The Transit of Venus Project is a partnership between The MacDiarmid Institute, the Royal Society of New Zealand, Victoria University of Wellington, and Te Aitanga A Hauiti te Iwi, the people of Tolaga Bay.
On 6 June, hundreds of scientists, iwi representatives and dignitaries will gather to celebrate the Transit of Venus, and advance Sir Paul Callaghan’s vision of making New Zealand “a place where talent wants to live.”
In the two days following the celebration, on 7 and 8 June in Gisborne, more than 30 leading New Zealanders will discuss their ideas about the future of New Zealand with over 200 delegates. Topics discussed will include science and prosperity, the emerging Maori economy, using and managing our resources, restoring and enhancing the environment, New Zealand’s connection with the rest of the world and the people of New Zealand, and our greatest resource – our people.
Speakers include Dr Craig Nevill-Manning, Derek Handley, Sir Peter Gluckman, Dame Anne Salmond, Dr Gareth Morgan, Professor Shaun Hendy, Ian Taylor, Dr David Skilling, Dr Caroline Saunders, Dr Apirana Mahuika, Al Morrison, Dr Stephen Goldson, Don Huse, Dr Wayne Ngata, Hon Fran Wilde, Peter Townsend, and Rick Boven. Find out more about the programme and full speaker list.
For those who can’t be a part of the Forum itself there are a number of ways to get involved in the discussion:
- A live webcast of the Transit of Venus Forum will be available, thanks to the Ministry of Science and Innovation. Anyone with an internet connection can watch discussion at the Forum unfold. Visit Transit of Venus Forum.
- Pounamu, an online game, gives all New Zealanders a chance to have their say on the issues discussed at the Transit of Venus Forum. It is set in 2022, in a New Zealand where everyone is smart about science and technology. Participants play by posting micro-forecasts (140 characters) of future possibilities and building on, or reshaping other players’ ideas. The game asks: how do we treasure and build on what we already have – land, people, knowledge and connections – with new tools, new capacities, new connections and new ways of thinking to generate prosperity for all? To register and play the game, visit www.pounamu.gen.nz.
- A series of panel discussions by Radio NZ National, chaired by Kim Hill, will run alongside the Forum. The panels are free of charge and open to the Gisborne public. They will take place at the Gisborne Conference Centre Tuesday 5 June and Wednesday 6 June 7.30pm – 8.30pm and Thursday 7 June 12.00pm – 1.00pm. Find out more about the panel discussions.
The Transit of Venus Forum was founded by Professor Sir Paul Callaghan, who passed away in March this year. The Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, Sir Peter Gluckman, together with Sir Paul’s colleagues and partners in the project, have continued to take the Forum forward.
Sir Peter says, “New Zealanders largely agree about the future they want: greater prosperity, a better environment, and greater social cohesion. But what are the issues we need to address in pursuit of these goals? The objective of this Forum is to gain a better understanding of how science can help New Zealand make faster and more effective progress towards these objectives.
“Sir Paul really loved this country and strongly believed that our young people ought to be able to make their futures here – and not just in the main cities. He advocated high tech industries that would not harm the environment, and would improve prosperity for all. He wanted Māori people to fully share that prosperity, and start taking a lead in the way we think about our natural heritage. The challenge of the Forum is to be innovative in seeing how science and scholarship can take New Zealand forward economically, socially and environmentally.”
The Forum encompasses the celebration event in Tolaga Bay on the day of the Transit of Venus, 6 June. Delegates will be joined there by hundreds of local people and a number of international guests. The symbolic connection between the Forum, the Transit of Venus, and the people of Tolaga Bay is explained by Sir Paul here.