Christchurch has won an international bid to host the Australasian Animal Studies Association (AASA) Conference in July 2019. It will be held in New Zealand for the first time!

The conference is set to bring at least 250 animal experts to Christchurch, almost all from Australia and other international research hubs.

The successful bid was presented by Associate Professor Annie Potts, who along with Associate Professor Philip Armstrong, is a Co-Director of the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies (NZCHAS) at the University of Canterbury, an interdisciplinary research focusing on the study of human relationships with other species.

ChristchurchNZ Convention Bureau and Tourism New Zealand (TNZ) Business Events, through its Conference Assistance Programme (CAP) assisted the Canterbury team to produce the winning bid.

ChristchurchNZ Convention Bureau Manager Caroline Blanchfield says this is a prestigious event for Christchurch and the University of Canterbury, and cements the city’s position as one of the top three locations in the world for work in human-animal studies:

“The New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies is highly respected internationally. Canterbury was one of the first universities anywhere to establish a research centre and undergraduate and graduate courses in this field.”

Last week Professor Potts gave the keynote presentation at AASA 2017 in Adelaide, focusing on animals in disasters following her post-earthquake research in Christchurch.

Professor Potts says the 2019 AASA conference in New Zealand will have a strong emphasis on Maori and other indigenous perspectives on human-animal relations. “We will also cover such diverse subjects as animals in popular culture, the link between social violence and animal abuse, the rise of veganism worldwide, and the demonisation of introduced animals in Aotearoa and elsewhere.”

She continues: “We look forward very much to sharing our friendly and resilient city with conference delegates, as well as showcasing the beautiful environments around Canterbury, including Lyttelton, Akaroa, Kaikoura and Hanmer Springs.”