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SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities

14 November 2023

Learn how UC is committed to contributing to SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities, to reduce inequality within and among countries.


Stay with dignity

People affected by climate change in regions such as the Pacific are often portrayed as victims and their history of resilience to environmental challenges is too often overlooked in policy and research.  While it’s true that some people are choosing to, or are forced, to leave their homes and land because of climate change, others are staying, says Dr Dalila Gharbaoui, UC Climate Crisis research fellow. Dr Gharbaoui believes there’s a huge knowledge gap about those most vulnerable groups who are either forced to stay or want to stay despite the challenges of climate change. “Pacific people are not ‘victims’ and they are proudly dealing with the issue today. We need to listen to what the communities need, respecting and reflecting on their values and perspectives with the aim to have that knowledge going back to support and serve communities that are the most affected,” says Dr Gharbaoui.

Geospatial tool for Māori-led planning

Geospatial Research Institute and UC researchers presented a seminar on their work alongside community members of Te Manatōpu Hau Kainga o Ōhinemutu on a Māori map-based tool to help the people of Ōhinemutu inform and be informed about important initiatives in their community. Ōhinemutu is a village built on the shores of Lake Rotorua, famed for its geothermal features. Current and potential uses of the tool include community planning, environmental management and the general sharing of narratives of Ōhinemutu whilst at the same time holding and protecting mātauranga (Māori knowledge) through protected levels of access.

Support for students from refugee backgrounds

Aotearoa New Zealand becomes a new home for more than 1000 refugees every year. UC is committed to ensuring students from refugee backgrounds are provided with a raft of support services. Our Academic Skills Centre offer a wide range of English language support programmes and workshops, such as reading, writing, speaking, listening, and giving an oral presentation for English language learners, as well as additional academic skills development opportunities on how to succeed academically.

Scholarship prepares Māori and Pacific students for life at UC

Almost 50 Māori and Pacific students are taking part in Takere, a scholarship programme they say builds friendships, allows them to embrace and express their cultures, and gives them a solid grounding in university life. The five-week programme includes workshops, field trips, and a 15-point 100-level UC course, building meaningful connections and providing academic and wrap-around support to ensure success in tertiary studies. Takere continues to make a positive impact by offering ongoing support, mentoring, and workshops throughout the academic year and culminating in a celebration ceremony and hākari (feast) that the students’ whānau and caregivers can attend.

Fairer, more caring economies

UC Science Researcher Associate Professor Kelly Dombroksi is exploring how community investment can lead towards a more caring, holistic economy. Associate Professor Dombroski says traditional economic models are driven by Western ideas of competition, profit and individualism but communities and governments are beginning to transition to more ‘holistic’ economies that prioritise wellbeing over economic growth. Associate Professor Dombroski is investigating community organisations that are already on the ground and engaged in the types of economies that care about social change, with case studies in urban areas, farming, composting, and cohousing. Further investigations will be studies with diverse communities that include Māori and Asia-Pacific-based community organisations. “I hope to support a number of Māori and Asia-Pacific postgraduate students into these and other important Māori-led partner projects as well,” she says.

UC boosts scholarships for Māori and Pacific students

Takere, a pilot programme launched in January 2021 with 37 participants, was extended to mid-August 2021 to accept more Māori and Pacific applicants after gaining positive feedback. For 2022, Takere will, for the first time, provide needs-based subsidised accommodation at Tupuānuku, UC’s newly opened hall of residence, throughout the students’ first year. The Takere scholarship and transition academic programme includes a six-week academic and cultural live-in programme, and it also provides tailored academic support and mentoring from Māori and Pacific student advisors throughout the year, a fees-free course, opportunities for strengthening leadership skills, and accommodation for the year at Tupuānuku (subject to a financial needs assessment). Andrew is part of the 2021 Takere programme, and says it completely transformed his experience of university: “Having advisors available straight away to help with anything you need to do with uni, makes you feel a lot more comfortable. I absolutely recommend it.” Andrew is currently studying Law and Youth and Community Leadership at UC.

Students engineer off-road e-trike

Four UC students created an off-road electric trike for Blair Nevin, who has cerebral palsy. The four Mechanical or Mechatronics Engineering students chose to custom-build the mountain-trike as their final-year project.

The team consists of UC Students: Blair Nevin, Gareth Wadsworth, Finian Tse, Sam Hall, Jackson Stewart and UC Academics: Professor Digby Symons and Lecturer Shayne Crimp.

Online advice offers a hand up to children with autism

Associate Professor Laurie McLay from UC’s Education, Health and Human Development, is leading two studies investigating the effectiveness of “telehealth” delivered interventions, provided through websites and video conferencing, for children with autism. She says the number of children diagnosed with autism is growing internationally, with an estimated one in 59 people affected. But there is a shortage of trained specialists available in New Zealand to provide the support they, and their families, need. “There is an urgent need to establish evidence-based, culturally appropriate approaches to service delivery, particularly for those who face barriers to access. We hope it will increase timely access to critical support for families who otherwise face long waits. The material produced for both of these studies could be combined to provide a comprehensive online library of freely available, evidence-based resources that can be shared with caregivers of children on the autism spectrum,” says Professor McLay.

Student Accessibility Service

We estimate that between 20-25% of our students have some form of visible or invisible disability, and our Student Accessibility Service provides support services, assistance, and advice to ensure that our students make the most of their time here and achieve their academic goals. Support to our registered students includes, for example, practical support such as interpreters and notetakers; assistive technology such as screen reading, voice recognition software, Otter notetaking; information in alternate and accessible formats, including electronic, braille; and special arrangements for exams such as extra time, separate room, reader/writer support.


UC aims to provide a welcoming and inclusive environment and recognise that belonging is important for everyone. We support LGBTQIA+ students and staff with assistance on and off campus and celebrate sexual and gender diversity on campus. "Anyone starting university can feel alone and if you’re queer it’s doubly so. It’s important to find your community and at UC that exists in so many different places. To be in a place where your work and your identify are validated is so exciting. If you reach out, you’ll be welcomed." Sean Lydiard, UC Me.

Students’ stereotyped view of ability limiting future careers

Findings from a study of diverse 13-year-olds set off alarm bells for UC Education Researcher Dr David Pomeroy when he looked into students’ attitudes towards Physical Education (PE) and maths. While most male students enjoyed PE, male students who are Māori, Pasifika or other students from lower socioeconomic status (SES) were much more likely to assume they would go into physical careers. This was true even for those who performed well at maths. Female students didn’t fare such better. Female students who were Māori, Pasifika or other students from low SES families had gender-dependent aspirations, citing preferences for service jobs such as beautician. These career assumptions influenced, and limited, their attitudes to school subjects, with wide-ranging implications. Dr Pomeroy says we need to stop acting as if test results reflect future potential – they don’t. All students need to be challenged; teachers need to talk about the job market and not leave this to careers advisors; we need to examine our own biases about race and physical and intellectual talent.

Child Population Health

The Child Population Health Theme (CPHT), within UC’s Child Well-being Research Institute, identifies particular issues evident in the community for children and young people who may not enjoy the legislative or other attentions that could positively determine and impact their lives. Its research aims to create robust, accessible evidence for policy makers to assist them in addressing inequities, and also aims to create an understanding of what may be working well in the lives of children and young people. Professor Schluter, former CPHT Director, and his team of doctoral and post-doctoral students and colleagues focus their research on local (Canterbury region) and national populations. A recent project looked at fluoridation and its impact on oral health in our children in Aotearoa. Current research involves investigating a birth cohort study, which follows Pasifika children growing up in Aotearoa.

GeoHealth Laboratory

The GeoHealth Laboratory is a joint venture between UC and the Ministry of Health. Work focuses upon how the local and national contexts shape health outcomes and health inequalities, making this collaborative work a resource that is unique in the Southern Hemisphere. The team is currently considering how various characteristics of local neighbourhoods influence health outcomes and health-related behaviours. The Lab’s projects include the effect of community resource access (e.g. access to parks, food stores, healthcare provision) on health inequalities; the role of deprivation and rurality in influencing suicide rates; environmental justice and air pollution; and the importance of income inequality and macro-level process on inequalities in life expectancy.

Striving for a More Equitable World

Director of the Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies at UC, Professor Steven Ratuva, was the recipient of the Society’s 2020 Metge Medal for excellence and building relationships in the social science research community. Professor Ratuva, who was born in Fiji, says his work is inspired by a desire to create an equal, sustainable and humanity-based world. Professor Ratuva led the world’s largest-ever research project on ethnicity – The Palgrave Handbook of Ethnicity - which involved a global team of about 150 scholars.

Equity and Diversity at UC

UC is committed to developing a diverse, culture-rich, and cooperative environment for all. Our integrated Equity and Diversity Policy (2020-2021) supports our strategic objectives and obligations in a way that ensures inclusiveness, participation, appreciation, recognition, support, transparency, and a sense of belonging for all students and staff. We are committed to sitting at the forefront of policy practice that removes inappropriate discrimination and provides equitable opportunities. We view diversity as an asset, and actively seek ways to celebrate the diversity of all members of our community.

CSA Equity and Diversity

UC’s Student Association (UCSA) has several committees responsible for giving feedback on students’ needs within the student population to ensure all student voices are heard, which includes any issues surrounding equity and diversity. For example, the UCSA’s International Student Committee, Postgraduate Student Advisory Group, Equity and Well-being Advisory Group, and the Pasifika Advisory Group. UCSA committee members then hold student representation on UC committees to ensure actions and programmes create a greater sense of inclusiveness on campus.

Equity and Diversity Support

UC’s Equity and Diversity team assists students with disabilities by providing appropriate, disability-related study support services and specialist resources. Te Waka Pakākano is the UC team that includes both Māori and Pasifika support. The UC Māori team fully support and guide ākonga Māori to succeed academically, and encourage personal growth and connection to Māori community and culture. The Pacific Development team offer advice, support structures, events, and programmes for our Pasifika students, including initiatives for Canterbury’s Pasifika community, such as the secondary school outreach programme UCMe XL. UC’s Rainbow Advisor supports our LGBTQIA+ students and staff with assistance on and off campus. A network of staff are available called our Diversity Champions, who are knowledgeable on, and sympathetic to, diversity and equity issues. Yearly events are hosted in the city, such as the Christchurch Pride Week.

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