Kia ora from Royal Society Te Apārangi | Issue #1118

2020 Research Honours Aotearoa winners announced in Tāmaki-makau-rau

The final six Research Honours Aotearoa 2020 awards were announced yesterday evening in Tāmaki-makau-rau Auckland:

The Cooper Award, was presented to Dr Mallory Crookenden, AgResearch, for her mahi on supporting immune function to improve animal health.

The 2020 Early Career Research Excellence Award for Social Sciences went to Dr David Moreau, University of Auckland, whose research shows the benefits of high-intensity exercise for the brain, including benefits for alleviating neurological diseases.

The Hector Medal, was awarded to Professor Eamonn O’Brien, University of Auckland, for his world-leading contributions to the mathematical theory of groups.

The Early Career Research Excellence Award for Humanities was awarded to Associate Professor Ngarino Ellis, University of Auckland, for her outstanding work on Indigenous art history in Aotearoa.

The Callaghan Medal, was presented to Professor Rangi Mātāmua, University of Waikato, for his outstanding mahi in engaging the public in the interface between western science and mātauranga Māori.

Finally, the Pickering Medal, has gone to Rocket Lab’s research and development team, led by Peter Beck, whose work has allowed Rocket Lab to become the world’s leading dedicated-launch-provider for small satellites.

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Announcing the winners of the 180 Seconds of Fascination video competition

Congratulations to the five winning teams and individuals who have showcased their work as early career researchers in Aotearoa in 3-minute videos:
  • Kaiarataki Achiever Award (professional), Anna Walsh of BRANZ
  • Kaiarataki Achiever Award (non-professional), Subin Jeon of Plant & Food Research
  • Te Ao Māori Award, Wanda Ieremia-Allan and Ammon Apiata from the University of Waikato
  • Moana Oceania Award, Emma Powell of Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington
  • People's Choice Award, Fahimi Ali of Weltec

Watch the videos and learn more about the winners >

Dr Siouxsie Wiles supreme winner at Stuff-Westpac 2020 Women of Influence Awards

Microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles MNZM, a Royal Society Te Apārangi council member, was recognised for her accessible and evidence-led commentary about staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, which helped ease the nation’s anxiety and became the basis for World Health Organisation communications tools. Siouxsie was also awarded the science and health innovation award.

Read more >

The forgotten glaciers of Te Ika-a-Maui

A new paper in the New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics by Shaun Eaves from Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington and Martin Brook from the University of Auckland outlines advances in our understanding of past and present glacier change in the Te Ika-a-Maui North Island.

Read more >

He pitopito kōrero News bulletin

Restoring indigenous names in biological species
AUT's Professor Len Gillman and Dr Shane Wright believe now is the time to restore indigenous titles to biological plant and animal species.
@RNZ Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan
Canterbury research could save thousands of lives as COVID-19 resurges globally
University of Canterbury researchers have led the creation of a small, plastic device that can be hooked to a ventilator to allow two patients to breathe from the machine at once.
Jonny Edwards @Stuff
The Kākāpō wins Te Manu Rongonui o Te Tau Bird of the Year
The critically endangered birds known for their curiosity and charisma have won BOTY for a second time. This makes them the only bird in the competition's history to score a repeat win. 
@RNZ Morning Report
Leadership in Antarctic drilling studies rewarded
Associate Professor Rob McKay has been awarded the 2020 Asahiko Taira Scientific Ocean Drilling Research Prize by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) for his contributions to Antarctic glacial history, especially through scientific ocean drilling.
@Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Ngā take o te wā Events

19-20 November, Online
TRANSMEET International Art & Science Live Festival
Leading scientists, artists and curators from around the globe will present their joint processes and the challenges of creating new knowledge and forging a new common language. This festival will include live performances, in-process research demonstrations, lectures, workshops, panels and more.
23 November, Christchurch
On shaky ground - the contribution of geoscience to disaster risk management in Aotearoa
Three earthquake hazard and disaster risk management experts - Professor Andy Nicol, Dr Jo Horrocks and Dr Marion Schoenfeld - will explore what New Zealand has learnt from past earthquakes through the broad lens of geosciences.
23 November, Dunedin
Wildlife conservation - bridging science and practice
In this inaugural professorial lecture, Professor Bruce Robertson will discuss his research on conservation genetics and wildlife management. Bruce is currently leading a Marsden-funded project exploring the genomic architecture of hatching failure in endangered birds (kākāpō and Hawaiian crow), continuing his long-term involvement with the genetic management of kākāpō. 
24 November, Auckland
Genes, brains and neurodiversity - a lifespan perspective
What's up with dyslexia and ADHD? Is there a migraine personality? Does learning a second language change the brain? In this inaugural professorial lecture, Professor Karen Waldie will discuss her research in neurodevelopmental disorders, problem behaviour and depression while attempting to answer some of the big questions in the area of developmental cognitive neuroscience.
26 November, Dunedin
Antarctic Exploration of Antarctica
In this Hocken Lunchtime Talk, Dr Bryan Lintott will review the early history of Antarctic radio echo sounding (RES) and how the Scott Polar Research Institute at the University of Cambridge recently examined the institute's 1967-83 RES project.
1 December, Online
Human Frontier Science Program Roadshow
Hosted by Royal Society Te Apārangi and suported by Professor Vic Arcus, this virtual roadshow will outline HFSP funding opportunities, the application process, timeline, the type of projects in scope for HFSP support, and advice on what makes a great application. Register now to access the Zoom login details for the event.

Ngā whiwhinga Opportunities

Kaitohutohu Pūtaiao Special Advisor position available at Royal Society Te Apārangi

This position involves providing advice to the International Science Council’s Committee on Freedom and Responsibility in Science (CFRS). Your advice will be based on research and analysis of individual scientific freedom cases, generic or systemic limitations to scientific freedom, and global approaches to ethical and other responsibilities in doing science.

Organisation: Royal Society Te Apārangi
Closing date: 20 November 2020
Apply for the 2021 MAB Young Scientists Awards

These awards (up to US$5,000) support young researchers in their studies on ecosystems, natural resources and biodiversity, with the aim of supporting a new generation of scientists worldwide. Priority is given to projects carried out in biosphere reserves.

Applicants need to seek endorsement by the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO by emailing

Organisation: UNESCO
Closing date: 21 January 2021
Ngā Kaiarotake Rangahau Research Assessor positions available at Royal Society Te Apārangi

This position will involve providing support for, and operation of, monitoring, reporting and evaluation systems for research projects which have been assigned funding by Royal Society Te Apārangi. 

The Research Funding team works collectively and has the responsibility to cover a broad range of disciplines in social sciences, mātauranga, science, humanities and technology.

Organisation: Royal Society Te Apārangi
Closing date: 30 November 2020

Wānanga Ipurangi Webinars

24 November - 4 December
SCANZ Conference 2020: Beyond COVID-19
This conference features presenters Siouxsie Wiles and Toby Morris, who will share how they created their highly effective COVID-19 infographics. It also features Peter-Lucas Jones, the creator of Te Pūtahi iwi radio pilot programme, who will discuss Māori-led science communication.
The Human Right to Science
In celebration of World Science Day for Peace and Development, this webinar (hosted on 10 November) explored the need for evidence-based policies framed around the Right to Science. A recording of the livestream has been made available on YouTube.

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
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