The Nelson Science Society

Welcome to the webpage of the Nelson Science Society (NSS) and its constituent, the Astronomy Section. The NSS is a branch of the Royal Society of New Zealand and exists to promote science within the Nelson/Tasman region - we do this by holding regular scientific talks from a variety of experts throughout the year and by promoting science education in schools and colleges.

The Astronomy section is run as an independent constituent of the NSS and maintains its own program of events (see Astronomy Section pages for full details and newsletter). Please bookmark this website to see details of all upcoming events sponsored by the NSS and its Astronomy section (and other events of interest), and to see details of past activities etc.


SCIENCE STORY OF THE WEEK: The ozone hole - what could have been:

Next events:

Wednesday 10th June 6.30pm. Couch Stories - 'True science stories told live'.

We’ve collaborated with the highly successful Couch Stories team to bring you a live storytelling show with a science theme. Entitled The Theory of Everything, the show features local scientists and science enthusiasts telling true personal stories about everything from beekeeping to swimming with sharks.

BOOK EARLY - All previous Couch Stories shows have sold out

Bar open from 6.30 and at interval.

General Admission $15 (including booking fee)

Nelson Science Society members $13.00 (including booking fee)

To receive discount NSS members must enter this code at checkout: NSS10615


Wednesday 17th June, 5.30-8.00pm. (Victoria University lectures, non-NSS event). See details at bottom of page.

Tuesday, June 23, 7.30pm.The Ross Sea toothfish fishery – is it sustainable or should it be closed? A talk by NIWA scientist, Dr Stuart Hanchet. Venue: A211, NMIT. All welcome, non-members $2.

There has been much media coverage in recent years lamenting the lack of knowledge about the Antarctic toothfish population in the Ross Sea and questioning the sustainability of the fishery operating there. Indeed, the journal Nature stated that virtually nothing is known about this fish: no eggs or larvae have ever been collected. So what is known about Antarctic toothfish?

Drawing on 15 years’ experience researching this subject, Stuart will describe what is known about them, including tagging and population studies. He will also point out what isn’t known - gaps that need to be addressed. Lastly, he will discuss the spatial management currently in place for the fishery and recent proposals for a Marine Protected Area which, at a million square kilometres, would be one of the largest in the world.

Biography: Based in Nelson, Stuart specialises in research on the biology and stock assessment of coastal and deepwater fisheries around NZ. He is leader of the International Fisheries Programme at NIWA. He has been part of the NZ delegation to the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) since the mid-1990s.

Friday 26th June 7:00 pm. Astronomy section star party.

Cawthron Atkinson Observatory which is on the grounds of the Clifton Terrace School. Gold coin donation.

Wednesday 15 July 7.30pm. Zealandia – Earth’s 8th Continent. Dr. Nick Mortimer, part of the annual Hochstetter Lecture Series. Room A211, NMIT, entrance off Alton St, all welcome,non-NSS members $2 donation please.
Continents are the largest solid objects on the Earth’s surface. In this illustrated talk Nick will summarise the scientific case that there are not seven but eight continents: Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, South America and Zealandia. Although Zealandia is 4.9 million square kilometres in area, it has literally lain hidden because 94% of it is under the sea. In the talk Nick will also speak about how Zealandia became the world’s most submerged continent and why its continental identity is important to science and to society.

Nick Mortimer is a geologist at the Dunedin office of the Crown Research Institute GNS Science. In his 26 year career he has carried out land- and ship-based field work throughout the length and breadth of New Zealand and Zealandia. He recently co-authored a Penguin book on Zealandia with his colleague Hamish Campbell.

FOR INFORMATION (Non NSS event of interest): Victoria University of Wellington - Invitation to a Free Public Lecture in Nelson - Wednesday 17 Jun, ‏5.30-8pm.Rutherford Hotel. A crisis in the pharmaceutical industry - should we care?/Genes, gene therapy and gene patenting.If you would like to attend please e-mail: with Nelson Lecture in the subject line or phone: 04 4365791.