2017 PLENARY SPEAKERS

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Professor Ian Wright is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) at University of Canterbury since August 2016. Ian has a significant personal research career, coupled with extensive experience in research and technological leadership and management, having previously worked at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in Wellington, New Zealand. His personal research has included study on submarine arc volcanism, submarine hydrothermal venting, carbon capture and storage, and seafloor methane emissions. At NIWA he was the Centre Leader for Coasts and Oceans, and then spent eight years at the National Oceanography Centre / University of Southampton in the United Kingdom. His time in the UK included four years as Director of Science and Technology at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), and a member of the UK Natural Environment Research Council Science Board. During his time at NOC, he led groups including all facets of marine science, including global scaled ocean modelling, underwater autonomous vehicle development, and chemical micro-sensor development. With his return to New Zealand in 2016, Professor Wright is responsible for research and innovation across entire University of Canterbury, and sits on a number of New Zealand National Science Challenges governance groups, and on the boards of Brain Research New Zealand and the Medical Technologies Centres of Research Excellence, and the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation, and New Zealand Research Institute. 

See more on Professor Wright's UC profile

Associate Professor Te Maire Tau is the director of the Ngāi Tahu Research Centre at the University of Canterbury. He took up this position in 2011, having previously been a Senior Lecturer in History at the University. Te Maire belongs to Ngāi Tahu, the principal tribe of the South Island, and lives in Tuahiwi, the largest village of that tribe.

During his years as an undergraduate and later as a postgraduate student at Canterbury, Te Maire helped iwi leaders with their land claim to the Waitangi Tribunal, with a particular emphasis on traditional food-gathering practices. As a specialist historian on oral traditions, tribal genealogies and indigenous knowledge systems, Te Maire was used as an expert witness and historian for the settlement of the Ngāi Tahu Claim - the largest settlement in its day between Māori and the Crown for lands wrongfully taken.

Since then he has had a number of publications dealing with oral traditions and the relationship between indigenous knowledge systems and how they intersect with western science. 

See more on Associate Professor Te Maire Tau’s UC Research Profile

Dr Vonda Cummings is a marine ecologist at the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) in Wellington.

She has a particular interest in the functioning of coastal benthic communities and the environmental drivers that influence them.

Most recently her research has focused on the future changes predicted with warming and acidification of our oceans, and the implications for key components of NZ and Antarctic ecosystems.

Vonda has been actively involved in Antarctic research since 2000, visiting the continent on many occasions, and is currently a deputy director of the NZ Antarctic Research Institute (NZARI).