Category Archives: Past Events

Tectonics and genetics in topographic evolution

14 September at 7.30pm

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, corner of Dalton and Vautier Streets, Napier


Dave Craw

Professor, Geology Department, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

2017 Hochstetter Lecture

The landscape of New Zealand is spectacular in its expression of the active tectonic processes that occur along the Pacific-Australian plate boundary. However, it is difficult to determine the geological history of development of the onshore topography because previous configurations in the evolution of that topography have been eroded.

Some of the native fauna carry a biological memory of the topographic environments in which they evolved, in their genetic makeup (DNA). Native freshwater fish are the most useful for this type of study. In particular, the genus Galaxias has numerous freshwater-limited species and populations that have been isolated by changes in the river drainage pattern.

The South Island vividly displays the resultant biological diversity and co-evolution of topography and fish. The genetic variations of the fish can be used to document the nature and timing of river capture events and mountain range growth, especially since the Plio-Pleistocene but with some extensions into the Miocene. Hence, these biological tools provide some new insights into the development of the onshore landscape since the submergence or near- submergence of the NZ landmass in the Oligocene. The biological memory approach to understanding topographic evolution could be extended to all endemic NZ fauna and flora for which suitable distribution and genetic data are available.

Dave Craw is Professor of Economic Geology at the University of Otago where he has been on staff for 35 years. His main research interests are gold: exploration, mining and associated environmental issues, both placer and hard-rock. His particular interests in tectonic evolution of mountains and the gold within them led him to work on the biological effects of the rise of mountain ranges, the topic of the Hochstetter lecture.

Nanoscientists visit Hawke’s Bay

In August 2017, the Branch hosted a lecture by three nanoscientists from the MacDiarmid Institute, two of whom were available to visit a school in the afternoon before their lecture. Dr Catherine Whitby, a Senior Lecturer in  Chemistry at  Massey University, spoke to Year 11 and 13 students at Karamu High. Dr Gemma Cotton, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Otago, spoke to Year 9 and 10 students at Napier Girls High. They outlined what inspired them to be a scientist, what influenced their journey through university, how they chose their area of expertise, the research they are currently doing and its potential benefits. One of the teachers commented: “I think one of the greatest benefits to students is it brings real science to life for them.” Several teachers and students also attended the evening lecture at the National Aquarium, where the audience exceeded 60.

 

Women in Nanoscience

Little materials, big stories

Hawke’s Bay: 6pm Tuesday 29 August

The National Aquarium of NZ, Marine Parade, Napier

Come hear nanoscientists discuss their lives and work

These are personal stories, told by women scientists from the MacDiarmid Institute.
Each talk will take you on a tour of the realities of life as a scientist and the exciting
research in the MacDiarmid Institute – from Chemistry to Physics to Engineering to
Biology and beyond. These talks are suitable for all levels and ages.

Dr CATHERINE WHITBY
Dr Catherine Whitby is an Associate Investigator with the MacDiarmid Institute and Senior
Lecturer in Chemistry at Massey University. She uses nanomaterials to modify the chemistry of drop and bubble surfaces. Her findings have been applied in food and pharmaceutical products and in drilling fluids.

 

Prof MARGARET BRIMBLE
Distinguished Professor Margaret Brimble is an Associate Investigator in the MacDiarmid Institute and Professor of Organic and Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Auckland. Margaret’s research interests are in the area of new materials for vaccines and therapeutic agents.

 

 

Dr GEMMA COTTON
Dr Gemma Cotton is a post-doctoral researcher with the MacDiarmid Institute at the University of Otago. Her research interests include nanomaterials, biomimetic materials and the design of new dental materials.

 

The MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology is a New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence. www.macdiarmid.ac.nz

Groundwater quality: The Critical Role of Trees

Dr Kamini Singha
Associate Director of the Hydrologic Science and Engineering Program,
Colorado School of Mines

Date: 6.00pm Thursday 31 August 2017
Venue: Lecture Theatre 1, EIT, Gloucester Street, Taradale
Admission: Gold coin donation

Earth’s ‘critical zone’ is everything from the treetops to the bottom of aquifers. This zone provides water for human consumption and food production.

Human impacts and climate change affect water in the critical zone. The deep parts of the critical zone are hard to study.

Dr Singha explores some of these critical zone unknowns in this presentation, shedding light on key underground processes that affect water movement and availability. The links between evapotranspiration and underground water stores are examined, as well as 3D water movement over large areas, and the potential control of slope aspect on underground permeability.

The role of trees in the critical zone, and their connection to soil moisture, groundwater and stream flow, is explored through innovative imaging.

Dr Kamini Singha is on a 12 lecture tour of Australia and NZ, presenting The National Groundwater Association’s prestigious 2017 Charles Darcy Lecture in Groundwater Sciences.

Dr Singha is a professor in the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering and the Associate Director of the Hydrologic Science and Engineering Program at the Colorado School of Mines. She worked at the U.S. Geological Survey Branch of Geophysics from 1997 to 2000, and was a member of the faculty at The Pennsylvania State University from 2005 to 2012. She earned her B.Sc. in geophysics from the University of Connecticut in 1999 and her Ph.D. in hydrogeology from Stanford University in 2005.

Please direct any enquiries to hawkesbay.rsnz@gmail.com

Human health science to support new functional foods from fruit

Dr Roger Hurst
Principal Scientist, Plant & Food Research

Date: 6.00pm Tuesday 8 August 2017
Venue: Lecture Theatre 2, E.I.T. Gloucester Street, Taradale
Admission:   Gold coin donation

To secure a premium market position for a food, one of the most popular strategies is to claim an intrinsic human health-promoting ability.

Fruits in general have an inherent natural ‘health halo’, with some fruit often classed as ‘superfruits’ and/or ‘functional foods’, because they are rich sources of different bioactive substances that can provide human health benefits beyond just their nutritional content.

A lot of marketing emphasis has been placed on antioxidant activity of fruit compounds for health, but unfortunately this mode of action is not well supported by science. In recent years, other mechanisms are being revealed that can explain why fruits and their compounds are healthy.

Dr Roger Hurst leads a team of researchers focused upon providing health science evidence to support the development of new fruit food products. He will present on the team’s strategic targets, their multi-pronged approach to building the science evidence from chemistry, cell screening to human clinical studies, and will give insights into key data from various fruits, that is leading to the creation of new and improved fruit-derived functional food opportunities in NZ and Asia.

Dr Hurst has a biomedical health background through a career at the University of Toronto, Canada; the Babraham Institute, Cambridge, UK; and the Institute of Neurology, London, UK. Since joining Plant & Food Research (2007) he has developed an interest in phytochemical compounds and their role in modulating oxidative stress, inflammation, and immunity to aid tissue recovery and repair.

The World Ahead

Bridget Williams Books Winter Series

The World Ahead with Max Harris

Hastings Library, 6:30pm Thursday 10 August

Max Harris, author of The New Zealand Project, addresses key challenges for New Zealand, including climate change, the future of work and inequality. He encourages us to look ahead with hope and imagination – and to develop a new political vision based on the values of care, community and creativity.

Max Harris is currently an Examination Fellow at All Souls College in Oxford. He completed a Master of Public Policy and Bachelor of Civil Law at the University of Oxford while on a New Zealand Rhodes Scholarship from 2012–2014, and a Law/Arts conjoint degree (with Honours in Law) at the University of Auckland from 2006–2010.

Harris worked at the Supreme Court of New Zealand as a clerk for Chief Justice Elias in 2011–2012. He has also completed short stints of work at the South Australian Department of Premier and Cabinet (in early 2008, as a speechwriting intern), the law firm Russell McVeagh (in late 2008–2009), the Australian National University in Canberra (as a summer scholar, in late 2009–2010), the American Civil Liberties Union in New York (late 2010–2011), and Helen Clark’s Executive Office at the United Nations Development Programme (in July–August 2014).

Where and when

Auckland | Sunday 6 August 4-6pm. Golden Dawn, 134 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby, Auckland. All welcome, no rsvp needed. Chair tbc. Panelists: Emmy RāketeMax Harris and Anthony Byrt.

Auckland | Tuesday 8 August, 6pm. OGGB4 lecture theatre in the Owen G Glenn Building, University of Auckland. All welcome, no rsvp needed. In conversation with Kingi Snelgar. Chair: Carol Hirschfeld.

Gisborne | Wednesday 9 August, War Memorial Theatre, 159 Bright Street. 5.30pm. Tickets $5 from Muirs Bookshop and Café. In conversation with Mark Peters.

Hastings| Thursday 10 August, 6.15 doors open, 6.30 start time. Hastings Library, cnr Eastbourne and Warren Streets, Hastings. All welcome, no rsvp needed. Chair tbc.

Carterton | Sunday 13 August, 3.00pm. Carterton Events Center, 50 Holloway St, Carterton. All welcome, no rsvp needed. Chair: Charlotte Macdonald.

Nelson | Thursday 17 August, 5.30 for 6.00pm. Kush café, 5 Church St, Nelson. All welcome, no rsvp needed. Logos: core plus Volume and Kush. Chair: Stella Chrysostomos.

What do faults feel?

A free public lecture by earthquake scientist Professor John Townend

WHEN: 6pm, Monday 14 August
WHERE: The National Aquarium of New Zealand Marine Parade, Napier

Professor John Townend will speak about lessons learned from recent and anticipated New Zealand earthquakes – including last year’s Kaikoura quake, one of the most complex earthquakes ever recorded.

Professor Townend is a geophysicist and Head of the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington. He co-leads the Deep Fault Drilling Project and is a Director of the Seismological Society of America. He is also Director of the EQC Programme in Seismology and Fault Mechanics at Victoria University of Wellington.

Pest-free pipfruit

The past, present and future of integrated pest management in New Zealand fruit crops (July 2017)

Dr Jim Walker, Scientist in the Pipfruit & Winegrape Entomology team at Plant & Food Research delivered an excellent lecture at the Havelock North Function Centre to mark 150 years of the Royal Society Te Apārangi.

Pests and subsequently, the use of pesticide to deal with pests, has long been a problem for the New Zealand Pip Fruit industry, especially when it sought to gain access into new, high-value export markets. However, since the mid 1990s, the work carried out by Dr Jim Walker and his team has contributed to more than a 90 per cent reduction in insecticide use (kg/ha) by local apple growers. This includes the introduction of new natural enemies through to the development of selective pest management and use of semio-chemicals (pheromones) to support greater use of biological control in apple orchards. The development and implementation of these innovative pest control tactics are now central to today’s pest management systems.

Dr Jim Walker, entomologist and Principal Scientist with Plant and Food Research, talks about this research as well as the future sustainability and biosecurity threats facing the apple industry.

About the speaker:

Plant & Food Research scientist Dr Jim Walker leads a team of researchers focused on developing innovative tools and techniques for managing pests affecting the New Zealand horticultural industry.

During his 30 year career, he has been involved in the development and introduction of the Integrated Fruit Production (IFP) programme in the New Zealand pipfruit sector. The IFP programme has resulted in the sector adopting pest monitoring, pest prediction models and alternative control methods, enabling apple growers to substantially reduce their use of pesticides.

More recently Dr Walker has been involved with development of the sector’s ‘Apple Futures’ programme, focused on meeting the demand from consumers for high quality, residue-free fruit. He has also provided crucial guidance for the application of IFP to other sectors including wine grapes, summerfruit, citrus and onions.

Hear a Radio Kidnappers interview with Jim Walker here.

Mental Travels in Space and Time

6.00pm Thursday 15 June 2017
Ballroom, Napier Conference Centre, Marine Parade

2017 Rutherford Lecture presented by Professor Michael Corballis
Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of Auckland

We have a remarkable capacity to mentally relive past events, imagine future ones, and even invent fictitious ones. This mental escape from the present allows us to plan our futures, deliberate on the past, and find inspiration in imagined scenarios. We can also transport ourselves into the minds of others, enhancing empathy and social understanding. Sometimes, our minds elude conscious control and wander in unpredictable ways, providing a potential source of creativity. Professor Michael Corballis will discuss the neuroscience and evolution of our mental excursions, and their implications for innovation, storytelling, and even language itself.

Professor Corballis was awarded the Rutherford Medal in 2016 for foundational research on the nature and evolution of the human mind, including cerebral asymmetries, handedness, mental imagery, language, and mental time travel.

Michael’s latest book is “The Truth about Language: What it is and Where it came from”.

FREE PUBLIC EVENT – Guarantee your seat by registering here