Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search


Don’t Quit, Says Zonta Science Award Winner

Dr Helen Woolner, winner of the 16 th Biennial Zonta Science Award 2020. Photograph courtesy of Victoria University of Wellington.

In these uncertain times of Covid-19 when Scientists are being valued more than ever, the Zonta Club of Wellington, is very pleased to announce and congratulate Dr Helen Woolner, a Chemical Scientist who is the winner of this year’s Biennial Zonta Science Award.

Helen is excited about winning this Award which recognises she is an exceptional emerging scientist.

“It will enable me to travel overseas to visit the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany. There I will collaborate with Professor Deniz Tasdemir, the Head of the Marine Natural Products Research Unit”, she says.

Upon completing her PhD, Helen was awarded a three-year New Zealand Health Research Council Pacific Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in 2018, which she is undertaking in the Chemical Genetics laboratory at Victoria University of Wellington. Her research aims to improve our understanding of a traditional Samoan anti-inflammatory medicinal plant. Helen is investigating the plant’s potential in the treatment of human diseases, such as obesity, cancer, Alzheimer’s and tuberculosis. She is also investigating the science behind other traditional medicines including those of the Cook Islands, Samoa and New Zealand.

Helen’s educational journey has been unique says her supervisor Dr Rob Keyzers, “She completed her high-school studies after becoming a mother to two children in her teenage years”.

Helen, from Porirua, is a proud, New Zealand born, Cook Island Maori. She says “I am passionate about the success of Pasifika students in Science. As a student, I was a mentor for Te Ropu Awhina which involved mentoring undergraduate Pasifika students at Victoria University of Wellington in subjects that I was familiar with, mostly chemistry. This role also involved outreach projects, where we would go to low socioeconomic areas in Wellington and give primary, intermediate and high-school students a day of ‘hands-on’ science. They were exposed to the fun behind science and hopefully inspired to take science as a subject”.

Dr Woolner left mainstream school at Porirua College with no formal qualifications. During the pregnancy of her first child she enrolled at Huarahi Tamariki (HHT) the School for Teenage Parents where she was stimulated by her enthusiastic and inspirational teachers and realised she wanted to pursue science as a career.

“My journey has certainly been challenging and I attribute my achievements to the support and advice offered by so many people, to whom I am immensely grateful” says Dr Woolner, “reference to Edgar Albert Guest’s motivational poem ‘Don’t Quit’ when the chips were down was well exercised!” says Helen.

Dr Jan Pearson, Convenor for the Award says, “The Zonta Science Award recognises not only the person’s excellence in science but also their communication skills and community involvement. The ability to promote science and be a role model for other young women are winning attributes in which Helen has excelled.”

As well as receiving a commemorative pounamu medal designed by Upper Hutt jeweller Neke Moa, Helen receives financial support which will enable her to travel to Europe to visit pharmaceuticals and natural product laboratories and explore collaborative research possibilities.

Congratulations Dr Helen Woolner from Gold Award Sponsor Istar Limited; Inaugural and Continuing Sponsor John Ilott Charitable Trust; Schools Sponsor KPMG and Enduring Sponsor The Zonta Club of Wellington.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions the Award Ceremony will be held in Wellington in 2021.

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


DIY Law: Government Exempts Some Home Improvements From Costly Consents

Homeowners, builders and DIYers will soon have an easier time making basic home improvements as the Government scraps the need for consents for low-risk building work such as sleep-outs, sheds and carports – allowing the construction sector ... More>>


Media Awards: The New Zealand Herald Named Newspaper Of The Year, Website Of The Year At Voyager Media Awards

The New Zealand Herald has been labelled a “powerhouse news operation” as it claims the two biggest prizes – Newspaper of the Year and Website of the Year – along with many individual awards at the 2020 Voyager Media Awards Website of the ... More>>


ASB Bank: ASB Takes The Lead Again With New Low Home Loan Interest Rate

ASB has moved again to support its customers, cutting a number of home loan rates, including the two-year special rate to a new low of 2.69% p.a. Craig Sims, ASB executive general manager Retail Banking says the reduced rate will be welcome news for many ... More>>


Nathan Hoturoa Gray: The Problems With Testing And Case Statistics For Covid-19

To begin to understand disease transmission in a country requires adequate testing of your population with properly vetted, accurate tests. As the world struggles to find what 'adequate percentage' of the population is necessary, (estimates predict ... More>>


RNZ: Fletcher Building To Lay Off 1000 Staff In New Zealand

The construction company will cut around 10 percent of its workforce as it struggles with the fallout from Covid-19. More>>


Can Pay, Won't Pay: Cashflow Moves Urged

Government Ministers are asking significant private enterprises to adopt prompt payment practices in line with the state sector, as a way to improve cashflow for small businesses. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Why We Should Legally Protect The Right To Work From Home

For understandable reasons, the media messaging around Level Two has been all about “freedom” and “celebration”, but this is not necessarily going to be a universal experience. When it comes to workplace relations, Level Two is just as likely to ... More>>


Telecoms: Spark Welcomes Spectrum Allocation And Prepares For 5G Rollout Over The Next 12 Months

Spark welcomes spectrum allocation and prepares for 5G rollout over the next 12 months Spark today welcomed the announcement of the direct allocation process of 5G spectrum, with the Company to be offered management rights to 60 MHz of 3.5 GHz ... More>>


Trade: Record Monthly Surplus As Imports Dive

Imports in April 2020 had their biggest fall since October 2009, resulting in a monthly trade surplus of $1.3 billion, Stats NZ said today. “This is the largest monthly trade surplus on record and the annual goods trade deficit is the lowest ... More>>


Media Blues: Stuff Chief Executive Buys Company For $1

Stuff chief executive Sinead Boucher has purchased Stuff from its Australian owners Nine Entertainment for $1.
The chief executive was returning the company to New Zealand ownership, with the sale is expected to be completed by 31 May.
"Our plan is to transition the ownership of Stuff to give staff a direct stake in the business as shareholders," Boucher said in a statement.... More>>


RNZ: Bar Reopening Night 'much, Much Quieter'

Pubs and bars are reporting a sluggish first day back after the lockdown, with the fear of going out, or perhaps the joy of staying home, thought to be a reason for the low numbers. More>>


Stats NZ: New Zealand’s Population Passes 5 Million

New Zealand's resident population provisionally reached 5 million in March 2020, Stats NZ said today. More>>

NIWA: Seven Weeks Of Clearing The Air Provides Huge Benefits: Scientist

Seven weeks of lockdown has provided evidence of how pollution can vanish overnight with benefits for the environment and individuals, says NIWA air quality scientist Dr Ian Longley. Dr Longley has been monitoring air quality in Auckland, Wellington ... More>>


Government: Tax Changes Throw Cash Lifeline To SMEs

A significant package of tax reforms will be pushed through all stages in Parliament today to throw a cash flow lifeline to small businesses. More>>


Statistics: Some Indicators Pick Up As New Zealand Moves Out Of Lockdown

New Zealanders moved around more in the main centres and used more fuel and power while weekly exports held up as the country left the COVID-19 level 4 lockdown, Stats NZ said today. COVID-19 data porta l, our new webpage, includes about 40 near-real-time ... More>>


University Of Canterbury: Astronomers Discover The Science Behind Star Bursts That Light Up The Sky

University of Canterbury (UC) astronomers are part of an international team that has revealed how explosions on the surface of a white dwarf star can increase its brightness by thousands or millions of times making it look like a new star. For ... More>>

RNZ: International Passenger Numbers At Auckland Airport Drop 95 Percent

Auckland Airport says international passengers numbers have dropped more than 95 percent in the first 20 days of April over the year earlier. More>>