News

NZ tourism can use the disruption of COVID-19 to drive sustainable change — and be more competitive

Guest Author Feb 18, 2021

James Higham, University of Otago The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s second tourism report urges the government to take advantage of the disruption caused by COVID-19 to transform the tourism industry. Titled “Not 100% – but four steps closer to sustainable tourism”, it builds on commissoner Simon Upton’s 2019 “Pristine, popular … imperilled?” report and presents four detailed … Read More

The Fukushima quake may be an echo of the 2011 disaster — and a warning for the future

Guest Author Feb 16, 2021

Mark Quigley, University of Melbourne A 7.1 magnitude earthquake was recorded off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture in northeastern Japan on Saturday night, injuring around 100 people, closing roads and trains, and leaving almost a million people without electricity overnight. It came almost 10 years after the nearby Tohoku quake of March 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake … Read More

Four years of the Aotearoa NZ Science Journalism Fund

Guest Author Jan 22, 2021

Keana Virmani From healthcare robots to data privacy, to sea level rise and Antarctica under the ice: in the four years since its establishment, the Aotearoa New Zealand Science Journalism Fund has supported over 30 projects. Rebecca Priestley, receiving the PM Science Communication Prize (Photo by Mark Tantrum) Associate Professor Rebecca Priestley, from … Read More

A Big Science Publisher Is Going Open Access. But at What Cost?

Guest Author Jan 15, 2021

Grigori Guitchounts In November, Springer Nature, one of the world’s largest publishers of scientific journals, made an attention-grabbing announcement: More than 30 of its most prestigious journals, including the flagship Nature, will now allow authors to pay a fee of US$11,390 to make their papers freely available for anyone to read online. This move, by a company that … Read More

Covid-19 and the Science Media Centre

Katherine Hurst Dec 18, 2020

“Always expect the unexpected” could be the Science Media Centre’s motto, but 2020 has proven more unexpected than most years. The novel coronavirus spread through all aspects of the SMC’s work: queries from journalists, media briefings, expert reactions to breaking news, and distributing recent scientific research through the Scimex website. Even the SMC’s … Read More

Teen body dissatisfaction predictor of adult depression

Caroline Lord Dec 08, 2020

New research, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, shows a credible link between adolescent body dissatisfaction and the onset of depression in adulthood. Young people who experienced dissatisfaction with their appearance faced an increased risk of depression in their early adult lives of between 50% to 285%. The trend was present in both male and female … Read More

Māori and Pacific academics paid and promoted less

Caroline Lord Dec 03, 2020

Glass ceilings are a reality for Māori and Pacific academics at New Zealand universities, according to new research. This group is already in the minority, making up just 5% and 2% respectively of the academic workforce, with less than 4% and 1% employed at professor level positions. These employment levels remained static between 2012 and 2017. The new study, … Read More

Scientists should welcome charges against agency over Whakaari/White Island — if it helps improve early warning systems

Guest Author Dec 01, 2020

Shane Cronin The decision by Worksafe, a government agency focused on workplace safety, to bring criminal charges against 13 parties in relation to last December’s eruption of Whakaari/White Island heralds a new chapter for volcano scientists in New Zealand. On December 9, 2019, 22 people died and 25 suffered injuries when Whakaari erupted. They were not locals caught … Read More

A few days in the life of an ER

Katherine Hurst Oct 30, 2020

Most people hear “ER” and they think of an emergency room – ambulances, patients, life and death situations. But for the staff at the Science Media Centre, ER stands for “Expert Reactions” and means timely comments from experts responding to breaking news.  When news breaks, journalists often want quotes about the importance … Read More

Assisted dying will become legal in New Zealand in a year — what has to happen now?

Guest Author Oct 30, 2020

Jeanne Snelling, University of Otago and Andrew Geddis, University of Otago The preliminary results of New Zealand’s referendum on the End of Life Choice Act were conclusive. Some 65.2% of voters supported the law coming into force, while 33.8% opposed it. Although around 480,000 special votes are still to be counted, the margin is so great there is no chance … Read More