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Watch out Jonah!

New Zealand's top scientists and academics deserve to be as big as Jonah Lomu according to Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey.

Mr Maharey was speaking at a Royal Society of New Zealand science and technology medals presentation held this evening at Government House. Seventeen medals were presented to scientists who have made exceptional or outstanding contributions by advancing knowledge within their particular disciplines. Mr Maharey said New Zealand's talented researchers all too often didn't receive the recognition they were entitled to.

"As New Zealanders we need to learn to celebrate the achievements of all our stars – not only those who excel at sport but also those involved in pushing the boundaries of knowledge. Our future as a nation will be built in the knowledge industries.

"I want to see New Zealand's scientists and professors become as well-known as Jonah Lomu!

"It is often said New Zealand has a grudging attitude towards intellectual pursuits and that ‘the great Kiwi clobbering machine’ tends to devalue the achievements of ‘tall poppies’. There’s a great deal of exaggeration and cliché in such statements, but there is some truth in them as well.

"Labour and the Alliance have already shown our commitment to the knowledge industries with initiatives like our changes to the student loans scheme which is removing the barriers to higher education and by our establishment of advisory councils on science and innovation and tertiary education.

"Over my time as Minister with responsibility for tertiary education I want to foster a change of attitude amongst the general population. Our top researchers and innovators deserve to be recognised and applauded by the public in the same manner as our sporting heroes are," Steve Maharey said.


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