On Thursday evening (13 November) 14 New Zealand scientists will be honoured by over 200 of their colleagues at the 2003 Science Awards dinner, the first event of its kind in this country. The dinner at Auckland’s Stamford Plaza will be DNA-themed and include entertainment by two emerging opera singers. Held to coincide with the Royal Society of New Zealand conference on Fresh Water in New Zealand, dinner guests will toast the Minister for Research Science and Technology, Pete Hodgson, with 16,000 year-old water, stored since the last ice age in underground cavities near Motueka. This was a gift from the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, which dated and bottled the extremely pure water for World Water Day.

Chief Executive of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Dr Steve Thompson, said “Science necessarily works on long time scales, looking as far back as ice ages and beyond. We appreciate the long term view the Minister takes in his unflagging support of science and technology. In particular we note the Minister’s efforts to increase the proportion of New Zealand’s GDP invested in research, and his government’s determination to follow the recommendations of the Royal Commission on GM, keeping open our options for future biotechnology research. His leadership and political courage in this respect have been widely recognised by the New Zealand science community.”

This country’s top science and technology honour, the Rutherford Medal, will be officially presented to Emeritus Professor George Petersen by the Minister. Professor Petersen, from Otago University, is known as New Zealand’s “father of DNA”.

The New Zealand Science and Technology Silver Medal is being awarded to Geoff Duffy, a Professor of Chemical Engineering at The University of Auckland. Professor Duffy has made extensive and novel engineering contributions to industry, with several of his ideas applied successfully in the pulp and paper industry here and overseas.

Among the other medals presented at the event is the New Zealand Association of Scientists’ Marsden Medal, awarded to recognise scientists who have made an outstanding contribution to the cause or profession of science in New Zealand. This year the prize goes to Emeritus Professor Roger Green of the Anthropology Department at The University of Auckland. During his long and distinguished career in Pacific archaeology and cultural history, Professor Green has had a profound influence in determining the course of New Zealand archaeology. His contributions to research in Polynesian prehistory form a significant part of our knowledge of the peoples of the Pacific.

Another New Zealand Association of Scientists’ Award goes to Professor Ted Glynn, for his long contribution to educational research. Professor Glynn, a Professor of Teacher Education at the School of Education in the University of Waikato, has made a particularly outstanding contribution to work in the fields of educational psychology and literacy.

Scientist and explorer Dr Cornel de Ronde, of the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, wins this year’s New Zealand Association of Scientists Communicator Award, for his exceptional communication of his leading edge research on submarine hydrothermal venting systems and associated mineral deposits.

The Te Tohu Pae Tawhiti Award for Research in Māori Education award recognises researchers who have made a significant contribution to Māori education by conducting high quality research over an extended period of time. This year the prize has been awarded to Professor Graham Te Hingangaroa Smith, the Pro Vice Chancellor (Māori) of The University of Auckland. Professor Smith is a prominent Māori education activist who has been at the forefront of the alternative Māori initiatives in the education field and beyond.

Full list of award recipients

Rutherford Medal for science and technology to recognise and honour those who have made exceptional contributions to New Zealand society in the field of science and technology.

  • Presented by the Royal Society of New Zealand on behalf of the New Zealand Government
  • Awarded to Emeritus Professor George Petersen, University of Otago, 03 479 7846

New Zealand Science and Technology Silver Medal for a significant contribution to science and technology.

  • Awarded by the Royal Society of New Zealand
  • Awarded to Professor Geoff Duffy, The University of Auckland, 09 373 7599 extn 87805

Marsden Medal is awarded for a lifetime of outstanding service to the cause of science in New Zealand.

  • Awarded by the New Zealand Association of Scientists
  • Awarded to Dr Roger Green, The University of Auckland, 09 817 7608

NZAS Research Award for outstanding fundamental or applied research in the physical, natural or social sciences.

  • Awarded by the New Zealand Association of Scientists
  • Awarded to Dr Robert McLachlan, Institute of Fundamental Sciences, Massey University 06 356 9099 ext 2479

Communicator’s Award to practicing scientists for excellence in communicating any area of science or technology to the general public.

  • Awarded by the New Zealand Association of Scientists
  • Awarded to Dr Cornel de Ronde, Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, 04 570 4633

TeTohu Pae Tawhiti Award recognises researchers who have made a significant contribution to Māori education by conducting high quality research.

  • Awarded by the New Zealand Association of Research in Education
  • Awarded to Professor Graham Smith, The University of Auckland, 09 373 7599 ext 8842

McKenzie Award to honour a current member’s significant contribution to educational research Presented by the New Zealand Association of Research in Education

  • Awarded to Professor Ted Glynn, University of Waikato, 07 838 4518

Jubilee Medal for significant contribution to agricultural science

  • Awarded by the New Zealand Institute of Agricultural Science and the New Zealand Society for Horticultural Science
  • Awarded to Emeritus Professor Tom Walker, retired, 03 322 7373

Edward Kidson Medal is awarded to the author of an outstanding published paper

  • Presented by the Meteorological Society of New Zealand
  • Awarded to Professor Andy Sturman, University of Canterbury, 03 364 2502

Hans Daellenbach Prize to elicit, recognise, and reward outstanding examples of Management Science and Operations Research in New Zealand and to encourage their dissemination in the international literature.

  • Awarded every two years by the Operational Research Society of New Zealand
  • Awarded to Professor Leslie Foulds, University of Waikato, 07 838 4127

Applied Biosystems Award for outstanding published work

  • Awarded by the New Zealand Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Awarded to Dr Clyde Smith, The University of Auckland, 09 373 7599

Outstanding Physiologist Award is given in recognition of the merit of original published research in the preceding five years

  • Awarded by The New Zealand Society of Plant Physiologists
  • Awarded to Professor Peter Bannister, University of Otago, 03 479 7578

NZMS Research Award for excellence in research published over the previous five years

  • Awarded by the New Zealand Mathematical Society
  • Awarded to Dr Rod Gover, The University of Auckland, 09 373 7599 ext 8792

Aitken Prize for the best student talk at the New Zealand Mathematics Colloquium

  • Awarded by the New Zealand Mathematical Society
  • Awarded to Ms Cynthia Wang, Massey University (Albany) 09 414 0800 ext 41063