2024 Programme

This year’s Ōtautahi forum, themed “Sustainability in Urban Environments”, will take place at the University of Canterbury on July 12-13. Over two days, we’ll explore how we can create better cities that are friendlier to the environment. You’ll hear from leading speakers, participate in hands-on workshops, feed into government work through a climate cafe, and complete practical volunteer work in the Ōtautahi community. You’ll also meet other young people who share your enthusiasm for sustainability and protecting Te Taiao.


Simon Kingham

Simon Kingham is a Professor of Geography at the University of Canterbury where he teaches and researches on topics related to transport, cities and wellbeing. Until June this year, he was seconded to the Ministry of Transport as their Chief Science Advisor where his job was to provide science advice to help inform transport policy.
He travels by foot, bike, car, bus, train (where it exists) and plane (where necessary

Toby Chapman

Toby has been working in the arboricultural industry for over 15 years. Prior to joining the Christchurch City Council in 2019, he worked as a consultant and spent time travelling to different councils, providing advice on the management of trees.

Since joining CCC, he has overseen the development of the Council’s Tree Policy and Urban Forest Plan, along with a number of other projects.
He is passionate about trees, but more importantly, about how trees can be easily incorporated into our urban landscapes.

Stephanie Dijkstra

Stephanie is of Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Mamoe descent and is a mātauranga practitioner specialising in environmental outcomes and integration with western science. Her background in biochemistry and HSNO allows her to understand land and water contamination while being able to provide mātauranga-based solutions for stormwater and environmental management. Stephanie’s experience includes the development and implementation of mātauranga based environmental monitoring, cultural risk analysis for stormwater infrastructure, and bicultural design. She has a Bachelor of Science (Biochemistry) and a Masters of Science (Plant Biology). 

Tim Jones (MC)

Meet Tim, your ultimate B Corp guru! He simplifies and accelerates the B Corp Certification journey, unlocking profitability, competitive edge, and cost savings while championing people and the planet. Tim’s stellar record includes certifying a third of NZ’s B Corp community and global businesses. As NZ’s first certified B Corp Consultant, with a Duke University certificate in Impact Measurement and Management for the SDGs, he’s a true change-maker. Featured in top media like Stuff, Idealog, and the NZ Herald, Tim empowers businesses to thrive in a purpose-driven economy. Get ready to be inspired as he leads the charge towards a sustainable, impactful future!

PANEL SESSION: Environmental Pathways

Have you wondered how you can incorporate your passion for the planet into your adult life or career? In this panel, you’ll hear from individuals who have found unique and interesting ways to encorporate their environmental passions into their adult lives and work. Whether this be through an environment-centric career, or by volunteering outside of work, you’ll be shown a range of ways to keep your passion alive.


Sophia is the Environmental Manager at Antarctica New Zealand and leads the Environmental Team responsible for ensuring Scott Base and science activities in Antarctica are conducted with minimal environmental impact. 

She has a Masters in Geoscience and her undergrad was in Geology. Before working at Antarctica New Zealand, she worked as an environmental consultant in the built environment, providing advice in large construction and city design projects in London. She was also a carbon and sustainability consultant, supporting businesses to measure their carbon footprint and develop sustainability strategies. 

Roisin Blundell-Dorey

Roisin studied Natural Resources Engineering at the University of Canterbury and now works as an Environmental Engineer at Beca in Ōtautahi. Being able to center her work around sustainability and climate resilience has always been an aspiration. Helping with the design of urban environments in Aotearoa and the Pacific Islands through flood modelling and mitigation strategies have become early career highlights. Contributing to opportunities in the volunteering (SVA plug!) and environmental space throughout university has shaped Roisin’s early career. 

M Grace-Stent

M Grace-Stent (they/them) has lived in Ōtautahi for most of their life, having been born in the South East of England and growing up in Cymru / Wales. They have a Masters of Arts in Geography from Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha University of Canterbury – focusing on creating accessible, welcoming, and sustainable cities. They currently work with Te Pūtahi Centre for City Making and Architecture to advocate for designing cities that are accessible and inclusive, working off the philosophy that everyone should be able to connect with the art and architecture of Ōtautahi.

Piper Pengelly

Piper is a 21-year-old Cantabrian passionate about involving young people in environmental decision-making. As a trustee of the Styx Living Laboratory Trustee and a BLAKE Takahē Ambassador, Piper is dedicated to conservation and youth advocacy.

Currently pursuing an LLB(Hons) and Economics degree at the University of Canterbury, Piper has a keen interest in the Emissions Trading Scheme and Aotearoa’s climate action. She has played a pivotal role in the Government’s Youth Plan: Voice, Leadership, Action, and has extensive experience educating decision-makers on effective youth engagement.

Piper intends to work in the environmental sector post-graduation and has already gained valuable experience through internships at the Ministry for the Environment, Wynn Williams, and the Christchurch City Council. An avid tramper, trail runner, and green thumb, Piper loves spending time in te taiao and hopes to inspire others to take action for the environment, bringing young people along for the ride.


Bead and Proceed with Bridget Williams

Get excited to learn all about the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and connect with them personally! Bridget will unpack the SDGs, outline their history, why they are important and how we’re tracking as a nation. Following this, you’ll each make and paint your very own SDG beaded necklace or keyring, selecting the top 5 SDGs you want to commit to personally. While creating, you’ll discuss in your groups how you’ll action your chosen goals and inspire others to BEAD the change they want to see in the world. To learn more about what you’re in for check out: www.beadandproceed.com and follow Bead & Proceed on Instagram @beadandproceed!

In 2019, Bridget hung up her High Court gown and put on a necklace thus Bead & Proceed was born. Bead & Proceed is a social enterprise that exists to educate people about the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and inspire action towards them through creativity. Her passion for sustainability and using creativity as a tool for innovation has made her a recognised SDGs expert. Her efforts have been recognised and endorsed by the Rt. Hon. Helen Clark and the JCI Osaka Outstanding Young Person’s Programme and she was a finalist for both the Impact Awards and Sustainable Business Awards 2020. Bridget is one of the youngest chairs in local government, a member of the Asia New Zealand Foundation Leadership Network and Curator of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Christchurch Hub, which has led her to become a creditable global change maker.

Where do the children play? with Christchurch City Council’s Lou Van Tongeren

Play just happens – right? Our Tamariki are growing up in neighbourhoods where play is getting harder and harder to get out and enjoy. Evidence is telling us that right across Aotearoa, Tamariki are playing less and less and the reasons for this aren’t as simple as you might assume. The link between this decline in play and how that fits into sustainability is fascinating and will be shared in this workshop.

What we know is this: play is essential to growing up and one of the most significant building blocks that there is for robust mental and physical health; resilience; creativity and social skills. We know that our neighbourhoods and communities are not set up well for play, and this is having a major effect. We know that there is a significant link between playing in nature as a child and being a teen or adult with environmental responsibility.

We will look at the link between play and sustainability and work together to map out some ideas and collect youth knowledge about what makes neighbourhoods more inviting, how we can help families access nature and what the barriers are to playing in natural environments. Collecting opinions and ideas from youth is hugely useful for continuing to advocate for play.

Lou Van Tongeren is the Play Advocate at Christchurch City Council. She has worked in various aspects of play for 20 years and credits her three young sons with teaching her the most. Lou works across council units to support their understanding and support of play for Christchurch tamariki, and is involved in projects that reprioritise play as a necessary outcome for our communities. She is on the board of Play Aotearoa to support a Child’s Right to Play; loves being outdoors and going on adventures with her family and is a passionate advocate for including child and youth voice in decision making.

Climate Activism with UC’s Climate Action Club

We won’t solve the climate crisis without climate action, and it begins with you! Join us in this interactive workshop where you will learn how to organise and take meaningful protest action while practicing non-violence and understanding your own limits. 

Our workshop will be led by Jonty and Aurora, two of the leading youth activists in Ōtautahi with experience spanning both School Strike for Climate and Climate Liberation Aotearoa.

Students and university campuses have historically been the starting points for many social movements. UC Climate Action Club aims to honour and grow that legacy by providing spaces for students to not only voice their concerns about the climate but also actually do something about it by taking their first steps into activism.

In the past, our monthly Wheely Big Bike Strikes brought attention to and fought for a bigger focus on bikes in Ōtautahi. Most recently, we prepared to challenge the Fast Track Bill and the MPs behind it.

Composting & Working Bee with Jam from UC Sustainability

We’re offering two exciting workshops at the UC Community Garden this year as the forum’s practical action!
In the morning, join us in Te Ngaki o Waiutuutu (UC Community Garden) where Jam will teach you about all things composting. This is a hands-on workshop where we will build a compost. 
In the afternoon, join in on our weekly working bee at Te Ngaki o Waiutuutu. We’ll be doing gardening tasks which may involve weeding, composting, feeding the worm farms. 
Te Ngaki o Waiutuutu | Waiutuutu Community Garden was established in 2002 as an informal recreation and learning space for students, staff, and anyone else associated with the university. All interested people can come along and help out in the garden at our weekly working bee, learn new skills, and meet new people. We run events and workshops throughout the year.

Bio Blitz with UC Science

During this workshop, expert university staff will deliver an introduction to the iNaturalist application and the iNaturalist New Zealand database and system. This is a great tool for science and research, but mostly, it’s an excellent citizen science tool that’s easy to use and gives you the opportunity to contribute directly to natural world science and interact with science experts. 

Then we will guide you on a bio blitz ramble across the university campus grounds to hunt out all things living. Exploring some of the scenic parts of our grounds and waterways, you will be helping capture a snapshot of our campus’s biota and contribute to the university’s research. You will most likely learn something interesting about the natural world as we ramble and discuss various things along the way.

Climate Cafe

So much of the time, it can feel as though we are having the same conversations about public transport. Often, those conversations are driven by daily frustrations and a desire for better options. We know the importance of public transport in reducing emissions but feel stuck with limited choices.

In this Climate Café, we will explore how we can enhance our public transport system. You’ll share your experiences and discuss solutions with other young people. Environment Canterbury’s Youth Rōpū will then take your ideas back to the regional council, who manage our public transport network.

Practical Action

Waiutuutu Community Garden
with UC Sustainability

Aside from providing learning opportunities, every EnviroPAST forum includes practical action in the community. You’ll leave having helped with real change, which is always a highlight for attendees.

Te Ngaki o Waiutuutu | Waiutuutu Community Garden was established in 2002 as an informal recreation and learning space for students, staff, and anyone else associated with the university. All interested people can come along and help out in the garden at our weekly working bee, learn new skills, and meet new people. We run events and workshops throughout the year.

We’re offering two workshops that will enable you to get stuck in at Waiutuutu! You’ll have the chance to learn about composting and to help out with a working bee at the garden!


DAY 1   DAY 2  
9:00am Sign-ins open! 9:00am Sign-ins open!
9:20am Forum kick-off 9:30am Day 2 kick-off
9:30am Speaker Session 1: Simon Kingham 9:45am Speaker Session 2: Stephanie Dijkstra
10:15am Morning tea 10:30am Morning tea
10:30am Workshop Session 1 11:00am Bead & Proceed
12:00pm Panel Session: Environmental Pathways 1:00pm Lunch
1:00pm Lunch 1:30pm Climate Cafe with ECan’s Youth Ropū
1:30pm Workshop Session 2 3:30pm End of forum
3:00pm Break

3:15pm Speaker Session 2: Toby Chapman
4:00pm End of day