Asia, Africa, Australasia: Auckland

Created On Saturday, 22 October 2011 12:05 By Administrator

October 26, 2011

The new generation of New Zealanders – evidence from the Growing Up in New Zealand study

Susan Morton, Liggins Institute, University of Auckland

Growing Up in New Zealand is a longitudinal study following the development of nearly 7,000 children, in the context of their families, from pre-birth to early adulthood. The study is designed to provide up-to-date, population relevant information about growing up in New Zealand in the 21st century, and is unique in its capacity to provide a comprehensive picture of child development and to consider outcomes for Māori, Pacific and Asian children as well as European and other New Zealanders.

September 28, 2011

Why Should People Celebrate the Treaty of Waitangi?

Haare Williams, Auckland War Memorial Museum

Is the Treaty of Waitangi more relevant in our work and life today than in 1840?

The Treaty is about the sharing of power (Article 1) and the management of natural resources (Article 2).  It recognises the two languages and beliefs of its signatories – Maori and English.  It can be the interface between our two cultures and the manner in which we can protect the future for our children. It provides insights into mana, taonga, tapu, rangatiratanga (authority and management).

Today, Haare sees signs to celebrate – indications that reconciliation and forgiveness are possible, and that, through the work of the Waitangi Tribunal, we can settle our differences, pave the way for healing past wounds, and build highways for peace in our land.  

August 31, 2011

The fall and rise of public transport in Auckland – a New Zealand success story?

Michael Lee, Auckland Transport

Mike Lee will review the history of public transport in Auckland - from the mid-1950s up to the present day and reveal some surprising facts.  Facts such as: Aucklanders, who are conventionally believed to have had an enduring love affair with the private car, were as recently as the 1950's some of the most diligent users of public transport in the world.  

July 27, 2011

Do you understand the new genetics? Maybe you don’t have that gene!

Andrew Shelling, The University of Auckland

There seems to be a “gene” for something being identified on a daily basis, whether it is for breast cancer, inherited cardiac disease, ADHD, obesity, sexual orientation, yo-yo diet, IQ, sporting ability, infidelity, death, etc., etc. There will be a little bit about the science used to find these genes and the $1000 genome, but the focus of this discussion will be on what this “new genetics” means for disease and lifestyle, what the risks really mean, do we need a “personal gene coach” and how the information should be delivered. 

June 29, 2011

The politics of marine reserves

Tom Trnski, Auckland Museum

The designation of marine reserves is relatively recent – New Zealand’s first marine reserve was gazetted only in 1975. The evidence for the benefits of marine reserves is strong, but there is still resistance to designation of additional reserves. To confound the issue, terminology is ambiguous – how many people know the difference between a marine park and a marine reserve? 

May 25, 2011

Crowd-Sourcing For Communities: Lessons From The One Laptop Per Child Project

Fabiana Kubke, The University of Auckland

Crowdsourcing brings together the knowledge of individuals as a way of empowering communities. From science, earthquake response and education, the power of bringing personal knowledge to the public is having profound effects in communities. Crowd sourced projects can be more rapid, flexible and responsive than some government efforts, and are capable of delivering many necessary outcomes. One of these projects, One Laptop Per Child, brings educational resources to poor children around the world. This programme offers opportunities for community engagement from people in a variety of fields to fill a gap in elementary education. 

April 27, 2011

Where is the soul in science, and where should it be?

Cather Simpson, The University of Auckland

The idea of science as a cold and dispassionate exploration to obtain understanding of the natural world is relatively new. The origins of modern science were rather metaphysical, and some of our Founding Fathers of science had distinctly non-scientific views and methods. A movement is afoot in the US (and spreading) to put the "meta-" back in physics (and chemistry, and biology).  Where is the soul in science, and where should it be? 

March 30, 2011

Liquefaction in Christchurch: not building on solid ground

Michael Davies, The University of Auckland

The recent series of earthquakes in Canterbury and now Japan has forced all New Zealanders to reconsider the buildings where they spend their lives. What fell down that shouldn’t have, and what stood up that you wouldn’t expect to stay up? Liquefaction was a major cause of damage to buildings and infrastructure in the Christchurch earthquakes. Indeed, since these events “liquefaction” has moved from scientific jargon to popular lexicon. However, the general understanding of the process, its effects on structures and lifelines and what, if anything, can be done to mitigate its effects are not generally well understood. Why does the ground liquefy? What does this do to the built environment? Could it happen in Auckland? 

October 27, 2010

The closing coastline: how do Kiwis value beaches and are we losing our ability to enjoy them?

Robin Kearns, The University of Auckland

Dr Robin Kearns is Professor of Geography at The University of Auckland and is investigating coastal ‘hot spots’: localities where there have been proposals for major residential developments. The resulting ‘social climate change’ at sites like Ocean Beach in Hawkes Bay and Ngunguru near Whangarei has seen a galvanising of views – the coast as private paradise or public preserve? 

September 29, 2010

Printing the Future

Olaf Diegel, AUT University

3D printing is coming of age. It is now at the cusp of becoming a rapid manufacturing technology that will have a great deal of influence on how we live in the future. 

In the not too distant future we will, for example, be able to select a product from an online catalogue and, after customizing it to our preferences, our home 3D printer will manufacture it for us on the spot. Your mechanic needing to carry spare parts (or needing 6 weeks to order them) will be a thing of the past, as he will simply print out new parts as he needs them. Tired of waiting six months for your house to be built? Why not print one out in 6 days? Need a new bladder or hip joint? It’s now possible to print you out a replacement that is completely compatible with your body.

August 25, 2010

Walking Tall: the Rex Bionics Story

Richard Little

Rex Bionics was co-founded by Richard Little and Robert Irving about seven years ago when Robert received a multiple sclerosis diagnosis and realised he may need to use a wheelchair in future. The two life-long friends dreamed of making a product that would enable people with wheelchairs to stand and walk.  Working with a team of talented people, they launched the Rex pair of robotic legs.  Today, Rex Bionics has 25 engineers and a handful of other staff committed to bringing Rex to market around the world. 

July 28, 2010

Complementary Therapies for People with Cancer: Pearls in a Sea of Nonsense

Shaun Holt

People diagnosed with cancer want to do everything they can to beat the disease and almost everyone will consider or try complementary therapies. Some of these therapies have been proven to work in good clinical trials, but the majority have not been tested, do not work or can be harmful. How does a person in this situation know what works and what does not? Without scientific training and the time to undertake the research it is impossible for almost everyone. There are some pearls of knowledge but they are hidden in a sea of nonsense.

May 26, 2010

Living Well in the 21st Century: The Ethics of Sustainability and What We Eat

Rosalind Hursthouse

Remember when vegetarianism was mostly about animal welfare?  These days the most forceful argument for vegetarianism concerns the welfare of the planet.  There is a familiar theme here - once more we're being told that we need to live more sustainably because in a connected, finite world our descendants' futures are on the line.  But surely that means that we should all be in favour of the proposed Mackenzie Basin factory farms as long as environmental concerns are properly managed.   Or are we really under a moral obligation to stop eating meat?  What's next - an obligation to stop having children?  Sustainability issues seem to require us to apply a whole new set of values in making our choices - or perhaps we just need to stop ignoring some very old ones.

March 31, 2010

Green Chemistry – can clean and green ever beat cheap and dirty?

James Wright

Many of the industrial processes that produce our consumer goods either use toxic materials or produce polluting by-products.  Green Chemistry aims to invent new industrial processes that do not use or produce environmentally harmful substances, so that we can keep making the goods we need but in a responsible and sustainable way.  

The benefits of this approach appear to be obvious – so why has industry adoption of green chemical processes been so limited?  The reasons for this will be discussed within an historical perspective, and by way of illustration some examples of real world Green Chemistry solutions will be given.  The presentation will conclude with a brief discussion of the important role Green Chemistry can play in making our society sustainable – but only if we want it enough.

October 28, 2009

Small Science – Big Price Tag

Bryony James

Ever since their invention in the late 16th Century, microscopes have been at the centre of scientific research, enabling important discoveries in biology, geology, materials science, physics, and medicine.  In today’s “nano”-obsessed world, microscopes are becoming ever more powerful – but the price of these instruments is anything but tiny.  Eventually one has to ask: do the potential scientific advances still justify the cost of buying the equipment?  If the answer is “yes” then who pays, and how? The increasing cost of doing research is a problem facing all the experimental science disciplines, and there seem to be no easy answers.  As the frontier of knowledge moves outward, probing the unknown requires ever more sophisticated equipment and scientists with still greater specialisation of knowledge – which means new findings come at much greater cost.  The research funding environment in New Zealand has not expanded to keep pace.  So how much can (or should) the nation support?

September 30, 2009

A Sustainable Future for the Aerospace Industry: Cleared for Take-off or Flight of Fancy?

Karen Willcox

The aerospace industry faces two fundamental challenges to its future sustainability: the economics of air transportation and managing a global environmental footprint. Karen's research programme develops methods to support design of new aerospace systems, with a particular focus on future environmentally-sensitive aircraft. In this presentation, she will discuss some exciting new concepts including those studied through her collaborations with the Boeing Blended-Wing-Body aircraft design team and the NASA Aeronautics program.  But can any amount of design innovation produce a sustainable industry based on making heavy objects fly?

August 26, 2009

Where will all the flowers go? Honeybees, the Varroa mite, and the Future of Food Production

Peter Dearden

Honeybees are the most important insects on earth: most flowering plants, including a third of our domestic crops, rely on honeybees for pollination.  But the relationship between bees and flowering plants is under pressure.  In New Zealand bees have undergone a remarkable change from being a managed, but wild, species, to one that is wholly domestic and reliant on human intervention for its survival. This change has been brought about by the introduction of the varroa mite, just one of a number of devastating diseases now affecting honeybees world-wide. Peter will talk about the evolution of the relationship between honeybees and flowering plants, and how our treatment of bees and other insects is threatening this relationship and therefore the production of food.

Last Updated On Tuesday, 21 May 2019 15:28 By Auckland