About the Canterbury WEA

Affordable education for the people of Christchurch Ōtautahi

Education makes our world a better place and we’re here to make lifelong learning easy, accessible and enjoyable for you.

For over 100 years, curious people who care about community, planet, and social justice have come through our doors to learn. Today we offer 50+ affordable courses and events on topics from current issues to technology.


Meet the Team

Wendy Butcher
President of the WEA Council

Ask Wendy about WEA Council matters. Wendy volunteers for several community organisations and brings her archival expertise to help WEA manage our archives.

Dave Evans
Vice-President of the WEA Council

Ask Dave about WEA Council matters. Dave also wrangles our IT as a volunteer (thanks Dave), and is a keen environmental campaigner.

John Sullivan
Vice-President of the WEA Council

Ask John about WEA Council matters. John volunteers his time and is often on site on Mondays. He is also a Community Law lawyer.

Stacey Davis
Treasurer of the WEA Council

Ask Stacey about WEA Council budget. An associate at Baker Tilly Staples Rodway, Stacey offers financial guidance and business advisory services to the Council.

Lottie Vinson
Director of the WEA

Ask Lottie about teaching a course at WEA, or if you have a promotional opportunity for us. Our budget is tiny, so pro-bono support is appreciated.

Sue Spindler

Sue has been helping us keep our accounts in order, for over 15 years.

Janie McCulloch
Office Admin

Ask Janie about WEA courses, getting a copy of our programme, becoming a WEA member, and how you can support WEA.

Margaret Taylor
Marketing and Office Admin

Ask Margaret about WEA courses, getting a copy of our programme, becoming a WEA member, and how you can support WEA.

Kazuko Iwai
Caretaker and Tutor

Kazuko manages the building, sets up rooms for classes and events, and keeps everything shipshape. She also teaches many classes including Japanese culture.

Canterbury WEA Governance structure and committees

Collective decision making is part of our history and kaupapa. The WEA Council provides strategic guidance from our community and is elected on each year by members at our AGM. Council members are also selected to sit on our Executive which looks after larger operational matters.

If you’d like to volunteer on our Programme Committee, which helps the co-ordinator with ideas for courses, or find out about standing for Council, please contact Wendy Butcher.

Council and Executive membership

The elected Council members are Simon Courtney, David Ivory, Colin Meurk, Jennifer Leahy and Sophia White. They are joined by honorary life members Daniela Bagozzi, Gertrud Cocks, Ivan Hibberd and Katherine Peet who bring a wealth of wisdom and institutional knowledge to Council decision making. The Executive is made up of Wendy, John, Dave, Stacey, Ivan and Lottie.

Our history - Equal access to education

The Canterbury Workers’ Educational Association (WEA) was founded in 1915. At that time, only the rich could afford an education. If you came from a working family, training for a profession was almost impossible without a wealthy patron.

For many years, WEA offered working-class men and women an affordable opportunity to access university-level education. Many Cantabrians took advantage of this to change professions or improve their careers.

Over time, as university education became accessible to more people, our focus changed to improving quality of life through life-long learning. The courses we offered changed too, becoming less academic, shorter, and more interest-based. We expanded our arts, music, and dance offerings.

Read more of our history here.

Support our work

We receive no government funding. If you want to make sure we continue to offer affordable education to the people of Canterbury, here’s how you can help.

Support WEA