Friday 3 August


Timing Session
6:00pm – 10:30pm Registration opens,
Welcome event, quiz and entertainment


Saturday 4 August – conference


Timing Session

Registration opens

Tea and coffee available

8:00am Formal welcome
8:45am There’s no Māori word for ‘atheist’ 
– Te Henare (Community of Māori Atheists and Freethinkers) & Eru Hiko-Tahuri (Heretical Hori)
9:30am How Humanism can help us counter violent extremism
– Gulalai Ismail
10:30am Morning tea
11:00am Non-religious arguments against Secularism
– Andrew Copson
12:00pm In conversation with Aunty Jackie 
– Jackie Clark, The Aunties
1:00pm Lunch break
1:45pm Introduction to the afternoon
2:00pm Effective Altruism
– Catherine Low, Effective Altruism
3:00pm Afternoon break
3:30pm Leaving conservative religions
– Imtiaz Shams, Faith to Faithless
4:30pm Lucky Not So Lucky: Humanist Activism in a World Threatened by Religious Extremism
– Leo Igwe, Nigerian Human Rights Advocate
5:30pm Is Virtue Worth the Effort?
– Joseph Bulbulia, School of Humanities, University of Auckland
6:20pm Closing remarks




Saturday 4 August – Gala Dinner


Timing Session
7:30pm Cash bar opens
8:00pm – 10:30pm Dinner and awards ceremony




How Humanism can help us counter violent extremism
Gulalia is an internationally acclaimed human rights activist from Pakistan and chairperson of Aware Girls and the Seeds of Peace network.

Chair: Sara Passmore
President, Humanist Society of New Zealand 

Gulalai Ismail

Human Rights Activist and 2014 International Humanist of the Year Award

Māori atheists Te Henare & Eru Hiko-Tahuri

In the 2013 census 46% of Māori said they had no religion. However, Eru Hiko-Tahuri, who blogs and writes under the name The Heretical Hori states that ‘there are very few Māori who would admit to being atheists”.

Along with founder of Maori Atheists and Freethinkers, Te Henare, we’ll hear unique insights into the tension between culture and religion in a post-colonial New Zealand. And will discuss the anger, fear, and daily micro-aggression experience by Māori atheists for their beliefs.

Te Henare

Founder of the Community of Māori Atheists and Freethinkers

Eru Hiko-Tahuri

The Heretical Hori

Non-religious arguments against Secularism

Secularism – separation of church and state and the elimination of legal religious discrimination – has many opponents. Some of these opponents are theocrats, making explicitly religious arguments against secularism. But others are not and make non-religious arguments against this way of ordering politics and the state. Even in majority non-religious societies, can we therefore be confident that secularism will follow? Andrew Copson, President of IHEU and author of Secularism: politics, religion, and freedom (OUP, 2017), will explore some of the secular arguments against secularism and try to answer this question.

Chair: Peter Harrison
President, New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists

Andrew Copson

IHEU President and Chief Executive of Humanists UK

In conversation with Auntie Jackie
The Aunties meet the material needs for the people who use community services. Auntie Jackie states firmly that “If you aren’t about giving with love, and no judgement, then this isn’t the charity for you.” Find out more about the difference this grass roots effort is making to the lives of women, children and families, their unique kaupapa, and how this unique model developed to sustainably serve the community.

Chair: TBC

Jackie Clarke

Auntie in Charge

Effective Altruism

In this interactive session Catherine will introduce the fundamental principles of Effective Altruism, and put the audience to the test.

Chair: TBC

Catherine Low

Effective Altruism
Leaving conservative religions

Imtiaz Shams has been using his experience founding ‘tech for good’ start-ups to help apostates who leave conservative religions.

Chair: Safwan Mason,
Council of Ex-Muslims of New Zealand

Imtiaz Shams

Founder, Faith to Faithless

Lucky Not So Lucky: Humanist Activism in a World Threatened by Religious Extremism
Some humanists count themselves lucky because they live in certain parts of the world, far from the global hot spots of religious extremism and violent superstitions. This disposition often makes them feel indifferent to the idea of proactive humanism. Drawing from my experiences living and working as a humanist in Africa, I show that irrational beliefs and violent fanaticisms that rage in places across Africa have transnational roots and connections. Superstitious and dogmatic beliefs pose a serious threat to our common humanity. I contend that active involvement of all humanists – whether in New Zealand or in Papua New Guinea – is needed to eradicate irrational beliefs worldwide.

Chair: Ngaire McCarthy,
NZARH Member

Leo Igwe

Nigerian human rights advocate and humanist

Is Virtue Worth the Effort? Evidence from a National Longitudinal Study of New Zealanders

Philosophers have long held that:

(1) virtues hold the key to the greatest human happiness;

(2) virtues must be actively cultivated for civic societies to endure.

However, testing these enduring claims has proved challenging. Nearly all relevant data sets, such as national censuses, do not track individuals over time, or ask the right questions.  Using responses from on ongoing longitudinal study of attitudes and values among a diverse group of 30,000 New Zealanders, we investigate the life-long effects of generosity and systematically test whether volunteering and charitable giving are linked to a greater satisfaction with life and a greater acceptance of social differences.

Chair: Jolene Phipps,
Freethinking Parents – NZ

Joseph Bulbulia

School of Humanities, University of Auckland