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Celebrating 150 Years Of Scientific Partnership With The United States

This year, Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa Massey University and the Chatham Islands Museum, with support from Universities New Zealand Te Pōkai Tara (UNZ), will celebrate the 150-year anniversary of formal scientific partnership between New Zealand and the United States.

The first formal scientific collaboration between the two countries was documented at the time of the 1874 Transit of Venus - an astronomical event so rare that great effort was made across the world to capture it using 19th century science and technology.

The arrival of two American scientific parties to New Zealand, one stationed in the Rēkohu-Wharekauri-Chatham Islands and the other in Queenstown, and the local support given to the research heralded a fruitful partnership which, in 2024, is 150 years strong.

Professor David Johnston of Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa Massey University first uncovered this significant date during research for the new Chatham Islands Museum, which opened in 2023. “The scientific partnerships between New Zealand and the US have always been strong, but even I was surprised to see how long this relationship has endured.”

UNZ and others will host a number of commemorative events throughout the year, and the Chatham Islands Museum with Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa Massey University will stage a photographic exhibition in October to mark the anniversary.

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