Hochstetter Lecturer

2024 Hochstetter Lecturer:

David Barrell


David is well known for his breadth of knowledge of New Zealand’s geology, geological history, and understanding of the interplay of processes that have produced, and will continue to shape, the Aotearoa landscape.  He has been a key contributor to the QMAP programme, has done research on seismotectonic, landslide and liquefaction hazards, and has led significant paleoclimate research outputs. David's enthusiasm for New Zealand’s landscapes and ability to communicate knowledge to many scientific and public groups, makes him a great candidate for this award.

David's lecture will explore forthcoming changes to Aotearoa’s coast, and underscore scientific questions, the pathway of discovery and enquiry, and what it means in wider contexts of Zealandia’s geological, tectonic, and landscape evolution. The presentation will be framed as a case example of how years of robust observations address important scientific questions and yield thought-provoking results.


Hochstetter Lecture tour dates

Details of David's nationwide speaking tour will be posted on the Events section of the website. 

Dates will be added as the details are finalised.


Banner image credit: Lloyd Homer, GNS Science

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Past Hochstetter Lecturers

Some of the more recent Hochstetter Lectures are available as video recordings. 

Where this is the case the Lecture topic below has been hyperlinked to the GSNZ YouTube channel.


Year Person From Lecture topic
2023 Lorna Strachan


Kaikōura Earthquake – Tales from the seafloor

2022 David Prior


The shear zones that hold back the ice sheets

2021 Darren King and Dan Hikuroa

NIWA and University of Auckland

Encouraging plural methods and values as the foundation for cross-cultural research collaborations.

Slides only.

2020 Phaedra Upton GNS

Main Lecture
The interplay of mechanical properties and stress in controlling the tectonic and topographic evolution of dynamic landscapes

Supporting Lecture
An integrated geodynamic view of The Southern Alps/Kā Tiritiri o te Moana

2019 Bill Fry GNS Distant sourced tsunamis.
2018 Alan Cooper Otago Tectonics of the Haast Schists.
2017 Dave Craw Otago

Tectonics and genetics in topographic evolution.
Slides only

2016 Colin Wilson Victoria Supervolcanoes.
2015 Nick Mortimer GNS

Zealandia - the seventh geological continent; identity, discovery, composition, ancestry and role in our society.

Supplementary lecture: Litho2014: a New Zealand stratigraphy for everyone

2014 Chris Bromley GNS The environmental effects of geothermal development.
2013 Mark Quigley Canterbury Canterbury earthquakes.
2012 Mike Issac GNS Oligocene drowning of Zealandia
2011 Russ van Dissen GNS Outcomes from the multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional and highly innovative "Its Our Fault" (IOF) project.
2010 Joel Baker Victoria A Geochemist's Window into Earth's Origins, History and Future
2009 Kathy Campbell Auckland Extreme Life: Terrestrial hot-springs and the search for early life on Earth (and Mars?)
2008 Vern Manville GNS The March 2007 Ruapehu Crater Lake breakout lahar
2007 Paul Williams Auckland Environmental change: a view from down under
2006 Bruce Hayward Geomarine Research Deciphering New Zealand´s geological and environmental history using foraminiferal microfossils
2005 Jamie Shulmeister Canterbury Late Neogene paleoclimate
2004 Andy Tulloch GNS The geology of Rakiura (Stewart Island) - magmatic arcs, sedimentary basins and Traps for the unwary
2003 Ian Wright NIWA Discovering and understanding submarine volcanoes: the Kermadec Arc sector of the Pacific Ring of Fire
2002 Rupert Sutherland GNS Cretaceous-Cenozoic evolution of NZ and Antarctica, and its significance for understanding global plate tectonics
2001 Simon Cox GNS Mapping the Southern Alps: an attempt to make sense of the Torlesse
2000 Peter Ballance Auckland Cenozoic development of the southwest Pacific - the evolution of a plate boundary
1999 Steve Weaver Canterbury Growth and development of mainland continental crust
1998 Shane Cronin Massey Volcanic eruption and lahar mechanisms
1997 Tim Stern Victoria Crustal structure and the tectonics of a transform plate boundary, from deep crustal seismic studies of southern New Zealand
1996 John Gamble Victoria Magma mixing and unmixing in the Earth
1995 Kelvin Berryman GNS Deciphering earthquakes from the geologic record &endash; progress in paleoseismology studies in New Zealand
1994 Rick Allis GNS Thermal Evolution of Sedimentary Basins
1993 Stuart Simmons Auckland Recent work in the Waimangu Geothermal Field
1992 Bruce Houghton GNS Fire and water: products and processes of basaltic explosive volcanism
1991 Richard Norris Otago When plates collide, recent work on the Alpine Fault in Westland
1990 Brad Pillans Victoria Quaternary sea level and climate change: new tests for old theories
1989 Jane Newman Canterbury West coast paleo-swamp models
1988 Ewan Fordyce Otago The history of whales, oceans and continents: patterns and processes in the southern hemisphere
1987 Martin Reyners DSIR Geophysics Big faults and little earthquakes - what do microearthquakes tell us about earth deformation and crustal structure?
1986 Terry Seward DSIR Chemistry Metal transport and deposition in active ore-forming hydrothermal systems
1985 Lionel Carter NZOI Passage to Hikurangi - the movement of debris from the Southern Alps to the deep Pacific Ocean
1984 Cam Nelson Waikato Some preliminary studies of mid-late Cenozoic deep-sea cores from the New Zealand sector of the Southwest Pacific: DSDP Leg 90
1983 Peter Barrett Victoria The History of the Antarctic Ice Sheet (?Eocene to Recent)
1982 Bernhard Spörli Auckland Trouble in the North - tectonics of Northland and its relation to the rest of New Zealand
1981 Vince Neall Massey Collapsing cones and vanishing volcanoes - the instability of a stratovolcano such as Egmont and its hazards to humanity
1980 John Bradshaw Canterbury Over the edge: Permian to Cretaceous on the margin of Gondwana
1979 Chris Adams DSIR INS New ways with old ages
1978 Dick Walcott Victoria Structure and tectonics of the present plate boundary zone in NZ
1977 Roger Cooper NZGS NZ in the early Paleozoic
1976 Trevor Hatherton DSIR Geophysics Geophysicists, in short, and the sleeping monster
1975 Bob Carter Otago The Kaikoura sequence in Fiordland and western Southland- an Oligocene continental margin and its relation to a Miocene-Recent plate boundary
1974 Harold Wellman Victoria Plate tectonics and NZ during the last 80 m.y.

Ferdinand Ritter von Hochstetter



Christian Gottlieb Ferdinand von Hochstetter (1829-1884) joined the Austrian Geological Survey in 1853. Four years later he was appointed geologist on the Austrian frigate Novara on an expedition to circumnavigate the globe.  The Novara berthed in Auckland in 1858.  At the request of the New Zealand Government and supported by the Auckland Provincial Council, Hochstetter, accompanied by Julius Haast and others, surveyed the Drury Coal Field to the south.

This was accomplished so successfully that the provincial council persuaded the commander of the Novara to allow Hochstetter to remain in New Zealand to undertake further work in the province.  Over the next five months Hochstetter and Haast, along with a support team, visited much of southern part of Auckland Province, including the volcanic region and the gold diggings at Coromandel Harbour. 

On completion of his Auckland mapping, Hochstetter was commissioned by the Nelson Provincial Council to report on the mineral wealth of the province.   Hochstetter, accompanied by Haast, arrived in Nelson on 4 August 1859.  In Nelson, they examined Dun Mountain, from which he collected and subsequently named dunite, the Aorere Gold Field and other places of interest.  

Hochstetter left Nelson for Sydney on 1 October 1859, on the first leg of his return voyage to Europe.  Although he never returned, Hochstetter retained a life long enthusiasm for New Zealand.  He maintained a correspondence with Haast and other New Zealand friends.  His contributions to New Zealand are commemorated by several place names, and by names of many New Zealand organisms.

Hochstetter was the first to describe and interpret many features of New Zealand geology.  His geological maps of Auckland and Nelson were the first of their kind in New Zealand.

A longer more detailed biography Ferdinand von Hochstetter can be found in Te Ara.

Hochstetter's Diaries from his time in Nelson are available from our webshop.