150 years of discovery – Royal Society Te Apārangi celebrates its 150th anniversary
This year the Royal Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi celebrates 150 years of discovery, and supporting the pursuit of
To celebrate, the Society has a full programme of events and activities planned over the six months leading up to 10
October, 150 years to the day that legislation was signed establishing the New Zealand Institute, as the Society was
Its celebratory programme kicks off on April 5 with a formal dinner that will also launch a book on its history by New
Zealand historian John E Martin called Illuminating our World: 150 Years of the Royal Society Te Apārangi. This will be followed by a symposium with international leaders of academies from around the world to discuss key
concerns including issues of public engagement and public trust, how to manage global research, and how to improve
A number of activities and events will follow including an exhibition of portraits telling the story of the Society,
science demos, a product development challenge and a chance for school students to have their questions answered by its
experts, events with international researchers and writers including Helen Czerski and James Gleick and regional events for New Zealand researchers to share their latest discoveries with communities.
The six-month celebration will conclude on 10 October with a special gala event in Auckland to mark exactly 150 years
from the private Act of parliament which formally set the independent organisation up.
Back in 1867 Sir James Hector, head of the Geological Survey and the newly established Colonial Museum, recognised that New Zealand needed an
organisation to allow people to come together to discuss and share knowledge at meetings and to publish their findings
to share with peers in New Zealand and overseas. Thus was born the New Zealand Institute (later renamed the Royal
Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi) and its published transactions.
President of the Society Emeritus Professor Richard Bedford says the organisation today is essentially doing the same
thing that it did when it first began: supporting the discovery and sharing of knowledge in New Zealand.
“It served a vital role in the early years of New Zealand to support exploration and to share what was being discovered
from one end of the country to the other by newcomers to New Zealand about New Zealand’s unique geography, fauna and
flora and mātauranga māori.
“The Society is committed to continuing to play this role in New Zealand for hopefully another 150 years and beyond.
“We seek to serve the many different communities in New Zealand, from supporting researchers to follow their most
interesting ideas, through to fostering an appreciation and interest in discovery in our school children.
“We also seek to support the people of New Zealand to face future challenges by providing them with the latest findings
on these issues so that they feel empowered to make decisions.
“Over the last few years, for example, we have provided updates on topics including:
• fluoride in water
• pest management
• how climate change will impact New Zealand and what we can do to reduce the risks
• the role of sugar in health.
“We have work underway on other issues including the health impacts of climate change and how New Zealand is placed for
the revolution occurring in gene editing.
“To kick off our 150th anniversary celebrations we are delighted to be able to host colleagues from many of our
international counterparts, including England, Scotland, China, Finland, Canada, South Africa, Germany, Fiji and
Australia for a special symposium.
“In launching our full and varied celebration programme leading up to the 10th of October, we hope there will be
something there to interest and engage all New Zealanders.”
To view the full programme of events visit www.royalsociety.org.nz
Full programme: Celebrating 150 years of DiscoveryDATELOCATIONACTIVITY NationwideIlluminating our World: 150 Years of the Royal Society Te Apārangi
A book commemorating 150 years of the Royal Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi. Learn about the Society’s fascinating
history as written by NZ historian and author John E Martin. This book will be available for purchase online after its
launch at the 150th Anniversary Gala Dinner. Nationwide150th Anniversary Regional Lectures
Future Focussed Local Experts—hosted by the Society’s ten branches across New Zealand. These events include a 150th
anniversary introduction by the President or Vice-President of the Royal Society of New Zealand including a short video
of our history. June, July and August – see below for venues. OnlineAsk Me Anything
School students are encouraged to ask questions of Society’s Fellows about their specialist subjects. Great questions
and their answers will be publicised on our website. Online150 years of Discovery
An informative timeline, our time machine, and video documenting the growth and contribution of the Society to New
Zealand. Articles will be added regularly, reviewing important moments from the Society’s history. WellingtonRoyal Society of New Zealand 150th Anniversary Portrait Exhibition
Paintings of Society presidents and trailblazers on display in Parliament’s main foyer, telling the story of our history
and the historical links between the Society and government (April to June). Wellington150 years – Objects of Discovery
A wide range of artefacts and significant documents that celebrate the past, present and future of the Society on
display every week on Marsden’s Desk, in the foyer of Te Whare Apārangi, 11 Turnbull Street, Thorndon. You can find them
on our website as they are displayed. SchoolsCREST Educational Programmes
A range of teaching themes celebrating the important people and activities of the Society over the past 150 years. More
on our website. SchoolsCREST and NZ Institute of Food Science and Technology Programme (NZIFST)
A product development challenge where students develop new foods including staple items that could have been eaten 150
years ago. More on our website. APRIL 4AucklandPrestigious Speakers: Sir Venkatraman (Venki) Ramakrishnan
Antibiotics and the cell’s protein factory
Sir Venki is a Nobel Prize winning biologist and President of The Royal Society, London – he explains the ribosome and
its connection to antibiotic resistance.4
ChristchurchCosmic Shambles LIVE
A high-energy science and stand-up comedy variety show featuring UK hosts, comedians Robin Ince and Josie Long with
Professor Lucie Green (renowned solar scientist), Dr Helen Czerski (physicist and oceanographer), and Matt Parker
7Wellington150th Anniversary Symposium [invitation only]
International Academies will attend panel discussions on key issues, lectures from our new Fellows, the 150th launch
dinner and the President’s dinner.7WellingtonLiterary Talk: Dr Helen Czerski
The Need to Talk about Physics
Helen is a British physicist, oceanographer, broadcaster and author. Her latest book is Storm in a Teacup – The Physics of Everyday Life.11
AucklandPublic Lecture: Dr Helen Czerski
Bubbles: the bath and beyond
Helen is also a bubble expert – she explains what bubbles do and why are they important? MAY 11
New Plymouth2017 Charles Fleming Lectures: Professor Bruce Clarkson
Urban ecological restoration: the new frontier?
Bruce is University of Waikato’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research, but he has been awarded the Charles Fleming medal
for his work as an ecologist. He speaks on ecological restoration and the new discipline of urban ecology.15WellingtonLiterary Talk: James Gleick
James, a Pulitzer Prize nominated author and science historian chats with Wallace Chapman about his latest book Time Travel: A History.16AucklandRoyal Society Te Apārangi General Non-Fiction Prize
Honouring the year’s finest writing from New Zealanders dealing with fact and reality – a new category in the Ockham New
Zealand Book Awards. JUNE 7NelsonNelson Science Society
Dr Bruno Lemke
Global consequences of increased heat stress due to climate change8WellingtonRoyal Society of New Zealand Wellington Branch
Sir Peter Gluckman
New life science technologies and social license13WhanganuiWanganui Collegiate School Address: Professor Michael Corballis
Emeritus Professor at University of Auckland’s Department of Psychology, Michael talks about inspirations from
throughout his career to current pupils at his former school.13