End of year message from GSNZ President James Scott

Thank you to all our members

Thank you very much for your participation in the Geoscience Society of New Zealand this year.  I very much hope that you have been able to enjoy the many membership benefits such as newsletters, newsflashes, free access to the New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, a photo competition, and even two in-person lecture tours. 

Over the course of the year, we’ve rolled out the new website, launched two new Special Interest Groups (Hydrogeology and Early Career Researchers) and offered new initiatives such as grants to assist student groups undertaking field-trips or geoscience-promotion activities.  We’ve also enhanced our social media presence.  I’ve received a good deal of positive feedback about our changes, and also some constructive criticism - which the executive committee will attempt to address. 

Our year culminated in the GSNZ Annual Conference in Christchurch, which was perhaps one of the only major global geoscience conferences to run in-person this year.  It had a good vibe, and we were thrilled to have 410 (!) registrations, including 315 oral and poster presentations.  A highlight for me was the role of the Special Interest Groups in leading sessions, and I particularly enjoyed the Geoeducation Outreach and International Development (GEOID) session on teaching practices.  I was also very impressed with the quality of the student participation and their presentations.  Thanks especially to the major sponsors: GNS Science (Gold), NIWA (Silver), EQC (Silver), AUSIMM (Bronze), and Kari Bassett for leading the conference.  Geoscience 2021 will be held in Palmerston North. 

Where to from here?  Over the coming year, the executive committee will be working with branches to try and generate some good momentum at the grassroots level for geoscience in NZ.  We will be working on developing a comprehensive budget, a long-term vision, investigating and updating the constitution (no, not president for life), providing options for membership (e.g., 2 or 3 year memberships) and so on. There’ll be more photo-competitions, and perhaps even a competition to re-name the Newsletter. 

I welcome to the committee: Jenny Stein (Secretary), Janis Russell (Newsletter Editor) and Sebastian Naeher (elected member) and thank those who stepped down (Richard Wysczanski, Andrew Rees, Glenn Vallender).  You can meet the committee here and there’ll be a complete run down of the committee structure in the first Newsletter of 2021.

Once again, I thank you all for your contributions this year. We aim to advocate for you, so do get in contact if you have anything you’d like to raise. Also, without your support, GSNZ would struggle to function, we wouldn’t have many initiatives to drive forward, and we certainly wouldn’t have had such a successful large conference. 

I wish you all a happy new year, and I hope to see you sometime next year, or in Palmerston North.

James Scott
GSNZ President