Kia ora from Royal Society Te Apārangi | Issue #1060

Calls for overhaul of gene-technology regulations and wide public discussion

An expert panel set up by Royal Society Te Apārangi to consider the implications of new technologies that allow much more controlled and precise ‘editing’ of genes has concluded it’s time for an overhaul of the regulations, and that there’s an urgent need for wide discussion and debate about gene editing within and across all New Zealand communities.

A suite of publications including a paper examining the current legal and regulatory framework and some reflections from the panel co-chairs has been published.

Read more

New special issue on lake resilience

A new special issue of the New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research explores the mechanisms that might allow lake ecosystems to be resilient in the face of environmental pressures.

Read more >

Video: Logic, Maths and Modern Society

A video is now available of the 2019 NZ Rutherford Lecture, where Professor Rod Downey FRSNZ, winner of the 2018 Rutherford Medal, explains that we are living in the most mathematical age of all times thanks to computers and why logic matters.

Watch video

He pitopito kōrero News bulletin

New Zealand's gene editing laws need an overhaul, country's top scientific body says
Professor Peter Dearden, from Royal Society Te Apārangi's gene editing expert panel, went on TVNZ's Q+A to explain why the gene technology regulations are out of date and why there is an urgent need for wide discussion and debate.
Heads up on intelligence
Artificial intelligence is transforming life in New Zealand more quickly than many realise, states a new report from Royal Society Te Apārangi. The urgent task is to ensure it helps more than it harms.
Bruce Munro @Otago Daily Times
Bacterial test could cut stomach cancer rates, Kiwi research finds
A new study published in the Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand reports that treating a bacteria that commonly causes stomach ulcers may reduce the burdens of cancer. University of Otago researchers are recommending a programme to test for Helicobacter pylori.
Move over, mega parrot: Monster NZ penguin discovered
Move over, mega parrot: scientists have just revealed that a giant species of penguin – about 1.6m tall – once lived in New Zealand.
Jamie Morton @NZ Herald
Risky decisions and gambling addiction
Electronic gambling machines, or the pokies, are very addictive for some people. Sonia Sly meets University of Auckland student Retina Rimal, who is investigating why pokies are so addictive.
Sonia Sly @RNZ Our Changing World

Ngā take o te wā Events

20 August, Hamilton
Fire and Ice: Life in Extreme Environments
Antarctica's extreme environments were previously thought to be devoid of life. However, they are in fact home to a huge variety of microbial life, as Professor Ian McDonald will explain.
20 August, Palmerston North
Water, Water Everywhere! The challenge for flood protection in the Manawatū
Jon Bell leads the Investigations and Design team at Horizons Regional Council. He will discuss the challenges of flood protection in the region. Branch event.
17 September, Nelson
76th Thomas Cawthron Memorial Lecture
This year's memorial lecture will be delivered by Professor Gideon Henderson FRS, from the Earth Sciences Department of Oxford University. His work centres around climate studies and the carbon cycle.
4 September, Nelson
The MacDiarmid Institute's 2019 Regional Innovation Showcase
This year's theme for the showcase is  “NZ Innovation for Sustainability”. Speakers will discuss how materials science can offer a greener future for our planet and will look at topics such as our zero carbon future and a renewable economy.
August-October, various venues
Our Water Landscape Event Series
The Sustainability Society is holding a series of webinars, workshops and waterway urban walks as part of its 'Our Water Landscape Series'.
9 September, Wellington
Cafe Scientifique: Genetic modification and gene editing for invasive wasp control
New Zealand has a major wasp problem. What should we do about them? Join Phil Lester to discuss the potential of new gene editing technologies for wasp and pest control.

Ngā whiwhinga Opportunities

Reducing harm from waste with product stewardship
New Zealand has one of the highest rates of household waste production per capita in the OECD. The Government is proposing having regulated product stewardship for six priority products and is running a consultation to determine which products are included. 

Organisation: Ministry for the Environment
Closing date: 4 October.
Call for nominations for Auckland Museum Medals 2019
The Museum’s Trust Board is inviting nominations for the awards, which recognise individuals who have given exceptional service to the Museum or added value to its interests. Nominations with statements of support (max. 250 words) should be sent to Auckland Museum Trust Board Secretary.

Organisation: Auckland Museum Trust Board
Closing date: 2 September.
Submissions now open for 2020 Ockham Book Awards
These prestigious awards recognise and reward the best books for adult readers published annually. Titles with release dates between 1 January and 31 December 2019 will be considered for the 2020 awards.

Organisation: NZ Book Awards Trust
Closing date: 9 September or 23 October depending on publishing date.
Bioinformatician and Virology positions
The Ministry for Primary Industries has two openings in Auckland: Bioinformatician (36-month fixed term) and Team Manager Virology Plant Health and Environment Laboratory (permanent).

Organisation: Ministry for Primary Industries
Closing date: 22 August and 30 August.
Principal Scientist
The Ministry for the Environment has an opening for a Principal Scientist. 

Organisation: Ministry for the Environment
Closing date: 3 September
DiscoveryCamp Te Tohu Huraina
DiscoveryCamp is a full week of residential lab experience with top scientists, completing hands-on investigations into a range of topics including electron microscopy, laser physics and nano-electronics, for current Year 12 and 13 Māori and Pasifika students with a passion for the sciences.

Organisation:The MacDiarmid Institute
Closing date:  26 August (for applications)
NanoCamp is a full week of residential lab experience with top scientists, completing hands-on investigations into a range of topics including electron microscopy, laser physics and nano-electronics.

Organisation: The MacDiarmid Institute
Closing date: 26 August (for applications)

Ngā hui Conferences

16-18 September / Queenstown
24th International Clean Air & Environment Conference
The theme 'Air Quality and the Built Environment', addresses all aspects of air quality, including regulation, emerging technologies, environmental challenges in urban environments, health impacts and the growing social awareness of air quality as an everyday concern.
27-28 November / Auckland
Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation: Assessing the Impacts
The two-day conference takes a wide view of the potential impacts of climate change adaptation and mitigation in New Zealand and the Pacific.
1-4 December / Geelong, Australia
AFSS-NZFSS Joint Conference 2019
Joint conference being held by the New Zealand Freshwater Sciences Society and the Australian Freshwater Sciences Society.
18-23 October 2020 / Christchurch
International Wetlands Conference

The Christchurch / Ōtautahi INTECOL Wetlands Conference Organising Committee is honoured to host the 11th INTECOL International Wetlands Conference (IWC) in October 2020. 

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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