Desigin Thulkanam

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Desigin Thulkanam

Desigin Thulkanam is a South Africa born, New Zealand activist.


Early 1990s, involved in student politics in South Africa, has BA from South Africa and MA Hons. Auckland.

Radical Society

30th May, 1996, Auckland University Radical Society member, to speak at Auckland University on South Africa after recent trip there. [1]

1996 - Radical Society member.[2]

1998 - Wellington editor of Radical Society's national newsletter.

1999 - Wellington editor of Outburst.

Student activism

In 1997 Thulkanam replaced Dean Carroll as VUWSA Education coordinator, has been in NZ 4 years, age 30.[3]

2002 - still VUWSA Education coordinator

I do work on grievances, student representation and academic policy.

Guevara review

2001 - review in Saliient 22 of Che Guevara's The African Dream, The Diaries of the Revolutionary War in the Congo.

CAFCA connection

March 2002 - Wellington contact for tour by CAFCA's Murray Horton, with Robert Whitaker.


2000 - Development Studies thesis - The Wrong Road to Freedom: The Impact of Neo-liberalism in South Africa.


2001 - ARENA Advisory Board members were Jon Barnett, Aziz Choudry, Luke Coxon, Radha D’Souza, Tim Howard, Cybele Locke, Garrick Martin, Bill Rosenberg, David Small, Desigin Thulkanam.

Human Rights Commission

In 2003, the Human Rights Commission appointed two new educators to the Race and Ethnic Relations Team.

Desigin Thulkanam grew up in Durban, South Africa. After leaving apartheid South Africa, he lived and worked in Auckland.

Redundancy opened up a new opportunity to go back to study. At Auckland University, Desigin completed postgraduate work in Development Studies and Politics. He later moved to Wellington, where he worked for the students' association at Victoria University as education co-ordinator.
Desigin has an interest and involvement in community and human rights issues.
Desigin and Richard will be based in the Wellington Office and will bring with them a range of skills and experiences that they hope will benefit the various communities in the region. Desigin and Richard are happy to meet with community groups and discuss the work of the Human Rights Commission.

AFP Trainer

Eka Christiningsih Tanlain, from the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), and Desigin Thulkanam, from the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, joined the Asia Pacific Forum as master trainers after completing the 2012 Training of Trainers program.

Two APF master trainers – from Indonesia and New Zealand – are jointly helping to deliver the APF’s 2013 Training of Trainers program for representatives of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in the Asia Pacific region.

“There was such a range of human rights issues and contexts that colleagues worked in and that was inspiring,” added Mr Thulkanam. “This course provides a unique opportunity for NHRI staff to learn new tools and techniques that can help us respond creatively to the specific human rights issues and challenges in our countries.”

The APF Training of Trainers course is led by Professor Chris Sidoti, a senior consultant to the APF and an internationally recognised human rights educator, with more than 30 years experience at the national, regional and international levels.[4]


  1. RS Newsletter No 2, April 96
  2. Craccum 9
  3. Salient 23
  4. AFP, APF master trainers share their expertise