Running on empty

Source: Auckland University of Technology (AUT)

14 Feb, 2019

Dangerous practices in the New Zealand trucking industry are symptoms of much deeper issues, says new research from the Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Research at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) Business School.

Fatigue, speeding, infringements, and driver error are serious issues of concern but unless a more holistic approach to solving these problems is taken then it is unlikely changes will be seen, says Dr Clare Tedestedt George.

“This is not an individual workers problem, it’s not a migrant problem, it’s a labour standards problem. Targeting efforts at the individual will inevitably deplete resources with seemingly little payback. We need to ask why are they so fatigued, why are they speeding in the first place?”

Issues such as the competitive nature of the industry, the normalisation of dangerous practices, pay rates and pay structures, as well as the use of [dependent] contractors are all factors necessary to consider when addressing these symptoms.

Drivers, who are owner-operators, take on not only the financial risk but also the responsibility for ensuring healthy and safe work practices.

“In many cases they can’t afford to operate safely if it means reduced income. Short term goals about financially keeping their head above water have to come before longer-term health goals,” Tedestedt George says.

Employed drivers described a more positive experience compared to owner-operators, but across the industry below-par conditions are tolerated and written off as normal, creating barriers to change.

“Those that cannot handle it leave, and those that can, survive. It’s a survivor population but one that eventually dies young,” she says.

Ensuring drivers are safe and healthy is a responsibility shared among a number of different agencies, but efforts are not keeping drivers free from harm.

“A failure in systems thinking has meant that efforts are fragmented and ineffective, therefore not easily translated into working environments.”

Read more about Dr Tedestedt George’s research on The Spinoff.


Knighthoods around the board table

Source: Auckland University of Technology (AUT)

05 Feb, 2019

A sizeable number of New Zealand’s listed companies feature dames and knights around the board table, but it’s an honour bestowed on a carefully chosen few.

According to a study by AUT Business School accounting academic, Associate Professor Tom Scott, and fellow researchers Diandian Ma and Michelle Li, just over 17% of NZX-listed companies feature a sir or dame on the board.

But they were more likely to be found on large, cash-positive, high dividend-paying companies, a move potentially aimed at reducing the chance of their reputation being caught up in corporate failure.

“We show that directors with greater and easily visible reputational capital are more likely to supply their services to companies that mitigate risks to their reputation and protect minority shareholder interests,” Scott said.

“The threat to knighthoods or damehoods during a corporate scandal is real, as after the collapse of Lombard Finance there was a media outcry to strip the chairman of the board, Sir Douglas Graham of his knighthood,” Scott found.

Read more about his research in an interview with


AUT designers make international finals

Source: Auckland University of Technology (AUT)

31 Jan, 2019

Graduate Lavinia Ilolahia’s Rookie collection

Three AUT fashion design graduates have been announced as finalists for the iD International Emerging Designer Awards.

Sean Kettle, Eddy Richards and Lavinia Ilolahia are among the 37 designers shortlisted from 16 different countries in the world. All three designers also showcased their collections at last year’s graduate fashion show ROOKIE 2018.

The finalists will travel to Dunedin for iD Dunedin Fashion Week. Over the week they will attend fashion lectures and events, have their garments photographed at Larnach Castle and around Dunedin, as well as meet the other young designers from around the world.  As part of the competition, each designer will present a collection of 5 garments which will be assessed by a panel of fashion industry veterans.

The winner will be announced at this year’s 20th Anniversary iD Dunedin Fashion Show on Friday, 15 March 2019.


MIL-OSI New Zealand: Celebrating AUT through the years

Source: Auckland University of Technology (AUT)

21 Jan, 2019

The 2018 Seddon Memorial Technical College reunion held at the end of 2018 brought together over 50 of AUT’s longest-standing alumni to celebrate their connection to AUT’s early DNA.

After being established as Auckland Technical School in 1895, AUT was re-named Seddon Memorial Technical College in 1913 (which lasted until 1963 when it became Auckland Technical Institute (ATI)).

Many of the attendees were in their mid-teens when they started at Seddon, which was renowned for its practical, hands-on learning environment. Bruce McLaren, renowned Formula One driver and founder of the McLaren team is one of the most well-known graduates of this era.

Alumni who attended said they always look forward to coming to the reunion as they enjoy looking back at their time at Seddon and seeing how far the University has come today as they “take a stroll through the grounds”.

This year, guests heard from recent AUT graduate Craig Fernandes,  an engineer at New Zealand- founded space company Rocket Lab. Craig shared about his role in helping launch rockets to space to ‘improve life on Earth’ by increasing the amount of satellite technology in space.

The event also offered AUT an opportunity to thank the Seddon alumni who generously contribute to the Seddon Memorial Fund.

Seddon alumni fund a biannual scholarship, which provides a one-year scholarship to a first-in-family student to attend AUT.

Director of Alumni Relations, Sam Mickell, who welcomed the audience commented that “Seddon is an important part of AUT’s DNA which has carried through to today” and acknowledged the importance of the institution in AUT’s legacy.

By acknowledging and celebrating AUT’s past and present, we pave the way for its future. AUT values its alumni network and is working to engage its 100,000 graduates worldwide from all walks of life.

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MIL-OSI New Zealand: AUT strengthens ties with Chinese alumni

Source: Auckland University of Technology (AUT)

21 Jan, 2019

Members of AUT’s influential Chinese alumni community in Auckland joined the alumni team and key staff from the Faculty of Business, Economics and Law (BEL) for an end-of-year lunch at Four Seasons in late November 2018.

The purpose of the event was to start building relationships with key Chinese alumni based in Auckland and connect them into meaningful ways of giving back through internships and closer industry engagement.

This complements AUT’s efforts to keep its sizeable China-based alumni community, who are among the University’s most loyal and passionate advocates, connected to AUT’s reputation and recruitment efforts.

Attendees included Ray Li, Head of International Banking at ASB Bank, Wayne Zeng, an MBA graduate and founder of Chancellor Construction, a five-year-old company with an annual turnover of over $20 million, and Shirley Chin, ex-principal at Jasmax, an award-winning architecture firm which designed several AUT buildings including the WZ building.

Many who attended the lunch are already giving back and inspired others to do the same.

Wayne Zeng has employed graduates from the BEL faculty and been a participant in the Shadow a Leader programme for many years. The programme gives Auckland secondary school students and BEL students the opportunity to follow a business leader for a day and understand what it takes to succeed in their field. Wayne loves inspiring the next generation.

“It’s great to see how young people think and look at things with a fresh pair of eyes,” he says.

Shirley Chin now participates annually in the end-of-the-year student critique which provides feedback on spatial design students’ projects. She is passionate about design and is always keen to contribute her views and in return be inspired by the students.

“Jasmax has been taking interns from AUT for many years, and it has been extremely rewarding to be part of the students’ educational journey. We will continue to provide the students with a great internship experience.”

She says a number of AUT graduates are now employed by Jasmax, and there is an immense desire to give back to the University.

Other attendees signed up to guest lecture, and to provide the China Construction Bank offices as a free venue for the next occasion.

MIL OSI New Zealand