Our third annual report, Mahi Tahi 3, is now at the printers. If you would like a hard copy, please get in touch.
You can read Juliet’s foreword below:
Tēnā koutou katoa, ngā mihi o te wā ki a tātou. Ahakoa ngā ārai, ahakoa ngā aupiki me ngā auheke, mā te āta wānanga me te mahi tahi e whai rongoā, e whai rautaki kia anga whakamua ai tātou katoa. Kei te ao hurihuri tātou e noho nei engari mā te titiro ki ngā rā o mua me ngā kōrero o nehe, kei reira kitea ai he oranga mō tātou. Nā reira, anei ētahi pitopito kōrero.
This is our third annual report and brings us to the end of my first term as the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, Kaitohutohu Mātanga Pūtaiao Matua ki te Pirimia. I’m very proud of the team who kept up a gruelling pace to continue to support the COVID-19 response, as well as deliver our second major report – The future of commercial fisheries in Aotearoa New Zealand, craft public-facing explainers on cannabis and fluoridation of water supplies, and kick off this year’s major project on infectious diseases and antimicrobial resistance. It was also very exciting to see our Rethinking plastics report get a mention in the Speech from the Throne – with the recommendations now well on their way to implementation. Mā te mahi tahi ka ea ngā mahi katoa.
I’m also very proud of the science community who continued to support the COVID-19 response both behind the scenes and in front of the media. The pace has been demanding, but they have risen to the challenge. Ngā mihi nui e hoa. It was really gratifying to see so many of those individuals and teams recognised with an array of awards and prizes this year – more of which later in the report. And, of course, the wider Chief Science Advisor Forum who have continued to work steadfastly to bring evidence to policy in their home ministries, especially Professor Ian Town, our Chief Science Advisor to the Ministry of Health – Mānatu Hauora, who expanded his remit this year to include not only COVID-19 management but also the vaccine roll out. Tino pai e hoa.
I’m delighted to have recently accepted a second term in this role. It is a huge privilege to support the Prime Minister and synthesise the voices of so many talented scientists in Aotearoa and beyond. We are giving some thought to our focus for 2021–2024 and, as well as our business-as-usual advising, will increase our focus on women in science and connection to emerging researchers. This latter workstream kicks off before this report goes to print, with a hui where emerging researchers are invited to meet a collection of government advisors to extend their networks and help frame their research directions in a way that can make a difference. We are very open to ideas for future projects to put up to the Prime Minister for consideration – so if you have ideas on this score, please get in touch.
It is a huge privilege to support the Prime Minister and synthesise the voices of so many talented scientists in Aotearoa and beyond.
Click image to download Mahi Tahi 3 – Annual report 2021 (PDF, 15MB).
Above: Juliet delivers an address at the University of Canterbury science graduation ceremony in late 2020. Image credit: Corey Blackburn, University of Canterbury photographer. Below: Juliet’s view from the stage – a privilege to enjoy crowded events and connect in person during the pandemic.
In the pages to follow you will find a taste of the rest of our activity. Despite the challenge of an Auckland lockdown or two, the team has been out and about enjoying kōrero with researchers and stakeholders and experiencing the breadth and depth of research activity across the country and internationally – and how it might make a difference to government policy. Throughout, we stuck to our four principles: transparency, accessibility, inclusivity and rigour – which have kept us grounded and on track in difficult times.
Although there has been no opportunity to travel overseas, our international connectivity has been nurtured significantly with deep relationships
between international chief science advisors growing throughout the COVID-19 response. Aotearoa has been in the spotlight as we chartered our own path to keep our people healthy, and this has led to invitations to engage on the virtual world stage. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with some of my international colleagues who have been hugely supportive throughout the pandemic kanohi ki te kanohi, hopefully in the not-too-distant future. Back home it has been fantastic to once again enjoy the privilege of crowded events, speak to large audiences and connect in person – our overseas colleagues continue to marvel that we can do this, and I am constantly reminded that we need to stay vigilant as we navigate out of a global pandemic.