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Published 9 July 2020

President-Elect – Brent Clothier

The Society is thrilled to announce that Crown Research Institute researcher Dr Brent Clothier FRSNZ will be the next President of Royal Society Te Apārangi. He will take over from Professor Wendy Larner FRSNZ on 1 July 2021 at the end of her three-year term. He joins the Society’s Council as President-Elect immediately.

A leading soil and water scientist, Brent is Principal Scientist at Plant & Food Research - Rangahau Ahumāra Kai, based in the Manawatū. He has advanced quantitative understanding of the world’s natural capital assets that deliver ecosystem services to grow crops and enable us to make informed land-use decisions. He has developed new theories for water and chemicals moving through soil, along with inventing new devices to monitor these parameters. He has developed a new technology with his colleagues to directly measure water use by trees and vines that has helped improve water management in water-short regions globally. 

Brent Clothier in the field 52

Late last year he was the first New Zealander to be elected as an Academician in the Division of Agriculture of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE). This accolade affirmed his research and academic achievements, as well as his contributions to global challenges and assisting China's agricultural water-management through collaborations and exchanges with Chinese scientists around the world.

Brent is a Fellow of Royal Society Te Apārangi, being elected in 1994. He is also a Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America, the American Agronomy Society, the New Zealand Soil Science Society, and the American Geophysical Union and he was the recipient of the American Kirkham Soil Physics Award in 2000.

Brent Clothier testing in the field 2014 01 23 10.08.59

Brent notes that when he takes over as President it will be exactly 40 years since Dr Ted Bollard started as the Society’s President. Dr Bollard was Director of the DSIR Plant Diseases Division, which was the antecedent of his CRI Plant & Food Research.  Dr Trevor Hatherton OBE, who was the Director of the DSIR Geophysics Division, followed Dr Bollard as Society President from 1985-1989. Since then there has been no Crown researcher in the role. 

“So with them, and the many Presidents since, ‘looking on’, I’ve big shoes to fill, and that is very motivating for me,” Brent says. 

Brent has a BSc (Hons) from Canterbury University, and a PhD and DSc from Massey University and is an Adjunct Professor at Massey University, Lincoln University, and China Agricultural University in Beijing. He has previously served on the Royal Society Te Apārangi Council, including three years as a Vice-President. He has also served on the Marsden Fund Council, the Rutherford Foundation Trust and chaired the Society’s Academy in 2008-2009. 

Level 3 wave Brent Clothier

Brent surfing at Foxton Beach

For recreation, Brent is a keen wave-rider and surfer and can most often be found at his favourite break at Foxton Beach. He worked his undergraduate university holidays in Christchurch as a professional lifeguard at Taylor’s Mistake and Pines Beach.

E te toki whakaeke, piki mai, kake mai.
Hoea mai tō waka ki runga i a mātou.

Source: Royal Society Te Apārangi