Panel Discussion

The 1985 bombing of the Greenpeace ship the Rainbow Warrior by the French intelligence service (DGSE), while docked in Auckland en route to protest the bombing of Mururoa Atoll, pitched New Zealanders into the global future surrounding the violent nuclear-era geopolitics of our waters. For ocean engineer and artist Jane Chang Mi, the Rainbow Warrior protest flotilla, and the Greenpeace evacuation of 300 Marshallese from Rongelap that same year mark a pivotal point in the international resistance to nuclear testing and the exploitation of the Pacific. Despite the Treaty of Rarotonga established the same year in 1985 and the establishment of a South Pacific Nuclear-Free Zone (SPNFZ), the French continued testing in Mururoa and Fangataufa sites until 1996. The nuclear detonations are just one period in a long history of colonial and multi-national exploitation and occupation of our oceans; we now face eco-political threats of pollution, warming waters, and the undermining of the mauri of Moana ecologies. Jane will be joined by Billie Lythberg and Daniel Hikuroa in a transdisciplinary panel to discuss a sustained ethic of care for our oceans through humanities, science, artistic and activist approaches.

The panellists: Each guest will speak about an individual aspect of their research followed by a 40 minute panel discussion together.

Jane Chang Mi is an ocean engineer, a scientific diver, an interdiscplinary artist and a new mother, who assesses the post-colonial ocean environment through a research-based lens. She examines the narratives associated with the underwater and coastal landscape considering the past, present, and future. Mi most often focuses on the occupation and militarization of the Pacific Ocean by the United States. Jane is in Aotearoa as a guest of Te Uru Waitākere Contemporary Gallery to work on a project The Future of Our Kids for an exhibition opening in December 2019 that aims to honour the work of women past by actively caring for our oceans for future generations

Dr Daniel (Dan) Hikuroa, Senior Lecturer in Te Wānanga o Waipapa, at the University of Auckland is an Earth Systems scientist who weaves mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge and values) and science in ocean-related projects ranging from the colonisation of oceans, understanding how the world’s oceans and biota respond to naturally driven climate change to the holistic (environmental, social, cultural) impacts of events such as the Rena oil spill. He also is the Co-Deputy Director Public Engagement, Te Pūnaha Matatini; a Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga and Te Pūnaha Matatini Principal Investigator and Sustainable Seas key researcher.

Senior research fellow Dr Billie Lythberg at the University of Auckland studies the histories and future sustainability of interactions in the Moana regions, with a particular focus on object-centric research. How do artworks and artefacts materialise knowledge systems and inform our attitudes to the Pacific? Billie is a Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge researcher, and an Investigator on the UoA Royal Society of NZ Marsden Projects Te Ao Hou: transforming worlds in New Zealand 1900-1950; Ancient Futures: late 18th and early 19th century Tongan arts and their legacies; Tāngata Tiriti: learning the trick of standing upright here; and at AUT, Vā Moana: space and relationality in Pacific thought and identity.

This evening is co-hosted by St Paul St Gallery Director Charlotte Huddleston and Associate Professor Janine Randerson as part of the Leonardo Art-Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER) series. This will be the second LASER talk hosted by AUT.

Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa: Our ocean still in need of warriors will be live streamed, check the ST PAUL St Facebook event page for details.


  • Free


  • Fri 05 Jul


  • 6:00 pm — 7:30 pm


  • Sir Paul Reeves Building
  • WG404, AUT City Campus