The Little Guy’s Guide to Making a Difference: Lessons in Politics from the Christchurch Earthquakes

25 May 2018

In this free public UC Connect lecture, Dr Ann Brower, a senior lecturer in Geography at the University of Canterbury, will share her personal journey – from the earthquake, to the Bright Light, to the Dark Place, to the hospital, to the Dalai Lama, to the halls of Parliament.

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    Dr Ann Brower will share the lessons she’s learned about how “we Little Guys can make a difference”: “The lessons come from my training in political and economic geography, from my research in high country land reform, and from my earthquake experience.”

At 12.51pm on 22 February 2011, 12 people died beside Ann Brower. The Christchurch city bus she was riding was crushed by the parapet and facade of an unreinforced masonry building on Colombo St during the 2011 Christchurch earthquake. The earthquake caused widespread damage across Christchurch, killing 185 people in New Zealand’s fifth deadliest disaster.

“I'm the only one left, the lucky 13th. My leg, my hand, and my soul will never be the same. I broke more bones than the surgeons were willing to count, spent two months in hospital, and most of a year off work. I walked, slept, and dreamed in a fog for four years. It cost half a million dollars to save my left leg. I treasure that leg, scars and all, but still feel the earthquake in every step,” Dr Brower says.

“On 8 May 2016, Parliament passed a new Building Act, complete with a ministerially titled ‘Brower Amendment’ that halved the remediation time for unreinforced masonry parapets and other falling hazards.”

In this free public UC Connect lecture, Dr Brower, a senior lecturer in Geography at the University of Canterbury, will share her personal journey – from the earthquake, to the Bright Light, to the Dark Place, to the hospital, to the Dalai Lama, to the halls of Parliament.

She will also share the lessons she’s learned about how “we Little Guys can make a difference”. 

“The lessons come from my training in political and economic geography, from my research in high country land reform, and from my earthquake experience.”

Dr Brower was this month awarded the 2017 Critic & Conscience of Society Award for her work.

Dr Ann Brower holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Pomona College, California, a Master’s degree in Forest Science from Yale University, a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from the University of California, Berkeley. Her specialist area is resource management and environmental decisions, particularly in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. 

UC Connect public lecture - The Little Guy’s Guide to Making a Difference: Lessons in Politics from the Christchurch Earthquakes, Dr Ann Brower, Senior Lecturer in Geography, UC Science, 7pm on Thursday 31 May at the C Block lecture theatre, Ilam campus, University of Canterbury.

Register to attend free at: www.canterbury.ac.nz/ucconnect

For further information please contact:

Margaret Agnew, Senior External Relations Advisor, University of Canterbury
Phone: +64 3 369 3631 | Mobile: +64 275 030 168margaret.agnew@canterbury.ac.nz
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