Royal Society Te Apārangi

The Royal Society Te Apārangi (in full, Royal Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi) is an independent, statutory not-for-profit body in New Zealand providing funding and policy advice in the fields of sciences and the humanities.

Royal Society Te Apārangi
Royal Society Te Apārangi logo.png
Formation1867; 154 years ago (1867)
TypeIndependent statutory organisation
More than 400 Fellows
Wendy Larner[1]


The Royal Society was founded in 1867 as the New Zealand Institute, a successor to the New Zealand Society, which had been founded by Sir George Grey in 1851.[2] The Institute, established by the New Zealand Institute Act 1867, was an apex organisation in science, with the Auckland Institute, the Wellington Philosophical Society, the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury, and the Westland Naturalists' and Acclimatization Society as constituents. It later included the Otago Institute and other similar organisations. The Colonial Museum (later to become the Dominion Museum and then the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa), which had been established two years earlier, in 1865, was granted to the New Zealand Institute. Publishing transactions and proceedings was one of the Institute's initial functions. James Hector was the Manager of the Institute and the Director of the Colonial Museum and Geological Survey from 1867 until his retirement in 1903.[3]

In 1933, the Institute's name was changed to Royal Society of New Zealand, in reference to the Royal Society of London,[2][4] a move requiring royal assent and a subsequent Act of Parliament.[5] In 2010, the organisation's remit was expanded to include the social sciences and the humanities.[6]

In 2007, Te Apārangi (Māori for "group of experts") was added to its name, and in 2017, its sesquicentenary, this was shortened to Royal Society Te Apārangi. Its legal name, as defined in legislation, remains Royal Society of New Zealand.[7]


Constituted under the Royal Society of New Zealand Act 1997 (amended in 2012), the Society exists to:

  1. Foster in the New Zealand community a culture that supports science and technology, including (without limitation): (i) The promotion of public awareness, knowledge, and understanding of science and technology; and (ii) The advancement of science and technology education,
  2. Encourage, promote, and recognise excellence in science and technology,
  3. Provide an infrastructure and other support for the professional needs and development of scientists and technologists,
  4. Provide expert advice on important public issues to the Government and the community,
  5. Do all other lawful things which the Council considers conducive to the advancement and promotion of science and technology in New Zealand.

It is a federation of 49 scientific and technological organisations and several affiliate organisations, and also has individual members.


The Society's activities include:

  • Science funding – as a non-political funding distribution agency for government funding, particularly in science research and science education
  • Publishingpeer-reviewed journals such as NZ Journal of Botany and NZ Journal of Zoology
  • Meetings and seminars – most local branches and constituent scientific and technological organisations run seminar series of some description; the Society promotes these and coordinates touring international lecturers
  • Awards and medals – including:
    • Rutherford Medal (formerly the Gold Medal) – awarded annually for exceptional contributions to the advancement and promotion of public awareness, knowledge and understanding in addition to eminent research or technological practice by a person or group in any field of science, mathematics, social science, or technology
    • Fleming Award – awarded triennially to recognise protection of New Zealand's environment[8]
    • Hector Medal – awarded annually for outstanding work in chemical, physical or mathematical and information sciences by a researcher in New Zealand
    • Hutton Medal – Earth, plant and animal sciences award for outstanding work by a researcher in New Zealand, awarded annually.
    • Pickering Medal – awarded annually to recognise people who have made outstanding contributions to New Zealand society and culture in science, mathematics, social science, and technology.
    • Te Rangi Hiroa Medal – awarded for work in social sciences
  • Science education – promotes quality science education and plays a role in setting the national science curriculum

The Society administers the Prime Minister's Science Prizes.[9]

The New Zealand Association of Scientists works in similar fields, but is constituted as an independent non-profit incorporated society and registered charity,[10][11] rather than being constituted by an Act of Parliament.

Statement on climate changeEdit

On 10 July 2008, the Society released a statement on climate change that said, in summary:

The globe is warming because of increasing greenhouse gas emissions. Measurements show that greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are well above levels seen for many thousands of years. Further global climate changes are predicted, with impacts expected to become more costly as time progresses. Reducing future impacts of climate change will require substantial reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.[12]


The list below shows all presidents of the Royal Society of New Zealand, known as the New Zealand Institute from 1867 to 1933, and since 2017 as the Royal Society Te Apārangi.[13]

Presidents of the Royal Society of New Zealand
Name Dates Field of expertise
Captain Frederick Hutton 1904–05
Sir James Hector 1906–07
Hon. G. M. Thomson 1907–09
Augustus Hamilton 1909–11
Thomas Frederic Cheeseman 1911–13
Charles Chilton 1913–15
Donald Petrie 1915-16
Sir William Benham 1916–18
Leonard Cockayne 1918–20
Sir Thomas Hill Easterfield 1920–22
Harry Kirk 1922–24
Patrick Marshall 1924–26
Bernard Aston 1926–28
Allan Thomson 1928
Bernard Aston 1928–29
Coleridge Farr 1929–31
Hugh William Segar 1931–33
Robert Speight 1933–35
Right Rev. Bishop William Williams 1935–37
William Percival Evans 1937–39
Rev. John Holloway 1939–41
Sir Gilbert Archey 1941–43
Harry Allan 1943–45
William Noel Benson 1945–47
Sir Ernest Marsden 1947
Sir Robert Falla 1947–50
Frank Callaghan 1950–52
Walter Oliver 1952–54
David Miller 1954–56
Bob Briggs 1956–58
Robin Allan 1958–60
Joseph Keith Dixon 1960–62
Sir Charles Fleming 1962–64
Miles Barnett 1964
Sir Charles Fleming 1964–66
John Miles 1966–70
Dick Willett 1970–74
Sir Malcolm Burns 1974–77
Richard Dell 1977–81
Ted Bollard 1981–85
Trevor Hatherton 1985–89
Jack Dodd 1989–93
Philippa Black 1993–97
Sir John Scott 1997–2000
Sir Gil Simpson 2000–2003
Jim Watson 2004–2006
Neville Jordan 2006–2009
Garth Carnaby 2009–2012
Sir David Skegg 2012–2015
Richard Bedford 2015–2018 human geography
Wendy Larner 2018–present


The Academy Council of the Society from time to time elects as a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand any person who in its opinion "has achieved distinction in research or the advancement of science or technology." The number of Fellows is limited to such number as is agreed from time to time between the Academy Council and the Council of the Society. A Fellow is entitled to use, in connection with his or her name, either the letters FRSNZ, which stand for Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, or such other letters or title as is agreed from time to time between the Academy Council and the Council. The first female fellow, Kathleen Curtis, was elected in 1936.[14][15]

Constituent organisationsEdit

The Society has relatively few direct members, with most memberships arising through constituent organisations. These constituent organisations are:

  • Agronomy Society of New Zealand
  • Aotearoa New Zealand Evaluation Association (ANZEA)
  • Association of Social Science Researchers
  • Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists (NZ Section) (ASCEPT)
  • Geological Society of New Zealand
  • Meteorological Society of New Zealand
  • New Zealand Institute of Surveyors
  • The Nutrition Society of New Zealand
  • New Zealand Archaeological Association
  • New Zealand Association for Research in Education
  • New Zealand Association of Clinical Research
  • NZ Association of Mathematics Teachers
  • New Zealand Association of Science Educators
  • New Zealand Association of Scientists
  • New Zealand Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • New Zealand Dietetic Association
  • New Zealand Ecological Society
  • New Zealand Freshwater Sciences Society
  • New Zealand Geographical Society
  • New Zealand Geophysical Society
  • NZ Geothermal Association
  • New Zealand Grassland Association
  • New Zealand Hydrological Society
  • NZ Institute of Agricultural & Horticultural Science
  • The New Zealand Institute of Food Science and Technology
  • New Zealand Institute of Economic Research
  • The New Zealand Institute of Chemistry
  • New Zealand Institute of Forestry
  • New Zealand Institute of Physics
  • New Zealand Marine Sciences Society
  • New Zealand Mathematical Society Inc.
  • New Zealand Microbiological Society
  • New Zealand Plant Protection Society
  • New Zealand Psychological Society Incorporated
  • New Zealand Society of Animal Production
  • New Zealand Society of Endocrinology
  • New Zealand Society for Oncology
  • The New Zealand Society for Parasitology
  • New Zealand Society of Plant Biologists (NZSPB)
  • New Zealand Society of Soil Science
  • New Zealand Statistical Association
  • New Zealand Veterinary Association
  • Operational Research Society of New Zealand
  • The Physiological Society of New Zealand Incorporated
  • Population Association of New Zealand
  • Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand
  • Association of Social Anthropologists of Aotearoa/New Zealand
  • Sociological Association of Aotearoa NZ
  • Technology Education New Zealand (TENZ)

Regional Constituent OrganisationsEdit

Regional Constituent Organisations (branches) are geographical constituents and include:[16]

  • Auckland Museum Institute (formerly the Auckland Institute),[17] the membership body of Auckland War Memorial Museum
  • Hawkes Bay Branch of the Royal Society of New Zealand
  • Nelson Science Society[18]
  • Otago Institute for the Arts and Sciences[19]
  • Royal Society of New Zealand Canterbury Branch
  • Royal Society of New Zealand Manawatu Branch Incorporated (formerly the 'Manawatu Philosophical Society'[20])
  • Royal Society of New Zealand Rotorua Branch
  • Royal Society of New Zealand Wellington Branch (formerly the 'Wellington Philosophical Society'[21])
  • The Waikato Branch of the Royal Society of New Zealand
  • Wanaka Branch of the Royal Society of New Zealand

Affiliate OrganisationsEdit

The Society includes Affiliate Organisations that cover a diversity of disciplines, including policy, science education and the museum sector:

  • Discovery World
  • Environmental Protection Authority
  • House of Science (HoS NZ Charitable Trust)
  • International Institute of Refrigeration (NZ National Cttee)
  • Medical Research Institute of New Zealand
  • Motu Economic and Public Policy Research
  • National Science-Technology Roadshow Trust
  • New Zealand Association of Economists
  • New Zealand Association Impact Assessment
  • New Zealand Tree Crops Association
  • Opus Intl Laboratories
  • Science Alive
  • Statistics Research Associates Ltd
  • Te Manawa: Science Centre/Manawatu Museum
  • Water New Zealand


  1. ^ "Royal Society Te Aparangi – Our Council". Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Papers Past — Evening Post — 26 May 1933 — A Lead Wanted". 26 May 1933. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  3. ^ A. H. McLintock, ed. (1966). "Royal Society: Foundation". An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Government Printer. ISBN 978-0-478-18451-8. Retrieved 30 January 2019 – via Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand.
  4. ^ "Papers Past — Evening Post — 2 June 1933 — What's in a Name?". 2 June 1933. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  5. ^ "Papers Past — Evening Post — 18 May 1933 — Prefix "Royal"". 18 May 1933. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  6. ^ "Royal Society of New Zealand Amendment Bill 210-2 (2010), Private Bill – New Zealand Legislation". Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  7. ^ "Our Name". Royal Society Te Apārangi. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  8. ^ "Charles Fleming Award for Environmental Achievement". Royal Society of New Zealand. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
  9. ^ "The Prime Minister's Science Prizes". Retrieved 12 November 2015. The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes is administered by The Royal Society of New Zealand. [sic]
  10. ^ "About |". 2011. Archived from the original on 22 August 2011. Retrieved 27 July 2011. New Zealand Association of Scientists
  11. ^ "New Zealand Association of Scientists Incorporated". 2011. Retrieved 27 July 2011.
  12. ^ "Climate change statement from the Royal Society of New Zealand". The Royal Society of New Zealand. 1 July 2008. Retrieved 10 October 2009.
  13. ^ "Presidents". Royal Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  14. ^ Royal Society of New Zealand Act 1997, Section 10.
  15. ^ "Our history". Royal Society Te Apārangi. Retrieved 20 September 2020.
  16. ^ "Regional Constituent Organisations « Membership « Royal Society of New Zealand". Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  17. ^ "About the Institute – Auckland Museum New Zealand". 28 November 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  18. ^ "Nelson Science Society". Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  19. ^ "Home". Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  20. ^ "Royal Society of New Zealand (Manawatu Branch)". The Community Archive. 2 June 2009. Retrieved 18 June 2013.
  21. ^ "Wellington Philosophical Society". The Community Archive. 2 June 2009. Retrieved 18 June 2013.

External linksEdit