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New Zealand Association Of Scientists Awards Celebrate The Achievements Of Scientists And Our Science System

The New Zealand Association of Scientists (NZAS) is pleased to announce its annual medal winners for 2023. The NZAS medals have a long history and are among the most prestigious awarded across all fields of research in New Zealand.

The Marsden Medal is awarded for a lifetime of outstanding service to the cause or profession of science, in recognition of service rendered to the cause or profession of science in the widest connotation of the phrase. This year’s Marsden Medal is awarded to Professor Richie Poulton CNZM FRSNZ from the Department of Psychology at the University of Otago. Professor Poulton was internationally recognised for his lifetime of service to the study of human development, and for his ability to translate academic research in service of policies that support health and well-being across the life course. The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development study, of which he was Director, is recognised globally for its approach and impact, thanks to the high-quality longitudinal data its teams have collected. His work has literally changed the world. 
NB: While NZAS awards are not normally awarded posthumously, Professor Poulton sadly passed away between the time the judging decision was made and the awards ceremony. His medal will be received by his partner and colleague on the Dunedin Study, Dr Sandhya Ramrakha (

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The Shorland Medal is awarded in recognition of major and continued contribution to basic or applied research that has added significantly to scientific understanding or resulted in significant benefits to society. The 2023 Shorland Medal is awarded

to the AgResearch Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Inventory Development Team led by Dr Cecile de Klein ( (Dr Cecile de Klein, Principal Scientist, Invermay, AgResearch; Dr Tony van der Weerden, Senior Scientist, Invermay, AgResearch; Dr Jiafa Luo, Principal Scientist, Ruakura, AgResearch; Dr Stefan Muetzel, Senior Scientist, Palmerston North, AgResearch; Dr Arjan Jonker, Senior Scientist, Palmerston North, AgResearch). This team has led the development of country-specific emission factors to improve the accuracy of NZs agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions estimates. This has been crucial to the development and ongoing work on the NZ GHG Inventory, which is an integral part of the Government’s commitment to reducing climate change, including the development of targets proposed in the Zero Carbon Act and by the Climate Change Commission.

The Hill Tinsley Medal is awarded for outstanding fundamental or applied research in the physical, natural or social sciences published by a scientist or scientists within 15 years of their PhD. The 2023 Beatrice Hill Tinsley Medal is awarded to Professor Tahu Kukutai (Ngāti Tiipa, Ngāti Māhanga, Ngāti Kinohaku, Te Aupōuri) from the Te Ngira Institute for Population Research at the University of Waikato ( Professor Kukutai is a demographer, sociologist, data scientist, social scientist and world authority on Indigenous and Māori statistics. Her research has had a profound influence on the way statistics and data are viewed by Māori, particularly Māori governance and iwi entities as a useful and powerful tool for policy and development. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society Te Apārangi, a Life Member of the Population Association of New Zealand, one of 19 Global Leaders of digital human rights, and a Co-Director of Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga Centre of Research Excellence.

The Cranwell Medal is made to a practising scientist for excellence in communicating science to the general public in any area of science or technology. The 2023 Cranwell Medal has been jointly awarded to Dr Natalie Netzler (Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Hāuā) ( and Chris Puli’uvea (, both from the University of Auckland. As early career researchers, they stepped up when they saw a need for clear, culturally appropriate communication to support Māori and Pacific communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. They showed impressive initiative and dedication to their kaupapa by undertaking this work alongside their regular duties. By making themselves available to speak directly with their communities and answer questions through a kōrero/talanoa approach they have likely formed lasting and meaningful connections and will be well placed to continue this important work as their careers progress.

Dr Lucy Stewart, co-President of the Association, noted that this year’s awards demonstrate the value and impact that individual scientists bring to science in Aotearoa New Zealand, which has direct impacts on our communities. “Over the last few years we have focused on assessing whether our system and institutions are fit for purpose,” she says, “but it’s vital to remember that systems are made up of people. It is only by recruiting and retaining scientists who represent our whole community, and recognising and supporting them throughout their careers, that our research system can produce meaningful, relevant, clearly communicated results to benefit all of us.”

The Awards will be presented on Tuesday at 12.00pm (November 14th) at the University of Auckland.

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