Domestic events

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UC Alumni Function - Nelson

Catch up with fellow alumni at our Nelson event on Wednesday 19 May 2021. UC alumnus Craig Potton will give an illustrated talk entitled 'Finding the Wild', that will explore the ties between his photography, conservation work, political activism and interest in eastern philosophies of nature…a wide ranging subject that dominated his studies at the University of Canterbury. 

Date: Wednesday 19 May 2021
Time: 5:30pm to 7:30pm
Location: Craig Potton Gallery, 255 Hardy Street, Nelson

RSVP online here by Wednesday 12 May 2021.

Speaker Bio - Craig Potton

Craig Potton is New Zealand's best-known landscape photographer and an ardent conservationist. In 2013, he received the Insignia of a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to photography and conservation over the past 35 years.

In pursuit of his photography he has tramped and climbed extensively in New Zealand, its sub-Antarctic Islands, the Dry Valleys of Antarctica, the Nepal Himalaya, and more recently Poland, India and Iceland. For more than three decades he has documented the New Zealand wilderness, exploring relationships between the concept of artistic beauty and wilderness in the natural world.

Born in Nelson, New Zealand, Craig gained degrees in Eastern Religion and English, and then after a brief teaching career began working full-time for the conservation movement. He remains actively involved in conservation work more than forty years later.

UC Alumni Weekend with the Stars - May 2021 - SOLD OUT

As part of this event, UC alumni, and their guests, have an opportunity to look into one of the University's most significant field stations, the UC Mt John Observatory at Lake Tekapo (Takapō).


The afternoon starts at 1pm Saturday 15 May, with a daytime tour of the UC Mt John facilities.

The group then heads down the mountain to Dark Sky Project in Lake Tekapo for a presentation on Astronomy from UC staff and researchers, and a 3-course dinner (included in ticket price). 

Following the dinner, the group returns to the UC Mt John Observatory in the evening where they will be given the opportunity to view the night sky through one of the telescopes*.

*Please note that star viewings are weather dependent and if we are unable to star gaze then there will be an alternative indoor activity at Dark Sky Project planned in its place.

On the morning of Sunday 16 May, the group will embark on a guided geography/nature walk around the UC Mt John Summit Track. This is a great way to learn the history of the area and to enjoy some stunning views. The event concludes by 12pm Sunday.

More detailed information will be sent to registered guests closer to the event.


UC Alumni Weekend with the Stars
Date: Saturday 15 May and Sunday 16 May
Time: 1:00pm Saturday to 12:00pm Sunday
Location: University of Canterbury Mt John Observatory and Dark Sky Project, Tekapo
Cost: $115 per guest

Register here via eventbrite

Please note:

1. Travel: You will need to organise your own travel to and from Tekapo. Travel/transportation is NOT included in the price of this tour.

2. Accommodation: Accommodation is NOT included in the price of this tour. Check out the accommodation providers on the Tekapo Tourism site. You may also like to search for accommodation options available on Airbnb. 

3. Weather conditions: While this is the optimum time of year to visit, the visibility of the stars is still dependent on weather. In the event of cloudy weather, we have an alternative indoor activity instead, such as an additional Astronomy lecture by a UC astronomer, and a walkthrough of Dark Sky Project. Weather conditions are unsuitable for stargazing around once in every four trips, and we cannot refund event payments as it goes towards dinner, event costs, and the upkeep of UC Mt John.

4. Group numbers: Please note that places are limited, and tickets tend to sell out quickly. Due to space constraints of the telescopes and the observatory facilities, and to ensure everyone enjoys a quality experience, the maximum number for this event is 40 guests. Registration will close when we reach the allotted number. We generally allow for you to register for yourself and up to three guests. If you wish to register for more than this, we ask that you email us to discuss this. 

5. Age of attendees: The recommended minimum age for attendees is 16 years. 

Any questions, please email

If you cannot make it on this trip but would like to receive the invitation first for the next visit, please email with your details.