Making a difference

 

Steve Henry runs the Centre for Sustainable Practice at Otago Polytechnic.

Making a difference takes a genuine commitment to change

 

 

Sam:

Welcome to Sustainable Lens, Resilience on Radio, a weekly show on sustainability topics brought to you by Otago Polytechnic. The show is co-hosted by Shane Gallagher and me Samuel Mann. Each week we talk with someone who is making a positive difference and applying their skills towards a sustainable future. In our conversations we’re trying to find out what motivates them and what it means to see the world through a sustainable perspective through their sustainable lens. Tonight’s sustainable lens is that of Steve Henry, from Otago Polytechnic’s Centre of Sustainable Practice. Stumbled over that because I know that it’s changing. Welcome.

 

Steve:

Hello Sam. Hello everyone.

 

Sam:

Let’s start with some big questions, where did you grow up?

 

Steve:

I was born on the Chatham Islands of all places in New Zealand, eastern New Zealand. North of Auckland, near Waikawa, Curio Bay, it’s where I spent my childhood, before moving to Christchurch, and then further south.

 

Sam:

What were your folks doing on the Chathams?

 

Steve:

My dad was a farmer. He was the only ever farm advisory officer that the government, MAF, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries sent to the Chathams to drain swamps and make farms more productive.

 

Sam:

What did you want to be when you grew up?

 

Steve:

I had a very informing moment around that when I was 14 when my father arranged for me to go and work on a farm. Because I saw my father on and around farms all the time. I was very keen to do that. He arranged me to go and have an August school holidays with one of his farming buddies. After day one, I rang him up and said, “Dad, I don’t want to be a farmer anymore. Can you come and get me?” He said, “Sure I’ll come and get you in another 20 days, because that’s what we’ve agreed.” That was pretty informing. And then on about day five, this grumpy farmer said to me, “You don’t like this, do you?” I went “No.” He said, “Well, what do you like?”.

 

 

And it was a really pertinent question to ask me at the time and I respect that farmer because I don’t think I could ask that question, or I certainly didn’t hear him. But what I learned from this man, he was actually very onto it, and he gave me a lot of good guidance and we settled on being a science teacher as a way to interact with people. I had a fascination for nature and that seemed like a good place to start.

 

 

Yeah. So that was the path I went on and I decided that at about 14, and then by 16 I decided going and learning about the natural world through science was the path I’d take, and to teach that.

 

Sam:

So you did the biology and …

 

Steve:

Yeah. The biology and chemistry thing and did a degree in chemistry and then microbiology at Canterbury University and ended up teaching, secondary teaching, going overseas in secondary teaching and really loving it. Until of course I realised it wasn’t about science, it was about people. And I loved that even more. So instead of teaching the subject, I began to work with people.

 

 

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