Two new members of the TEU were inducted as life members at the Annual Conference 2019 – Carol Soal, Ara Aoraki, and Sandra Grey, Victoria University of Wellington.
The TEU also presented two awards of excellence to John Prince, AUT, and Anne Marie Brady, University of Canterbury.
Carol Soal shares with previous recipients of the TEU Life Membership award
the often-unenviable trait of putting work, the union movement, and the
shared needs of her community over her own. In her time as a union leader,
Carol has achieved a great deal for her region and on behalf of Aoraki and
Ara, much of which will be unknown to many union members.
Carol joined the Association of Staff in Tertiary Education in March 2003
on her first day working for Aoraki Polytechnic. She became co-branch
president with Michael Armstrong in 2010 and later in 2014 became branch
president for Aoraki. During this time, Carol’s voice was integral to the
ongoing concerns which were raised around the decision to merge Aoraki and
At the national level Carol has contributed greatly. Carol was a valued
team member at frequent meetings in Wellington. She was a staunch activist
fighting for the job security of members, and for the survival of the
institution as an educational asset for the community.
Carol held several national roles. She was general staff representative on
council on the ITP Sector group, as Vice-President General in 2012, and a
representative on the Industrial and Professional Committee. Carol was also
TEU representative on the Health and Safety committee for both Aoraki and
Ara and she played a key role in the remuneration project including
reassessing general staff salaries at Aoraki, and on the negotiating team
for Aoraki and later Ara.
Over this period, it should be noted, Carol never missed an opportunity to
march, protest and demonstrate. She often helped organise events on her
Aoraki and then Ara campuses.
“Carol achieved leadership at several levels with grace, and
uncomplainingly shouldered the burden of the involved activist and leader.
She lives the principles of unionism and fairness in all aspects of her
(Michael Armstrong, Ara Institute of Canterbury)
Carol had a sustained and unquestioned level of commitment and loyalty to
the cause and the union. She worked collaboratively, collectively and in
solidarity. This was a strength of hers during her time in leadership
roles. Those who have worked alongside Carol know her as the ‘total
professional’, never getting nasty in situations which were often tense and
Carol has always worked well with so many people, always making herself
available to members and always up for action. The number of actions that
Carol’s branch was involved in was very demanding at some points, and yet
Carol was always there. She has always been keen to find ways and means to
effect change for the benefit of students, staff and the sector. Her advice
to members was always of the highest level.
Carol is a mentor, a friend, and a rock to many. She is known by colleagues
to go out of her way in putting her own time into trying to help members,
to achieve union goals, and regional success.
Her confidence, her ability to communicate directly, her belief and
understanding of the cause, her kindness and tact, all made it great to be
working with her. She brought people onboard with her, persuaded people
simply and directly, more through her example than any overt messaging. She
was and continues to be a leader in the movement, and we honour her role in
the movement here today.
The TEU Life Membership award is reserved for TEU members who have served
the union, both locally and nationally, across their careers and have
shaped the work that we do. There are few in New Zealand, much less our
union, who do not know Sandra Grey and associate her with the TEU.
Sandra joined AUS in 1999 while she was studying at the University of
Auckland, and again in 2003 after securing her first academic post at
Victoria University of Wellington.
On completing her PhD, Sandra began further developing her research
interests in activism and citizen dissent. In 2008 she won a Marsden Grant
to examine four decades of contentious political activity by the women’s,
union, and anti-poverty movements of New Zealand. That same year Sandra
began serving as the Women’s Vice-President and chaired the Status of Women
Sandra served as TEU President from 2011-2013, and then as Vice-President
of the newly formed Industrial and Professional Committee (IPC). This
committee had been an amalgamation of sorts of the sector groups that had
existed under the original TEU structure; the University committee, the ITP
committee, the Academic committee, the General Staff committee.
It was Sandra, who, as President, reviewed the initial structures in 2011
and presented a revised plan and structure to Conference in 2012. And it
was her job as VP of the IPC to establish the role of this new working
group and how it would advance the work of the membership and work
alongside the other working groups of the Union.
“Working with Sandra is challenging, exhilarating, exhausting – well, I
don’t need to tell union members about it. But we do it – we rise to what
she wants from us – to the aspirations she sets for herself – because we
know that it’s beautiful up there. And look where we’ve come – look at what
(Cat Pause, TEU University Academic Representative)
In 2015, Sandra stood for President again. After having directed the work
on Te Kaupapa Whaioranga, and after being prompted by members across the
country, she agreed to put her academic career on hold once again to take
her place at the helm of the TEU. Throughout those four years, Sandra
always kept the people at the centre of her work. He tangata, he tangata,
he tangata. She especially kept those most vulnerable in her sights;
reminding us often of her personal connections to young people who were not
being served by our tertiary system and bringing to the fore for the rest
of New Zealand examples of the system letting us all down; students, staff,
As well as her keen research interest in social movement activism and civil
society politics, since 2010 Sandra has been the spokesperson for the
Campaign for MMP which fought successfully to win a referendum on the
retention of mixed-member proportional representation as New Zealand’s
Sandra has always worked to make our union more inclusive and more
democratic; she has encouraged member participation and engagement at every
level and she has earned more Air New Zealand Airpoints than probably
anyone else in Wellington. She has travelled the country tirelessly for
several years to make sure each branch felt they were an important part of
the work that we do.
Sandra’s political acumen and her ability to forge relationships across a
range of spectrums has stood the TEU in good stead during her leadership
years. It is this more than anything else that has marked her presidency as
being forward thinking and risk taking. It has meant that the TEU today is
quite different from its two predecessor unions and quite different from
the fledgling TEU that began in 2009 it has become the union that we are
celebrating this year.
Sandra is trusted and respected friend, colleague and mentor to more people
than could ever be listed here, but the union movement in general and the
TEU in particular thank her.
TEU recognises John Prince, AUT Senior Lecturer – Mechanical and
Production, with an Award of Excellence for Professional Integrity. This
award is given for his long commitment to the rights of workers, and in
defence of the professional integrity of both engineering and the tertiary
John has been a branch member at AUT since 1992. He was the AUT Branch
President for 10 years and is still very active on the branch committee.
John has held several national roles in the union including being a member
of the industrial and professional committee and as a member of the
national council for several years where his contribution has been
John has been particularly effective in working on the IPC developing the
union’s industrial strategy. His knowledge of redundancy processes, salary
movements and assisting with defending core conditions and developing
national claims has been invaluable.
His professional integrity also means that he is trusted by members across
the union. This has always stood him in good stead as a recruiter for the
He is an engineer, he is pragmatic, he is staunch- he is a union man. He is
passionate about the rights of workers and enjoys the dynamic of
challenging the employer as required. It is this readiness to stand firm in
the face of both internal and external pressures that has made John such a
valued and respected leader within the union movement, and colleague and
friend within the sector.
Over the years John has been a mainstay of the negotiating team at AUT.
More-often-than-not he produces graphs and data that puts the university’s
own number boffins to shame. He is smart and strategic, having led several
successful strike actions by gaining the support and commitment of the
members to stay strong.
John has also been able to develop and maintain an excellent working
relationship with the Vice-Chancellor of AUT. Many issues have been dealt
with in this way and shows the level of respect John holds at AUT in his
The Tertiary Education Union and AUT Branch Committee are pleased to award
the Award of Excellence for professional integrity to John – a union man to
Professor Anne-Marie Brady researches Chinese domestic and foreign politics
and polar politics at the University of Canterbury. Professor Brady
receives the TEU Award of Academic Freedom for her analysis of the politics
of the Republic of China, her unwavering commitment to academic integrity
and responsibility, and her commitment to the union movement.
Professor Brady is well known for her political analysis of the politics of
the Republic of China. As a TEU member, Professor Brady has also been
active in furthering the interests of women and is the women’s
representative on of the University of Canterbury branch committee.
Her research work in recent years has unearthed material that has exposed
efforts at political influence by the Chinese Communist Party through their
United Front organisation. The importance of Dr Brady’s research was
recognised by former Vice Chancellor of the University of Canterbury, Dr
Rod Carr, who upheld the values of Academic Freedom when the University was
under significant pressure from compromised interests in New Zealand to
cave in to Chinese pressure to censure Dr Brady.
Subsequent events have led to the conclusion that underhand methods have
been used to overtly pressure Professor Brady, including breaking into her
family home, breaking into her university office and tampering with her
family car. The burglaries were clearly targeted towards Professor Brady’s
research activity as only her computers and data storage were stolen.
This sort of illegal activity is clearly inimical to the values of a modern
university and are a direct attack on academic freedom by a foreign party
that seeks to impose its own interests and undermine not only the freedoms
we take for granted in New Zealand, but also academic freedom, which is a
cornerstone of progress and a bulwark against tyranny.
The TEU and the University of Canterbury branch committee is in full
support of Professor Brady and of academic freedom in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Professor Brady’s resolute refusal to cave in to pressure from the Chinese
government is recognised by the TEU as a courageous statement about the
importance of Academic Freedom for us all. It will also be a signal to the
world that the Tertiary Education Union defends and promotes the values of