Thursday, 16 February: 1931 Earthquake Commemorative Lecture: Liquefaction – What is it, why it matters and what we can do about it

Rick Wentz: Geotechnical Engineer

Date: 5.30pm Thursday, 16 February 2023

Venue: The National Aquarium of New Zealand – 546 Marine Parade, Napier

Admission: Gold coin donation

This is the commemorative lecture for 1931 Hawke’s Bay Earthquake, also known as the Napier earthquake, which occurred at 10:47am on 3 February 1931, killing 256, injuring thousands and devastating the Hawke’s Bay region.

This year Rick Wentz is invited to give a lecture on liquefaction. The focus of this lecture will be to define liquefaction, describe the cause and the conditions under which it typically occurs, and to highlight its potential impacts on the built environment. Also discussed will be some things that individuals and communities can consider doing to reduce the impacts of liquefaction on homes and infrastructure.

Mr Wentz grew up in Northern California and completed his MS in Civil Engineering at the University of California – Berkeley where he got to experience the 1989 magnitude 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake first hand. He has been a practising geotechnical engineer for 30 years and has worked on a range of projects from residential subdivisions to nuclear power plants in the U.S., South America and New Zealand. He spent several years working in the corporate world before starting his own consultancy in Northern California in 2005. His career focus has been geotechnical earthquake engineering including design, forensic investigation of post-event ground and foundation performance, project / peer review, and applied research. Mr. Wentz came to New Zealand “for 1 year” in 2011 to work in the Christchurch Rebuild and recently celebrated his 10th anniversary of living and working here. Notable NZ projects include serving as an expert on the Government-appointed panel that investigated the performance of the Wellington Statistics House during the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake, and helping to develop the MBIE document Planning and engineering guidance for potentially liquefaction-prone land. When not pondering liquefaction and other geotechnical issues, Mr Wentz enjoys flyfishing, cycling and tramping with the family.

Thursday, 26 January, 2023: The Future of Regenerative Farming – practical experiences at Mangarara, Hawke’s Bay

Greg Hart, owner of Mangarara Farm and Eco Lodge

Date: 6PM, Thursday, 26 January, 2023

Venue: Lecture Theatre 1, EIT Taradale, Napier

Admission: Gold coin donation

source: Mangarara, The Family Farm & Eco Lodge

Regenerative Agriculture (RA) is an ecological model that aims to correct perceived failings in our current systems of agriculture. The RA movement acknowledges that farmers can mitigate or reverse the negative impacts of the way that animals and plants are currently raised and grown for food production but suggests that they can benefit themselves at the same time. RA is touted as a part of the solution to reverse climate change, biodiversity loss and declining water quality, whilst improving the wellbeing of rural and farming communities and the quality of the food produced.

However, there is a lack of clarity about what RA actually is, scepticism about its claimed benefits, and uncertainty whether or not it is relevant to New Zealand farmers and agricultural production.

In this lecture, Greg Hart will talk about his practical experience of applying regenerative agriculture at Mangarara, how to provide a stable financial platform for the continued restoration of the ecosystem, and innovating regenerative farming practices.

Greg Hart has made the switch from a traditional sheep station with typically 3,000 ewes to a diverse stock of approximately 1000 ewes, 500-1,500 lambs, 20-40 dairy cows, 60-100 Berkshire pigs, 150 Angus heifers and 100-200 other cattle. Meat is sold both locally and in Auckland. Over 100,000 trees have been planted and the quality of the soil is actively monitored and managed.

At the end of this lecture, you will have an idea about how a diverse and integrated farm can maintain the balance between ecosystem restoration and the production of healthy, nutritious food.

Tuesday, 6 December: Join us for drinks and nibbles accompanied by a talk on wine science

Places are limited to 60 people. To secure your place, please email:, to which we will respond with a confirmation giving payment details

Deficit irrigation as a way to modulate Syrah quality parameters: Does less water make better wine?

Dr Chandré Honeth: Viticulture and Wine Science Lecturer

Date: 6:15pm, Tuesday, 6 December

Venue: A101, Eastern Institute of Technology, Taradale

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Syrah is of specific economic interest to the Hawkes Bay wine industry. However, investigation into the production of Syrah has highlighted specific problems faced by producers in terms of ripening and quality. Imposing water stress during berry ripening has become a routine strategy for the modulation of grape berry composition and wine characteristics but responses of Syrah to deficit irrigation have been variable. Syrah is anisohydric in nature and therefore typically keeps its stomata open during soil drying, thus maintaining its growth and photosynthetic rate even in deteriorating conditions. This makes deficit irrigation management more challenging as a fine line exists between moderate stress which elicits positive fruit attributes and severe stress which leads to defoliation and a reduction in photosynthesis.

To have a better understanding of how Syrah vines respond to soil drying, and how best to schedule irrigation for optimising quality would benefit all growers in the Hawke’s Bay region in terms of both conserving increasingly scarce water resources and improving fruit quality for winemaking. Two Syrah vineyards, one in the Gimblett Gravels and one in the Bridge Pa Triangle sub-region were selected and monitored during the 2020 and 2021 season.

Dr Honeth will talk about the results from this trial and also give further insights into using deficit irrigation as a tool for improving quality parameters in Syrah in Hawkes Bay. She received her PhD from the University of Stellenbosch (South Africa) where she investigated the influence of UVB radiation on berry metabolites in Sauvignon Blanc grapes, and she is currently a lecturer and researcher in Viticulture at the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology.

Monday, 28 November: To Industry and Beyond, the 2022 regional lecture from the MacDiarmid Institute

Dr Laura Domigan and Prof Aaron Marshall: Principal Investigators of the MacDiarmid Institute

Date: 6pm, Monday, 28 November 2022

Venue: Lecture Theatre 1, Eastern Institute of Technology, Taradale

If you had joined this lecture, could you please complete a 5min survey to help us understand what do you think about this lecture? Please send your survey to, we are appreciate for your help and support.

How do you go from a Research Lab to a new start-up company? The topic for this year’s MacDiarmid Institute Regional Lecture Series is ‘To Industry and Beyond’, which focuses on pathways from science to industry.

Aaron Marshall and Laura Domigan will give a talk about the way that materials science spins into the hi-tech sector, as well as show careers for science students outside of the traditional university pathways. They will also talk about the role of technology in sustainability and how they are trying to encourage greater participation by young people in science and science-led careers.

Professor Aaron Marshall is a Professor in Chemical and Process Engineering at the University of Canterbury and a Principal Investigator in the MacDiarmid Institute. He is also Co-Founder and CTO of Zincovery, an award-winning start-up company that recycles the zinc from industrial waste.

Dr Laura Domigan is a Lecturer at the University of Auckland, a Principal Investigator in the MacDiarmid Institute and also sits on the MBIE Science Board. Laura’s current research involves creating biomaterials derived from natural polymers strong enough to replace or repair elements of the eye.

Spring event: wine production and wine tasting at Villa Maria

Date: 2pm, 11 November

Venue: 2375 State Highway 50 Flaxmere, Roys Hill

Cost: No charge for Royal Society Members

Maximum of 20 people; for this reason, members only

To secure your place, please email:

Gordon Russell, Esk Valley Winemaker.

Villa Maria will host a group from the Hawke’s Bay Branch of the Royal Society, showing the wine production process and explaining the special taste characteristics of local wines. The tasting will be led by the chief winemaker at Esk Valley wines, Gordon Russell.

Tour visit including:

  • An introduction to winemaking
  • A tasting of wine from tank, barrel and bottle, hosted by Gordon Russell
  • A fun and interesting time

Tuesday, 25 October: From Mihoutao to Kiwifruit

Ross Ferguson: Honorary Fellow, Plant & Food Research, Auckland

Date: 6pm, Tuesday, 25 October 2022

Venue: Lecture Theatre 1, Eastern Institute of Technology, Taradale

Admission: Gold coin donation

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Kiwifruit have been a cultivated crop for less than a century in New Zealand and have successfully become a well known fruit by consumers all over the world.

Kiwifruit originally come from China, where they are known as Mihoutao. The kiwifruit of commerce are large fruited selections of Actinidia chinensis var. chinensis (yellow and red fruit flesh) and A. chinensis var. deliciosa (green fruit flesh). The two varieties of A. chinensis differ in the place and timing of their initial domestication. Their domestication resulted from multiple selections from wild germplasm in the case of A. chinensis var. chinensis and from a single introduction of wild germplasm of A. chinensis var. deliciosa to New Zealand.

Ross Ferguson will tell you how, from an introduced plant, kiwifruit became an important commercial New Zealand fruit crop.

Ross Ferguson has been at the Mt Albert Research Centre, Auckland for more than 50 years, working on kiwifruit breeding and improvement. A new male kiwifruit cultivar , ‘Ferguson’, has been named for him and was released in 2019.

He was appointed Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the New Zealand kiwifruit industry in 2007. Ross has published more than 40 reviews on various aspects of kiwifruit biology.

Thursday, 8 September: Towards carbon neutral fruit production

Jim Walker: Principal Scientist at Plant & Food Research

Date: 6pm, Thursday, 8 September 2022

Venue: Lecture Theatre 1, Eastern Institute of Technology, Taradale

Admission: Gold coin donation

As global leaders in sustainable production systems, the New Zealand fruit sector must continue to innovate to reduce both agrichemical inputs and CO2 emissions. Regulatory, consumer and environmental concerns over pesticide use are continual challenges for both the agrichemical industry and our apple sector. The pipeline for pesticide development has become more complex, reducing the frequency of new active ingredient availability. Adding to this challenge is the on-going loss of existing agrichemicals and increasingly trade-restrictive phytosanitary measures. Now export markets have signalled the need for our fruit sector to reduce their CO2 emissions with the challenge of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

Is this achievable or an unrealistic pipedream? Issues and options for the future of New Zealand’s export fruit production will be presented in this lecture.

Dr Jim Walker is a scientist with Plant and Food Research (Hawke’s Bay) who is well known for his role in the development and implementation of the Integrated Fruit Production programme, an approach to pest management that has become a cornerstone of New Zealand’s apple export programme. He has led a team that has helped apple growers adopt practices that has greatly decreased pesticide use and residues. This programme prioritised greater use of biological control and non-chemical methods and has contributed to a 90% reduction in the quantity of insecticide used in New Zealand apple production today.

Tuesday, 4 October: Geoscience NZ Hochstetter Lecture: The shear zones that hold back the icesheets

David Prior: Professor of Geology, University of Otago

Date: 6pm, Tuesday, 4 October 2022

Venue: Lecture Theatre 1, Eastern Institute of Technology, Taradale

Admission: Gold coin donation

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In this talk, David will showcase the lateral thinking of using geophysical and geological methods to study the physics of ice, which is also highly relevant to our society as it informs ice sheet modelling and predictions for a warmer world.

This work will appeal to both professional scientists and the general public. It will include some entertaining examples of field work in Antarctica, the vital participation of students, and the need for scientific teamwork.

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The research interests of David Prior include understanding the material processes that control the behaviour of crystalline materials (including rocks, industrial ceramics, metals, and ice), as well as the large-scale tectonic and thermo-chemical processes that control the evolution of the Earth’s interior.

Thursday 11 August: The state and health of Hawke’s Bay’s environment – Hawke’s Bay Regional Council

Environmental Science team: Hawke’s Bay Regional Council

Date: Thursday 11 August, 6pm-7pm

Venue: Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chamber (159 Dalton Street Napier)

Our environment is our precious taonga. It underpins all the values that we hold for our health, our wellbeing, and our physical and spiritual needs. To ensure that these resources stay healthy for years to come, we need to understand the current health of land, rivers, lakes, and beaches – and how climate change and human use will affect them in the future.

Source from: HBRC

The science of our natural resources underpins how people manage them moving forward, in a way that ensures that the resources are still healthy and functioning for generations to come.

The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (HBRC) has a team of technical and analytical specialists who collect environmental information. Over twenty scientists from the environmental science team of the HBRC have used this information to gain important insights into the health of the natural environment and the processes driving changes in these systems in Hawke’s Bay.

This presentation will introduce the findings from three-yearly check-in environment reports about the condition of waters, land, air, and coast that support the unique and valuable biodiversity in the Hawke’s Bay region. In addition, this talk will highlight where things are going well and where things may need more support.

More information is available on Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, and to download the full report of State of the Environment Three Yearly Reports, please click here.

Friday, 15 July: Matariki presentation at the Planetarium

Gary Sparks: Planetarium Director

Date: Friday 15 July at 6pm – 7.30pm

Venue: Hawke’s Bay Holt Planetarium, Chambers Streets

Cost: $15/person for the RSNZ and $20/person for non-members

Maximum number: 30

Light refreshments will be served afterwards. BYO beer and wine.

Using all the facilities of the Holt Planetarium, join Planetarium Director Gary Sparks on an exploration of the science, the cultural significance and the international celebration that is Matariki.

For more events organized by the Planetarium, click here.