Upcoming Talks

June 2022
Jun 17
17 June 2022 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Moriori – assuredly a story worth telling.
Presbyterian Community Centre, 91 Tenby Street, Wanaka, NZ

Speaker: Dr Doug Sutton, University of Auckland (Retired).

This paper summarises research over the last fifty years which has clarified what we now know about:

The  original discovery of the Chatham Islands,
The indigenous development there of Moriori population, culture and society,
The nature of Moriori society as it was prior to new arrivals,
The demographic, environmental, social and cultural impacts of rediscovery by sealers and whalers, and the enduring occupation of the islands by new settlers.
The condition of Moriori by 1870.

It reviews the Moriori struggle for survival which was set in motion by the herculean efforts and tactical genius of Hirawanu Tapu (1824-1900) and codified, a hundred years after his death, by settlement with the Crown.

July 2022
Jul 29
29 July 2022 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Spectroscopy in 21st century New Zealand: from solar cells to fish waste
Presbyterian Community Centre, 91 Tenby Street, Wanaka, NZ

Speaker: Professor Keith Gordon, Department of Chemistry, University of Otago.

Vibrational spectroscopy is a potent method of analysing molecular structure within small volumes and at fast timescales.  In this presentation I will try to cover off three related but distinct areas of interest.

Firstly, I will discuss how using a suite of spectroscopic methods, and by studying a series of complexes (metal-based donor-acceptor systems) in which parameters are carefully controlled,1 it is possible to develop design principles for excited state properties such that one can enhance electronic absorption and increase excited state lifetimes.2  Useful properties in both solar cells3 and photocatalysis.  The understanding of how these properties, both ground and excited state, are modulated by driving force and effective conjugation is not straightforward.

Secondly, the use of computational chemistry in modelling properties of compounds has become ubiquitous in modern chemistry.  However these do not always predict molecular behaviour effectively and unpicking the extent of deviation between theory and experiment reveals some interesting problems in our reliance on computational methods.4 Our studies on the spectroscopy of donor-acceptor and π, π* systems highlight these issues.5

Finally, our experimental development, originally aimed at understanding ground and excited state properties of metal complexes and other donor-acceptor systems, has provided us with tools that are amenable to analytical spectroscopy.  These are critical techniques that can add value to products in New Zealand. I will outline some of these  in the study of primary produce and pharmaceuticals.  More recently we have used low-frequency Raman spectroscopy6 to evaluate crystallinity (and order in general) in structures as varied as solar cell polymers7 to active pharmaceutical ingredients.8 Our studies in these areas will also be described.

November 2022
Nov 18
18 November 2022 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Presbyterian Community Centre, 91 Tenby Street, Wanaka, NZ

Speaker: Emeritus Professor Colin Townsend, University of Otago

You may not be surprised to learn that if New Zealand’s rivers were to be placed end to end they would total 9,471 km in length. But did you know that the streams that feed those rivers total more than 400,000 km! Did you know that the beds of such streams that have been reached by the introduced brown trout tend to be more slippery than those still occupied by native fish? Or that an ancient whitebait species became ‘landlocked’ into headwater streams of the South Island and evolved into 12 or more new non-migratory species? Or that streams whose beds are disturbed at an intermediate rate have a higher biodiversity than streams turned over by more frequent spates or not disturbed at all? Or which of the human-caused impairments (nitrogen, sediment, water abstraction, increased temperature) is most harmful to stream ecosystems? Well nor did I - until my research team started work three decades ago.


Past Talks

Parkinson’s Disease and Stroke – Towards New Treatments

Friday 22nd May 2015 6 pm Presbyterian Community Centre Tenby St. Associate Professor John Reynolds, Associate Professor of Neuroscience, Department of Anatomy, University of Otago. Assoc Prof Reynolds will review recent work he and others have been undertaking towards new therapeutic approaches to Parkinson’s disease and stroke. He will describe an approach that his team is taking to restore the natural activity of the dopamine system that is lost in Parkinson’s disease. He will also describe novel and promising neurostimulation approaches designed to increase the functional gains obtained from rehabilitation following stroke.

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Get Off the Grass: Kickstarting New Zealand’s innovation economy

Friday 17th April 2015 6 pm Presbyterian Community Centre, Tenby St. Professor Shaun Hendy FRSNZ, Professor of Physics, Director of Te Punaha Matatini, University of Auckland. Shaun Hendy is a physicist by training, formerly Professor of Computational Physics at Victoria University, a Fellow at Callaghan Innovation, and presently Professor and Director at Auckland university’s Te Punaha Matatini, a Centre of Research excellence (CoRE) which focuses on developing better economic and environmental policies for governments and business. In 2012 Shaun was awarded the Callaghan Medal by the Royal Society of NZ, and the Prime Ministers Science Media Communication Prize.. With the

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The Spark of Life

Friday 20th March 2015 6 pm, Presbyterian Community Centre, Tenby St. Professor Frances Ashcroft FRS, University of Oxford, UK. 2015 Royal Society of New Zealand Distinguished Speaker Frances Ashcroft is a Royal Society Research Professor at the University of Oxford and Director of OXION, a training and research programme on the physiology of ion channels. Ion channels are unique proteins found in the membranes of all cells, which allow charged particles (ions) to flow in and out of cells, thus producing electrical signals. Frances’ thesis is a reductionist one, that all our activities, behaviours, sensory perceptions, conscious or unconscious thinking,

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The 2013 Census: NZ’s evolving population

Friday 6 March 2015 6 pm Presbyterian Community Centre, Tenby St. Emeritus Professor Erik Olssen, Otago University, and Dr Malcolm McKinnon, Victoria University. The Royal Society of New Zealand has undertaken a major review paper about the 2013 census and New Zealand’s changing population, bringing together data and analyses from the 2013 Census and other sources, together with input from a wide range of researchers around the country. You are invited to hear a presentation from two eminent historians who were members of the review panel about what an evolving New Zealand society might look like.

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New medicines in wound healing

Thursday 25th September 2014 6 pm. Presbyterian Community centre, Wanaka. Professor Colin Green, Professor of Ophthalmology and Translational Vision Research, Auckland Medical School.

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What’s in our Water

Thursday 19th June 2014 6 pm, Main Hall, Lake Wanaka Centre, Wanaka. Professor Nigel French, Food Safety and Veterinary Public Health department, Massey University .

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Is Exercise Bad for You?

Friday 20th September 2013 6 pm, Edgewater Theatre, Edgewater, Wanaka. Dr Lindy Castell, Research Fellow in Physiology, University of Oxford, UK

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