Kia ora from Royal Society Te Apārangi | Issue #1062

Entries for The Prime Minister's Science Prizes are open!

The Government of New Zealand introduced The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes in 2009 as a way of raising the profile and prestige of science among New Zealanders. Prizes now open for applications/nominations include: Applications/nominations to The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes close on Thursday 10 October 2019.
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Turning around our plastics problem

This new video explains the problem of plastics getting into the environment and outlines steps we can take to begin to solve this issue.

Watch the video >

New research on the prevalence of endophytes in New Zealand grasses

In the New Zealand Journal of Botany, researchers present work on fungi partners of Aotearoa’s native grasses, describing a new endophyte.  The increased knowledge may help with developing improved pasture grass cultivars.

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New Zealanders win Young Naturalist Competition in Belarus

The team competing at the International Young Naturalist competition mentioned in Alert last week went on to win the competition, ahead of Croatia and Switzerland. Congratulations to the team and to their coach Murray Chisholm from Wellington High School!

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He pitopito kōrero News bulletin

Plastic in our drinking water could spread disease, World Health Organisation warns

Scientists call for action as the World Health Organisation (WHO) released a report warning that a high proportion of world drinking water contains microplastics – which could carry bacteria that could, in turn, help bacteria become resistant to antibiotics. 
Amber-Leigh Woolf @Stuff

Why isn't my professor Pasifika or Māori?
According to new research, Māori academics make up roughly 5 per cent of the workforce, while Pasifika academics make up 1.7 per cent. Two new research papers conclude universities need to be held to account for their lack of diversity.
@RNZ Morning Report
Fires in the Amazon - Expert Reaction
The SMC gathered expert comments on the Amazon fires. There have been 75,000 fires this year - 85 per cent higher than last year. It has been stated these fires could have a significant impact on climate change.
@Science Media Centre
"Game-changing” asthma research success a credit to the commitment of patient volunteers

Royal Society Te Apārangi Fellow, Professor Richard Beasley studied a potential treatment strategy that has now been approved as a new form of treatment for asthma. 
@Medical Research Institute of New Zealand

Jet lag may lead to weight gain, diabetes symptoms: study

Repeated jet lag could lead to weight gain and severe diabetes symptoms, according to new research from the University of Otago's Professor Alexander Tups.
@Otago Daily Times

Pumice raft at sea after underwater eruption near Tonga
A large raft of pumice is floating in the Pacific after an underwater volcanic eruption near Tonga earlier this month. Within a week the raft was twice the size of New York's Manhattan.
Artificial indigenous intelligence: putting te ao Māori at the centre of tech

Te Aroha Grace, the innovation officer at Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, led a conversation that explored the way artificial intelligence can unite New Zealand’s diverse cultures to grow the mana of brand Aotearoa. 
Russell Brown @The Spinoff

Study shows 'significant' improvement of lake water clarity around Rotorua

An 18-year study, led by senior scientist Dr Moritz Lehmann (published in the New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research) has seen a "significant" improvement in lake water clarity around Rotorua.
Rotorua Daily Post

Ngā take o te wā Events

10 September, Wellington
Falling Walls Lab New Zealand
Great minds. 3 Minutes. 1 Day. Attend Falling Walls Lab New Zealand 2019: a showcase for the next generation of outstanding innovators and creative thinkers, organised by Royal Society Te Apārangi and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany. 
5 September, Napier
Fighting back: antimicrobial resistant pathogens
Professor Greg Cook FRSNZ, University of Otago, will give a talk as part of the Marsden Fund 25 Series on how understanding bacterial survival in extreme environments and has led to breakthrough discoveries in drug development and agriculture.  
2 October, Auckland
Archaeology of Agriculture: Using Children to Assess the Past
University of Otago, Dr  Siân Halcrow's research is focused on human health and disease in the past. She will give a talk as part of the Marsden Fund 25 Series on how chemistry of bone and teeth can be used as evidence for disease.
3 September, Hamilton
Sport for a Better World: Theory, Method, Action 
Professor Holly Thorpe, University of Waikato, winner of ECR Excellence Award for Social Sciences, will discuss her unique approach to studying the relationships between sport and society in the Hamilton Public Lecture Series.
9-21 September, Dunedin
Art and Water: Mountains to the Sea

The Art and Science Series is proud to present its seventh exhibition. This series is a collaboration between artists and scientists, and the exhibition displays projects culminating from this long and enriching journey.

1 September, Kaikohe
A New and Game-Changing Way of Growing Oysters
Shaun Gregory, Founder and director of Aqua Mould Systems, will talk about how he is designing and bringing to production a shellfish mould to grow oysters in and how his idea is a game changer for the industry.

Ngā whiwhinga Opportunities

BLAKE Ambassador Programme
BLAKE, in partnership with Antarctica New Zealand, NIWA, Tara Expeditions Foundation and the Department of Conservation - has provided opportunities for young New Zealanders (18 – 25 years) to work on projects in Antarctica, the Southern, Southwest Pacific and Atlantic Oceans and New Zealand.

Organisation: BLAKE New Zealand
What if Climate Change was Purple?
This collaborative project brings together a diverse group of artists and scientists into an environment that allows them to share their knowledge and to research ideas to create powerful new art works that inspire climate action. Call for applications from artists and scientists.

Organisation: Track Zero
Closing date: 4 October 2019
Sir Hugh Kawharu Scholarship for Innovation in Science — Call for applications
This is a $10,000 scholarship supporting and encouraging Master’s level study by Māori in the sciences. 

Organisation: Royal Society Te Apārangi
Closing date: Extended to 7 October 

Raewyn Good Study Award - call for applications

Study award of $6,000 for Māori and Pasifika postgraduate student undertaking a Master’s degree which involves social sciences research.

Organisation: Royal Society Te Apārangi
Closing date: 2 September 

Use Biodiversity HiveMind to have your say on protecting and restoring biodiversity

Biodiversity HiveMind is one way for you to take part in the DOC-led public consultation on proposals for a new Biodiversity Strategy for Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Organisation: DOC, SCOOP, PEP

Ngā hui Conferences

31 October / Wellington
Whole Genome Sequencing in Public Health and Food Safety Practice - the 21st century is now!
This conference is your opportunity to hear from experts in industry, academia and government to discuss the status and current developments in Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) and Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) in New Zealand, Australia and the USA.
4-14 December / Queenstown
Southern Hemisphere Conference on Permafrost
For the first time, the International Permafrost Association Regional Conference on Permafrost is coming to New Zealand.

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
11 Turnbull Street, Thorndon,
Wellington 6011
Aotearoa New Zealand.

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+64 4 472 7421 

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