Thomas Cawthron Memorial Lectures news

12 October 2020

Cawthron Institute's Annual Lecture goes digital

Dr Siouxsie Wiles and Cawthron Institute’s Group Manager for Aquaculture, Dr Serean Adams have been confirmed as keynote speakers at Cawthron Institute’s 77th Annual Thomas Cawthron Memorial Lecture on 28 October – an event that will be going digital in 2020 to offer an exciting and engaging online experience.

Both speakers will offer their perspectives on the lecture’s theme ‘Science Matters’, exploring the value of scientific research and development to New Zealand’s society, now and in the future.

The live-streamed lecture will feature cutting-edge animation and technology, offering viewers an engaging online experience, including the opportunity to participate in a live Q&A panel discussion by submitting questions for the speakers.

The live-stream will begin at 7pm on Wednesday 28 October and will be accessible to anyone in New Zealand or abroad via, where pre-registration is open from today.

Cawthron Institute has held annual lecture events for the Nelson Tasman community since 1917, and Dr Siouxsie Wiles says she is looking forward to taking part in an event that has played such a significant role in New Zealand’s scientific history and culture.

“One of the things we have all learned this year is that interdisciplinary collaboration is the key to solving the challenges the world is facing right now,” Dr Wiles said.

“Science is a powerful tool when it is inclusive and collaborative and I’ve learned a lot by working with artists and communicators and scientists of different disciplines to help tackle some of the challenges the Covid-19 pandemic has presented.”

John Palmer, Chair of the Cawthron Institute Trust Board, said the speakers selected to deliver this year’s lecture not only offer valuable insight into current challenges and opportunities facing New Zealand’s society, but also build upon the history and reputation of the event.

“Many distinguished scientists and scholars have featured as lecturers at this event in the past, sharing their knowledge on a wide range of subjects. Past lecturers include Professor Thomas Easterfield, Sir Ernest Rutherford, Sir Edmund Hillary, Professor Robert Winston and the Rt Hon Helen Clark,” John Palmer said.

“Dr Siouxsie Wiles is now widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s best science communicators, and her leadership this year with respect to Covid-19 communications has been truly outstanding so we are thrilled to have her as a speaker.”

"Dr Serean Adams, Cawthron Institute’s own Group Manager for Aquaculture, is a global leader in her field, and holds a compelling vision for the future of New Zealand’s aquaculture industry. I’m so pleased she’ll have the opportunity to share that vision with New Zealand.”

John Palmer said he hopes to see engagement in the panel discussion from a wide variety of people nation-wide.

“This event is an amazing opportunity to share ideas and contribute to a discussion about how science can shape the future of New Zealand – we encourage people to pre-register for the event via from today.”

Read more about the event here.