NewsPublished 18 March 2022
Researchers and scholars at the top of their fields elected as Fellows
Twenty-three Ngā Ahurei hou a Te Apārangi new Fellows have been elected to the Academy of the Royal Society Te Apārangi for their distinction in research and advancement of mātauranga Māori, humanities, technology and science. They are world leaders in their area of research and scholarship.
Being made a Fellow is an honour that recognises distinction in research, scholarship or the advancement of knowledge at the highest international standards. Fellows can use the post-nominal ‘FRSNZ’ after their name to indicate this honour.
Chair of the Academy Executive Committee Professor Charlotte Macdonald FRSNZ says it was pleasing to see an outstanding cohort of Fellows elected this year, all with exceptional expertise.
“Ngā Ahurei Hou a Te Apārangi the newly elected fellows have made exceptional contributions to knowledge in their fields and across disciplinary boundaries. Their election adds to the depth of knowledge held within the Academy; they will help support the purpose of Royal Society Te Apārangi to engage with New Zealanders on topics important to all and to recognise outstanding researchers working in Aotearoa.”
“On behalf of the Academy and Society, I heartily congratulate all the new Fellows. The election process is rigorous and new Fellows can be rightfully proud that their outstanding achievements have been recognised by their peers in this way.”
The new Fellows will be formally inducted at a mixed mode in person and online event in Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington on 28 Paenga-whāwhā April 2022.
The new Fellows are:
- Dr Barbara Barratt, AgResearch
- Professor Andrew Barrie, University of Auckland
- Professor Laura Bennet, University of Auckland
- Professor Elizabeth Broadbent, University of Auckland
- Professor Emerita Barbara Brookes MNZM, University of Otago
- Professor Emeritus Margaret Carr ONZM, University of Waikato
- Professor Murray Cox, Massey University
- Professor Peter Fineran, University of Otago
- Professor Claudia Geiringer, Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington
- Associate Professor SallyAnn Harbison MNZM, Institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd (ESR) and University of Auckland
- Professor Christian Hartinger, University of Auckland
- Professor Deborah Hay, University of Otago
- Professor Stephen Henry, AUT
- Professor Philip Hill, University of Otago
- Associate Professor Amokura Kawharu (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whātua o Kaipara, Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei), New Zealand Law Commission
- Professor W. Bastiaan Kleijn, Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington
- Professor Tahu Kukutai (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Tiipa, Te Aupōuri, Waikato), University of Waikato
- Associate Professor Sonja Macfarlane (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Waewae) Massey University
- Professor Nigel Perry, Plant & Food Research and University of Otago
- Professor Murray Thomson, University of Otago
- Professor Stephen Todd, University of Canterbury
- Professor John Townend, Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington
- Professor Angela Wanhalla (Ngāi Te Ruahikihiki, Ngāi Tahu), University of Otago
Mā te kimi ka kite,
mā te kite ka mōhio,
mā te mōhio ka mārama.
Seek and discover,
discover and know,
know and become enlightened.
Read more on the new Fellows:
Barbara Barratt pioneered internationally relevant research into the biosafety of introduced biocontrol agents for insect pests, which is now being widely applied domestically and internationally. In the 1990s this was a new, contentious and complex aspect of applied ecology. A key example of impact is Barratt’s contribution to the identification and biosafety assessment of a parasitoid wasp for biocontrol of clover root weevil. Through her vision and determination, Barratt has become a leader in the field, both in New Zealand and internationally. She now leads a major theme in a multi-agency research collaboration focused on border biosecurity risk assessment, in close partnership with the Environmental Protection Authority, the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Department of Conservation. Her significant research contributions led to Barratt being elected President of the International Organisation for Biocontrol (IOBC) and she also is central to the IOBC Global’s 'Commission on Biological Control and Access and Benefit Sharing' which seeks to maintain freedom to operate in biological control practice.
Andrew Barrie’s innovative architectural design and research has played a key role in advancing New Zealand architecture on the world stage. The originality of his design projects—in the form of buildings, exhibitions, installations, and objects—is evidenced by 60+ national and international awards, including some of the most prestigious prizes in New Zealand and global architecture. A leader in the field of timber design, his 2016 Cathedral Grammar Junior School is one of the most awarded works of architectural design in New Zealand history. He is also among the Pacific region’s leading critics and commentators on contemporary architecture, having published three books on the work of internationally-renowned Japanese architects, and over 200 critical reviews, articles, and research outputs on Japanese and New Zealand architecture.
Laura Bennet is a biomedical scientist in the field of fetal physiology. She is head of the Department of Physiology and co-director of the Fetal Physiology and Neuroscience Group. She is an international leader in fetal physiological research. Her work is noted for her original discoveries in preterm fetal physiology and pathophysiology, leading to key new knowledge about how babies adapt to adverse challenges such as oxygen deprivation and infection. Her research informs new methods for detecting babies at risk of injury and provides the fundamental physiology underpinning new perinatal treatments and clinical management strategies. She has received numerous prizes, invitations to speak, student successes and invited academic roles. Laura strongly advocates for research advancement through her diverse national and international leadership roles, including changes to our research landscape to meet commitments to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. She actively engages in fostering researchers around the world to create successful and vibrant research communities.
Elizabeth Broadbent has achieved an international reputation and peer recognition in both social robotics and health psychology. One of her most notable contributions is the development and testing of healthcare robots, especially for improving outcomes in rest-home and dementia care and chronic illness. Her work is notable for the incorporation of mental attributions, so that robots' characteristics can be tuned to people's personalities, attitudes and needs for companionship. This is innovative interdisciplinary work of exceptional quality. Her contributions to health psychology include assessment tools for illness perceptions, and the development of novel interventions. Also notable are her studies demonstrating the effects of psychological interventions on inflammatory processes and wound healing. Together, this work contributes towards improved understanding and application of psychological processes with international impact.
Barbara Brookes’ research has contributed to a vast international expansion of the historical canon from the 1970s, particularly in relation to the history of gender. It continues to be innovative and widely published, winning her such significant accolades as the Royal Society Te Apārangi’s Humanities Aronui Medal, being made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit and the 2017 Ockham Award for the best work of illustrated non-fiction. Brookes is both a skilled synthesiser and an innovative user of source materials as varied as archives, personal papers, film and photography. Her award-winning History of New Zealand Women sophisticatedly knits these sources together to create her ‘magisterial’ and ‘highly readable’ book. Her engaging and inclusive personal research and scholarly collaborations have cast a historical lens on topics as diverse as women’s caring work, mental health and notions of the healthy body.
Margaret Carr has had an immense impact on early childhood education in Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally. She was one of four lead coordinators and writers - alongside (Sir) Tamati Reedy, Tilly Reedy, and Helen May – of the 1996 bicultural and sociocultural curriculum, Te Whāriki. This introduced learning dispositions as a new outcomes language and a ‘weaving’ metaphor about pedagogy. In response, Margaret developed an original assessment tool that has had a profound influence on national and international early years practice and commentary. Scholarly response was extended in seven Teaching and Learning Research Initiative projects with teachers and two Marsden Fund projects – (i) disposition and design in early years, and (ii) a bi-cultural project, with Te Kōhanga Reo o Mana Tamariki, on creative capacity building in the early years.
Murray Cox is one of the world’s foremost authorities on the genetics of Island South East Asia and the Pacific. Recognised internationally for driving major advances by developing inventive new analytical methods, Murray moves beyond the usual emphasis in molecular anthropology of tracing human movements to reveal the social and health implications of past contact and interaction. His research leadership stems from coupling deep understanding of local communities with quantitative innovations spanning genetics, statistics and anthropology. His resulting discoveries have captured global attention, with articles in The Economist and The New York Times, fellowships at the Max Planck Institute and Oxford University, and Royal Society Te Apārangi awarding him the Te Rangi Hīroa medal for his anthropological work to reconstruct processes of transformation and change in past societies using genetic data.
Peter Fineran is an internationally-recognised leader in bacterial immune mechanisms who has greatly advanced our understanding of interactions between phages, mobile genetic elements and bacteria. In particular, he has made world-leading contributions to the area of CRISPR-Cas biology and abortive infection systems. He applies his expertise in phage biology to develop phage-inspired antimicrobials, currently to tackle agricultural pathogens. Fineran is a strong research mentor, training over 50 post-graduates and 14 post-docs, and an accomplished science communicator. His scientific excellence is evident from his impressive publication record and international distinctions, including being recognised as a top 1% cited researcher (Web of Science) and receiving the Fleming Prize (Microbiology Society, UK), which is awarded to an outstanding researcher within 12 years of achieving their PhD.
Claudia Geiringer’s multi-award-winning scholarship stands out for its rigour, its elegance, and its high impact. She is the only scholar to have been thrice awarded the Ian Barker award for best published law article. Her work is regularly relied on by judges both in New Zealand and abroad in developing important public law doctrines. In addition, her scholarship has precipitated significant changes, such as to the parliamentary rules governing the use of urgency, and to government policy concerning the award of New Zealand citizenship in humanitarian cases. She is recognised internationally as a leading expert on the New Zealand constitution, as well as on the constitutional protection of human rights in the Anglo-Commonwealth. She has held a number of international posts and fellowships, and her perspectives are regularly sought by an international audience of scholars, judges and practitioners.
SallyAnn Harbison has led the research and development of significant advances and innovation in forensic DNA and RNA analysis. These innovations have been applied by SallyAnn and her colleagues directly in forensic investigations. SallyAnn received a New Zealand Science and Technology Medal in 1996 for her outstanding contribution to the development and application of DNA systems for forensic science in New Zealand. This science provided the basis for the advancement of DNA profiling including the DNA Profile Databank, a significant crime fighting tool. SallyAnn is recognised internationally for providing casework-ready, accredited science for the justice sector derived from her research activities. She is currently researching forensic applications of next-generation sequencing (massively parallel sequencing).
Christian Hartinger is recognised internationally as a distinguished researcher in biological inorganic chemistry. He has made many highly influential contributions that impact on drug discovery but also provide fundamental understanding of drug-protein interactions and reactivity at the interface between chemistry and biology. His innovative approaches have established new directions in metallodrug research, and his developed methodologies continue to have far-reaching impact in the community. His findings challenge paradigms about the reactivity of metal compounds towards biomolecules and thereby inform the design of novel biomaterials. He is a highly regarded mentor to his PhD students and postdoctoral fellows. His research has earned him many accolades and is at the forefront of biological inorganic chemistry while his bioanalytical work lays the foundation for translation to the clinic.
Professor Debbie Hay is an innovative molecular pharmacologist whose seminal contributions have enhanced understanding of the roles of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in conditions such as migraine, diabetes and obesity. GPCRs are key human drug targets but have complex patterns of selectivity. Her research has defined how receptor activity-modifying proteins (RAMPs) modulate GPCR activities and brought new understanding of how peptide ligands are engaged. This knowledge crucially underpinned the development of several new first-in-class therapeutic drugs, particularly for migraine. An extraordinarily productive, highly cited (Clarivate) scientist (164 publications, 2 patents, H-index 47) and an outstanding mentor of young researchers, she has established herself as a world leader in a complex field, in high demand internationally as a collaborator, speaker, writer and consultant to industry.
Steve Henry is a biological designer who has been involved with research concerned with biosurface modification for four decades. In 1996, with colleague Nicolai Bovin, they invented the breakthrough ‘multi-functional bio-paint’ platform called Kode Technology. Kode Technology allows for rapid modification of virtually any biological or non-biological surface with virtually any small molecule. Steve’s mission is to make it easy for scientists to utilise Kode technology in their research and for businesses to incorporate Kode innovation into new products. There are over 75 academic publications on the technology and global use of Kode ranges from virus, liposome and cell research, to COVID-19 and transfusion diagnostics, and an immuno-oncotherapeutic product in phase 2 trials, plus an extensive pipeline. Steve currently holds the positions of CEO for Kode Biotech and subsidiaries and he is also a Professor of Innovation at Auckland University of Technology.
Philip Hill, McAuley Chair of International Health and Foundation Director of the University of Otago's Centre for International Health, is a world leader in tuberculosis case contact research, using this powerful research platform to evaluate new tools against tuberculosis, and to test hypotheses about the properties of the pathogen and how it relates to interventions, including vaccines. His research has had significant impact, including on how new tools are used in practice, and in guiding new approaches to biomarkers and vaccine evaluations. He has a focus on training the next generation of global health researchers, especially from under-resourced countries.
Amokura Kawharu is the foremost scholar of New Zealand arbitration law. Through arbitration, a dispute can be resolved outside state courts but with the same legal effect as a High Court judgment. The law was formerly based on 19th century English law, and arbitration was seldom used. Although an established field elsewhere, New Zealand had no tradition of arbitration scholarship. With new laws adopted in 1996 and the re-birth of arbitration practice, Kawharu established arbitration as a field of academic study in New Zealand, has led reform and development of arbitration law through her scholarship and advocacy, and raised its profile internationally. As President of the Law Commission, she is now also leading the consideration of te ao Māori in the process of law reform.
The way we communicate has changed dramatically over the last 30 years. Bastiaan Kleijn has made a significant impact on the technology we all use daily. Every mobile telephone in the world uses an audio encoder-decoder based on Kleijn's generalised analysis-by-synthesis principle. He founded a company that provided the enabling audio coding technologies to Skype, the pioneer in internet communications. Recently, he was first in reducing the bit rate required for coding speech by an order of magnitude through generative synthesis. Kleijn has made significant contributions in fields ranging from speech processing through spatial audio to machine learning. Kleijn's inventiveness and research competence are reflected by more than 75 patents and widely cited work (Google h-index 59).
Tahu Kukutai's research focuses on two distinct but complementary areas: Māori demography and Indigenous data sovereignty. She has undertaken a broad range of applied population research, from iwi projections and demographic profiling, to survey-based analysis of Māori identity and whānau structure. She has published widely on Māori demography and ethnic identity and is recognised internationally for her work on state practices of ethnic and racial classification and census taking. The impact of her work is demonstrated by the uptake by iwi, Māori organisations (such as the Independent Māori Statutory Board) and government agencies (Ministry of Social Development, Te Puni Kōkiri, Superu, Treasury), as well as many advisory roles (such as Chief Science Advisor Forum, 2018 Census External Data Quality Panel, Iwi Chairs Forum).
Sonja Macfarlane is an influential scholar of Māori and Indigenous knowledge, with a particular focus on enhancing the social, cultural, educational and health outcomes achieved by Māori. Her reputation is characterised by promoting culturally responsive, evidence-based approaches in education and psychology. Sonja has played a key role in the advancement of alternative ways for educators and psychologists to improve cultural awareness and responsivity, leading to the implementation of practices that accrue benefits for Māori learners (education) and clients (psychology). Her culturally-grounded publications and applied practice models in these disciplines have established her as an authority on the ways professionals can engage authentically within their professional spaces. With a commitment to building Māori capacity and capability, she is a highly sought-after doctoral supervisor and examiner of theses.
Nigel Perry has contributed greatly to new knowledge on natural products, the diverse molecules that regulate many interactions in nature. He is a world leader in understanding the impacts of production and processing on natural products in medicinal and culinary plants. He has discovered more than 80 previously unknown compounds from New Zealand native marine and terrestrial plants and animals. He combines excellence in fundamental science with a drive to create impacts through practical applications. He is an inventor on six patents, including an insect attractant in commercial use around the world. He works with Māori on taonga organisms, combining mātauranga and science. He received the 1994 NZ Science & Technology Medal for excellence and the 2013 New Zealand Institute of Chemistry Prize for Industrial and Applied Chemistry.
Murray Thomson is a researcher in dental epidemiology and health services who has made important and sustained contributions to knowledge in a number of fields over the last three decades. His work in the renowned Dunedin Study has enhanced understanding of oral health throughout life. He is an expert on the oral condition ‘dry mouth’ and has developed measures which are being widely used in clinical practice and research. He has also made important contributions to understanding of the oral health of the ageing population and of the effectiveness of dental care in improving the lives of children and their families. Murray’s national oral health survey work in Australasia has been internationally influential. He has also provided many years of service as an Editor-in-Chief for international scientific journals.
Stephen Todd is a highly influential scholar in private law. He is author or part-author of seven books (30 including successive editions) and author of 49 articles and of chapters in 21 books. His work is widely cited and has had exceptional impact in New Zealand courts and in higher courts overseas. He has been an invited presenter at many international conferences, in particular the New Zealand Supreme Court Conference (2014) and High Court of Australia Centenary Conference (2003). He achieved world distinction on being awarded the John Fleming Memorial Prize for Torts Scholarship (2006). He was the Rutherford Scholar and Visiting Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge (2017). He has been consulted by major research bodies, the New Zealand Law Society and the New Zealand Royal Commission on Genetic Modification.
Professor John Townend is an internationally recognised geophysicist who has made societally important discoveries regarding the stresses on faults and the processes governing earthquakes. He has co-led an ambitious, decade-long mission to drill into, sample, and monitor the Alpine Fault, and led inaugural studies of the seismic noise field, low-frequency earthquakes and the tectonic stress field. He maintains an extensive network of international collaborators, and attracts high-calibre students and early-career researchers to Aotearoa, who have gone on to successful academic careers. Professor Townend’s advice is widely sought by international scientific organisations (including as President of the Seismological Society of America) and national and international government agencies. He has cemented Aotearoa’s position as a global leader in earthquake science through his influential research and outstanding scientific leadership.
Angela Wanhalla is an award-winning scholar of gender and colonialism. She has demonstrated that interracial relationships are a significant aspect of colonialism and its legacy in New Zealand. Her research has shown that colonialism was intimate in scale, and on this basis she has argued for new approaches to the colonial past through attention to intimacy and emotion. She has successfully broadened understanding of how intimate relations, inclusive of affectionate bonds, sexual violence, and the emotional legacies of global war in indigenous societies, are deeply entwined with colonial policy and practice. She has approached these histories in award-winning innovative ways, combining archival research with visual and material culture and oral histories to tell new histories of New Zealand's colonial past from the perspectives of indigenous women and their communities.