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Chief Executive Update

Welcome to the Chief Executive Update, keeping our Members up to date with news from Council.

In February each year our governing Council focuses on forward strategy.  On 1 July 2018 Professor Wendy Larner will commence as President of the Society, succeeding Professor Richard Bedford who will complete his three-year tenure.  The Council and our senior staff therefore approached the February 2018 strategic planning workshops as setting the overarching strategy for Wendy’s tenure of three years as President.  There was broad affirmation of the direction of travel in the 2015-2018 strategic plan, but a desire for the Society to take a stronger leadership position in the research and scholarly community. Specific foci were identified as follows:

  • Recognition of the need to commit strongly to the continuing partnership with the Māori research community,
  • A desire to develop Māori values for the Society and to express the strategic plan bilingually in due course,
  • Continuation of a focus on diversity,
  • Strengthening of our work with early to mid-career researchers,
  • A commitment to look at the future structure of the Council, recognising the present system delivers a relatively narrow range of perspectives as the majority of votes are exercised in the university sector meaning academics are most likely to be successful, and it is hard for those from CRIs, other research organisations, the private sector or under-represented groups to be elected.


In the shorter term, there is a desire to do some significant activities through 2018, the year of suffrage, and 2019, 250 years after the arrival of the Endeavour. These include:

  • A possible focus on an issue for women for later in 2018,
  • Development of a forward-looking Fellowship centenary project for 2019, the centenary of the Academy formed within the Society,
  • Involvement in Te Huia 250 activities with a focus on supporting the technical programme at the Te Ha Trust’s oceans conference in Gisborne, but also seeking a wider input reflecting the importance of the meeting of new knowledge systems in 1769 for the development of Aotearoa New Zealand.


We will now seek to undertake actions to finalise and implement the new plan.

Andrew Cleland - Chief Executive Royal Society Te Apārangi