News

Tiny bird refutes ancient NZ drowning

John Kerr Aug 01, 2016

A tiny native bird has challenged the theory that New Zealand’s ancient land mass was completely submerged millions of years ago. DNA analysis of New Zealand wrens, just published in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, has untangled the birds’ family history as well as a larger mystery around the very origins of New Zealand. The research from the University of Adelaide focused … Read More

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Paying tribute to a science reporting star

Peter Griffin Jul 29, 2016

RNZ’s Veronika Meduna, one of the country’s most experienced and respected science journalists, finished up co-hosting the popular Our Changing World show last week. After 17 years at the broadcaster, most spent producing and fronting science and environment stories for Our Changing World, it wasn’t her choice to go. Frozen budgets at RNZ and restructuring to achieve audience … Read More

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World needs to ‘get serious’ about exercise

John Kerr Jul 28, 2016

The world needs to lift its game when it comes to exercise, warn public health researchers, saying we face a “global pandemic” of physical inactivity. The call comes as part of Special Series published today in leading medical journal The Lancet. The authors of the Series warn there has been too little progress in tackling the global pandemic of physical inactivity, … Read More

Samoa obesity-gene link not so simple

John Kerr Jul 26, 2016

High rates of obesity in Samoa have been linked to a particular version of a gene which is prevalent among the island’s population. However, relying on the often repeated formula of ‘gene X’ causes ‘condition Y’ risks oversimplification, say experts. The results, published today in Nature Genetics, were based on an analysis of DNA samples and basic health data collected from … Read More

Predator free NZ: Can we do it?

John Kerr Jul 26, 2016

The New Zealand Government has just unveiled ‘the world’s most ambitious conservation project’: eliminating introduced predators such as rats, possums and stoats by 2050. But is it a realistic goal? The Prime Minister John Key announced the target yesterday , starting off with with a new $28 million joint venture, Predator Free New Zealand Limited, which will sponsor community partnerships and pest … Read More

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Environment NZ’s weak point for UN goals

John Kerr Jul 22, 2016

New Zealand gets a few ‘Fs’ in a new report card examining how we are doing on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. In September last year New Zealand, along with 192 other countries, signed up to the goals, which described by the UN as “a bold and ambitious global plan to end poverty, address inequalities and tackle climate change.” There are … Read More

Govt asks: ‘Conservation science – are we doing it right?’

John Kerr Jul 18, 2016

The Government funds millions of dollars’ worth of conservation and environment research each year – and it needs your help to make sure that research is heading in the right direction. A planned conservation and environment science ‘roadmap’ will lay out the Government’s research priorities of for the next 20 years. The Department of Conservation (DOC) and Ministry for the Environment (MfE) have jointly … Read More

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Nail-biting thumb-suckers less prone to allergies

John Kerr Jul 12, 2016

Children who engage in thumb-sucking and nail-biting are more likely to grow up to be free of some allergies, according to new research from the long-running Dunedin Study. The world-famous study has followed a cohort of over a thousand children born in Dunedin in the early 1970’s, allowing unprecedented insights into what makes us into who we are (and is currently … Read More

Scientists scope out suitable habitats for New Zealand sea lions

Erica Mather Jul 02, 2016

A recent study identifies promising new breeding sites on the Otago Peninsula and the Catlins coast for New Zealand sea lions. Researchers have prioritised the identification and protection of potential breeding habitats for recolonisation along the South Island coast. The subantarctic islands are home to the only three breeding colonies of the New Zealand sea lion (Phocarctos hookeri, … Read More

The consensus on coffee and cancer

Erica Mather Jun 22, 2016

There is no conclusive evidence that drinking coffee causes cancer, but experts report that drinking very hot beverages ‘probably’ causes cancer of the oesophagus. The specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO) – the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), held a press call last week where they released the results of a thorough investigation of the … Read More

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