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    Denis O'Connor a Living Book - T4t

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    Event description

    Christchurch City Libraries invites you to check out a 15-minute lounge chat with a unique and outstanding person from our community; a Living Book.  Their interests cover music, art, film, social advocacy, the environment, entrepreneurship and so much more.


    Denis O'Connor
    image used with permission of Denis O'Connor - personal collection

    My name is Denis O’Connor and I would describe myself (at aged 80) actively retired and busy at home with my family, gardening, and household tasks. I have been a lifelong advocate for a variety of causes and issues associated with social justice, and continue to contribute wherever I am able – motivated by my strong belief that all human beings deserve to share equally in the bounties and beauty of our planet.

    As a boy I wanted to be a medical doctor caring for the sick, as I had poor health then and our family doctor was very kind. Early in my life I was (and still am) strongly challenged by teachings about social justice in the Bible, despite some of its teachings being backwards and chauvinistic in various ways. I trained to become an Industrial Chaplain, but found myself more and more convinced that working people in this country needed a strong labour union movement more than they needed chaplaincy. I have since learnt, though never enough, about social justice in other religions such as Islam, and continue to be inspired by the writings of activists like Noam Chomsky and John Pilger – all of which continue to challenge me to avoid perpetuating injustices against others.

    I have dedicated a lot of my time to pursuing justice for those persecuted or treated unfairly both overseas and in Aotearoa New Zealand. Today I am still moved by, and work in solidarity with, the sufferings and courage of West Papuan and Palestinian citizens being persecuted in their countries. Some of my proudest moments have been leading a successful strike against the CEO of the Department of Labour in the mid-1990s as a union delegate. I am also proud of the work I have helped with Keep Our Assets Canterbury (KOA) to advocate for local and regional government bodies to maintain public control of assets and services. I remain a member of Keep Our Assets, Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa, Spreydon Neighbourhood Network, Canterbury Socialist Society, and the local West Papua support group.

    The greatest challenge in this work has always been the same – finding likeminded people to recruit and work with, achieving mainstream publicity for our causes, and being able to successfully challenge governments and companies to change the way they are operating. If I was starting over I would hope to sooner realise the importance of local justice and peace groups/movements and join them. I would aim to work with people fighting against institutional neglect and injustice shown towards Māori and Pasifika peoples, and I would be a vocal critic of a great deal of organised religion for ignoring poverty and injustice in Aotearoa New Zealand and Abroad. I would want to belong to a political movement that advocates for democratic socialism as a better way to organise our society.

    Ages: All welcome - Youth aged 14 years and under, must be accompanied by a caregiver

    Cost: $FREE

    Special information: 

    • Agreement to the Terms and conditions is required to participate.
    • If you would like to make multiple bookings, each booking will need to be made separately on each of the 'Living Book's' own booking pages.  Visit our profile to see the other 'Living Books'.

    Important information:

    • Cancellations - Please provide at least 48 hours notice to cancel your booking.  If due to circumstances outside of our control, we need to cancel the event, we will make contact with customers as soon as possible
    • Sold Out? Join Waitlist - There is a limited waitlist available for this programme. If places are still available you will be prompted to 'Join Waitlist' after clicking the 'Register' button

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