by the then New Zealand-based American architect Roy Lippincott, New Zealand’s only direct link to the celebrated Chicago School architects Frank Lloyd Wright and Walter Burley Griffin.
The Sir Geoffrey Peren Building, constructed in 1929- 31, was the original base of the Massey Agricultural College, and housed science laboratories, lecture theatres, library and office space for staff. In 2010 it was renamed after Massey’s first principal. Under a conservation plan developed in 2009 it will be restored largely to its original condition as well as earthquake strengthened.
The Refectory, built at the same time but completed in 1930, was originally the dining hall and lounge for students living on campus, but was later converted to teaching and office space. It will also be returned largely to its original design and a mezzanine floor, built in 1963-64, removed.
Clockwise from top left: Architect’s drawing of the proposed
$10 million building (orange roof) to be located between the existing Business Studies Central, at left, and the Refectory;
architect’s drawing of the overall vet school complex and the proposed extension of the vet tower; the new College of Creative Arts building, Wellington.
| 6 | May 2012 | MASSEY
| 6 | May 2011 | MASSEY
At left: Paul Callaghan at work in 1977.
“The gyrations of the nucleus are extremely beautiful and it is through their subtle variations that we can learn so much. The real art is to coax the nucleus into a state where it becomes exquisitely sensitive to the molecular property we are trying to understand. That is what NMR [Nuclear Magnetic Resonance] magic is all about.”
Professor Sir Paul Terence Callaghan, scientist, 2011 New Zealander of the Year, 1947-2012
Sir Paul Callaghan began work at Massey in 1975 as a lecturer in the fledgling Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Biophysics after returning from Britain, where he had completed a PhD in low-temperature physics at Oxford. Soon after his arrival, the department purchased an FX-60 Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectrometer, “a piece of equipment about the size of a decent sideboard”, as one of his then colleagues Ken Jolley remembers. Its purpose was purely practical: to identify the products of chemical reactions. Sir Paul, however, had other plans.
He set about adapting the spectrometer to let him study molecular motions, adding custom-built attachments. It was a career-defining moment. During the next 25 years, Sir Paul made the territory of NMR and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) his own.
In 2001, Sir Paul left Massey to become Director of the Alan MacDiarmid Institute of Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology based at Victoria University of Wellington.
Three years later, Sir Paul became one of the founders of Magritek, a business established to commercialise the research conducted at Massey and Victoria. A number of Massey alumni became Magritek staff, including Robin Dykstra and Magritek’s current CEO Dr Andrew Coy. “MRI & NMR for everyone, everywhere” is Magritek’s motto, and it has been highly successful in selling a range of high-tech specialist equipment worldwide. It is a curious domain for New Zealand to assert dominance, but then, as Sir Paul would say, what New Zealand turns out to be good at is really weird stuff.
The Magritek model – achieving a return on high-value intellectual capital rather than relatively low GDP-per-capita activities such as tourism – was one that New Zealand should actively pursue, thought Sir Paul. At presentations around the country, through his book Wool to Weta, and by making himself constantly available – even in the last days of terminal cancer – he put forward his vision for how New Zealand can become the highly educated, prosperous, clean and green, inclusive nation it aspires to be.
“Our top technology companies export $4 billion a year,”
he would tell audiences. “We need 10 times that, a goal we are capable of achieving. And to ensure all New Zealanders share in the benefits, every child must have a chance at taking part in this future.”
Remaking how teachers are taught
From 2013 Massey’s College of Education is to begin phasing out teaching three- and four-year undergraduate degrees, moving instead to solely teaching education at the graduate/postgraduate level.
The shift in emphasis accords with the way teachers are increasingly being taught internationally, says College Pro Vice-Chancellor James Chapman.
The move is also in line with Education Minister Hekia Parata’s 2012 pre-Budget announcement.
“The advantage of graduate and postgraduate teacher education is that the students come to us already expert in the understanding and application of a specialist discipline – perhaps sociology, psychology, maths, science, technology, the arts or Ma-ori studies – and this is the foundation on which we build.
“Anyone completing the graduate diploma path will have studied for a minimum of four years and they will then undertake two years of professional practice before being fully registered.”
Currently around half of all graduates entering primary teaching come through the graduate diploma route, with the figure increasing to over 80 percent for the secondary sector.
“We know that our graduates from our graduate diploma programmes are well- regarded; they have higher completion rates and higher rates of employment and registration than those going through undergraduate programmes.”
Chapman believes the change will also lead to many students extending their studies to embrace Master’s and doctoral degrees, providing career advancement and advancing the teaching profession.
“I cannot overstress how vital a highly skilled and educated teaching profession is to New Zealand’s future.”
First a computer called Deep Blue took on the world chess champion and won.
Then a computer called Watson took out the game show Jeopardy. But could a robot take on the ultimate challenge and outkick All Black legend and representative of all humankind Andrew Mehrtens at the goalposts? In October of 2011, the matter would be decided.
Albany campus mechatronics lecturer Associate Professor Johan Potgieter was on the side of the robots – or of one robot in particular, Robodan,weighing in at 60 kilograms, powered by compressed air, and finished in gleaming muscle-contoured aluminium. Also on the side of the machines was Woderwick, from Massey’s Manawatu- campus, and, hailing from the University of Canterbury, an unnamed mechanical kicker.
Robodan’s parentage was varied. Under Potgieter’s tutelage, three second-year visiting French engineering interns had worked out the kinematics; postgraduate students had built the prototype; and the special touches that gave Robodan his charm – his animatronic torso and his face with moving eyes – came courtesy of Massey product development lecturer and television star ‘Dr Robotech’, alias Chris Chitty.
The event was to take place in Auckland’s Victoria Park. But as the play-off neared, the team had a problem: Robodan had yet to kick a ball over a set of goalposts. They knew he could kick, but not how far or how high.
The morning of the kick-off arrived.
Close by, Woderwick was kicking ball after CAMPUS WIDE
Above: New Zealand high school robotics teams after winning the VEX Robotics World Championships in Los Angeles.
At right: the mighty Robodan doing what he does best.
ball with practised ease. Not so Robodan.
Then Ian Savage, the head of the Rugby World Cup’s official ball supplier Gilbert offered some advice about angles and boot placement.
“As soon as he told us these things, we got Robodan to kick the ball successfully,”
says Potgieter. The results? A 5-all Robodan- Mehrtens draw.
As for Woderwick, although he had cleared the goalposts beautifully during the warm-up, he had begun to lose oil and air, and he struggled with accuracy and distance.
Nor was Canterbury’s team a contender.
Post-Rugby World Cup, Robodan has joined the celebrity circuit, appearing at corporate and robotics events, before he joins the rugby immortals in the Rugby Museum in Palmerston North.
The Mehrtens-versus-the-machines event was held to promote the inaugural Schools’ Robotics World Cup held in the Cloud during the Rugby World Cup.
In April 2012, New Zealand robotics teams mentored by Massey University engineers won the VEX Robotics World Championships in the United States for the fourth time running, and Potgieter was inducted into the VEX Hall of Fame as a Volunteer of the Year, as was Massey University for winning the Excellence Award in 2011.
| 8 | May 2012 | MASSEY
Katherine Holt has seen a lot of pollen. During the four years of her PhD investigating past patterns of vegetation in the Chatham Islands, many thousands of grains passed under the lens of her microscope, each one painstakingly magnified, identified and tallied.
How much time did she spend identifying pollen?
“Gosh, I have never sat down and thought about it. It’s a bit depressing. I would spend weeks on identification.”
What does pollen look like under the microscope?
Amazingly various. “Beech pollen is like a thickened disc, a doughnut without the hole, and around its edge are around eight little slits. Its surface is slightly bumpy. Flax is triangular, with a reticulate pattern on its surface, almost like a honeycomb. I could talk for weeks and weeks about the range of shapes and sizes.”
Nonetheless, tallying pollen counts is essentially scientific hackwork: at once meticulous and skilled, repetitive and mundane. Holt, nowadays a Massey lecturer in physical geography, will be pleased to pass it on.
Her rescuer is a digital microscope imaging, identification and pollen counting system, going under the name of the Classifynder, developed by staff from Massey’s School of Engineering and Advanced Technology led by Emeritus Professor Bob Hodgson.
The Classifynder initiative began as a meeting of minds between Hodgson and Emeritus Professor John Flenley, who is perhaps best known for his work in employing palynology to map the human and ecological history of Easter Island.
“John Flenley looked at how to apply a computer to the problem of pollen classification and I got involved in applying specialist technology to come up with a product,”
Now three generations on from its first prototype, the Classifynder is emerging as a commercial product:
prototype machines are in use around the world. In Australia, the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) held an exhibition of images taken by the Classifynder to celebrate its purchase.
The Classifynder could end up widely adopted. The CSIRO, for example, intends to use it to identify how various insects and invertebrates function as pollinators within natural ecosystems. In biosecurity it can be used to identify the countries of origin of a range of products, notably honey. For allergy sufferers, it can establish air- borne pollen counts and source species.
Does Holt wish she had been born just a few years later, so sparing herself all those hours at the microscope?
No, for her it has been a privilege to play her part in the development of a new technology. It is the generation that is performing manual pollen counts in the period between the Classifynder’s development and its wider deployment that she feels for.
In any case, she is not done with pollen counts just yet.
Every day she returns to the microscope, but now it is to calibrate the accuracy of the Classifynder so that Hodgson and his team can tweak its performance.
“I want to check that it can deal with fossil pollen and broken pollen, things that pose some of the biggest challenges for automated palynology.”
The Classifynder – revolutionising pollen counting
Malcolm Wood writes.
At top: Lecturer in physical geography Katherine Holt with the Classifynder and (inset) pollen grains as the Classifynder sees them.
At right: Miscellaneous pollen grains (William Crochot, Dartmouth Electron Microscope Facility). Above left: Professor John Flenley.
Above right: Professor Bob Hodgson.
| 10 | May 2012 | MASSEY
Annette O’Sullivan lectures in typography and teaches a contemporary letterpress paper in which students combine digital and traditional technologies, researching their subjects to arrive at the right mix.
This large-format cylinder proofing press – made by T. H. Pullan and Son of Glasgow – is leased from the Wellington Printing Museum.
The press is used to print posters from laser- cut or locked-up printing ‘formes’.
① Moveable metal type was introduced by the German watchmaker Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg around 1439 and was in regular use until quite recent times. These days, sets of metal type are more often found among antique store bric-a-brac than in use.
②The wooden type shown here would have been cut using a router, a technology introduced in the 1830s. ③Today the Type Workshop cuts its wooden typefaces using a computer-guided laser cutter.
I n a world of green screen rooms, laser cutters and the latest in computers and software, some places retain an anachronistic charm. The College of Creative Arts’ Type Workshop is one. If Gutenberg, the inventor of moveable type, were to be resurrected from his 15th-century grave, he would instantly recognise the technology in use. Here students learn about the art and craft of typography – terms like leading, kerning and letterspacing – and the physicality of printing in a way no computer can match.
TOOLS OF TRADE
| 10 | May 2012 | MASSEY
John Clemens lectures in printmaking and screenprinting and runs such high-tech marvels as the plotter cutter used to cut vinyl stencils and the laser cutter used to custom produce wooden type.
Wooden type locked up into a metal frame known as a ‘chase’ ready for inking and printing. In this case, the paper is placed over the top of the forme - the filled chase – which is then positioned under the press ready for printing.
The Albion press, originally designed and manufactured in London by Richard Whittaker Cope, was manufactured from 1820 until well into the 1930s. The date of this model is unknown. Its mechanism resembles that of Gutenberg’s original press, which was itself modelled on that of a wine press. Like the cylinder press to the left, the Albion is on loan from the Printing Museum.
| 12 | May 2012 | MASSEY VIEWPOINT
“A cult leader is usually comfortable describing himself (I say
‘himself ’ because they’re usually male) as the greatest genius, the highest world leader, the most cosmic lover, and – by some secret spiritual logic – the only person in the world who doesn’t have an ego problem.”
r Heather Kavan is drawn to religions, cults and ‘altered states’. In the past decade, this senior lecturer at the School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing has journeyed deep into a landscape shunned by most academics, turning her dispatches into journal articles and conference papers.
Kavan takes an intensely practical approach to her investigations. In 2008, for example, she spent close to a year rising at dawn to meditate with Falun Gong practitioners. She sat in court for six weeks
during the high profile trial following the exorcism-leading-to-death of Janet Moses, which led to five manslaughter convictions . Along the way, Kavan has observed first hand how cult leaders control and often sexually dominate their followers. At a staff talk in March, Kavan drew on this knowledge to explain how such powers work in practice, categorising them into what she whimsically but seriously termed ’12 tips for seduction’.
In a reference to the shocking example of Jonestown, Guyana (where 900 followers of cult leader Jim Jones voluntarily swallowed
poisoned soft drink in 1978), Kavan said,
“The tips are reasonably safe – none of them involves spiked Kool Aid”.
People like Jones seemed to wield an invisible power that made people take an irrational liking to them, she said. “Few cult leaders have, for example, the charm and good looks of Pierce Brosnan or the musical ability of Bono, much less the media attention these celebrities attract.”
Setting out her ‘12 tips’ in turn, Kavan said the first prerequisite for a cult leader was to radiate self-love.
Two:Lift your vibe
“Charisma has been defined as a mysterious, exceptional quality by which a person appears to be endowed with supernatural or superhuman powers. In my experience, the mysterious quality is an ecstatic energy the charismatic leader emanates, which arouses a feeling of stoned-out bliss when you’re in the person’s presence.”
Cult of Leaders
Redmer Yska writes.
Three:Be thrillingly unavailable
“The old principle that ‘the more difficult something is to obtain, the more it is valued’, applies here – the more James Bond-ish you come across, the more valued you are. You can’t fake it, unless you’re Daniel Craig – so it’s not about ‘playing hard to get’, but about genuinely having so much in your life that you’re ecstatically happy regardless of anyone else.”
Four:Link the seduction to a greater cause
“A common cult leader tactic is for the leader to claim that his purpose is to free people from their enslavement to others, including partners and family. The person then bonds emotionally with the leader instead, who feels free to take as many wives as he likes, while pretending to liberate everyone.”
Five:Get an iconic photo of yourself
“Most cult leaders sell flattering pictures of themselves, which they encourage members to carry round with them, place on an altar or wear on a necklace. Rajneesh, aka Osho (the guru whose group did the bio-terror attack in Oregon, USA) went even further and used to give disciples boxes containing cuttings of his hair.”
Seven:Give the occasional breathtaking compliment
“A charismatic leader not only reads a person’s needs and desires, they access ones you didn’t even know you had. Therefore the most important criterion for a powerful compliment is that the speaker has read the person at a deep level. Another important criterion – and probably the trickiest one – is that the compliment has got to show the recipient something they never consciously realised about themselves.”
EighT:Load your language
“When I read Charles Manson’s prison interview, what stood out most for me was how frequently he used the word ‘love’. According to his former followers he was ‘always preaching love’. Even after masterminding nine brutal murders, he says in the interview:
‘Anything you see in me is in you… If you see me as your brother, that’s what I’ll be. It all depends on how much love you have’.”
Nine:Imply you’re on the verge of fame
“Cult leaders often suggest they’re on the brink of success and fame and imply that followers will go down in history as part of the greatest story ever told. To get a share of the recognition, devotees then start vying to be their closest disciple. The lesson from this is that a well timed suggestion of impending success can intensify attraction.”
Ten:View any rejection as superficial or short term
“Cult leaders see themselves as the fountain of all love, so it follows that everyone, whether they realise it or not, is craving them.
According to this logic, any rejection is superficial or short term.
I’ll never forget the leader who said to me, after I’d decided against pursuing a research interest in his group, ‘That’s all right, you’re not ready for me yet’.”
Eleven:Show unshakable conviction
“There’s a whole bag of tricks behind this certainty, usually involving travelling to mysterious places to gather superior wisdom.
The performance of an extraordinary or heroic feat also helps, although this can be difficult to contrive.”
Twelve:Become a receiver
“In one of the pieces of research I did, the leader stayed in my house and, through that proximity, I experienced another key to charisma – gurus are very good at receiving from other people.
In fact they seem to expect everyone to run around anticipating their every need and giving them presents.
“And so my final cult leader tip is: Become so open to receiving presents and acts of kindness that the thought of giving to you just lights up the pleasure centres in people’s brains.”
“Few cult leaders have, for example, the charm and good looks of Pierce
Brosnan or the musical ability of Bono, much less the media attention these celebrities attract.”
Six:Practise mind reading
“A cult leader often focuses like a laser beam on the pining devotee, making them feel like they’re the only person in the room and their heart is an open book. As the leader appears to be able to read the devotee’s consciousness, they hang on to every word, feeling that at last someone truly understands them.”
| 14 | May 2012 | MASSEY
It’s hard to believe that Andrew Cameron became a nurse because it seemed like a nice, comfortable job.
After studying nursing and then midwifery in the 1970s, Cameron worked on a remote Australian island treating an Aboriginal population plagued by alcohol and violence, then became the sole health professional for 250 isolated miners and sheep farmers in the outback. Now he spends his days in war-torn countries training medical staff and giving primary care while avoiding bombs and kidnappers.
Cameron, a 1984 Wellington Polytechnic School of Nursing (now Massey) postgraduate nursing alumnus, was awarded the New Zealand Red Cross’s Florence Nightingale Medal last year, the highest international distinction a nurse can receive. He
is one of a few New Zealanders to be awarded the honour, which is given to about 40 nurses worldwide every two years “for courage and devotion to the sick and disabled or to civilian victims of conflicts”.
“It was pretty amazing. I was the 25th Kiwi in 100 years to receive the award so that was pretty cool I reckon,” Cameron says. “I don’t come to these places to get medals or anything; it was just really nice to get a pat on the back.”
Cameron, 55, is on his seventh mission since starting with the New Zealand Red Cross in 2005.
He currently calls Afghanistan’s Kandahar province home, but has been posted to Kenya, Sudan, Iraq, Yemen, South Ossetia in Georgia and twice before to Afghanistan. The work separates him from his Germany-based
wife and two daughters, but he is committed to it. “You definitely have to be the right kind of person. You have to leave home for nine months of a year. It can be quite disruptive. On the other hand it’s quite an adventure,”
he says. “It’s work but it’s really immediately rewarding.”
Eradicating polio from s o u t h e r n A f g h a n i s t a n i s Cameron’s current assignment, but he has a wide brief. A typical day might see him travel to an international military base to assess the health of POWs, or train Afghani taxi drivers in first aid, vital in a region where ambulances are scarce, or check prisons for any signs of health- in-detention abuses. “We make sure detainees are properly cared for according to the Geneva Conventions, and that there’s nothing sinister going on.”
It’s fair to say nurse Andrew Cameron relishes a challenge, whether it’s confounding the gender stereotypes of his profession or working with victims of war and addiction.
The Florence Nightingale Medal winner talks to Andrea O’Neil.
Information about working for the New Zealand Red Cross can be found at www.redcross.org.nz/
When Cameron travels with any of his 35 Red Cross colleagues, they take separate cars to ensure at least one of them arrives if kidnappers approach.
Cameron was a 19-year-old welder in Hawke’s Bay in 1976 when he visited a workmate in hospital with burns. “It was a foul, rainy, cold day in winter, and the ward was nice and warm;
the nurses were coming in with the evening tea trolley. There was a male warden and I asked him what he did; he said ‘I’m a nurse trainee’,” Cameron says. “I thought about it for a few days
Medal was not awarded to male nurses until 1991. Cameron still faces stigma from strangers.
Men could be more specifically targeted for recruitment into the profession, he says. “Maybe some universities could advertise in a blokey sort of way.”
Men bring a kind of balance to the nursing workplace, not over- discussing and analysing issues as much as women do, Cameron says. “I’m not a talkative sort of person. I speak when I’ve got something to say,” he says.
“Because I’ve worked with women for 35 years, sometimes
hell job,” he says. The violence he dealt with for seven years prepared Cameron for his first Red Cross mission treating Sudanese refugees in Kenya. “I’d seen a fair bit of violence and aggression, a lot of blood and a number of open bullet wounds,”
he says. “In a way [Mornington Island] was just as tough as doing this work. The Aboriginal problems are quite deep.”
C a m e r o n w a s n a m e d Australian Nurse of the Year in 2004 after a further two-year stint as the only medic in former goldmining town Cue.
Men could be more specifically targeted for recruitment into the profession, he says. “Maybe some universities could advertise in a blokey sort of way.”
and made enquiries. When I left work my mates at work said,
‘That’s not a job for a man’.”
Being male was a constant liability during Cameron’s early career. When he began training at Hutt Hospital men couldn’t graduate as registered general and obstetric nurses, a quirk amended in the 1977 Nurses Act. Still, Cameron was sent to a urology ward while his 43 female classmates studied obstetrics, which he had to learn from a textbook. Despite this, the subject grabbed him, and he left for Melbourne to become a midwife, a career option not offered to Kiwi men then.
A gender imbalance persists in nursing – men still only make up about 7 percent of Kiwi nurses, and many of those are in administration, Cameron says. The Florence Nightingale
it gets like a bit of a henhouse.
You need to try to bring a different light to the subject.”
Male or female, all nurses face the problem of a talent exodus to Australia, where wages can be 30 percent higher, Cameron says. Life across the ditch isn’t all roses, however – nurses are more likely to get sued by patients in Australia, he says. “You really have to be on your guard and be careful what you say.” Cameron no longer practises midwifery owing to a fear of litigation. “If you get accused of something it can destroy your career.”
A u s t r a l i a o f f e r s c a re e r opportunities unavailable in New Zealand, however. In 1992 Cameron became Director of Nursing in a 10-bed hospital on Mor nington Island off Queensland, an Abor iginal community. “It was a tough-as-
A bigger challenge then beckoned. Cameron had wanted to work for the New Zealand Red Cross since the 1980s, and had completed his postgraduate d i p l o m a a t We l l i n g t o n Polytechnic to increase his chances of being selected for aid work. “I thought I’d better get some academic qualifications,”
he says. “It was good for me to catch up with all the theories and the social side of nursing rather than the technical side.
The way I trained it was purely medical.” In 1995 he gained a Master’s degree in tropical medicine at the University of Queensland.
C a m e ro n s e e s h i m s e l f working on different New Zealand Red Cross missions for another 10 years. “Why not?
You don’t live forever. You’ve got to try different things.”
Massey offers a range of nursing study options.
They include Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctoral programmes and a postgraduate diploma and certificate.
The Bachelor of Nursing is a three-year nationally and internationally recognised programme offered in Auckland, Palmerston North and Wellington.
In 2011, 214 students gained graduate or postgraduate qualifications through Massey.
To find out more, visit www.massey.ac.nz/
This page, at left: Cameron impresses a South Ossetian widow with an attempt to chat in her native language. The Red Cross was distributing seed potatoes for spring planting in isolated and remote villages in the Leningor Province of South Ossetia in 2011.
At right: Villagers in South Ossetia were always happy to see Cameron and other Red Cross workers arrive with food parcels containing flour, cooking oil, beans and other essentials. Cameron delivered parcels each month to 300 people who were still affected by the 2008 war.
Facing page: Cameron makes one of his daily rounds of the children’s wards in Juba Teaching Hospital, southern Sudan. Cameron was head nurse and director of nursing at the 480 bed hospital during a Red Cross mission in 2007.
| 16 | May 2012 | MASSEY
Homebrew can be a heartbreaker.
After paying out for equipment and ingredients, a homebrewer has to invest precious time in cleaning buckets and bottles, meticulously measuring and mixing, checking the brew’s temperature as if it’s an ailing infant, waiting patiently, then bottling and waiting again.
And then, on the day that it’s finally supposed to be ready, the first cap is opened and all too often it’s obvious that something has gone wrong. It’s flat or too fizzy. Or tastes so bad it’s undrinkable.
Or, worse, remains just drinkable so the brewer, and their more loyal mates, have to work their painful way through the batch until it’s finished.
At which point only the most determined enthusiast is investing all that time and money into another brew.
This kind of experience is horribly common.
It’s claimed that nearly a third of New Zealand men have made homebrew beer but only a fraction of them continue to do so.
That simple statistic has helped propel the creation of an all-in-one personal brewing machine, devised and developed by two friends who studied food technology at Massey University back in the 1980s.
Ian Williams and Anders Warn believe their WilliamsWarn personal brewery, launched in April, solves the problems faced by millions of homebrewers around the world – and plenty right here in New Zealand.
They have so far sold fewer than a dozen of the
$5660 machines locally, but Ian Williams reports an “amazing” response internationally, with 90,000 visits to the WilliamsWarn website and distributors around the world clamouring for a chance to sell the machine in their home markets.
Aucklanders Williams and War n were schoolmates at St Kentigern College and were both inspired by a Massey presentation to go into food technology. “A food tech guy came to our school and gave a lecture on what Massey was doing with technology, particularly food technology. We were sitting next to each other at the back of the class and we just thought, ‘Well, there’s always going to be food’.”
They and another classmate all headed to Massey the next year. Williams has fond memories of his years there, first living at Kairanga Court, then flatting with Warn in Morris Street and Featherstone Street, and making friends who are still part of their social circle today. Yes, beer was Two friends who studied food technology together 25 years ago have devised a machine to bring joy to the hearts and palates of well heeled homebrewers. Ian Williams and Anders Warn talk to Bevan Rapson.
By the end of 2009, two New Zealand manufacturers had been found to help build a third prototype, which was completed in April last year, but by mid-year further investment was needed to get the product to market. A shareholder in the Hawke’s Bay manufacturer involved in the project came forward with a capital injection in exchange for a stake in the business. The project has also been backed by funding from the Ministry of Science and Innovation’s business support programme.
With only 50 machines made so far, Williams says the project is in a six-month trial period locally, with a plan to secure further investment and launch in the US by Christmas. “We’ve had big retail stores in the States ask if they can retail it,” he says, “so that’s where we want to go now.”
In future, he believes the manufacturing costs will fall as economies of scale are achieved and that the company is positioned to profit both from unit sales and from selling consumables to machine owners. “There’s such a gap in this market,” he says.
“The number of ex-homebrewers is really high. They’ve always wanted to make good beer but haven’t been able to before.”
The WilliamsWarn machine makes 23 litres of beer in seven days, at a cost of around $7.50 for the equivalent of a dozen 330ml cans. It eliminates a lot of the waiting from homebrewing, and also the work. Williams says the first problem for traditional homebrewers is that they have to use a two-stage process. One advantage of his brewing machine
ar ises from it being pressur ised, meaning the beer doesn’t have to be recarbonated in a second fermentation. The machine closely controls the brew temperature with a refrigerator and heater and incorporates a simple clar ification system.
While the machine is being launched with three beer varieties – a Summer Ale, Blonde Ale and American Pale Ale – it has the potential to make all sorts of beer and for users to experiment and create their own versions of classic styles.
So do Williams’ old colleagues in the brewing industry see his invention as a threat to their sales?
“I haven’t heard from them yet, actually,” he says.
In any case, his interest has shifted away from their world. He has a different mission these days: “I want to solve the problems in homebrewing.”
an interest even then, with the students’ traditional Friday and Saturday night sessions at ‘the Fitz’, although Williams suggests they “weren’t as bad as the Dip Ag guys”.
He even made his first and only homebrew at Massey, with a couple of other food tech students, using a 40-gallon drum. “As much as we tried to convince ourselves it tasted great, it was awful,” he recalls. “Never did it again.”
Warn, who graduated with first class honours, went on to work in food processing, working in Europe for Tetra Pak as a systems and project engineer then returning to join New Zealand Dairy Foods, managing a production facility. He later became a consultant, working for Fonterra and Sealord among other companies. Today, he works for Fonterra as Business Process Manager.
Williams, who studied wine in his final-year project at Massey and had opportunities in that field, opted to join DB as a trainee brewer. He identified better travel opportunities in the beer world. Trained by DB, he worked at Tui as an assistant brewer, was head brewer at Monteiths, and by sitting exams became the first Master Brewer in New Zealand. Then, taking advantage of DB’s Heineken connection, he left New Zealand in 1995 to work in Holland, then in the Tiger brewery in Singapore. That led to helping launch a new Tiger brewery in Hainan, China where he oversaw the production of an international prize- winning lager.
By 2000, Williams had become an international brewing consultant, based in Denmark but working in many different countries and helping large breweries improve their performance and beer flavours.
In 2004, a chat about homebrewing with his uncle at a Christmas party got Williams thinking about why amateur beer makers were so often unsuccessful. Two years later he was ready to bring his family back to New Zealand and get to work on making an all-in-one brewing machine that he believed could solve the inherent problems suffered by homebrewers.
That was when he approached Anders to help with the engineering side of his fledgling project.
It has been quite a journey since then, with Williams sinking his own money into the project, then bringing other investors on board in exchange for a share of the company.
Initial market research established the potential of the idea, and a prototype self-carbonating, all-in-one machine was successfully produced in 2007. Unfortunately, this original machine blew up when yeast burst into the electrics during a yeast discharge process.
An improved prototype was built, patents obtained and investment won from Dane Michael Hansen, former owner of a family brewery in Denmark.
He even made his first and only
homebrew at Massey, with a couple of other food tech students, using a 40-gallon drum. “As
much as we tried to convince ourselves it
tasted great, it was awful,” he recalls.
“Never did it again.”
| 18 | May 2012 | MASSEY
Professor Anderson’s recent work includes a Marsden-funded study of deep-sea biodiversity. As part of this project, Anderson and her Te Papa marine science colleagues sent cameras into the sea close by White Island, Great Barrier Island and other spots. The images of the hagfish, shown left and right, were captured during the course of the study. She has also been enlisted by the Auckland Regional Council, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research and the Department of Conservation for marine monitoring and environmental impact assessments. Her recent diving expedition off the Poor Knights Islands marine reserve was in connection with an annual survey of marine biodiversity around New Zealand, a personal project Anderson started 12 years ago. To view the hagfish footage, visit www.definingnz.com/hagfish.
In her office on the Albany campus, Professor Marti Anderson is fresh from a diving expedition in the Poor Knights Islands marine reserve and full of enthusiasm.
She and her PhD student Adam Smith have been counting reef fish. She is particularly taken by the number of triplefin species. “New Zealand is the triplefin capital of the world,”
In the background her computer screensaver cycles through its images: Monet’s water lilies (Anderson’s undergraduate degree is in the liberal arts) and the gothic horror face of a hagfish, with its seried rows of teeth.
Last year the hagfish made it onto a great many other screens. In a Marsden-funded study of deep-sea biodiversity, Anderson and her colleagues at Te Papa captured the first footage of a hagfish at home. Before the deep-sea cameras, various sharks, groper and other predators take bites at the eel- like creature, only to recoil, their mouths filled with noxious slime. Repellently fascinating, the hagfish clip went viral.
This is one side of Anderson: the marine ecologist, explorer of the deep. Then there is the other Anderson:
the mathematician, statistician and, on occasion, software developer.
Jennifer Little meets Professor Marti Anderson, who is assessing what is happening to our marine ecosystems.
| 18 | May 2012 | MASSEY
There’s an app for that
PERMANOVA+ (PERmutational distance-based Multivariate ANalysis Of VAriance) is an ecological statistics package for analysing biological systems and how they change over time and space. PERMANOVA+
applications have been used to assess and monitor ecological communities ranging from bacteria in the Antarctic to worms in the depths of the North Sea and butterflies in Borneo.
Created by Professor Anderson in collaboration with developers Ray Gorley and Bob Clarke and first introduced some 15 years ago, PERMANOVA+ is used globally by scientists and environmental agencies.
Last year Anderson ran PERMANOVA+ workshops in the US, Portugal, Australia and the United Kingdom.
The combination is a rare one. Ecologists, explains Anderson, work within a discipline known for generating
‘messy’ data. Statisticians, on the other hand, “are creative people who adore simplicity and elegance in their models”.
United States-born Anderson first came to the Southern Hemisphere on a three-month Richter Scholarship to study Crown-of-Thorns starfish, which were then decimating the Great Barrier Reef. She then embarked on a PhD at the University of Sydney, studying organism settlement and succession in tidal estuary oyster farms around New South Wales. (Now something of an oyster connoisseur, Anderson can distinguish Australian estuary-of-origin by taste alone.) She was fortunate to have as her supervisor an inspirational marine ecologist, Professor Tony Underwood, a thought leader in the emerging fields of experimental design and ecological statistics. After graduating with her PhD and picking up a further Masterate in mathematical statistics, Anderson took up a position as a lecturer at the University of Auckland and then, nine years later and having advanced to the rank of Associate Professor, moved to Massey. Here, at age 39, she became New Zealand’s youngest-ever full professor of statistics.
As a statistician, Anderson looks at ecology through the lens of sets of numbers and how they vary. “When you try to count numbers of anything, it’s going to vary day to day.
Some individuals die, others are born. Every single species is a variable – it has an average, a variance and a tendency to be highly aggregated, or not. Every species is different and it’s all happening at once.”
The ecological statistics package PERMANOVA+ (see sidebar), which Anderson helped to create, is now widely used around the globe.
How does Anderson view the prospects for the planet’s ecosystems? She is oddly optimistic. If we understand what is happening, there are choices to be made.
“People always think about environmental assessment as being anti-development, but there are ways that we, as humans, can enhance the environment by our activities.
“We are in a scary position of having a lot of power relative to other species to change our environment – and that can be productive or destructive.”
If we understand what is happening, there are
choices to be made.
| 20 | May 2012 | MASSEY
What they did last summer
While most of us were on holiday, a team of Massey University education researchers ran an ambitious project aimed at halting the ‘summer slide’ usually suffered by struggling readers. Promising early results suggest they’ve made an important breakthrough. Bevan Rapson writes.
| 20 | May 2012 | MASSEY FEATURE
You might think it’s obvious that kids don’t learn much during their summer holidays.
Sleeping late, watching daytime TV and generally goofing off aren’t activities designed to boost academic performance.
That’s all fine – everyone needs a chance to recharge their batteries for the year ahead – but for some children, their summer hiatus doesn’t just mean their learning is suspended: they actually go backwards.
Struggling young readers have been proven to lose the gains they have made so painstakingly during the year and therefore face a demoralising return to school when the holidays are over.
Aiming to counter this ‘summer slide’, Massey University literacy expert Professor Tom Nicholson and his fellow researchers ran a summer programme involving 600 Year 3 children from 10 Auckland primary schools.
Building on a trial at Flat Bush School the previous year, the $300,000 project, backed by a private donor, delivered 11,000 books to children’s homes during January. All the children were tested before and after the programme and, while it’s early days, Nicholson is delighted with the promising initial results. “We’ve struck gold in terms of intervention,” he says. “This is a new breakthrough.”
While reading programmes on which he has worked previously have had positive results, this was on a much greater scale. “We’re just reaching so many kids with this approach.” And importantly, it seems that low achievers have benefited most. Sheer practice in reading during the holidays seems to pay off “and it’s paying off for the ones who we wanted”.
The logistics were challenging, with work starting in October 2011 to prepare for the summer ahead.
“It’s like building a house,” says Nicholson. “There’s a lot goes into the foundation.” First, seven low- decile and three decile 10 schools were found to take part in the project. Each of the 600 children
“We’ve struck gold in terms of intervention,” he says. “This is a new breakthrough.”
Professor Tom Nicholson involved, except for a control group of children
who got math books instead, was given the chance to choose the 25 books they wanted. The big number of books for each child was possible because of a whopping discount from legendary New Zealand publisher, Wendy Pye, who supports the research. Then, during January, book-droppers organised by each of the schools visited hundreds of homes four times each to ensure the children had a new book to read every two days. Usually the visitor involved was a member of the school community; in one case, it was a principal who welcomed the chance to meet parents and see children in their home environments.
Books were dropped on the first three visits. On the last, feedback and reading logs were collected.
One group in the study was also given quizzes, with the aim of getting children to think about vocabulary. Generally, parents were positive about the programme, says Nicholson. “My feeling, just talking to the parents, is they were really keen to do it. They liked the idea of something they could do and help with.” That goodwill tended to be there, whatever the families’ economic circumstances.
“We’re dealing with the very tough end of the market here, in the poorest part of Auckland,” says Nicholson. “I got the impression that the parents who we saw anyway really wanted the best for [their children]. They just didn’t know what to do and this was giving them some specifics about how they could help.”
The children in worse-off areas also tend to have plenty of free time in the holidays, with little chance of trips away and other activities. Nicholson: “After a week of holidays I think most of these children are kind of bored. That’s what the teachers say. That they are just kind of sitting on the back step, not sure what to do.”
Although it seemed the programme asked a lot of the children, it had many positives attached. “They were books that they specially chose; somebody was