Our fifth annual report, Mahi Tahi 5, is now at the printers. If you would like a hard copy, please get in touch.

Download Mahi Tahi 5 here

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.

As my fifth year in this role draws to a close, it is a relief to have been able to concentrate on a set of projects relatively uninterrupted by a pandemic. We have not been free of disasters, but the science responses have been ably led by two CSAs around our Forum table – Professor Tom Wilson (CSA, Te Rākau Whakamarumaru National Emergency Management Agency) and Dr Chris Daughney (CSA, Te Uru Kahika – Regional and Unitary Councils Aotearoa). You can read more about the response to Cyclone Gabrielle on page 13.

Our team has delivered several projects this year. We began by releasing an explainer on our website about the health impacts of nitrate in drinking water. This is a complex issue with contested views and relies on incomplete and uncertain data. Thanks to all the referees who helped us pull together a consensus view.

Our major project for the year has been on food waste, which we are completing in modules. The first report explored the current state of food waste in Aotearoa and the scope of combatting food waste to deliver environmental, social, and economic benefits. The second report focused on food rescue as an intervention to prevent food insecurity, which was followed by a web resource on dealing with household food waste. You can read more about this ongoing mahi on page 21.

We also delivered an evidence synthesis on understanding the gang environment in Aotearoa, supported by Professor Ian Lambie (CSA, Te Tāhū o te Ture Ministry of Justice) and Professor Tracey McIntosh (CSA, Te Manatū Whakahiato Ora Ministry of Social Development). We did our best to include as broad a perspective as possible to highlight the complexities of the issues in these communities. While there are no quick fixes, it is our hope that the report can support these difficult conversations and provide an evidence base upon which our decision makers can build policies which bring lasting changes for Aotearoa.

Mahi Tahi 5 front cover

Juliet delivers an address to a crowd at the University of Canterbury science graduation ceremony. Juliet is standing behind a lectern and wearing a blue and red academic gown, and a mortarboard

Above: Juliet and the US Chief Science Advisor meet in Washington D.C

Below: The AI in healthcare panel

Two highlights for the year have been watching our intern and fellowship programme expand again and resuming international travel. My trip to the US enabled me to meet colleagues at the National Science Foundation and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. I also joined the MFAT delegation to the ASEAN-Indo-Pacific Workshop on Marine Plastics Debris at the Regional Capacity Center for Clean Seas, Indonesia to share our earlier work on Rethinking plastics. The team travelled to Finland and Estonia to learn about building resilience in our young people amidst polluted information. Read more about our international engagement on page 39.

It has also been a year of goodbyes and hellos. Hema Sridhar left her role as the CSA at Manatū Kaupapa Waonga Ministry of Defence. Gary Evans has finished his term as the CSA for Hīkina Whakatutuki Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, and we welcome Dr Gill Jolly in his place. We were also pleased to welcome back Professor Michael Bunce in his new role as the CSA for Te Papa Atawhai Department of Conservation. And in my team, we farewelled Emily McCarthy and Celia Cunningham, and welcomed Dr Jacques de Satge, Dr Rebecca Benson, and Carolle Varughese.

As we enter my last year in the role, we are busy finishing off our work on resilience in young people to polluted information and food waste. We are also sinking our teeth into the fascinating territory of AI in healthcare, working on a rapid report with an expert panel co-chaired by Professor Ian Town (CSA, Manatū Hauora Ministry of Health). Read more about our work on AI on page 27.

We hope that you enjoy this annual report. Let us know if you would like us to send you a hard copy.

Ngā manaakitanga,