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Time for New Zealand to act like a Pacific nation

New Zealand needs to adapt to a Pacific future that is already here. That is the message from University of Auckland Pro Vice-Chancellor Pacific, Damon Salesa, who is one of 20 academics taking part in Raising the Bar 2019.

On Tuesday 27 August, emerging and established academics will disperse across ten Auckland bars to share their wisdom in a series of thought-provoking talks.

Associate Professor Salesa will discuss what it would it mean for New Zealand to finally recognise and embrace its Pacific talent.

“Pacific people and communities have become an outstanding source of innovation and leadership in New Zealand. They have charted a new future for our country in ways most New Zealanders have yet to appreciate,” he says.

By 2026 it is projected that Pacific people will make up 10 percent of the population, compared to 7.4 percent in the 2013 census.

“As New Zealand rapidly becomes more Pacific, these changes have begun to shift from the edges of New Zealand to its centres.”

His talk, titled ‘Becoming more Pacific by the Hour’ will take place from 8pm at La Zeppa Kitchen and Bar. The event is free, but registrations are essential beforehand.

Samoan-born and raised in Glen Innes, Dr Salesa will illustrate how New Zealand’s Pacific future will cross economic, social, political, cultural and creative dimensions.

About Associate Professor Damon Salesa
Dr Salesa is a scholar of Pacific politics, history, technology, culture and society, and a prizewinning author of several works including Island Time: New Zealand’s Pacific Futures (2017). His book Racial Crossings (2012) won the Ernest Scott Prize. Dr Salesa is a graduate of the University of Auckland and Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

About Raising the Bar
The University of Auckland is proud to once again host the annual Raising the Bar event, a concept started in New York by a group of students who wanted to bring the city’s brightest minds out of lecture halls and into neighbourhood bars.
Raising the Bar was introduced to Auckland three years ago. The format remains the same - 20 academics, 10 bars, one night. It continues to attract fascinating speakers and capacity audiences - last year’s event was a sell-out with more than 1500 spaces quickly snapped up.

Among this year's topics are: the pleasure and pain of workplace humour; gut bugs gone bad; how mindfulness can help in the bedroom and beyond; and many more.
Visit to view the full line-up of speakers and to register.

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