Mother and child sitting above Nelson's Cable Bay

81st Annual Thomas Cawthron Memorial Lecture

Sharing science with the community since 1917.

Citizen Science

Empowering Communities

Keynote addresses by Sam Johnson (Civic Entrepreneur) and Dr Xavier Pochon (Cawthron Institute).

As we tackle some of the most pressing issues of our time – climate change, biodiversity loss and food security – it is now more important than ever that we harness the collective efforts of engaged citizens to achieve more, and faster. Civic Entrepreneur Sam Johnson will share his experiences of engaging communities for social good, followed by Cawthron’s Dr Xavier Pochon who will provide a comprehensive overview of how citizen science is contributing to mapping ocean health through the newly launched Citizens of the Sea project. Our speakers’ presentations will highlight the synergy between volunteer mobilisation and scientific research, demonstrating how collaborative efforts can lead to meaningful change.

Event format

Doors open at 6.30pm. The Annual Lecture will begin at 7pm sharp. Please allow yourself time to arrive and the venue and be seated by then. A Q&A session will follow the guest speaker presentations. The lecture will formally conclude at 8.30pm but refreshments and a light super will be served for those who wish to stay and mingle a little.

This event is free to students and under 25-year-olds. A suggested $10 koha is requested for general admission, or pay what you can afford.

Presenter Bios

Keynote Speaker: Sam Johnson

Sam Johnson is a renowned civic entrepreneur. He founded and built Student Volunteer Army that today through seven universities and 240 schools is ready to show up and shovel anywhere in New Zealand. Sam is now Project Director at STILL, best known as the owners of the World of WearableArt, where he leads ‘Paererewā – Markers for Reflection for 1000 Years’ – a social enterprise designed to create places to sit or rest around our country helping us think longer-term.

Keynote Speaker: Dr Xavier Pochon

Dr Xavier Pochon leads the Molecular Surveillance team at Cawthron Institute and is an Associate Professor at the University of Auckland. Originating from Switzerland, he defied expectations to become a marine biologist, with a background in coral reef symbioses, diversity, ecology, and evolution. Xavier’s passion for the ocean and his enthusiasm for marine discoveries have fueled over 20 years of research throughout the Indo-Pacific region. Since moving to New Zealand in 2012, his research has focused on using environmental DNA (eDNA) to monitor biodiversity in aquatic ecosystems. Xavier is a co-founder and the science lead of Citizens Of The Sea.

Thomas Cawthron Memorial Lectures

Sharing science with the community since 1917

The Thomas Cawthron Memorial Lecture is a free annual community event hosted by Cawthron Institute to commemorate the legacy of Thomas Cawthron and to share science with the public.