Tuesday, 19 September: Alternative proteins by Food Solutions Team, Plant & Food Research, Palmerston North

Speaker: Thomas Sowersby, Richard Edmond, Katrina Fletcher and Dr Lee Huffman

Date:  Tuesday, 19 September 2023 at 6.00pm, bar opens at 5.30pm, edible insects available for tasting

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

Admission: Gold coin donation, everyone is welcome, no booking required

The Hawke’s Bay Branch of the Royal Society and the Hawke’s Bay Branch of New Zealand Institute of Food Science & Technology are jointly hosting a group of scientists from Plant & Food Research in Palmerston North, to talk about their research into the pros and cons of alternative proteins.

Many people are choosing to eat less meat, and more plant proteins. As well as beans and peas, there’s growing interest in hemp protein, protein from pasture and seaweed. A lot of work is being done on insect bioconversion of waste as a sustainable source of proteins for animal and fish foods.

In this lecture, Lee and her team will talk about the environmental and nutritional pros and cons of proteins from pasture versus proteins from plants, insects and seaweed. They’ll also mention the wide-ranging definition of a “superfood”.

Thomas Sowersby, a Food Technologist at Plant & Food Research, specializes in plant protein and fiber ingredient projects. His key role involves leading the “Protein from Pasture” program, which focuses on developing sustainable protein sources. With a background in food technology and quality assurance, Thomas bridges the gap between research and commercial application, making valuable contributions to the food industry.

Richard Edmonds, a Food Processing Engineer, contributes his expertise in technoeconomic analysis and food process engineering, particularly in the plant protein sector. He leverages his background in bioprocess engineering and kinetic modeling to drive viable commercial outcomes. Richard’s recent work on leaf protein from pasture reflects his commitment to exploring innovative solutions.

Katrina Fletcher, a Senior Food Technologist, brings extensive experience from the dairy and meat industries to Plant & Food Research. Her focus on creating a circular bio-economy involves utilizing materials that would otherwise go to waste, such as black soldier fly larvae, to address food wastage issues. Katrina’s work contributes to sustainable practices and new export opportunities.

Lee Huffman, the Food Solutions Team Leader, plays a crucial role in developing processes for isolating plant protein ingredients and optimizing food concepts. With a rich history in the New Zealand dairy industry, Lee has a wealth of experience in commercializing dairy ingredients. Her expertise in food processing and total utilization of agricultural resources drives value while minimizing waste, making her a key contributor to sustainable food solutions.

Monday 7 August: MacDiarmid Institute Regional Lecture: Good news for a change: Sustainable tech in Aotearoa NZ and the science behind it

Professor Chris Bumby, Principal Investigator at the MacDiarmid Institute

Dr Nathaniel Davis, an Associate Investigator at the MacDiarmid Institute

Tahlia Crabtree, Outreach Coordinator at Robinson Research Institute

Date: Monday 7 August 2023 at 6.00pm

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

Image from MacDiarmid

The MacDiarmid Institute is a network of leading researchers from around the country united in a common goal: to create and explore innovative, sustainable materials that will improve the lives of people in Aotearoa New Zealand and around the word. This talk will present an optimistic take on the sustainability crisis facing the world today. Come and hear about what technology is being developed and utilised right now, in Aotearoa New Zealand, to address sustainability challenges.

Chris Bumby is a Principal Investigator at the MacDiarmid Institute, and a Principal Scientist at the Robinson Research Institute of Victoria University of Wellington, where he works on a range of commercial and industry-facing applied research projects, spanning a diverse range of materials engineering topics, including hydrogen steelmaking, ceramic semiconductors and superconducting machines.

Nathaniel (Nate) Davis is an Associate Investigator at the MacDiarmid Institute, a Senior Lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington, and a Rutherford Discovery Fellow. Nate’s background is in chemistry and physics within the field of optoelectronics, specifically the creation of materials allowing light and electronic energy to be interchanged.

Tahlia Crabtree is a dedicated Outreach Coordinator at Robinson Research Institute, where she passionately organizes and facilitates engaging activities and events to inspire and educate students about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). With her background as a qualified meteorologist, Tahlia previously served as a weather forecaster, bringing her expertise and keen focus on effectively communicating weather information to the public. Her commitment to promoting STEM education and her experience in meteorology make her a valuable asset in encouraging the next generation of young minds to explore the wonders of science and technology.

Tuesday 25 July: Rebuilding Hawke’s Bay’s stopbanks

Jon Kingsford, Project Manager, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council

Date: Tuesday 25 July 2023 at 6.00pm

Venue: Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Dalton Street, Napier

Admission: Gold coin donation

Cyclone Gabrielle wreaked havoc on Hawke’s Bay as rivers overcame flood protection, leaving many stopbanks in need of urgent repair. This task fell to a rapid rebuild team at HBRC, led by Jon Kingsford. His talk will cover how the team came about, how it was structured to enable rapid scaling up of resource and about the challenges encountered during the repairs, using specific sites as examples. Then looking forward, Jon will describe planned future work and river management challenges more generally.

Jon Kingsford is a civil engineer and Project Manager, managing a small team of project managers delivering infrastructure construction work relating to stormwater and flood protection across the Hawke’s Bay. Jon is an outdoor enthusiast, feeling most at home in the ocean (on a surfboard) or in the mountains and native forests.

Tuesday 20 June 2023: The 2021 New Zealand Rutherford Medal Lecture

More Home Truths

The impact of housing research on health policy

Professor Howden-Chapman, Otago University and Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand

Date: 6pm, Tuesday, 20 June, 2023

Venue: Napier War Memorial Conference Centre, 48 Marine Parade Napier

Organiser: Royal Society Te Apārangi

Reserve your place: Click Here.

Stethoscope and Model House on Gradated Background with Selective Focus. image sources: iStock

Continuing her quest for healthy homes and housing affordability, Distinguished Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman FRSNZ will deliver the prestigious Rutherford Lecture.
Under Professor Howden-Chapman’s inspirational leadership, He Kāinga Oranga’s research has shown how straightforward housing improvements to cold, damp and unsafe conditions can significantly reduce rates of infectious, respiratory and cardiovascular disease and deaths, particularly for children and older people.

This research and its studies have influenced public policy innovation and implementation, and been rated as outstanding examples of housing intervention research internationally, winning recognition in the British medical Journal and being profiled by the British Medical Council as an outstanding example of how to evaluate complex interventions.
In this lecture, Professor Howden-Chapman focuses on the priorities for housing at a time of cost-of-living pressure and stretched markets, and recent weather events in Aotearoa New Zealand.


Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman, sesquicentennial distinguished professor of public health at the University of Otago, Wellington, is co-director of He Kāinga Oranga/ Housing and Health Research Programme, Director of the NZ Centre for Sustainable Cities and the WHO Collaborating Centre on Housing and Wellbeing. She conducts randomised community housing trials in partnership with local communities, which have had a major influence on housing, urban policy and health. Her work focuses on reducing inequalities in the determinants of health and wellbeing.  She is a director on the board of the Crown Agency Kāinga Ora – homes and communities, a fellow of the Royal Society Te Apārangi and former chair of the International Science Council Committee, Urban Health and Wellbeing: a systems approach. She has received numerous awards, including the Prime Minister’s Science Team Prize and the Royal Society of NZ Rutherford Medal. She was awarded a Queen’s Service Order and the Companion of the NZ Order of Merit for contributions to public health.

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