Going public at the New Zealand Association of Scientists annual conference

‘Going public’ was the theme at the New Zealand Association of Scientists annual conference, held last Friday at the Royal Society of New Zealand in Wellington.

A huge variety of speakers were on show at the event, from the scientists themselves (NZAS President Nicola Gaston and Royal Society President Sir David Skegg) , to the media (DomPost investigative journalist Nikki Macdonald), to the government (Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment Chief Science Advisor Jim Metson).

Discussion ranged from empowering scientists to speak out, to ensuring scientists are trusted communicators, to the responsibilities scientists hold when they engage with the public.

Podcasts of these speeches have been posted below.


The conference reached a far wider audience than the hundred-odd people at the venue, thanks to the #goingpublic twitter handle.

Throughout the day attendees tweeted choice bits of the conference to the outside world using #goingpublic, which proved so popular,  it was at one stage the second most tweeted subject in New Zealand.

An archive of the days tweets can be found here

On the day #goingpublic was one of New Zealand's most-tweeted subjects
#GoingPublic was briefly the second most popular twitter topic in New Zealand


Speeches and discussion

Ministry of Business,Innovation, and Employment Chief Science Advisor Jim Metson opens the conference on behalf of Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce

NZAS President Dr Nicola Gaston delivers her keynote address ’empowering informed voices’

The Green Party’s Gareth Hughes outlines how New Zealand can foster public understanding of science

Nikki Macdonald (DomPost journalist), John Hay (former CEO of ESR), Brett Sangster (communications specialist), and Peter Griffin (manager of the Science Media Centre) discuss the interaction between the media, the government, and scientists

University of Canterbury molecular biologist Jack Heinemann talks about his experiences in the public eye

Vet, ecologist, and agribusiness expert Alison Dewes talks about her experiences in the public eye

The Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor Sir Peter Gluckman delivers his keynote address ‘ trusting the scientist’. A fuller version of his speech can be found here

RSNZ President and former University of Otago Vice Chancellor Sir David Skegg speaks about the interaction between scientists and their institutions

Victoria University Vice Chancellor Grant Guilford speaks about encouraging scientists to communicate

GNS and Te Papa geologist Hamish Campbell talks about the interaction between public interest and a scientists responsibilities

Sir Peter Gluckman, Siouxsie Wiles (University of Auckland microbiologist), Nicola Gaston, and Professor Shaun Hendy (University of Auckland physicist) discuss ‘where to from here?’