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


McDiarmid Science – to Industry and Beyond

Friday 14 September 2018, 6.00pm, Presbyterian Church Hall, 91 Tenby St, Wanaka.
Professor Alison Downard, Principal Investigator of The MacDiarmid Institute.
Dr Ojas Mahapatra, Alumnus of The MacDiarmid Institute.


The Wanaka Branch of the Royal Society of NZ is proud to host the MacDiarmid Institute’s annual Regional Lecture Series.
Join us to hear MacDiarmid Institute Principal Investigator, Professor Alison Downard, and MacDiarmid alumnus Dr Ojas Mahapatra, speak about how science (and hi-tech research in materials science in particular) can grow a high-tech economy and wealth for New Zealand.
This talk “MacDiarmid Science – to Industry and Beyond” will focus on science as it heads from the lab to the marketplace, and on pathways for MacDiarmid alumni heading from universities into hi-tech industry.
About the MacDiarmid Institute:
The MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology is a government funded Centre of Research Excellence. The Institute pulls together the best materials scientists from around New Zealand. Materials science underpins all high value manufacturing and the MacDiarmid Institute has a proud record of spinning out new high tech-companies, and a long history of cross-collaboration with industry.
See more about the Institute here in our two-minute video https://vimeo.com/267147736


Professor Alison Downard – Principal Investigator of The MacDiarmid Institute

Professor Alison Downard is a Principal Investigator with the MacDiarmid Institute and teaches Chemistry at the University of Canterbury. She is part of a MacDiarmid research team working on exploring ways of attaching nanoscale coatings to surfaces to give materials new and improved properties. She is passionate to show how collaboration between engineering, materials science and chemistry can create new science and bring new economic and cultural ambitions.

Dr Ojas Mahapatra – Alumnus of The MacDiarmid Institute

Dr Ojas Mahapatra did his PhD with The MacDiarmid Institute at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, where he “had the chance to work on extremely sophisticated, million-dollar equipment which you can brag about all your life!”. He is now the CEO of Photonic Innovations Ltd, a NZ start-up that specialises in manufacturing laser based gas leak detection equipment for industrial health and safety.



Follow the “Grebes of Wanaka” with committee member John Darby


Saving Our Lakes – What Can We Do?