Explore as a

Share our content


Published 20 December 2023

He Pānui: A Message from Royal Society Te Apārangi President, Dr Brent Clothier FRSNZ

After two challenging years, 2023 has been a rebound year of reconnections. The exigencies of the past two years have made the reconnections of 2023 ever so special and more energised.

Early in 2023, we were able to reconnect with our international counterparts. In March, I attended the Board meeting of the Australian Council of Learned Academies in Canberra. In May, Paul Atkins and I attended the mid-term session of the International Science Council in Paris. Enroute, we visited the Royal Society in London and the Royal Society of Edinburgh, along with other British academies. During late November I was able to connect with the Chinese Academy of Engineering in Beijing. In today’s fragmenting world, re-establishing connections with global academies is vitally important as we seek to grow our mutually connected pathways of knowledge.

CAE ScaleMaxWidthWzY5MF0

Arising from the difficulties of 2021 and 2022, during 2023 Royal Society Te Apārangi embarked on a process of engagement across the ambit of the Society to develop a long-term strategy. We sought input from within, and beyond. After many hui, and much kōrero, an inter-generational strategy targeted at 2043 has been developed. This has been circulated to our membership and posted on our website. Our fourfold strategic priorities will be to:

  • develop knowledge pathways,
  • build influence and have impact,
  • to support people and grow partnerships, and
  • to ensure our independence through growth. 

Within this long-term strategy, successive Presidents will be able to develop three-year action plans along this pathway.

Screenshot 2023 12 20 111902

One of the most enjoyable aspects of this year’s reconnections has been in celebrating the excellence and achievements of our members and researchers in Aotearoa.  In early April we welcomed into our whare our new Fellows, Nga Ahurei, and listened to the stories of their incredible achievements. In late April we held the He Pito Mata forum for our Early Career Researchers, and in May we hosted the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes. During October we welcomed three new Companions, Nga Takahoa, into our whare, and this was followed by an energetic and enthusiastic forum with our Companions and Members.  In November, we reconnected across New Zealand by holding our Research Honours Aotearoa events at three venues, beginning in Auckland, followed by Christchurch, and then concluding at Government House in Wellington where it was hosted by the Governor General, Dame Cindy Kiro.  Finally, the year ended with the Executive and Council of the Royal Society Te Apārangi being invited by Science New Zealand to attend their awards dinner at Parliament in December.

The Te Pūiaki Putaiao Matua a te Pirimia Science Prize was awarded to the National Institute for Stroke and Applied Neurosciences (NISAN), led by Professor Valery Feigin FRSNZ.

The Te Pūiaki Putaiao Matua a te Pirimia Science Prize was awarded to the National Institute for Stroke and Applied Neurosciences (NISAN), led by Professor Valery Feigin FRSNZ.

So 2023 has been a year of reconnecting and setting the compass for a journey towards 2043 to develop pathways of knowledge by the Royal Society Te Apārangi to build strength, independence, and growth for future generations.

Next year will see the beginning of some changes on this journey. My term of office ends on June 30, 2024.  It has been a huge privilege and an honour to be part of this haerenga. Our President-Elect, Distinguished-Professor Dame Jane Harding FRSNZ will assume the Presidency on 1 July, 2024.  Kia kaha Jane.

I would like to thank all our Fellows, Companions, and Members for their mahi over 2023. And finally a special ‘shout-out’ to all of the kaimahi of the Society for their incredible work and support over 2023. Their efforts have made this year of reconnection such a great success … and so enjoyable.

Ngā mihi o te wā me te arohanui, Season's greetings



Dr Brent Clothier FRSNZ
Royal Society Te Apārangi President

Source: Royal Society Te Apārangi