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New Chief Executive Announced

Royal Society Te Apārangi President and Council are delighted to announce the appointment of Paul Atkins as Chief Executive of Royal Society Te Apārangi.

Paul Atkins

Society President Dr Brent Clothier FRSNZ said "the Council is delighted to have chosen Paul as the Society's new Chief Executive and that Paul has accepted this position". Dr Clothier went on to say, “Paul has extensive experience in senior leadership roles operating across the science, technology, education and research sector and is deeply committed to supporting research to make a meaningful difference to Aotearoa. He has been Chief Executive of ZEALANDIA for the past 6 years, leading the organisation through a period of transformational change, building its reputation, reach and impact, from local to global. Demonstrating his commitment to research, while there he launched a new research centre—the ZEALANDIA Centre for People and Nature—which has dramatically increased the number of researchers working on Zealandia-centred projects and is producing leading-edge results."

“Te Mana Whakahaere, the Council, and I look forward to working with Paul and Ngā Tumu, the Directors, in advancing our vision for the Royal Society Te Apārangi, deepening our ahuatanga Māori and flourishing ko ngā uara our values embedded in to our very broad mahi work stream,” Brent said.

Prior to ZEALANDIA, Paul was Chief Executive of the National Energy Research Institute, and he has held General Manager roles with the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, and with Creative New Zealand, the Arts Council of New Zealand. Paul has chaired the Board of the MacDiarmid Institute over the past 4 years and is a Chartered Scientist, Chartered Physicist, and Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute.

Paul has resided in Aotearoa with his family for 22 years and is married with three adult sons. He has had a long association with the Society dating back over 20 years when he was Director of the British Council, establishing strong and lasting ties with the leadership of the organisation since that time. He is also a Professional Member, and his wife, Faith Atkins, ran the Society’s public programmes for a decade until 2016. Paul said, " I am honoured to be appointed in this role and am looking forward to working with the President, Council, staff, Fellows, Members and all stakeholders to ensure the Royal Society Te Apārangi remains a strong and influential force for good, using its extraordinary networks to help tackle some of the pressing challenges we face across the globe."

Paul will take up the position on 29 November. Dr Roger Ridley, Mātanga Rangahau Director - Expert Advice & Practice, will be the Acting Chief Executive in the interim.

Professor Dame Cindy Kiro was appointed as the Chief Executive in late 2020, and she took up the role with Royal Society Te Apārangi in March 2021. However, she has now been appointed Governor-General Designate and will finish in the Society role on 16 July.

“We thank Dame Cindy for her work for the Society and we congratulate her on her appointment as Governor-General Designate,” Dr Brent Clothier said.

Ka pū te ruha, ka hao te rangatahi a new sense of leadership.

Background information

About Royal Society Te Apārangi

Royal Society Te Apārangi is an independent not-for-profit organisation that supports all New Zealanders to explore, discover and share knowledge.

Its varied programmes provide funding and learning opportunities for researchers, teachers and school students, together with those who are simply curious about the world.

To celebrate the discoveries of New Zealand researchers, the Society awards medals and elects Fellows, who are leaders in their fields.

These experts help the Society to provide independent advice to New Zealanders and the government on issues of public concern.

The Society has a broad network of members and friends around New Zealand and invites all those who value the work New Zealanders do in exploring, discovering and sharing knowledge to join with them.

To discover more visit

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