Welcome to The Wanaka Branch of the
Royal Society of New Zealand.

The Wanaka group was formed in February 2013, becoming the 9th Regional branch of the Royal Society of New Zealand which is based in Wellington. Consistent with the aims of the central organisation, the main objective of the Wanaka Branch is to advance and promote science, technology and humanities in Wanaka and the Wanaka region.

The Branch seeks to achieve this by offering a series of 6 to 10 lectures each year. It aims to bring speakers who are highly regarded in their field of knowledge and expertise, as well as good communicators. Each year a number of eminent national and international speakers, who tour New Zealand under the umbrella of the Royal Society Wellington are included in the programme.

The Wanaka Branch is constituted as an unincorporated society and comprises a membership who appoint an executive committee at an AGM held in May each year. Members receive advance notices of lectures and other communications by email. Lectures are open to the public, and usually held at 6pm on a Friday in the Presbyterian Community Centre, 91 Tenby St, Wanaka.

Becoming a Member

Anyone is welcome to become a member of the Wanaka Branch. For information about types of memberships, subscriptions/fees, how to apply, and Rules of the Society, please click on the link below.

Upcoming Talks


Expect the unexpected! Adventures in the icy world of quantum physics.

Friday 3 July at 6.00pm, at the Presbyterian Community Centre, 91 Tenby Street, Wanaka.
Prof Joachim Brand, New Zealand Institute for Advanced Study, Massey University.
Cost – $5 per person.

As temperatures fall, one might expect the physical world to become boring and lifeless. But realising ultra-cold temperatures in the laboratory, experimentalists can observe, manipulate and harness phenomena of quantum physics that are otherwise hidden in the microscopic structure of matter. In this talk I will introduce you to the physics of superfluids and show how laser-cooled atomic gases may hold the key to understand physical phenomena like high-temperature superconductivity, or the origin of the universe.


Wellbeing Policy: Past, Present, Future

Friday 7 August at 6.00pm, at the Presbyterian Community Centre, 91 Tenby Street, Wanaka.
Professor Arthur Grimes, Chair of Wellbeing and Public Policy School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington.
Cost – $5 per person.

The New Zealand government has placed great store on a “wellbeing approach to policy”. In this talk I review antecedents of this approach stretching back to the enlightenment (and before). I then examine two modern approaches to wellbeing policy – based on concepts of subjective wellbeing and on capabilities. I explore the application of these ideas across a range of the social sciences including economics, sociology and psychology. A range of evidence indicates that an approach to policy based on measured subjective wellbeing has considerable merit. Findings from the literature are being used to formulate wellbeing-oriented public policies across a number of countries and, to close, I briefly review the success or otherwise of these explicit wellbeing-based policy approaches.

Arthur Grimes

Arthur Grimes, for Motu Economic and Public Policy Research. Photo credit: Stephen A’Court. COPYRIGHT ©Stephen A’Court

Thank you to the fine folks at Maori Point Wines, who generously donate award-winning central otago wine for our speakers.


Saving Our Lakes – What Can We Do?