Confessions of an Activist

Event Details

Do you have misgivings about how our environment and culture is trending but feel powerless to influence them? Is it possible to tackle the prevailing paradigm?

At this Catalyst Trust talk, Dugald MacTavish will give a personal perspective on his decades of activism. He’ll describe what’s worked, what hasn’t and what he’s learned from his time as a water engineer and as founder and supporter of numerous organisations endeavouring to increase the resilience of their communities in the face of growing uncertainty.

An example of Dugald’s activism is the group Wise Response, a broad coalition including academics, engineers, lawyers, artists and sportspeople, which has called on local and central government to face up to New Zealand’s critical risks and respond rationally to them.

Chaired by Sir Alan Mark and with patron Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Wise Response was formed to answer the question “As demand for growth exceeds earth’s physical limits, causing unprecedented risks, what knowledge and change do we need to secure New Zealand’s future well-being?”.

Please bring a chair. Tickets are $5 at the door. Register at

Dugald MacTavish worked as a water resources engineer and groundwater consultant on aid projects in the UK, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. 

 After returning to New Zealand in the late 80s, he became involved in river protection activism as well as founding and supporting organisations such as Oxfam Water for Survival (Dunedin), Sustainable Dunedin City, Hampden Community Energy, Lower Waitaki River Management Society and Wise Response Society.

Dugald MacTavish HCE Debate Challenge Aug 09 002