News

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

New Zealand’s space pioneers stamp their mark

Guest Author May 03, 2019

Erin Maessen Six of New Zealand’s ‘space pioneers’ have been commemorated in a new series of stamps launched by New Zealand Post. Designed by Hannah Fortune, and sprinkled with a layer of real meteorite dust, the stamps feature homegrown talent including Beatrice Hill Tinsley, Charles Gifford and Sir William Pickering. New Zealand Post chair Jackie Lloyd said … Read More

Island focus to reduce extinction

Guest Author Apr 04, 2019

Erin Maessen Focusing conservation efforts on 169 islands, including five in New Zealand, could help to combat the global extinction crisis. This is according to the findings of a collaborative study between forty institutions, including universities and conservation organisations, published in PLOS ONE last week. The researchers combined conservation benefit with feasibility to assess 1,279 islands worldwide, whittling … Read More

With Vaccine Misinformation, Libraries Walk a Fine Line

Guest Author Mar 30, 2019

Jane Roberts Amid a growing tug-of-war between adherents of evidence-based immunisation practices and a roiling online subculture of suspicion, conspiracy, and misinformation related to vaccines, a beloved symbol of impartiality and free access to information — the public library — may now find itself at the centre of the scrum. Earlier this month, Hoopla — an … Read More

Looking for human-nature connections in seasonal Wikipedia searches

Guest Author Mar 29, 2019

Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie Recently, I was wrapping up some revisions on a phenology paper and to comply with the journal’s style for taxonomy, I needed to know the authority on a species of white violets that a Maine hunting guide had noted in his diaries in the mid-twentieth century. Obviously, I turned to Wikipedia. Ecologists who study phenology (or anything!) … Read More