Out and about

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.

How we make trust judgments when it comes to scientific information

How we make trust judgments when it comes to scientific information

It is often difficult to find accurate information online, especially when it comes to science-based questions. This is amplified by the fact that scientific findings themselves are revisable or when they are the subject of debate within their respective fields. However, not being able to find concrete answers to scientific questions may lead the public to question and discount the general veracity of science.

Te Pūnaha Matatini invites you to a free lecture by Professor Rainer Bromme, Senior Professor for Educational Psychology, University of Münster, Germany, who will provide an overview of data collected from surveys in multiple countries on the public’s trust in science, and also discuss research on peoples’ capacities to make trust judgments.

In the best case scenario, such judgments are not based on gullible faith in ‘science’, but rather rest on informed trust. Such trust judgments are based on a general understanding of both sides of science as: a system of knowledge and methods for understanding the world and as a social institution for the production and distribution of such knowledge.

Event: The ingredients of informed trust: What citizens (need to) know for coping with science experts

Guest Speaker: Professor Rainer Bromme, Senior Professor for Educational Psychology, University of Münster, Germany

Speaker panel:

  • Professor Shaun Hendy, Department of Physics, University of Auckland (MC)
  • Associate Professor Nicola Gaston, Department of Physics, University of Auckland
  • Dr Daniel Hikuroa, Senior Lecturer, Māori Studies, University of Auckland
  • Dr Cate Macinnes-Ng, Senior Lecturer, School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland

Location: Auckland Museum

Date & time: Wednesday 25th October from 6-8pm

Tickets are free but bookings are essential.

Please email membership@aucklandmuseum.com or register here to book tickets.

Maths Craft Festival arrives in Auckland

Maths Craft Festival arrives in Auckland

Do you enjoy craft? Then you probably enjoy mathematics too – you just may not know it yet. Don’t miss out on Maths Craft Festival 2017 being held this coming Saturday and Sunday, September 9-10, at the Auckland Museum.

Discover the maths behind craft and the craft behind maths. Find out how to tie a mathematical knot, crochet a Möbius strip, fold an origami octahedron, draw an impossible triangle, or colour a Latin square.

Ten craft creation stations will be set up in the museum’s event centre, a fully glazed circular room on top of the museum roof. Featuring incredible views of the city and harbour, it also has plenty of natural light – perfect for crafting. And there will be lots of space and seating, so you can stay and craft all day!

Sharing the beauty of maths

Dr Jeanette McLeod and Dr Phil Wilson, senior lecturers at the University of Canterbury’s School of Mathematics and Statistics, will lead a team of volunteers and host the two-day festival, part of a nationwide tour to raise interest in maths among New Zealanders.

“By using craft as a medium… we aim to introduce adults and children alike to a new and fun way of engaging with mathematics,” says Dr McLeod.

“Through these events, we’re keen to show people how maths underpins almost every aspect of today’s society. Whether it’s used in crafts, technology, business, science, social science or education, maths is vital,” she says.

Learn how to make an origami icosahedron (pictured) and many other wonderful creations at this weekend’s Maths Craft Festival.

Dr McLeod has crocheted and knitted a variety of mathematical objects – from Möbius strips to intricate coral-like hyperbolic planes – and is passionate about sharing maths as the language of science. Her specialisation is combinatronics, with a particular focus on asymptotic enumeration, graph colouring, random graphs, and Latin squares. She is also an accomplished crafter and crocheter.

Dr Wilson, who usually works in the field of theoretical fluid dynamics and mathematical modelling in biology and industry, says Maths Craft Festival offers something for everyone.

“A lot of our speakers are really good at finding mathematics in ordinary everyday things –from how you tie your shoe laces, tie knots or even how to set a wobbly table straight,” says Dr Wilson. “Maths Craft is really for all ages and all backgrounds.”

Public talks promise to fascinate

The two-day festival will also include five public talks over the course of the weekend:

  • Associate Professor Clemency Montelle, University of Canterbury – The (a)symmetry of a sari (September 9, 2.30pm)
  • Ms Elizabeth Chesney, University of Canterbury – Knuts about knitting knots (September 9, 3.45pm)
  • Associate Professor Burkard Polster, Monash University – What is the best way to lace your shoes? (September 9, 5.15pm)
  • Dr Michael Assis, University of Melbourne – The beauty of origami / The beauty of mathematics – connecting folds (September 10, 2.30pm)
  • Professor Bernd Krauskopf and Professor Hinke Osinga, University of Auckland – Chaos in Crochet and Steel (September 10, 3.45pm)

Where and when?

Maths Craft Festival is being held at the Auckland War Memorial Museum Events Centre on Saturday 9 September and Sunday 10 September. All are welcome and entry is free with a museum ticket. Maths Craft is running a free bus service from South Auckland to the Museum on Sunday 10th September (see www.mathscraftnz.org/events/maths-craft-festival#bus-service for details of how to book your free seat).

Visit the Maths Craft website for more information about upcoming events in Dunedin: www.mathscraftnz.org. Also on FacebookRavelry, and Twitter #mathscraftnz

Scholarship established following “Hidden Figures” gala screening

Scholarship established following “Hidden Figures” gala screening

A fundraising campaign and gala screening of the critically acclaimed film Hidden Figures has raised $13,500 to help establish a scholarship for women to study physical sciences, maths or engineering in 2018.

Te Pūnaha Matatini’s Executive Manager Kate Hannah, Deputy Director Dr Siouxsie Wiles and University of Auckland Associate Professor Nicola Gaston from the Department of Physics organised the fundraising campaign to raise the profile of Māori and Pacific female scientists and students.

Listen to an interview with Kate Hannah on Radio Zealand’s Morning Report:

In addition to funds raised through the Givealittle campaign, five New Zealand Centres of Research Excellence provided financial contributions toward the scholarship: Te Pūnaha Matatini, the Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies, the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Technology, the Maurice Wilkins Centre, and Brain Research New Zealand. The University of Auckland Department of Physics also contributed.

The scholarship will be administered by the Association for Women in the Sciences (AWIS).

20th Century Fox, EVENT Cinemas, SOHO Wines and L’Oreal New Zealand provided valued assistance and promotional material for the gala screening of Hidden Figures.

Donate to an ongoing scholarship fund to support women in New Zealand science.

Read more:

Analytics to improve health delivery systems

Analytics to improve health delivery systems

Te Pūnaha Matatini Associate Investigator Dr Michael O’Sullivan discusses analytics to improve health delivery systems.

Michael researches a combination of Operations Research and Analytics and is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Engineering Science and the Precise, and Timely Healthcare Theme Leader at the Precision Driven Health Research Partnership. The latter is a data science research initiative that features collaborations between the University of Auckland and partners in the public, corporate and healthcare sectors.

This presentation was recorded at an Orion Health Seminar on 6th December, 2016.

Reception for Women in Mathematics and their Supporters at NZ Mathematics Colloquium

Reception for Women in Mathematics and their Supporters at NZ Mathematics Colloquium

After the AGM for the New Zealand Mathematical Society on Monday 5th of December, there will be a reception for women in mathematics and their supporters. Everyone is welcome. The reception is sponsored by Te Pūnaha Matatini and will be chaired by Principal Investigator Dion O’Neale.

The event theme is: Being an ally: what we can all do to improve equity.

Abstract: Advocating for improved equity is a task that often falls to members of under-represented groups. This is problematic for a number of reasons; not least because it means that some of the voices that most need to be heard are least numerous and are, perhaps, undermined by perceptions of self-interest.

This event will begin with some background on what it means to be an ally, the benefits it can bring, and some of the potential pitfalls that can be associated with it. Over drinks, we will discuss the things that we can all do as individuals, both at work and at home, in order to improve equity in our departments and the New Zealand mathematical sciences community.

This event comes with a code of conduct: see http://nzmathsoc.org.nz/downloads/miscellaneous/CodeOfConduct-NZMC-WiM.pdf?t=1479095141.

SciGlow at Silo Park: the art of bioluminescent bacteria

SciGlow at Silo Park: the art of bioluminescent bacteria

Be wowed by the eerie glow of bioluminescent bacteria as art and science unite for SciGlow at Silo Park Auckland, 3-4 December.

Microbiologist Dr Siouxsie Wiles has teamed up with artists, schoolchildren and bioluminescent bugs to create the unique bacterial paintings in giant petri dishes. View intriguing artworks by professional artists or try your own hand at creating a living, glowing masterpiece.

Proudly sponsored by the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery, Te Pūnaha Matatini and the University of Auckland.

Dates: December 3-4
Time: 11am-6pm
Where:  Silo Park, Auckland
Cost: Free

The New Zealand Polymath: Colenso and his contemporaries

The New Zealand Polymath: Colenso and his contemporaries

November 16 & 17, Te Pūnaha Matatini’s Executive Manager Kate Hannah and Principal Investigator Dr Dion O’Neale are presenting at a conference on William Colenso and his contemporaries.

What: The New Zealand Polymath – Colenso and his contemporaries
When: Conference runs from 16-18 November
Where: National Library of New Zealand, Molesworth Street, Wellington

Opening address: Dabbling Dilettantes and Renaissance Men: colonial polymaths and New Zealand’s science culture.
During the opening session, Kate will present “Dabbling Dilettantes and Renaissance Men: colonial polymaths and New Zealand’s science culture.” The presentation will explore the hero narratives regarding the network of polymath-scholars who established the institutions of New Zealand’s scientific culture. Such narratives permeate New Zealand’s history and contemporary public discourse, but actively exclude the impact of those participants who are exceptions to the hero narrative, rendering them invisible.

The lecture is free and open to the public. More details>

Panel discussion: Colonial polymaths and New Zealand’s science culture
Following the address, Kate will chair a panel discussion that will problematize the impact of centering national identity within a group of ‘Renaissance men’, exploring those whose scholarly contributions are framed as dabbling distractions, and those others whose labour enabled the expansion and sharing of knowledge that typified colonial New Zealand.

The panellists are:

  • Nicola Gaston, University of Auckland
  • Angela Middleton, University of Otago
  • Linda Tyler, University of Auckland
  • Daniel Hikuroa, Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, University of Auckland

Presentation: Colenso’s correspondence network
Thursday 17 November Dion and Kate present on Colenso’s correspondence network.

View the full conference programme>

Healthcare Analytics Workshop

Healthcare Analytics Workshop

Te Pūnaha Matatini is sponsoring a Health Analytics Workshop following the 2016 Joint NZSA+ORSNZ Conference.

What: Health Analytics Workshop following the Joint NZSA+ORSNZ Conference
When: Thursday 1 December, 2016 (full day)
Where: AUT City Campus
Registration: Workshop participants, including those not attending the conference, can register for the workshop on the conference registration page.

The aim of the workshop is to bring together practitioners and researchers in healthcare analytics. People with problems meeting people with solutions!  Practitioners – please bring along your current “pain point(s)”.  Researchers – please talk about your success stories with the health sector! We look forward to an exciting, productive workshop.  If you have any questions please contact Principal Investigators Ilze Ziedins (i.ziedins@auckland.ac.nz) or Mike O’Sullivan (michael.osullivan@auckland.ac.nz), or Associate Investigator Cameron Walker (cameron.walker@auckland.ac.nz).


  • 10-11:20 Researcher Presentations
  • 11:20-11:40 Morning tea
  • 11:40-1 Industry Presentations
  • 1-2:30 lunch
  • 2:30-4 Facilitated Networking Session
  • 4-5 Drinks


  • If you wish to give a presentation please contact Ilze Ziedins.
  • Workshop organisers will post titles of presentations closer to the event at the conference website, along with information about the facilitated networking session.
Māori Knowledge & Development Panel Forum

Māori Knowledge & Development Panel Forum

He aha te kai a te rangatira? He Kōrero, he kōrero, he kōrero. Nō reira, nau mai, haere mai!
You are warmly invited to attend a PBRF forum focused on the Māori Knowledge & Development Panel led by Professor Margaret Mutu and Dr Aroha Harris.

The forum is:

  • Aimed at clarifying MK&D panel criteria
  • Offering guidance, tips and suggestions from our Panel experts
  • Chaired by Dr Melinda Webber (AD PBRF Faculty of Education and Social Work)

Date: Monday, 22 August 2016
Time: 4.00 – 5.30 pm (Drinks and nibbles from 5.00pm)
Venue: Women’s Federation Room, Old Government House
Please register your interest by emailing Emma on e.buchanan@auckland.ac.nz by 18 August for catering purposes.

A joint initiative of the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Education & Social Work.