NZAS Council is working on a new statement following new debate on the topic of Mātauranga and Science, following on the Double Special Issues in our New Zealand Science Review last year.
Those special issues are available at the link above. To further support their use, the following around now available as separate pdf documents links.
Foreword – Juliet Gerrard and Tahu Kukutai (pdf)
Mātauranga and Science – Introduction – Ocean Mercier and Anne-Marie Jackson (pdf)
Juliet Gerrard and Tahu Kukutai write:
"To turn the tide on anti-science sentiment we need to reframe our science as ‘here to serve’, and ‘here to listen’. Science in Aotearoa New Zealand, and indeed the world, has much to learn from Māori ways of doing, as well as ways of knowing, to bridge these divides."
As an organisation, the New Zealand Association of Scientists (NZAS) recognises the importance of inclusiveness and kindness in science. Transgender, intersex, and gender diverse Kiwis experience significant discrimination within our society. This is partially due to our science system’s inability to even engage with them as part of our population - only this year has Stats NZ offered guidance for collecting sex and gender data which addresses the full scope of gender diversity in Aotearoa.
Additionally, misinformed claims of ‘science’ are often used as a tool of oppression against these groups. It concerns us to see incorrect claims being made that ‘science’ supports the definition of all humans into one of two categories based on assignment of sex at birth. We see science as one of the most important ways we have of learning and talking about ourselves, our world, and everyone within it (we are, after all, scientists). The NZAS recognises that the scientific consensus tells us that gender cannot be reduced down to any simple combination of an individual’s chromosomes, hormones, genitalia, or any other characteristic: it is not a simple binary. The principles of inclusiveness and kindness in science tell us to engage with people as who they are, recognising the world around us, and within us, as it is rather than as we think it should be.
Despite the challenges they face, we already work with trans, gender diverse, and intersex scientists of all genders. They are working and leading in science in Aotearoa as scientists and equals. We support them and all efforts to make science and society in Aotearoa safer for everybody, by taking the stance that this is not only the moral thing to do, nor only the scientifically most valid perspective: supporting trans, gender diverse, and intersex scientists of all genders produces better science for all of society.
The winners of the NZAS 2020 Awards have been announced:
Marsden Medal: Prof. Martha Savage
Shorland Medal: Prof. Mark Costello
Hill Tinsley Medal: Assoc. Prof. Frédérique Vanholsbeeck
Cranwell Medal: Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu
Congratulations to all of the medal winners!
For full details of these outstanding scientists and their achievements, see the 2020 Awards Recipients page.
The Environmental Protection Agency is calling for information on the use of the weed killer glyphosate in New Zealand. See Glyphosate: Call for information | EPA
This request is the first step in deciding whether to change the rules around its use. Glyphosate is used in weed killers, such as Roundup, by gardeners, farmers and councils, but the possible environmental and health effects have been subject to public debate.
If there are grounds to reassess glyphosate and a formal reassessment application is made, the public will have an opportunity to make submissions on the application once it has been publicly notified.
The EPA's current position, similar to Australia, Canada, the US and the EU, is that glyphosate products are safe as long as all the rules for use are followed. Its use is currently being reviewed in Europe.
Meantime you may read an extensive review of glyphosate’s discovery, use of Roundup® in New Zealand and its impacts on human health, livestock, and ecosystems by Ian Shaw Professor of Toxicology at Canterbury University.
Is it time to round up Roundup®? The changing science of glyphosate - Prof. Ian C Shaw - NZSR article advance publication
The reach of online events was a highlight from 2020 that brought science communities together. For 2021, NZAS will bring you webinar panels in an interactive 'town hall' format.
Mark the first in your diaries for lunchtime Friday 5 February (start at 12:15):
Shaun Hendy hosts a panel of young scientists:
Kannan Ridings, University of Auckland
Audrey Lustig, Manaaki Whenua
Anastasiya Kiddle, University of Auckland
Nicholas Steyn, University of Canterbury/Auckland
"How did early career scientists contribute to NZ's COVID-19 response?"
Please look for more information, and registration (which will email you the zoom link) on our event page. Or post our flyer (pdf).
The announcement of charges laid against a science institution involved in advising emergency response in relation to the 2019 Whakaari White Island eruption has shaken many in the New Zealand science community, yet scientists have also felt reassured by the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor's (PMCSA’s) blog post released on the day charges were announced. The PMCSA provides a timely reminder of the paramount importance in emergencies of free and frank scientific advice to decision makers, and one can note that the advice provided must also be fast and unfiltered yet expert and careful.
Increasingly, our science community and wider public look to the PMCSA for steering on difficult issues that go beyond her central role of coordinating science advice to government, which is the focus of the blog post. Many are surprised that the PMSCA isn’t able to comment further in this case, but in a small nation it is inevitable that any important person or office will sometimes have conflicts of interest or confidential involvement that prevents public engagement. It is important for others with relevant expertise to fill the void.
I do that here, and point out that there are two additional issues that need consideration in this case. First, the success of advice to government also depends on public trust in science and government institutions, and this requires an adequate level of public and media access to scientists as events unfold.
In addition, a unique and unusual second factor has now appeared. Prolonged and possibly expansive silencing associated with the as yet undefined scope of Worksafe's prosecution of a science institution could create a cone of silence and confusion around the same areas of scientific expertise that need to be called on in an emergency. So far, the apparent silence is worrying with only one university academic, Prof Shane Cronin, commenting and appearing widely in the media. Comments available from Prof Tom Wilson help on key issues, but many other voices are missing.
To help keep New Zealand as safe as possible, we can ensure a public conversation is occurring about the free flow of scientific information and advice in emergencies ranging from pandemics to earthquakes and eruptions. It should consider how science can best provide advice and public information, but can usefully extend to whether scientific expertise is sufficiently involved in the funding, management and governance of our science institutions. Such a conversation will have to be separate and hypothetical to avoid the cone of silence around the Whakaari White Island investigations.
In this case, we need to keep in mind that hypothetical does not mean irrelevant. New Zealand remains at high risk of natural hazard emergencies that can occur at any time.
Responding to the challenges of the pandemic's impacts on hiring, travel, migration and other factors, we are now hosting an ECR group. Our goal is to support NZ ECRs (from PhD students onward) across institutions and disciplines. We currently have over 60 participants, initially on Slack and email deciding what to do next. A group of ECRs has joined our Council in November.
Please contact our Councillor and ECR group coordinator Georgia Carson to join.
Tēnā koutou NZAS Members
The New Zealand Association of Scientists AGM will be held on Tuesday 17th November at 5.30pm, by Zoom. The agenda and Zoom link are below.
Nāku iti noa, nā
Fiona McDonald, Secretary to NZAS Council ,
Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in the AGM and have not received the zoom link.
Tuesday 17th November, 2020
1. Introduction and apologies
2. Minutes of 78th AGM of NZAS
3. Matters arising
5. 79th Annual Report – President’s address
6. 2019/2020 Financial Report
7. Election of officers
8. General Business
Zoom: NZAS AGM
Time: Nov 17, 2020 05:30 PM Auckland, Wellington
In the lead-up to the election, the New Zealand Association of Scientists, the Public Service Association and the Centre for Science in Society collaborated to bring you a political discussion on Government as the funder of science and employer of scientists.
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A panel of science spokespeople from the major New Zealand political parties were invited to join us for this pre-election discussion, hosted and facilitated by Rebecca Priestley, Associate Professor in Science and Society at Victoria University of Wellington.
Rebecca Priestley served as MC and the panel was made up of
Published this month - part 2 of a two-part Special Issue of New Zealand Science Review
Mātauranga and Science
Guest Editors: Ocean Mercier and Anne-Marie Jackson
Foreword – Jessica Hutchings and Willy-John Martin
Mātauranga and Science – Introduction – Anne-Marie Jackson, and Ocean Mercier
Māori Astronomy and Matariki – Hēmi Whaanga, Pauline Harris, Rangi Matamua
A Pūtaiao Resource – Georgina Tuari Stewart and Peter Buchanan
Marine Management Futures – Kura Paul-Burke, Tuwhakairiora O'Brien, Joseph Burker, Charlie Bluett
Visualising Mātauranga – Maui Hudson, Hēmi Whaanga, Jordan Waiti, Hohepa Maxwell, Kyle Davis, Te Awhina Arahanga, John Proctor, Matt Sword, Thalia Ullrich, Mike Taitoko
Environmental Decision-Making – Doug Jones, Dan Hikuroa, Erica Gregory, Hana Ihaka-McLeod, and Te Taiawatea Moko-Mead
Dismantling Cook's Legacy – Arama Rata
Part one of this special issue of New Zealand Science Review is also available freely online.
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