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Week 2: Thoughts from our Mannkal student intern

Definitely should have brought my wellies to Wellington

If I were to ascribe a catch cry to over the past week, it would be “So you’re telling me this is summer?”. With winds getting up to 160km/hr last Wednesday and intermittent showers all week, I found myself flying down footpaths during the walk home from work. I’m remedying the wild weather with generous helpings of tea, soup and good books.

However, I wouldn’t let the weather dampen my pursuit of tourist attractions. I visited the Te Papa Museum and the City Gallery over the weekend, both of which are incredible buildings. The architecture in Wellington is fascinating, a brilliant pastiche of modern skyscrapers, Victorian inspired buildings and weatherboard housing.

Te Papa gave me an insight into the history of New Zealand, particularly Pacific Islander and European settlement, which was dealt with very differently to British settlement in Australia. The Treaty of Waitangi between the Crown and Maori chiefs was signed in 1840, and has been updated periodically since. This is in stark contrast to the relationship between British settlers and the Indigenous population in Australia, and I can’t help thinking that NZ did things the right way.

Things are heating up in politics, with the new Prime Minister Bill English venturing overseas for the first time since succeeding John Key in December. He seems to be holding his own pretty well, although some have commented that he appears to be mimicking some of Key’s personality traits to win favours in Europe. It will be interesting to see if and when he makes his own mark, and indeed what form that mark will take.

Things at the Initiative are similarly heating up, with the launch of the immigration report fast approaching (Monday 30 January). I’ve been helping out with the administration side of things in preparation for the launch, as well as contributing to the social media plan ahead of the release. NZ Comedian Guy Williams came to help us out with some promotional videos on Friday – it was a very hard day at the office. The report will be released on the 30th January and will be available free on the Initiative’s website.

In the coming weeks, I’ll be getting stuck into some of the research the Initiative is doing into digital regulations in New Zealand. The introduction of the Harmful Digital Communications Act in 2015 made the restrictions on digital communication particularly prohibitive, even more so than the US’s controversial DMCA reforms. This is an area I write about frequently at home, and while Australia’s copyright and digital communication provisions are far from perfect, NZ appears to have gone even further astray.

I look forward to updating you next week!

Amy

 

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