Category Archives: Past Events

“Too many immigrants?”

Unpacking the contribution of international migration to population growth in New Zealand in the second decade of the 21st century

Tuesday 31 January 2017 at 7.30pm

Holt’s Planetarium, NBHS, Chambers Street, Napier


Richard Bedford
Emeritus Professor, University of Waikato and
Auckland University of Technology
President, Royal Society of New Zealand 

Professor Bedford writes: On 19 October 2016, Statistics New Zealand released a new series of National Population Projections through to 2068.  These projections are the first ever produced by Statistics New Zealand that I can recall in 45 years of population research that include a “high” scenario of over 7 million people in the country by the late 2060s.  They are also the first for a long time to make reference to reaching a population of 5 million by the early 2020s.

In this presentation I will examine the recent net migration gains and their impact on estimated population growth.  I will also comment on the recent changes to New Zealand’s residence policy and some possible implications these might have for both net migration gains as well as the contribution that international migration makes to overall population growth.  In the final section of the presentation I will examine more closely projections for the population of the Hawke’s Bay and the impacts that international migration is having on the numbers of temporary as well as long-term residents.

Entrance: gold coin donation

HB Branch Royal Society’s End of Year Event

Members’ Festive Gathering and talk

“Advances in Farming – the place of robotics”.

Wednesday 14 December 2016 from 6pm
Centre for Land and Water
21 Ruahapia Rd, Hastings

See a location Map here

dan-bloomerDan Bloomer will show us the Centre, explain its aims, and talk on Farm Robotics he has seen in Australia and Europe recently and his aspirations for robotics on farms here.

Please come and join us for some conviviality as well: we will lay on the nibbles, cake and a glass of something to celebrate the end of a very busy and successful year for the HB Branch of the Royal Society.

Dan’s talk is open to the general public and will start about 7pm. Please RSVP to assist with catering.

For more information on the Centre and its work:

Little Bang, Big Bang – The Live Science Show starring Nanogirl – on Tuesday 13 December at 5pm and 7pm

Nanogirl showPresented by: Nanogirl Labs with Spark NZ and the University of Auckland Faculty of Engineering

Join Nanogirl (Dr. Michelle Dickinson MNZM) and Boris her trusty lab assistant for science as you have never seen it before. Explosions (lots of explosions), liquid nitrogen ice-cream, hovercraft, smoke cannons – science and engineering will come to life in the coolest ways possible, right before your eyes.

Nanogirl explains the science behind each experiment in a way that’s fun and easy to understand. We start with a small experiment to explain each idea (the Little Bang) – often with the help of a volunteer from the audience – then Nanogirl and Boris take the same principle and turn it up to BIG BANG scale!

For lots more detail on this spectacular show, click here

Please note that this is not an RSNZ event. For tickets, click here

The Cat Wars: Latest from the Front Lines of the Mogfight

Charles Daugherty
Emeritus Professor of Ecology, VUW

Date: Thursday 10 November at 7.30pm
Venue: National Aquarium, Marine Parade, Napier
Admission: Gold coin donation


Gareth Morgan ignited a storm of controversy when he proposed a strict regime of cat management as a key element in conserving New Zealand’s declining native wildlife. Four years on, the conservation landscape has evolved considerably. Charles – a wary cat owner himself – discusses latest developments in cat management in New Zealand and internationally, as well as implications of the Predator Free New Zealand movement for cat ownership and management.

Charles has recently retired to Hawke’s Bay after 34 years at Victoria University of Wellington. His research focused on the ecology, genetics and conservation of indigenous birds and reptiles, especially tuatara.   He worked with the Department of Conservation to rescue rare populations of tuatara and return them to their home islands, once they had been made safe by rat eradication.

Charles has been a trustee of Zealandia, and is now a Director of Zero Invasive Predators Ltd and a Trustee of Predator Free New Zealand.

The forensics of volcanic catastrophe – how to study large explosive eruptions

The Geoscience Society of New Zealand’s 2016 Hochstetter Lecture

Dr Colin Wilson, Professor of Volcanology at Victoria University of Wellington

Thursday 20 October at 7.30pm
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, corner Vautier and Dalton Streets, Napier

Admission: Gold coin donation

Erupting volcanoes are one of the great natural sights on the planet. There are, however, volcanoes on Earth which produce eruptions of such a size and violence (supereruptions at one extreme) that if you can see the volcano erupting you will die. Apart from being somewhat career-limiting, the chances of making useful observations are almost nil. Thus, what we understand about such eruptions and their parent volcanoes has to be gained from studying the products of past events, in a geological form of forensic science. In this talk, I outline the ways in which insights into large explosive eruptions can be gained from studying rocks in the field, then applying a variety of analytical techniques down to the microscopic scale. The information that is gained provides unprecedented details into eruptive processes, but suggests that we are still a long way from having a clear picture of how big eruptions and their parental volcanoes operate.


Colin is a volcanologist who began his career in physical volcanology, but has since strayed into the black arts of petrology and geochemistry. His research is mostly concerned with studying the products of large-scale explosive silicic volcanism, particularly ignimbrites. Trained at Imperial College in the UK, Colin has a long history of work in New Zealand, and is currently Professor of Volcanology at Victoria University of Wellington.



Big Steps Forward – Osteoporosis and bone disease

2016 Rutherford Lecture presented by Professor Ian Reid MD FRSNZ

6.00pm Thursday 6 October
Century Theatre, MTG, 9 Herschell StreetProf Ian Reid

Keeping bones strong over a lifetime is a longstanding challenge for medical health research and treatment. Distinguished Professor Ian Reid’s research career has lasted over 30 years and led to discoveries and new treatments that can improve bone health. In this talk, he will discuss the impact and treatment of bone diseases, including osteoporosis and Paget’s disease.

Ian Reid is a Distinguished Professor in Medicine at the University of Auckland, where he is Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. His research interests include calcium metabolism and osteoporosis. He is a past-president of the International Bone and Mineral Society and a recipient of the Bartter Award award from the American Society of Bone & Mineral Research and the Haddad Award from the European Calcified Tissue Society. His research is supported by the Health Research Council of New Zealand. In 2015 he was awarded the Liley Medal and the 2015 Rutherford Medal and together with his research group received the 2015 Prime Minister’s Science Prize.

This talk is free and open to the general public.
However, to ensure a seat, please register here

Rutherford sponsors

Advancing animal breeding for NZ Agriculture

Presented by Dr Natalie Pickering, Focus Genetics

6.00pm Tuesday 13 September 2016

Lecture Theatre 2, EIT, 501 Gloucester St, Taradale

Natalie PickeringNatalie is an Animal Breeding Scientist (Terminal Sheep and Deer) at Focus Genetics in Napier. In her talk, she will outline current research in advancing animal breeding for NZ agriculture, including new methods e.g. genomic selection and traits e.g. methane emissions, lamb eating quality. She will describe how Focus Genetics is working with animal breeders to implement these into the sheep, beef and deer breeding programmes they manage.

Natalie comes from a farming background in the Wairarapa, and wanted a career which involved helping farmers in some way. After completing a Bachelor of Applied Science (Honours), majoring in Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Otago, she worked for AgResearch, studying DNA samples to identify the genes responsible for characteristics such as resistance to internal parasite infections, presence of horns and blindness in sheep. This data can be used to aid breeding programmes.

Natalie then enrolled in a PhD in Animal Science joint between Massey University and AgResearch, where she investigated the genetics of flystrike, dagginess and associated traits in sheep. After completing her PhD, she was employed by AgResearch on an international two-year research project investigating if it is possible to breed for low methane emitting animals (the answer is yes!).

Since 2013 Natalie has been working for Focus Genetics, where she is a member of the team of scientists using genomic technology to help sheep and deer breeders (and consequently farmers) produce more efficient, consistent quality, greater value animals to enhance profitability of the red meat sector.

Natalie was a Finalist for the 2016 Ballance Agri-Nutrients Sheep Industry Emerging Talent Award.


A Materials History of the World

Wednesday 27 July, 6pm, National Aquarium, Marine Parade, Napier

Dr Michelle Dickinson and Dr Franck Natali, MacDiarmid Institute

We define civilisation by the dominant material of the age: stone, bronze, iron. These days, cities rise to astounding heights with steel and reinforced concrete. We communicate between these cities at the speed of light, thanks to silicon – the second most abundant element in the Earth’s crust. And our consumer world is throw-away plastic.

Nanotechnologists now create new materials from the atoms up, often copying nature’s ability to self-assemble. Are we entering The Great Graphene Age? We are ourselves walking miracles of carbon construction.

Get the big picture from the nanotechnologists and materials scientists from the MacDiarmid Institute, a National Centre of Research Excellence

Nano girlDr Michelle Dickinson is an Associate Investigator with the MacDiarmid Institute and Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland. Her research involves measuring the mechanical properties of materials from the nanoscale through to the macro scale. Michelle is well known as ‘Nanogirl’, for which she has won numerous awards for science communication, including the NZ Order of Merit



Dr Franck Natali is a Principal Investigator with the MacDiarmid Institute and Senior Lecturer in Physics at Victoria University of Wellington. Franck’s research spans from semiconductor material science to the fabrication of devices such as light emitting diodes and transistors


MacDiarmidInstituteThe MacDiarmid Institute is supporting regional development with this series of free public talks, organised in association with the Hawke’s Bay Branch of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Ten things you didn’t know about climate change..the review

6pm Wednesday 6 July 2016

Tim Naishjames-renwick
Talking to almost a full Century Theatre, the engaging pair of Professors from VUW Tim Naish and James Renwick delivered a lucid account suitable for a lay audience of what scientific study to date tells us about the observed warming of the earth (look at these graphic results) and increases in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, its causes and possible consequences.

See their presentation slides

Many thanks to Tim and ” Jim”, Victoria University of Wellington and the Royal Society of New Zealand for this illuminating presentation


Ten things you didn’t know about climate change…

6pm Wednesday 6 July 2016
Century Theatre, MTG, 9 Herschell Street, Napier

Please register free by clicking here

Climate change is already redefining coastlines and the weather, both here in New Zealand and around the world. But will it affect me and what can I do about it? Tim Naish and James Renwick will give their take on this biggest of issues – from the very local to the global.

Professor Tim NaishTim Naish

Tim is Director of the Antarctic Research Centre at Victoria University of Wellington, where he and his team use rock and ice cores as a time machine to look at how the Antarctica ice sheets affected global sea-level in past warmer periods and what this means for our future.


Professor James Renwick


James is a Professor of Physical Geography at Victoria
University of Wellington where he indulges his fascination for all aspects of the climate system, from the tropics to the poles, and from thousands of years in the past to hundreds of years into the future.