2015 is a significant year for New Zealand science history. It is 150 years since James Hector arrived in Wellington to set up many of our national science organisations and 100 years since Ernest Marsden arrived in Wellington.

In 1865 Hector was appointed head of the New Zealand Geological Survey, with his responsibilities eventually including the Colonial Museum, Colonial Observatory, Meteorological Service, Colonial Botanic Gardens, and the New Zealand Institute. In 1915, Marsden arrived in New Zealand to be professor of physics at Victoria University. He stayed in this position for seven years then, in 1926, was appointed head of New Zealand's Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, a position he held until 1946.

In 1983, The Royal Society of New Zealand and the Alexander Turnbull Library ran a conference In Search of New Zealand's Scientific Heritage. In the more than 30 years since this date there have been significant research and publications into New Zealand's science history but there is still much to explore. The 2015 anniversaries invite a renewed focus on New Zealand's science history and provide momentum leading up to the Royal Society of New Zealand's 150th anniversary in 2017 and the 250th anniversary of the arrival of the first European scientists in 2019.

Important Dates

The conference venue is the Victoria University of Wellington Kelburn Campus. The registration desk will be located outside room AM102, on the ground floor of the Alan MacDiarmid building, opposite Wishbone café.


All prices quoted include GST.

Conference Committee

Rebecca Priestley Convenor
Science in Society Group
Victoria University of Wellington
Simon Nathan GNS Science (Emeritus)
Jim McAloon School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations
Victoria University of Wellington
Conal McCarthy School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies
Victoria University of Wellington
Kate Bazeley Conference administrator
Science in Society Group
Victoria University of Wellington