Kia ora from Royal Society Te Apārangi | Issue #1110

Eye of the Takahē

The eye of the takahē, Porphyrio hochstetteri’ published free-to-access in the New Zealand Journal of Zoology seeks to understand more about the takahē, flightless herbivorous birds that are endemic to Aoteaora and considered nationally vulnerable. In the nineteenth century they were thought to be extinct – until they were rediscovered in Fiordland in 1948.

A takahē at Auckland Zoo was showing signs of disorientation, provoking a visual examination. To enable a comparison to the normal ocular limits of takahē, two additonal healthy takahē were also examined. An exploration of the anatomy, physiology and ocular health of a takahē eye had never been undertaken before. The examination revealed that the ocular health of the disorientated bird was within normal limits and further investigation traced the cause of the disorientation to a previous traumatic brain injury.

Learn more

Scientists attach satellite tracking tags to tohorā southern right whales

Researchers from the Cawthron Institute and the University of Auckland have successfully attached satellite tracking tags to six tohorā New Zealand southern right whales and are inviting the public to follow the whales’ travels online. This is part of a new project partly funded by Royal Society Te Apārangi.

Rutherford Discovery Fellow and project lead Dr Emma Carroll says the tohorā have already defied predictions of where they might head to. It was initially assumed that the tohorā would travel north towards warmer water but instead they have stayed south, indicating just how important the area around Antarctica is to them.

Read more >

He pitopito kōrero News bulletin

Protectors of Ihumātao receive supreme award at Matariki Awards

The group at the centre of the fight for Ihumātao, S.O.U.L (Save Our Unique Landscape)—Te Hapori o te Ihu o Mataaho, has won big at the 2020 Ngā Whetū o Matariki Awards, which aim to celebrate and acknowledge Māori achievements across the country.

Other award recipients include Royal Society Te Apārangi Companion Sir Tipene O’Regan and Prime Minister's Science Communication Prize winner Professor Rangi Matamua. 

Cannabis referendum: How the social harms of weed in NZ compare to alcohol, tobacco, other drugs
The prospect of legal weed has divided Kiwis for years - but, on October 17, we'll head to the polls to decide whether we're in favour of making recreational cannabis lawful.
Matt Burrows @Newshub
Mātauranga Māori in Aotearoa's science sector
Marine scientist Kura Paul-Burke discusses Mātauranga Māori and its growing role in Aotearoa's science sector.
@RNZ Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan
The fate of recession-era school-leavers
With New Zealand officially in recession will school-leavers lose-out while universities benefit?  Longitudinal research from the UK suggests recession-era school-leavers face life-long difficulties finding and keeping a job; and have lower earning potential. Kathryn Ryan speaks with Nick Hillman, director of the UK's Higher Education Policy Institute. 
@RNZ Nine to Noon
Yellow-eyed penguins eating too much blue cod
Blue cod has been identified as making up an overly large proportion of the endangered yellow-eyed penguin (hoiho) diet, according to a study of their poop.
@Otago Daily Times
Archaeology uncovers infectious disease spread – 4,000 years ago
New bioarchaeology research has shown how infectious diseases may have spread 4,000 years ago, while highlighting the dangers of letting such diseases run rife. 
@University of Otago

Ngā take o te wā Events

21-27 September, Nationwide

Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW)

This year's theme is 'Reimagine Wellbeing Together – He Tirohanga Anamata'. This week is all about reflecting on the big and small changes we've made throughout this challenging year to look after ourselves and each other, and to begin imagining wellbeing through a new lens. Follow the link above for ideas on how you can get involved this week at your workplace, school or kura and involve your whānau or hapori community.
30 September, Auckland & Online

Our Future with AI

AI promises to have a far-reaching impact in our society, evoking not only excitement but also fear. There are fears around privacy, trust, freedom of speech and the usage of AI and its regulation. As part of the 2020 'Gibbons Lecture Series', Professor Michael Witbrock will discuss the paths to 'broad AI' (systems that can execute tasks across a variety of different fields) while exploring Aotearoa’s potential to ensure positive outcomes.

8 October, Christchurch

Kōrero on Ice

As part of 'Days of Ice', this interactive and informal panel will feature six panellists with unique expertise in varying fields of work who will come together to share their kōrero about their mahi, research or experience in Antarctica. This will be facilitated by inspiring wahine and Rutherford Discovery Fellow Cilla Wehi.
13 October, Rotorua

The slow pace of life in tropical birds

In this talk, Michah Scholer will discuss how differences in traits such as longevity, reproduction and energy metabolism characterise the pace of life syndrome in tropical and temperate birds.

Ngā whiwhinga Opportunities

Entries open for the World Data System Data Stewardship Award

This award celebrates the exceptional contributions of Early Career Researchers to the improvement of scientific data stewardship through their engagement with the community, academic achievements, and innovations. The 2020 award includes a prize and an opportunity participate in the next SciDataCon conference.

Nominations close: 30 October
Organisation: Royal Society Te Apārangi on behalf of World Data System and International Science Council 
Nominations open for Powering Potential

This is an opportunity for Year 12-13 students with a passion for science and technology to work with their peers under the mentorship of Aotearoa's emerging research leaders and solve some of the biggest problems faced by society today.

Do you know of an enquiring young mind who would be up for this challenge? Nominate them for Powering Potential 2020.

Closing date: 7 October 
Organisation: Royal Society Te Apārangi
Apply now for the 2020 round of the Prime Minister's Science Prizes

With a combined value of $1,000,000, these prizes acknowledge and raise the profile and prestige of science in Aotearoa, and celebrate those endeavouring across our research and education hapori communities.

Closing date: 9 October
Organisation: Royal Society Te Apārangi
Entries open for the 180 Seconds of Fascination video competition

If you're an Early Career Researcher in Aotearoa, this is your chance to showcase your superpowers by producing a 3-minute ataata video telling the story of your research. You can enter as an individual or a team for the chance to win one of five prizes. Karawhiua go for it, tuku atu upload! 

Closing date: 16 October
Organisation: Royal Society Te Apārangi Early Career Researcher Forum and the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

Wānanga ipurangi | Webinars

29 September
Transformations within reach
How can we reach a sustainable and equitable new normal in a post COVID-19 world? This webinar addresses game-changing measures that will help build a more resilient world whilst summarising key policy insights on how to move forward sustainably. 

Ngā hui Conferences

8-9 December, Various locations
2020 One Health Aotearoa Symposium
This sixth annual symposia aims to bring together experts from the fields of animal, human and environmental health in order to address important health issues in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Presenters include Dr Ashley Bloomfield and 2019 Te Tohu Rapuora Award winner Associate Professor Matire Harwood. 
21 October, Lincoln & Online
NZIAHS Canterbury Forum - Gene Editing
The Society's expert report on Gene Editing recommended that there was an urgent need for wide and well-informed discussion and debate about gene editing. This forum will consider how to start thinking about the use of this technology in the future and how and why we might use gene editing technology in plants, animals and pests.  

Mō Te Apārangi | About us

Royal Society Te Apārangi supports New Zealanders to explore, discover and share knowledge. Our varied programmes provide support and opportunities for researchers, teachers and school students, together with those who are simply curious about the world. To learn more visit
Royal Society Te Apārangi
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Wellington 6011
Aotearoa New Zealand.

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