Tuesday, 6 June: 2023 Annual General Meeting

Hawke’s Bay Branch of the Royal Society’s 2023 AGM will be held at 5.30pm on Tuesday 6 June, at Napier Sailing Club (63 West Quay, Ahuriri, Napier)

All members are welcome, and encouraged, to attend. We’ll tell you how the Society is doing, and listen to your ideas for our Society and its programme.

An invitation and Agenda will be sent to all members prior to the meeting.

Tuesday, 6 June: Does exposure to germs in early life lead to better long term health?

Dr Kerry Hilligan: Malaghan Institute of Medical Research

Date: 6pm, Tuesday, 6 June, 2023

Venue: Napier Sailing Club (63 West Quay, Ahuriri, Napier)

Admission: Gold coin donation


A properly trained immune system protects us against a diverse range of pathogens – including viruses, bacteria and parasites. Early-life exposure to such germs is thought to be essential for the development of a healthy immune system. Most studies exploring this concept have looked at the role of the harmless bacteria that live inside the human gut, skin and lungs. However, there is emerging evidence that early-life exposure to other germs, including disease-causing pathogens, may be critically important for educating the immune system on how best to react to serious infectious diseases.

People living in developed countries, such as Aotearoa, have less exposure to germs due to increasing urbanisation and high standards of hygiene. But reduced early-life exposure to these immune-stimulating germs coincides with an increase in unwanted immune responses that cause allergies and autoimmune disorders, suggesting a possible link between these phenomena.

Dr Kerry Hilligan (Photo: supplied)

Kerry Hilligan worked at the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in the US for three years before returning to New Zealand and started her work at the Malaghan Institute in September 2022. She was awarded a Rutherford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2021. Under the fellowship, Kerry is investigating how early infections or challenges to a developing immune system shape and influence it later in life. She was also recently awarded an HRC Emerging Researcher First Grant for this work. She is visiting Hawke’s Bay to meet Malaghan Institute donors in the region and has kindly offered to give a public lecture about her research.

Thursday, 13 April: how OSPRI manage the outbreak of Tuberculosis in cattle and deer farms across northern Hawke’s Bay

Rhea McColl: OSPRI New Zealand Limited

Date: 6pm, Thursday, 13 April 2023

Venue: Hawke’s Bay Holt Planetarium – Chambers Street, Te Awa, Napier

Admission: Gold coin donation

image: https://www.ospri.co.nz/

The Hawke’s Bay area northwest of Napier has seen a significant increase in TB infected herds since April 2019. OSPRI (a partnership between primary industries and government) identified TB in possums, deer and farmed cattle in the area, and DNA testing indicates the TB outbreak originated in possums. This lecture will describe the outbreak and how OSPRI has been – and still are – dealing with it.

Rhea McColl

Rhea grew up on a sheep and beef farm in Northern Taranaki, and gained a bachelor of Agriculture Science at Massey University in Palmerston North. During this time, she also worked on a dairy farm in Northland, a sheep and beef farm in Eastern Tararua and in a shearing gang in Taranaki. After the study at Massey, she became a teacher as a vocational training provider, teaching agriculture to students who want to work on farms. Rhea moved to Hawke’s Bay and worked at PGG Wrightson in Hastings for 2 ½ years before she started with OSPRI in June 2021, primarily focusing on education and engaging with OSPRI’s many stakeholders across the East Coast.

Tuesday, 28 March: Genes, enzymes and therapeutics: Bio-inspired science

Emily Parker: Professor of Chemistry, Victoria University of Wellington, Ferrier Research Institute and Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery

Date: 6pm, Tuesday, 28 March

Venue: Hawke’s Bay Holt Planetarium – Chambers Street, Te Awa, Napier

Admission: Gold coin donation

Professor Emily Parker is a Principal Investigator and on the management committee of the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery which harnesses and links New Zealand’s outstanding expertise in biomedical research to develop cutting-edge drugs and vaccines, tools for early diagnosis and prevention, and new models of disease.

The research group explores the chemistry and biochemistry of enzyme-catalysed reactions, with the broad aim of aiding the development of new treatments for diseases and using the natural biosynthetic machinery for the efficient generation of valuable products.

In this lecture, Emily will introduce her current projects including developing new antibacterial drugs and developing efficient biomanufacturing processes for synthesising complex natural products.

Tuesday, 7 March 2023: The amazing world of sharks, their conservation plight and what you can do to help

Dr Adrian Gutteridge: an expert shark biologist, Marine Stewardship Council and member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Shark Group

Date: 6pm, Tuesday 7 March 2023

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

Admission: Gold coin donation

photo from: https://www.msc.org/en-au/home/meet-the-wild-ones/shark-expert-dr-adrian-gutteridge

Join us for a lecture that will delve into the fascinating world of sharks. Having been on this planet for around 400 million years, sharks are a pin up of evolutionary success. They inhabit all the oceans of the world, from warm tropical mangroves to cold Arctic seas and include the world’s largest species of fish. In the natural world, their biological and ecological traits make them incredibly successful and their populations play a vital role in maintaining the balance of many marine ecosystems. However, in the face of ever increasing pressures, particularly from overfishing, their populations are under threat. Not all is lost though. Through targeted conservation efforts and seafood consumers making informed choices with their wallet, it is possible that the current global declines can be halted and reversed.

photo from: https://www.msc.org/en-au/home/meet-the-wild-ones/shark-expert-dr-adrian-gutteridge

Dr Adrian Gutteridge’s relationship with sharks began when he was a self-professed “frothing little grommit”, terrified of sharks when surfing on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. His terror turned to fascination, though, on a uni field trip on the Great Barrier Reef when he was snorkelling and a shark swam by. He was transfixed, absolutely forgot what he was meant to be doing and followed the shark until it swam off into the deep blue… and he’s not stopped since!

Adrian will join us by live video stream from Australia. For more information on Adrian and sharks, please see: https://www.msc.org/en-au/home/meet-the-wild-ones/shark-expert-dr-adrian-gutteridge

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: secretary@hawkesbay.rsnzbranch.org.nz, 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

Image from: https://winefolly.com/grapes/syrah/

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 secretary@hawkesbay.rsnzbranch.org.nz, 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: secretary@hawkesbay.rsnzbranch.org.nz

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