NewsPublished 18 February 2019
Academy Centenary events provide food-for-thought for the future
Royal Society Te Apārangi celebrated he kotahi rau one hundred years of electing Fellows (Ngā Ahurei a Te Apārangi) to its Academy last week, and the speakers at the events provided many wero challenges and ideas for the Academy's future.
Ko te kai a te rangatira he kōrero | The food of chiefs is oratory
A special celebratory dinner was held at Te Papa where the latest cohort of Fellows was formally inducted into the Fellowship with over 80 Fellows in attendance.
Oldest Fellow Dr Eddie Robertson OBE CBE FRSNZ who turned 100 last month said he was honoured to cut the cake at the event and enjoyed conversing with other Fellows and guests. Still active in mind and body, Eddie's speciality was geophysics and he was Director General of the DSIR in the last 10 years before his retirement. He was elected a Fellow in 1963.
A highlight of the evening was a rousing address by Professor Dame Anne Glover FRSE, who is early into her 3-year term as President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE). She spoke about the opportunities and challenges of making research academies relevant to society. She explained that Scotland's national academy has the tagline 'Knowledge made useful'. Her measure of success for her role as President is whether, should the organisation suddenly fold at the end of her term, "would anyone care or even notice?" She feared that if the organisation disbanded today, nobody would care or notice. The RSE is embarking on an ambitious programme to increase its influence and engagement with different sectors. It seeks to do this by fostering credibility and trust to enable its experts to make a difference to all, by being authoritative and accessible.
The following day a symposium was held on 'Inclusive Excellence' to explore how to better measure te hiranga excellence across multiple disciplines. There was much discussion and many wero challenges laid down in each of the four sessions:
- Indigenous research (keynote by Professor Linda Smith FRSNZ, University of Waikato)
- Impact and advancement (keynote by Dr Hugh Bradlow FTSE, President, Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering)
- Interdisciplinary research (keynote by Professor Dame Anne Glover FRSE, President, Royal Society of Edinburgh)
- Research that informs clinical and professional practice (keynote by Professor Jane Harding FRSNZ, University of Auckland)
The Society is grateful to everyone who attended and shared their ideas and challenges. The discussions from the symposium will guide the Academy's work as it seeks to increase its diversity to better reflect New Zealand's research community.