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Why high achieving women aren’t continuing in physics

Why high achieving women aren’t continuing in physics

Most high achieving female students studying physics at university choose to discontinue physics as a core subject, not because they aren’t good at physics, but because they pursue further study in the life sciences.

This is one of the key findings of a paper published in PLoS One co-authored by Te Pūnaha Matatini researchers Steven Turnbull, Dr Dion O’Neale and Dr Kirsten Locke, and colleague Dr Frédérique Vanholsbeeck, all from the University of Auckland.

“We found that the majority of high achieving female physics students were actually studying physics for life sciences, which is needed for medicine and bioscience, and not actually for core physics,” says lead author Steven Turnbull, Te Pūnaha Matatini PhD student in the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education and Social Work.

“More importantly, of those students who do pursue further study in physics, we see higher attrition rates for female students after controlling for achievement level, with the exception of higher achievers.”

“The implications of this are potentially career-limiting for women,” says Dr Kirsten Locke, Te Pūnaha Matatini investigator at the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education and Social Work.

“Higher achieving women are tending to opt for physics engagement strongly associated with specific career pathways, in ways that differ from their male counterparts”.

Sociological methods uncover reasons behind gender difference

It is well known that female students are under-represented in university physics. However, the reasons for this are not so well understood.

“Importantly, our findings debunk any kind of idea that there’s a lack of high achieving female physics students out there. It’s not that they aren’t doing well in physics or aren’t interested in physics, because they are,” says Dr Dion O’Neale, Te Pūnaha Matatini Principal Investigator in the University of Auckland’s Department of Physics.

One of the unique aspects of this study was the combination of sociological methods (Pierre Bourdieu theory) and quantitative network analysis to understand the contexts in which students were making enrolment decisions.

“Using these tools to frame the results gives one the chance to come up with hypotheses [explanations] as to why things are a particular way or mechanisms for taking the next step,” says O’Neale. “[From a scientist’s perspective], you’ve got something that you can start to test, as opposed to just saying yeah sure there aren’t many women in physics.”

In terms of their data set, the researchers analysed administrative data from 8,905 students enrolled in University of Auckland undergraduate physics courses from 2009 to 2014.

Implications for New Zealand’s education system

Turnbull says the study’s findings have implications for the New Zealand education system, particularly with respect to the way in which physics is presented to students at school.

“We would suggest that work to address gender disparities in physics also needs to be conducted before university level, even as far down as when students start forming their academic identity around 10 or 11 years old. Most importantly, we need to shift attitudes, both inside physics and in society as a whole, so that all students feel like physics is a field where they belong and can contribute.”

The Head of Physics at the University of Auckland, Prof Richard Easther, said he was excited that his Department had hosted this work.

Easther said it had an immediate impact locally as, “It helps us to make evidence-based changes to our own practice, and the ways we present our subject to students.”

Of note, the Physics Department at the University of Auckland was recently recognised by the Astronomical Society of Australia with a Silver Pleiades accreditation for its progress toward building a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Science is sexist, Te Pūnaha Matatini research shows

Science is sexist, Te Pūnaha Matatini research shows

Te Pūnaha Matatini researchers Alex James (pictured) and Michael Plank co-authored a recently published paper revealing the extent to which women are under-represented in the science field.

The data is in and the science gender gap is real, according to Te Pūnaha Matatini researchers Associate Professor Alex James and Professor Michael Plank, and Masters Student Rose Chisnell – all from the University of Canterbury.

Published in Royal Society Open Science, their research paper entitled ‘Gender and societies: a grassroots approach to women in science,’ analysed decades of research from 28 societies from four countries and spanning five scientific disciplines.

Under-representation increases with rising status within the hierarchy  

Alex James, lead author, said: “We show that as the status of a role increases so does the under-representation of women, even when you take into account the number of women who are eligible. We also show how some common practices in award selection committees will be furthering the problem and give some simple recommendations that can increase diversity.”

Funded by Te Pūnaha Matatini, this is the first study to examine the issue of sexism at the grassroots level, across such a wide breadth of science disciplines and countries.

“Our results show that the gender gap widens as you move up the academic hierarchy. Women are as likely as men to receive low status awards, but less likely to receive more prestigious awards,” said Michael Plank.

“The practice of award-winners being decided by previous recipients can help perpetuate gender bias. We conclude that, when the stakes are low, efforts to tackle gender bias have been partly successful, but when the stakes are higher, the old boys’ club still dominates.”

The research has received significant coverage online, on social media and in the New Zealand Herald.

Key findings from the paper

  • The number of women receiving prestigious awards in many scientific disciplines is disproportionately low relative to the number of senior women in the relevant field.
  • Women are underrepresented in leadership roles in scientific societies relative to the number of senior women in the relevant field.
  • As the status of the award increases, so does the underrepresentation of women.
  • Societies can improve the diversity of their award winners by improving diversity of selection panels, taking steps to avoid nomination bias, and increasing transparency of processes.

Te Pūnaha Matatini promotes diversity and equity in science

Te Pūnaha Matatini has taken a national leadership role in promoting diversity, equity, access, and inclusion in science and academia.

Our Code of ConductSponsorship Policy, and Equity, Diversity, Access, and Inclusion Policy and Guidelines have been shared widely and adapted for use by a number of national and international research organisations and professional bodies, including the Royal Society Te Apārangi.

NZ universities not meeting diversity, equity goals

NZ universities not meeting diversity, equity goals

New research led by Te Pūnaha Matatini Associate Investigator Dr Tara McAllister (shown above fronting for the media) indicates our universities are not meeting their own diversity and equity values.

Published in the MAI Journal , the two studies have revealed that there has been very little improvement in Māori and Pasifika representation in academic workforces in our eight universities (Auckland, AUT, Waikato, Massey, Victoria, Canterbury, Lincoln and Otago), at senior levels in particular, from 2012 to 2017.

Why isn’t my Professor Māori?

Lead author of the first paper, ‘Why isn’t my Professor Māori?’ Dr Tara McAllister (Te Aitanga ā Māhaki, Ngāti Porou) says the institutions tend to portray themselves as supportive of and adherent to diversity and equity, as well as valuing te Tiriti o Waitangi.

“Universities always have these blanket statements that they value the Treaty, but I don’t think they’re sure what that looks like,” says Tara. “A good start is having more Māori and Pasifika academics employed.”

“As you move up the academic levels of seniority, the under-representation of Māori gets worse and worse. I think that’s really disappointing given the outward promotion of diversity by each of these institutions.”

According to the study’s findings, there was no significant change in the overall percentage of Māori employed in New Zealand’s eight universities between 2012 and 2017.

Furthermore, by 2017, only 3.4% of university staff at Professorial or Dean level were Māori – a major under-representation.

Tara’s co-authors included Associate Professor Joanna Kidman (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Raukawa) at the School of Education, Victoria University of Wellington, Dr. O. Rowley (Ngāi Tahu) from the College of Public Health Medicine and Veterinary Science, James Cook University, Australia, and Dr. Reremoana Theodore (Ngāpuhi, Te Arawa), Co-Director of the National Centre for Lifecourse Research at the University of Otago.

Why isn’t my Professor Pasifika?

Lead author of the accompanying study, ‘Why isn’t my Professor Pasifika?’ Dr. Sereana Naepi from Thompson Rivers University, says her paper shows that representation of Pasifika academic staff within New Zealand universities is even worse than for Māori.

According to the study, numbers of Pasifika academics at New Zealand universities remained stagnant from 2012 to 2017, with five or less at senior level staff (Professors or Deans) at the beginning and end of the period assessed.

Current New Zealand university policies on diversity and equity could be understood as little more than “window-dressing”, but we are not unique in that sense, says Sereana.

“New Zealand aligns with international universities and their structural exclusion of diverse bodies and ideas. Although universities have made significant headway in increasing Māori and Pasifika students they now need to invest the same effort into recruiting, retaining and promoting Māori and Pasifika academics.”

“It is important to have Māori and Pasifika leadership not only in Māori and Pasifika roles but throughout the university as our diverse viewpoints can provide creative solutions that are perhaps outside of the norm for universities.”

Regular academic recruiting across a range of disciplines is key

The researchers suggest there are some promising initiatives being implemented. In particular, early career academic programmes that regularly recruit emerging Māori and Pasifika academics across a range of disciplines.

“An institution-wide approach like this can have significant impacts on these numbers, and cohort hiring for Indigenous and diverse academics is one way of providing ongoing support and mentoring to ensure that Māori and Pasifika rise to leadership positions quicker,” says Sereana.

Improving the tools we use to analyse citizen science data

Improving the tools we use to analyse citizen science data

Julie Mugford (pictured), a PhD student at the University of Canterbury and Chair of Te Pūnaha Matatini Whānau, is researching and developing statistical tools to improve the accuracy of classification-based crowdsourcing, aka citizen science.

Citizen science is the involvement of volunteers in helping scientists collect and analyse information, and Julie’s research aims to measure the accuracy of users and to develop efficient ways to improve the overall accuracy of such data.

Typically, classification-based citizen science projects ask multiple participants to identify each object and consensus methods are used to decide the classification of the object. Commonly, simple consensus methods – for example, majority vote – are used. However, majority vote weights the contributions from each participant equally but the participants may vary in accuracy with which they can label objects.

“Our approach is to use Bayesian statistics to estimate users’ accuracies at identifying objects and include these accuracies in the classification process,” explained Julie.

“Although this approach complicates the classification process compared to a simple majority vote rule, it improves the accuracy of the classification decisions and provides more robust measures of classification certainty.”

How Kiwis are helping to answer important scientific questions

Citizen scientists can encompass a wide range of members within our society – from school children to trained scientists – who participate in a variety of research projects. These projects are often set up and managed by professional scientists, and specifically designed to give volunteers a role. For example, sharing and classifying bird and other observations of nature, classifying land types in satellite images of Earth, or classifying galaxies.

The popularity of citizen science projects has risen enormously in the last two decades, providing researchers with access to data from a large range of locations at unprecedented frequencies with minimal costs. This has become increasingly important as costly expert resources struggle to match the effort required to answer scientific questions. However, there is ongoing debate on the usefulness and accuracy of citizen science data as it may be prone to greater variability due to differences in volunteer’s skills.

“Motivated by the vision of Biosecurity New Zealand to have a biosecurity team of 4.7 million [New Zealand’s resident population], we have initially focused on improving the accuracy of classification-based citizen science projects that could be used as a tool to monitor invasive pests in New Zealand,” said Julie.

Biosecurity New Zealand, a part of the Ministry for Primary Industries, has set out a vision for 2025, and one of its five strategic directions aims is to make all New Zealanders aware of the importance of biosecurity and to get them involved in pest and disease management. It hopes to encourage a collective effort across the country – in which ‘every New Zealander becomes a biosecurity risk manager and every business manages their own biosecurity risk’.


NZ health research attracting global attention

NZ health research attracting global attention

Public health researcher Dr Anna Matheson (pictured above), Te Pūnaha Matatini investigator and senior lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington, specialises in applying complexity theory to aid our understanding of actions that reduce health inequalities, research that has been recognised globally. 

Anna is particularly interested in the use of novel approaches to social intervention that take account of social complexity, and has been involved in numerous research projects related to the social determinants of health, barriers to and through health systems, and approaches to reducing health inequalities in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Playing a key role in community health research

Anna’s current work includes co-leading the evaluation of Healthy Families NZ, which is funded by the Ministry of Health, and as a co-investigator on two community action research projects funded by the Health Research Council.

“Together with a colleague, we designed and are carrying out an evaluation, grounded in complexity theory, of a multi-community intervention to prevent chronic diseases – Healthy Families NZ,” said Anna.

“The approach we have taken is sensitive to context, and accounts for multi-level actions and perspectives which has been shown to be a big challenge in large-scale public health evaluations. Complexity theory has helped me to theorise and articulate the way that health inequalities arise in relation to excluded communities such as Māori and Pasifika.”

“Complexity theory has helped me to theorise and articulate the way that health inequalities arise in relation to excluded communities such as Māori and Pasifika.”

When brought together with the evidence, the theory shows that causes of health inequalities are systemic. These systemic causes compound in individuals and communities. For example, Māori and Pacific people experience multiple barriers to, and through, the health system, as well as being impacted by multiple levels of discrimination and other determinants of health such as income, education and housing.

“I have used this understanding of the social processes leading to health inequalities to inform the ideas in articles I have written about what this means for how to intervene to reduce health inequalities,” said Anna.

Importance of international health research connections

Connections abroad are incredibly important, said Anna, with international conferences and meetings being great opportunities to share her research findings and contribute to knowledge globally. Of note, she was recently invited to be a Fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar (SGS), a prestigious non-profit organisation set-up 70 years ago to promote peace and the exchange of ideas across people and nations.

Following her attendance at a SGS session on ‘Building Healthier Communities: The Role of Hospitals’, Anna led the writing of an article for the BMJ, one of the world’s leading medical journals, with co-authors from Australia, Pakistan and Rwanda.

“It has been valuable to see how people in different countries are thinking about complexity and health, as well as the innovative approaches being taken to improve complex health outcomes, and the enormous challenges that some countries face,” said Anna.

“It has been valuable to see how people in different countries are thinking about complexity and health, as well as the innovative approaches being taken to improve complex health outcomes, and the enormous challenges that some countries face.”

“These international connections have also provided me with a very positive perspective on my own work. The relationship with SGS is on-going, and they have an interest in the career development of those they invite to attend. I have also provided suggestions of others working in innovative community action areas within New Zealand to attend SGS sessions.”

Researching impact of Moa extinctions on early Māori

Researching impact of Moa extinctions on early Māori

Te Pūnaha Matatini incoming co-directors Priscilla (Cilla) Wehi, conservation biologist with Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, and Murray Cox, Professor of Computational Biology at Massey University, have collaborated on an analysis of Māori ancestral sayings (whakataukī), and their recognition of extinctions and their impact.

Cilla and Murray co-authored a paper published in the journal Human Ecology, reporting the linguistic analysis of indigenous Māori whakataukī that focus on fauna and environment, particularly with regard to extinctions of important food sources such as Moa. The findings provide evidence that such extinctions were important as they influenced both ecological and social thought in Māori society. The authors also suggest that oral traditions could have played a similar role in other early societies living through major faunal extinction events.

Examples of whakataukī referring to Moa extinction:

Kua ngaro i te ngaro o te moa
Lost as the moa was lost

Huna i te huna a te moa
Hidden as the moa hid

Ka ngaro ā-moa te iwi nei
The people will disappear like the moa

“Oral tradition, such as these whakataukī passed down by Māori, provide our only real glimpses into the ecological relationships and concerns of early settler populations, and provide early human context to an otherwise relatively dry scientific record of extinction events,” the researchers wrote.

“The whakataukī emphasise that indigenous peoples are not simply passive actors against an environmental backdrop but rather interact with the environment in myriad ways that affect not only the species assemblages present but also the development of cultural values, ideas, and practices.”

Cilla and Murray’s work was picked up by The Conversation in an article entitled ‘Dead as a moa: oral traditions show that early Māori recognised extinction’, and in interviews on Radio NZRadio Waatea and TVNZ’s Te Karere.

Link to full paper.

Te Pūnaha Matatini interns showcase their talents

Te Pūnaha Matatini interns showcase their talents

Te Pūnaha Matatini was able to offer New Zealand university students paid 10-week internship positions over the 2018-19 summer, which involved working on projects with various partner organisations.

Out of a total of 160 undergrad and postgrad students from across the country who applied for the programme, 29 were successful and placed at 11 partner organisations – including government ministries, iwi organisations and private companies.

Although the students had a wide range of backgrounds, they all had one thing in common – a passion to change the world through data and its applications and contexts.

“This programme provides students with invaluable data analytics experience and new perspectives while working for organisations in a real-world setting,” said Dr Alex James, Te Pūnaha Matatini’s Deputy Director of Industry and Stakeholder Engagement.

“Through its student internship programme, Te Pūnaha Matatini is able to engage with partners to complete small-scale projects with defined outcomes, develop relationship networks, and introduce talented students to potential employers.”

“This programme provides students with invaluable data analytics experience and new perspectives while working for organisations in a real-world setting.”

Now in its fourth year of operation, the 2018-19 programme featured an excellent variety of projects, and the overall feedback from both students and industry stakeholders was very positive.

Streamlining the process of social network analysis at AgResearch

University of Canterbury Masters of Applied Data Science student Romalee Amolic (pictured above) spent the summer in Hamilton working with scientists at AgResearch, helping develop a tool to streamline survey data for social network analysis.

In addition to providing a much-needed tool for AgResearch, Romalee is now working out how to commercialise her software so more people can take advantage of it.

“From our perspective, we got exactly what we’d hoped for, which was a new viewpoint and different expertise from what we may have normally recruited,” said Helen Percy of AgResearch, Romalee’s supervisor.

Vision Mātauranga in partnership with Ngāti Whātua Ōrakei

Brianne Halbert (left) and Megan Leijh (right), who are both at the University of Auckland, worked together on a project that is part of an ongoing research partnership between Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei and Te Pūnaha Matatini.

Led by their supervisor Kate Hannah, Te Pūnaha Matatini’s Deputy Director, Equity and Diversity, and Dion O’Neale, a Te Pūnaha Matatini Principal Investigator, the ‘He waka eke noa’ project combines qualitative and quantitative methodologies to work with iwi and hapū data, centralising Māori data sovereignty.

An important goal of our internship programme is to have students with complementary skill sets working together. That was certainly the case for Bri and Megan. Bri is undertaking a double major in Computer and Data Science, while Megan is completing a conjoint Law (Hons) and Arts degree in political philosophy, law and politics.

“While these disciplines may appear vastly different, we were able to find a lot of overlap and even harmony in our exploration of inclusive education for Māori,” wrote Bri and Megan in a subsequent co-authored blog.

“From the outset, a major goal was to utilise our respective disciplines for research while keeping the essence of te Ao Māori alive throughout. Thus, we incorporated kupu o te wiki, watched Te Kaea and participated in a lot of korero”.

Working with Te Hiku Media to improve access to Te Reo Māori

Bachelor of Engineering in Mechatronics at the University of Canterbury, Cherie Vasta (pictured above), worked with both Te Hiku Media and Dragonfly Data Science on a project to aid in the development of a Māori voice assistant.

The tool is designed to make Te Reo Māori more accessible and fun in the digital age At the completion of Cherie’s internship, the project was documented and all the code uploaded online to allow other developers at Te Hiku Media to progress it further and demonstrate the abilities of the Rāpere box.

“I got a great feeling of accomplishment from my work,” said Cherie. “I’m grateful to Te Pūnaha Matatini for connecting me with Te Hiku Media and providing me with the opportunity to have this internship.”

Further details about individual projects

Following the completion of their placements, several interns were invited to blog about their experiences on the Te Pūnaha Matatini website.

Read more about the work done by Romalee, Cherie, Brianne and Megan.

Audrey Lustig presents at major global ecology conference

Audrey Lustig presents at major global ecology conference

Dr Audrey Lustig, Associate Investigator at Te Pūnaha Matatini and postdoctoral researcher with the Geospatial Research Institute (GRI) Toi Hangarau, University of Canterbury, presented her work at the 2018 British Ecological Society (BES) held in Birmingham, UK, in December.

Audrey, whose research is focused on spatial modelling of species distribution, presented her paper on regional pest control at the conference, the second largest annual meeting for ecologists in the world. With more than 500 talks and 200 poster presentations, there was an international flavour, which really added to the diversity of speakers, topics, systems and organisms discussed.

BES promotes diversity, equity, access, and inclusion

Audrey said it was a privilege to attend the three-day event. “This really is an exciting place to be for those partial to thinking about the natural world…. It was an incredibly stimulating and well-organised three days, with a lovely balance between unstructured (social) time and scientific talks and posters.”

The BES has taken a national leadership role in promoting diversity, equity, access, and inclusion in science and academia, reflected by a various new initiatives meeting diversity targets across gender, race, and sexual orientation during the event. This included a 1:1 gender ratio at the plenary session, a ‘women in science’ networking session, a LGBT+ and Trans mixer, gender neutral toilets, a ‘meet the plenary speaker for early career researchers’ session, and more.

Conference presentation highlights and challenges

“The wonderful plenary sessions by Samuel M. ‘Ohukani‘ōhi‘a Gon, III on using the Hawaiian Isles as a Model for Biocultural Conservation and by Danielle Lee on cultivating a generation of scholar in your communities were a major highlight of the academic program,” said Audrey.

One of Audrey’s fellow speakers, biologist Danielle Lee, presenting during the BES conference.

“I urge people to view their talks when they become available through the BES [website]. We also all had a good laugh when Ken Thompson started listing some of the most inspirational ecology papers of the year. I will remember that ‘gardening is the perfect antidote to thinking that one year’s field data means anything at all!”

“I somehow muddled through my presentation on regional pest management in the invasive species oral session,” Audrey added. “Unfortunately, I felt like a bit of a zombie that day as my body still insisted that it was night time! On the positive side of things, I interacted with so many great scientists. I finally had the opportunity to meet up with Guillaume Latombe and Tim Blackburn and catch up with the incredible Jane Catford and Stéphane Boyer. Lots of cool research opportunities and potential collaborations, so I’m already looking forward to the next British Ecological Society Meeting!”

Shaun Hendy appointed to Callaghan Innovation Board

Shaun Hendy appointed to Callaghan Innovation Board

Shaun Hendy, Professor of Physics at the University of Auckland and Director of Te Pūnaha Matatini, has been appointed to the Board of Directors for Callaghan Innovation. Shaun’s appointment was announced recently by the Minister for Research, Science and Innovation Hon Dr Megan Woods.

Shaun will sit on the Callaghan Board for a term of 3 years. Other new appointments announced by Dr Woods include Jennifer Kerr, who is on the board of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, and sitting members Stefan Korn, George Gong and Robin Hapi, who have had their terms extended.

“Callaghan Innovation is New Zealand’s innovation agency, supporting Kiwi businesses to innovate and collaborate,” says Dr Woods. “They have been major partners in the development of the R&D Tax Incentive which will encourage even more New Zealand firms to undertake R&D activity.”

Te Pūnaha Matatini is delighted with the news of Shaun’s appointment and wholeheartedly congratulates all of the new appointees.


Shaun Hendy #nofly2018 update

Shaun Hendy #nofly2018 update

As many of you will be aware, our director Shaun Hendy has been travelling a lot differently this year. Despite being a frequent domestic and international traveller, Shaun decided that for 2018 he would set an example and highlight his concern about climate change by not using air travel for the entire calendar year. The hashtag #nofly2018 was born and, from the first day in January, he has walked the talk – effectively turning his back on flying as a means to get around, favouring instead modes of land transport that emit less carbon.

Various news outlets have covered Shaun’s journey over the year, including Radio New Zealand and the New Zealand Herald. So, now that we’re into September, how is he getting on? Well, very impressively according to the stats. By mid-September 2017, Shaun had made 10 return flights from Auckland to Wellington, at a cost of 2.66 metric tonnes of CO2 (equivalent)*. So far this year he has been to Wellington and back six times (once by car, three times by train, and twice by bus) at a cost of just 0.458 metric tonnes of CO2 (equivalent)*. What is more he’s got more done in Wellington this year: in 2017 his 10 flights gave him 10 business days in Wellington, while in 2018 he has had 21 working days down the capital.

Not flying has its advantages

In addition to reducing his carbon footprint, Shaun says one of the great advantages to taking it slower by road or rail is that you can actually get a lot of work done on the way and plan in more meetings with investigators in one trip. Te Pūnaha Matatini, a national Centre of Research Excellence, has investigators spread across New Zealand.

“Over the last two weeks [for example] I have travelled #nofly2018 style from Auckland to Queenstown and back again,” said Shaun. “It was great to catch up with a number of investigators on the way through. I spent a beautiful sunny day at the University of Canterbury, catching up with [Te Pūnaha Matatini investigators] Alex James, Jeanette McLeod, Mike Plank, and Audrey Lustig, as well as dropping by to see Rebecca Turner at Scion. The conversations that day were very timely as I have gotten involved with MPI’s Mycoplasma Bovis Eradication Science Advisory Group to help them think about how they can use the various data sets they have at their disposal.”

Electric vehicles becoming more feasible

On his most recent trip, Shaun was also sponsored by Yoogo Share, an electric vehicle share company that has 100 electric vehicles based in eight locations in Christchurch.

“They lent me one of their Hyundai IONIQ’s for five days,” said Shaun. “I had about 1,000km to drive, including the odd hill or two. The IONIQ doesn’t yet have the range of a petrol vehicle. Depending on the terrain, you’ll get around 100-160 km between charges, although running the heater will shave 10-15% off this. A fast charge takes around 15 minutes and will boost your battery up to about 80% capacity, but if you’ve got another 10 minutes or so you can charge it up to 95%.”

Luckily, there is a growing network of charging stations across New Zealand, which means electric vehicle users can get to most places without too much trouble.

“From Christchurch, I charged up at Geraldine, then Tekapo, followed by a big charge at Twizel to make sure I made it over the Lindis pass, and then a final top up in Cromwell,” said Shaun. “The IONIQ was great to drive – I had no problems taking it up over the Crown Range Rd. Definitely give it a go next time you are in Christchurch.”

Follow Shaun on Twitter for #nofly2018 updates!

Keep up-to-date with Shaun Hendy’s travels on Twitter by following the #nofly2018 hashtag.

*Calculated using the Enrivo-Mark Travel Emissions Calculator.