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Welcome to the 2019 New Zealand Political Studies Association Annual Conference

"Security, Community, Humanity"

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Friday, November 29 • 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Youth Mobilisation (NZPSA Civics and Citizenship Working Group)

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Laura Anderson, Will Dreyer, Sinead Gill, Matthew Schep
Generation Vote: a Dunedin Case study of Youth Citizen Engagement

Generation Vote is a non-profit organisation that delivers interactive and informative civic education programmes to high schools and soon, community groups. We are a group of students from the University of Otago - mainly within the Master of Politics programme. As Politics students, we have learnt to understand Aotearoa’s democratic system and developed the tools to become active citizens in ways that were not available to us in high school. There is a gap in the knowledge that students leave high school with and how they are expected to engage as adults. We aim to fill this gap and pass our knowledge on to the next generations. The core of our programme is a series of workshops that explore Aotearoa’s political environment. These workshops focus on the impact of civics on students’ lives, and how they can meaningfully interact with processes as active citizens in our democracy. Our workshops cover ideology, public policy, Te Tiriti/the Treaty of Waitangi, local government, and MMP/government formation. Throughout the workshops, we run an election simulation which enables participants to develop their own political party and policies, and culminates in both an election and coalition formation. This form of active learning increases students’ engagement with the content, and allows for practical application of their new skills. We have multiple versions of the programme which each align with specific units within schools. Over the past few months we have taught at Otago Girls’ High School in Dunedin and Tokomairiro High School in Milton. In late August, we will begin teaching at Columba College in Dunedin. Whilst we have experienced some challenges, namely in reaching our target demographic of Year 13s, the programme so far has been a success, both in students’ engagement with their content and in their enjoyment of the programme.

Sylvia Nissen
Legacies of a student mobilisation: Insights from archival sources

The spontaneous student mobilisation that took place in Christchurch after the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 remains one of the largest youth-led movements in New Zealand in recent years. Nearly ten years on, the case of the student volunteering offers a unique opportunity to consider the civic legacies of this student collective action. This paper presents preliminary analysis from the first stage of this three-year research project, which has involved an examination of historical material and news media relating to the mobilisation. This initial analysis offers insights into the process, sequence and timing of the mobilisation, as well as the possible longitudinal effects of significant moments of youthful agency.

Miriam Gibson 
Introducing the School Leavers Toolkit - Civic and Citizenship Education in NZ
The School Leavers' Toolkit is a Government manifesto commitment to ensuring all young people have access to resources relating to key workplace competencies, financial literacy, civics, and personal wellbeing, before they leave school. As part of the School Leavers' Toolkit, the Ministry of Education has developed a range of civics education resources to help students develop knowledge and understanding of civic processes and their rights and duties as citizens of Aotearoa New Zealand. This session will introduce the civics resources that have been developed so far and outline our plans for evolving the Toolkit over the next six months.

Amelia Woods     
Youth particpation in the school strikes-citizens' emerging theories of justice 
On Friday 15 March 2019, over 1.5 million children and young people from over 125 countries went on strike in protest over inaction of governments in addressing climate change. Many protestors expressed anger and frustration over being excluded from discussions about climate change, a problem that they did not cause, but one that will have a significant impact on their lives in the future. The protest action taken by youth worldwide has also re-focused attention on the intragenerational justice dimension of climate change. Issues of justice are inherent in many environmental problems, and one of the aims of this research is to examine how concepts of environmental justice, ecological justice and social justice are understood by children and teens in New Zealand. This paper presents the results of a literature review that forms part of my PhD research that aims to understand how children and teens understand injustice, agency and identity. Subsequent research will draw on focus group and semi structured interviews of children to examine the processes of mobilisation, collective action framing, and the development of political consciousness and identity that informs current debates and understandings of youth citizenship, political socialisation and social movement theories.


Patrick Barrett

University of Waikato


Laura Anderson

University of Otago

Sylvia Nissen

Lincoln University
avatar for Will Dreyer

Will Dreyer

Master of Politics Student, University of Otago

Matthew Schep

Masters graduate, University of Otago

Miriam Gibson

Ministry of Education

Amelia Woods

I am a first year PhD student at the University of Canterbury. My research aims to understand how children who participate in the ‘School Strikes 4 Climate’ understand concepts of climate justice, and how these are shaped through social movement participation.

Friday November 29, 2019 3:30pm - 5:00pm NZDT
E5 Engineering Core

Attendees (8)