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Great Barrier gathers global experts to discuss Time

Great Barrier gathers global experts to discuss Time

MONDAY SEPTEMBER 3 - What is time? That age old question will be tackled this weekend at Great Barrier Island’s annual “festival for the brain”.

World-leading experts and academics from across the globe will travel to the remote Hauraki Gulf Island to dig deep into the mystery of Time - what is it? How do we measure it? How can we work with our circadian body clock to sleep better? And how does geological time explain the physical world around us?

As part of the sleep discussion, the event will also look at whether Great Barrier’s Dark Sky Sanctuary status may be helping keep Barrier residents healthy, due to lack of artificial light and undisturbed sleep.

Panelists for the Saturday September 8th event include: Professor of Philosophy at the University of California and one of the world’s top academics on time Craig Callender; Director of the Sleep/Wake Centre at Massey University and sleep expert Philippa Gander, Te Papa’s geologist in residence, co-author of two definitive books on how Aotearoa was formed, and senior scientist at GNS Science, Hamish Campbell, and Massey University Professor Bryan Walpert, on time’s place in poetry and prose.

The panel will be chaired by broadcaster Kim Hill.

The No Barriers – Small Island, Big ideas event is organised by Awana Rural Women (ARW), a voluntary group of 25 local women.

“Great Barrier Island may be isolated and off the grid, but it’s a highly educated community, with a big appetite for expert knowledge and informed debate,” says organiser Gendie Somerville Ryan.

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The Nature of Time is the fourth “No Barriers” event to be held on Great Barrier. In the past, topics have ranged from global pandemics, to whether “there’s life out there” (for which Pope’s chief astronomer travelled from Rome).

The event is free and open to locals and visitors alike, and usually attracts about 12% of the island’s permanent population.

Along with the main panel discussion, this year the event will involve breakout sessions and field trips.

For more information on the panelists, visit

Information on how to get to Great Barrier Island and where to stay can be found at


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