Author Archives: Antony Steiner

Thu 9 May 2019: Reflections of New Zealand in New Zealand children’s picture books

Thursday 9 May at 6pm

EIT Taradale, Lecture Theatre 2

Dr Nicola Daly

Te Kura Toi Tangata, Division of Education, University of Waikato

Admission: Gold coin donation

Children’s literature tells us a lot about the culture and society in which we live; our values and beliefs. Nicola’s research examines linguistic diversity and the importance of children seeing themselves in the books that they read, enabling children both a view into other people’s worlds (windows), and to see their own reflection (mirrors). When you are part of a small country or a minority culture, your opportunities for windows often outstrip your opportunities for mirrors.

Nicola will describe the process of putting together a set of 22 picture books that reflect New Zealand national identity, and describe what characteristics were reflected in the books. She will also share her more recent research concerning the use of languages in the increasing number of New Zealand bilingual picturebooks, and reflect on what this tells us about language attitudes in Aotearoa.

Nicola Daly is a senior lecturer at the University of Waikato where she teaches courses in children’s literature and additional language learning. She majored in Japanese and linguistics in her undergraduate degrees and completed her PhD in Human Communication Sciences at La Trobe University in 1998. She has received numerous international research fellowships including, most recently, a Fulbright Scholarship to work with World of Wordsat the University of Arizona, a collection of around 30,000 volumes of children’s literature focusing on world cultures and indigenous peoples. She is co-director of the Waikato Picturebook Research Unit, which presents an annual picture book seminar.

Tue 21 May 2019: The Urgent Transition to Minimise Climate Disruption – An Engineer’s take on the Science, Politics and Economic Solution

Tuesday 21 May 2019 at 6pm

EIT Taradale, Lecture Theatre 1

Geoff Henderson
Founder and Managing Director, Windflow Technology

Admission by Gold coin donation

It is a truism to state that the sun powers the Earth’s biosphere, has done for billions of years, and will do for billions to come.  And that our civilisation has developed in the last 5,000 years, but now has an existential dilemma due to the way we harness the sun’s energy and have inadvertently been trapping too much of it.

Four paradigm shifts about energy have been slowly unfolding since the 1970s:

  • Fossil solar energy needs to transition to sustainable solar energy
  • Excess solar energy is being trapped by the products of burning fossil solar energy causing “global warming”
  • That warming is causing temperature rise (and in turn more energetic weather events), but also sea-level rise which may be more of a threat to civilisation
  • The abundance of solar energy means that the problem of (and hence solution to) global warming is more economic than technical.

This paper presents some simple numbers which underpin these shifts. However the process remains slow because of societal inertia.  A sustainable solar energy future will arrive, but the transition could be tempestuous and diluvian for human civilisation unless collective decisions manage to effect a rapid, peaceful transition.  The are some signs of hope that Generation X and the Millennials will act with more urgency than the Baby-Boomers have to date.

Geoff Henderson is the founding director and currently the Managing Director of Windflow Technology Ltd which, since 2001, has raised $150 million to build 106 mid-size (500 kW) New Zealand-made wind turbines in NZ and Scotland. He has been involved in wind power engineering since 1984, including seven years in California and England working at the forefront of wind power technology.

Thur 4 April 2019: Development of natural fibre composites for a more sustainable future

Thursday 4 April 2019 at 6pm

Professor Kim Pickering

School of Engineering, University of Waikato

EIT Taradale, Lecture Theatre 2

Admission: Gold coin donation

Composite materials commonly contain glass fibre with a matrix, and are used in a wide range of products such as bath tubs, shower cubicles, skateboards, surfboards, furniture and even bridges, as they can be very strong and stiff. However, these materials require a high input of energy to create and they are not recyclable or biodegradable. Professor Pickering will present some of her work on high performance composites from more sustainable materials.

Kim received her PhD in composite materials in 1993 from the University of Surrey, following on from her first degree from Imperial College, University of London and industrial work in the electronic materials sector (Plessey UK). She moved to NZ shortly after, where she formed and heads the Composites Research Group in the Engineering School of the University of Waikato.

Her work involves understanding the failure mechanisms of materials to enable improvement of their performance. She has researched extracting and using the fibres from hemp, wood and harakeke (New Zealand flax), to make strong and lightweight composite materials. She has also developed bio-derived plastic matrix materials to enable production of fully bio-derived composites, along with bio-processing technology for their improvement.

In recognition of her research, Kim was elected as a Fellow of Engineering New Zealand and is a Kudos Award recipient. In 2017 she was awarded the Scott Medal by the Royal Society Te Apārangi, for development of composite materials that are more sustainable.

19 Mar 2019: Lead in Our Home and Garden – Personal and National Effects

Tuesday 19 March 2019 at 6.00pm

Ben Keet, MBA, FRSC, Senior Environmental Auditor

 Lecture Theatre 1, EIT, Gloucester Street, Taradale

Admission: Gold coin donation

The New Zealand government wants its citizens to be healthier and more productive. The Healthy Homes Initiative and the National Environmental Standard for Assessing and Managing Contaminants in Soil to Protect Human Health should take care of most threats to our national health one would say. However, both overlook the large grey elephant in the room: lead. Our older housing stock, approximately 250,000 according to Statistics New Zealand, has high levels of lead in and around the house.

While lead’s toxicity was recognised and recorded as early as 2000 BC, efforts to limit lead’s use date back to the 16th century. First evidence on the impact of lead exposure at low levels began to emerge only in the 1970s.Recently, it’s been determined that there can be no safe threshold for lead exposure.

But what does low-level lead exposure mean for Kiwis and the economy of New Zealand? How are we to know if lead is a problem in our homes? And, finally, what is the possible long-term solution to the low-level lead poisoning on the New Zealand economy?

 

Ben Keet, a certified contaminated land specialist and environmental scientist with over 30 years of international experience in the management of contaminated land, has extensively studied lead poisoning and its impact on humans and the national economy of New Zealand as part of his MBA thesis. He has researched the way lead particles behave in homes and the surrounding environment.

5 Mar 2019 Ocean detectives – tracking plastics in our marine environment

Tuesday 5 March 2019 at 7pm

National Aquarium Marine Parade Napier

Heni Unwin and Ross Vennell, Cawthron Institute

Over/under split photo of a plastic bag floating on the surface of a coral lagoon

Plastic waste is a global problem and is destroying marine environments. Plastic that is dumped in the sea or ends up in the ocean can accumulate on beaches or be transported many kilometres by ocean currents.

Scientists from the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge are developing a new digital tool to track how ocean currents transport plastics.    Using modelling data for Cook Strait and Tasman-Golden Bays, they have produced an interactive tool which allows users to “drop” a piece of virtual plastic into the ocean and watch where the ocean currents take it. This tool could eventually help to manage the impact of plastics in our marine environment. It can also be used as a teaching resource for students studying marine pollution.

In this Royal Society Lecture, Heni Unwin and Ross Vennell from Cawthron will give a demo of the plastic tracking tool and talk about the ocean modelling data that drives it.

 

26 Feb 2019 Dancing with Atoms – a film by Shirley Horrocks

Tuesday 26 February 2019 at 6pm

EIT Lecture Theatre 1

Admission by Gold coin donation

Sir Paul Callaghan was a great scientist who was honoured internationally but also became a famous local figure through his talks about science with Kim Hill, his work for the environment, his links with writers and artists, and his great campaign to make New Zealand ‘A place where talent wants to live.’

In this film director Shirley Horrocks focuses on the microscopic world that so entranced Sir Paul. He became a world expert on magnetic resonance, like a choreographer able to direct the dance of atoms. The film includes a beautifully composed mosaic of memories and anecdotes by his brother Jim, friends, students, colleagues, scientists and artists, eager to record his unique personality and vision.

See a trailer here: https://www.nziff.co.nz/2018/film/paul-callaghan-dancing-with-atoms/

This film has been funded by the MacDiarmid Institute, Callaghan Innovation, Massey University, Kiwibank, Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, Royal Society Te Aparangi, University of Auckland, Victoria University of Wellington, University of Otago, AUT, Waikato University and University of Canterbury.

102 minutes

13 Feb 2019 1931 Earthquake Commemorative lecture: Shaky Times – The Christchurch earthquakes and all that followed

Wednesday 13 February at 5.30pm

National Aquarium, Marine Parade, Napier

Associate Professor Caroline Bell

Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Canterbury
Clinical Head of the Anxiety Disorders Service, Canterbury District Health Board.

Gold coin admission

Over an 18 month period between 2010 and 2011 there were 4 major earthquakes and over 12,000 aftershocks in Christchurch, New Zealand. This resulted in 185 deaths and huge damage to the city.  There were also widespread secondary stressors including complex economic and practical consequences which compounded the difficulties of many.

As a result some people developed mental health disorders, some reported subsyndromal problems, some post-traumatic growth but most just soldiered on. This highlights the enigma of understanding why some people develop PTSD after exposure to a traumatic life event while others, exposed to the same experiences, do not.

From her experience as a psychiatrist dealing with the spectrum of responses over this period, Dr Bell will discuss the psychological impact of the Christchurch earthquakes. This includes how people were affected, the phases of what was seen, what was helpful and the challenges of working in a chaotic, post-disaster environment.

Since the Canterbury earthquakes Caroline has been the clinical lead of a specialist mental health service set up to treat people with post traumatic earthquake related distress. She has been studying the psychological and neurobiological effects of the earthquakes in both people presenting with significant earthquake related distress and those identifying as resilient.

Caroline Bell EQ slides 2019

30 Jan 2019 The Story of Polio: the disease, vaccines and hopes for eradication

Wednesday 30 January 2019 at 7.00pm

Holt’s Planetarium, NBHS, Chambers Street, Napier

Michelle Tanner

Rotary District Polio Chair
Projects Facilitator,
Immunisation Advisory Centre

Admission: Gold coin donation

This year marks the fortieth anniversary of Rotary’s first project to vaccinate children against Polio, and the dream of a polio-free world has motivated their work ever since. They became the driving force behind the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, the biggest public health initiative the world has ever seen. Today, rates of polio have been reduced by 99.9% and the disease remains endemic in only two countries. The last case of polio the world will ever see seems imminent.

Come and listen to the story of polio: the disease, its vaccines and how close we are to eradication, from immunisation expert nurse and Rotarian, Michelle Tanner.

Michelle has nursed for over 40 years, initially in intensive care in South Africa and UK, then in child health. For the last 15 years, since immigrating to New Zealand, she has worked in various roles with the Immunisation Advisory Centre.

Michelle joined Rotary in 2008, plays a key role locally in polio eradication and has visited Pakistan twice undertaking a range of polio eradication activities.

She is the recipient of the NZ College of Primary Healthcare Nurses Tall Poppy Award and Rotary International’s Regional Service Above Self Award, both for services to polio eradication.

27 Nov 2018: Nano Girl is Back!

Whilst not a branch meeting of the Royal Society, we are happy to promote this event aimed at promoting an interest in science in young people. Last year’s shows were warmly received

Meridian Energy and Nanogirl Labs are proud to present Nanogirl Live! “Out of this World” – A Live Science Spectatular.

Following our last two sell-out tours, join Nanogirl, Boris (her trusty lab assistant), and CLAIR (Constantly Learning Artificial Intelligence Repository) for science and engineering as you have never seen them before. An action packed adventure with rockets, explosions and even a live tornado – come see science and engineering come to life in the coolest way possible, right before your eyes.

This international touring science show is suitable for the whole family. This brand new script features all-new experiments and all-new explosions – all inspired by New Zealand’s own space programme!

“Educational, Entertaining and Explosions!” – 5 Stars

For tickets and more information: Out of this World – Nano Girl