Science

Weaving mātauranga Māori and science can empower Aotearoa - Mātau Taiao

Rosemary Rangitauira Jul 05, 2021

Whatungarongaro te tangata, toitū te whenua – As man disappears, the land remains. This proverb embodies Dr Daniel Hikuroa’s ambition to look after the land while he’s here and highlights his passion to weave mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) with science. Dan affiliates to Ngāti Maniapoto, Waikato-Tainui and Ngāti Whanaunga.   He specialises in many disciplines including Earth systems science, natural hazards … Read More

From Aptornis to Zosterops: What can be done about an extinction crisis 50,000 years in the making? - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence Jun 28, 2021

Conservation comes down to values. Do we only focus on the charismatic animals and the things we can see, or do we conserve the out-of-sight, out-of-mind Lilliputs? If that world collapses, you can be sure ours is next. I’m standing in the basement of our National Museum Te Papa Tongarewa surrounded by the ghostly remains of New Zealand’s bygone bird … Read More

Genomic solutions for a plant taonga: a high-quality rewarewa genome - Genomics Aotearoa

Genomics Aotearoa Jun 09, 2021

[Illustration credit: “Seven Sisters, Knightia excelsa” Jennifer Duval-Smith ] By Plant & Food Research High Quality Genomes project co-leader David Chagné The completion of the native rewarewa (Knightia excelsa) tree genome sequence is demonstrating New Zealand is now taking charge of producing genomes on its native species. These are species that are important to us, and have taonga … Read More

Whakaari tragedy: court case highlights just how complex it is to forecast a volcanic eruption - News

Guest Author Jun 04, 2021

Shane Cronin, University of Auckland and David Dempsey, University of Canterbury   While today’s pre-trial hearing over the Whakaari White Island tragedy revealed most of the 13 parties charged have yet to enter pleas, there is no disputing the basic facts. The December 9 2019 eruption struck when 47 people were on the small island; 22 people died … Read More

New Zealand relies on scientific research for good policy. It’s a pity the budget didn’t reflect this - News

Guest Author Jun 02, 2021

Nicola Gaston, University of Auckland   New Zealand’s government has been praised for listening to scientists as it continues to pursue its COVID-19 elimination strategy. But it’s difficult to find any signs of significant investment in science in the recent budget — or in fact previous budgets. It was with a sense of déjà vu I scrolled through … Read More

Land of the chonky birds: How and why did New Zealand have so many feathered giants? - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence May 31, 2021

The eastern moa is stuck fast in the swamp, its thick legs having punched through the peat into the liquid blue clay beneath. Death is inevitable, whether from starvation or from above. Unable to move, the moa can only eat what it can reach around it, if anything. The forests that covered this area during warmer times are … Read More

One with the environment - Mātau Taiao

Rosemary Rangitauira May 24, 2021

Mihi mai ki a Dr Jane Kitson, an ecologist and environmental scientist, who as a youngster dreamed of becoming Indiana Jane. She hails from Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Mamoe and Waitaha. “My immediate family’s lives revolve around the seasonal calendar of gathering kai. Like kaimoana (seafood), tītī (muttonbirds), trout, salmon, duck or deer hunting,” she says. Her upbringing and curiosity about the … Read More

Lost in translation or deliberate falsification? - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence Apr 26, 2021

I’m staring at an evolutionary tree of New Zealand wrens when ‘damn it Travers’ rings out. The infamous Victorian collector Henry Hamersley Travers had just struck again. In front of me also are the delicate historical skins of some of these tiny wrens, frozen in time since the day they were collected. While some are still with us like the … Read More

The St Vincent eruption is a reminder of how volcano research and monitoring can save lives - News

Guest Author Apr 23, 2021

Silvio De Angelis, University of Liverpool and Janine Kavanagh, University of Liverpool Volcanic eruptions come with a variety of hazards, depending on the type of volcano and its magma. Some have effusive eruptions, where lava flows constantly, while others can expel large clouds of fragments of magma and gases – volcanic ash – into the atmosphere. For some of the … Read More

So a helicopter flew on Mars for the first time. A space physicist explains why that’s such a big deal - News

Guest Author Apr 21, 2021

Gail Iles, RMIT University Yesterday at 9pm Australian Eastern standard time, the Ingenuity helicopter — which landed on Mars with the Perseverance rover in February — took off from the Martian surface. More importantly, it hovered for about 30 seconds, three metres above the surface and came right back down again. It may not sound like a huge … Read More