Top New Zealand Scientists Win Kudos
The best and brightest scientists of the Greater Waikato Region and Bay of Plenty have been recognised at the 15th Kudos Awards Showcase.
With the postponement of last year’s Awards due to the Covid-19 pandemic, organisers the Kudos Science Trust celebrated the 2021 finalists with a glittering Showcase gala at Claudelands Event Centre on September 14.
The event also launched a Hall of Fame, spotlighting past Kudos scientists whose work has taken the region and New Zealand onto the international stage. The inaugural inductee was Dr Patrick Shannon QSM, awarded posthumously for his work with the Newstead-based herd improvement and agri-technology cooperative Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC). Over 64 years he led the science that improved the genetics of New Zealand dairy cattle and boosted the productivity and profitability of the dairy sector.
Kudos Science Trust CEO Soteria Ieremia says: “These awards are not just a recognition of talent, but a vital incubator for creative research discoveries and cutting-edge technology.
“When you look at some of New Zealand’s top performing sectors, science is what underpins these groundbreaking innovations, and the work pioneered by Dr Patrick Shannon QSM is testament to that.”
Among this year’s winners were the Scion/Agrisea team, who recently received a $750,000 loan from the government’s Regional Strategic Partnership Fund to support the world's first commercial seaweed nanocellulose facility in Paeroa.
Fellow winner Dr Shen Him Lim’s world-leading robotic asparagus harvesting technology has also attracted major investment, and Dr Megan Grainger’s research is supporting New Zealand’s multi-million dollar manuka honey industry.
Educator Chris Duggan was recognised for her bilingual science kits for primary schools, while Dr Charles Lee won the Environmental award for his expertise in Antarctic terrestrial ecology and climate change.
Prof Kura Paul-Burke was recognised for her work blending western science with mātauranga Māori to help coastal communities manage marine taonga, while Assoc Prof Bridgette Masters-Awatere received her award for drawing on mātauranga Māori knowledge to inform medical best practice.
Prof Alan Hogg received this year’s Kudos Lifetime Achievement Award. The Director of the University of Waikato Radiocarbon Dating Laboratory since 1985, Prof Hogg is an international authority on radiocarbon tree-ring dating, whose research has established the timing of arrival and impacts of Māori in New Zealand.
Past scientists who are making an impact and featured at the awards included Dr Martin Stiles, Prof Johan Verbeek, and ESP Medical.
Ieremia says the calibre of the winners is world-class, and the work they are doing is of vital importance to the continuing growth of science and innovation in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty and beyond.
“These amazing thinkers are combining cutting-edge science with innovative thinking to tackle real world issues. We applaud them for their talent and hard work, and hope they receive not just kudos, but further investment and support to commercialise and extend the value and impact of their work.”
KUDOS AWARDS WINNERS:
Inaugural Hall of Fame
Dr Patrick Shannon QSM, awarded posthumously
The Kudos Lifetime Achievement Award
Prof Alan Hogg, UoW
WINTEC Secondary Science Teacher/Educator Award
Hamilton City Council Emerging Scientist Award
Dr Megan Grainger
Datamars Engineering Science Award
Dr Shen Hin Lim
Waikato Regional Council Environmental Award
Dr Charles Lee
Te Whatu Ora Waikato Medical Science Award
Assoc Prof Bridgette Masters-Awatere
Hill Laboratories Primary Industry Award
Scion/Agrisea Nanocellulose from Seaweed Team
University of Waikato Vision Mātauranga Science Award
Prof Kura Paul-Burke