Updates from the Office

Stay informed on the activities and projects of Juliet and the OPMCSA.

Mahi Tahi 6

Our last annual report, Mahi Tahi 6, is now available. We reflect on our last year, and the ponder the difference we have made over the last six years. Download Mahi Tahi 6 here You can read Juliet's foreword below: Tēnā koutou katoa, ngā mihi o te wā ki a tātou....

AI in healthcare workshop and symposium

Last month, our office, with support from the Ministry of Health organised a one-day workshop and a symposium about the use of AI in our healthcare system.Chief Science Advisor for the Ministry of Health, Professor Ian Town, recently hosted two events to socialise...

Our latest intern report

One of the pleasures of working in the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor is getting involved with the interns on their projects. The projects provide opportunities for the interns to apply their knowledge in a policy area, build their skills and...

Mahi Tahi 5: Annual report 2023

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...

Gene editing: Time to have your say

In a December 2022 blog post, I reflected on the pathway from science advice to implementation of science-based recommendations that arise from commissioned reports from our office. Not all our advice is commissioned – sometimes the science community proactively...

Why is regulating AI such a challenge?

AI (artificial intelligence) regulation is a hot topic internationally. Leaders of some of the big players in the AI world are signing open letters and talking to politicians and journalists about the need to regulate AI to prevent serious harms. In this blog, we...

Out and about: OPMCSA international travel

After several years of interacting with the international community remotely, it has been great to be able to connect in person again. This year the (fully vaccinated!) team have been making the most of the opportunity to travel and learn from colleagues in other...

Washington DC Capitol building

What to do with your household food waste?

The government's launch of Te rautaki para - Waste strategy today sheds light on the importance of how we create and manage waste in Aotearoa New Zealand, and sets out a pathway for changing unsustainable practices where valuable resources are wasted in enormous...

It’s raining, it’s pouring

Flooding events across the North Island have resulted in fatalities, uninhabitable homes, and vital infrastructure in need of repair. OPMCSA analyst Dr Emma Brown reflects on the situation.

Our second food waste report: Food rescue

Food rescue organisations in Aotearoa captured over 11,500 tonnes of food at risk of going to waste last year, distributing it to people in the community, including those experiencing food insecurity. Our second food waste report, which we are releasing today, explores the food rescue sector’s role as part of the solution to food waste.

Introducing our first food waste report

Food ending up in the bin is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to food waste. That’s one of the key messages from our first report in the food waste series, Food waste: A global and local problem, which we are releasing today.

Aotearoa’s first mātauranga-based holiday

This week New Zealanders across the motu will enjoy a long weekend, the nation’s first ever Matariki holiday. Senior analyst Emily McCarthy met with astrophysicist, Māori astronomy expert, and member of the Matariki Advisory Committee Dr Pauline Harris to find out more.

Combatting food waste

Our next major project is on food rescue, food loss and food waste. We’re kicking off our project to understand the nature and extent of this problem in Aotearoa New Zealand and explore evidence-based solutions to reduce food waste across the food supply chain.

Daylight saving: It’s complicated

With New Zealanders preparing to turn their clocks back as daylight saving ends this Sunday, senior analyst Emily McCarthy has been pondering the history and science behind this tradition.

Why is it so hot?

Don’t worry, it’s not just you. With global temperatures up 1.1°C compared to pre-industrial levels, it’s getting noticeably warmer throughout the world. Aotearoa New Zealand is no exception.

A busy year with our interns and fellows

Amidst the noise and haste of supporting the COVID response and delivering our infectious disease and AMR project (more on this in the New Year), we have had a busy and exciting year behind the scenes with our interns and fellows – 13 projects across the year.

Sunrise on Waikanae Beach, Tairāwhiti Gisborne, New Zealand.

Out and about on the AMR beat

We’ve been making the most of a COVID-free South Island, getting out and about as part of our project on antimicrobial resistance and infectious disease.

Our cannabis webpage is now live

This evidence summary won’t tell you how to vote – instead, it aims to support you to make your decision in the upcoming referendum on legalising recreational cannabis.

Cannabis growing indoors under yellow light

Accelerating Rangatahi Māori

Over the last year, the Chief Science Advisor Forum has been focused on building a bridge between the science advisory system and te ao Māori. This culminated last year in a hui on 11 December.

harakeke weaving

Space is for everybody

More than a few researchers we meet on our travels raise an amused, sceptical eyebrow at the thought of kiwis being among those with an interest in space, but in fact, Aotearoa New Zealand has a long history in space science and technology.

Close up of the Orion nebula

Mātauranga and science

It seems apt in this year of commemoration to ponder the interface of our two knowledge frameworks. Tahu and I were honoured to be asked to write a forward for a New Zealand Science Review Special Issue on Mātauranga and Science.

Rethinking plastics in Aotearoa New Zealand

We are excited and delighted to launch our major report – Rethinking Plastics in Aotearoa New Zealand – today.  Our panel set out with a bold and broad scope to find ways to reduce the size of the plastic shadow that is cast by modern life.

Reusable coffee cups made of ceramic with the word "reuse" written on one

A quick update

It has been a very busy month in our Office, with lots of activity on our various work streams, and some rapid reprioritisation to assist in collating an evidence base for those supporting recovery in Christchurch.

Juliet joined the Forum for Australian Chief Scientists in Darwin last week.

Quiet thoughts

Apart from acknowledging the terrible events of March 15th with a ‘Kia Kaha’, we have turned down the social media volume to zero this week in the Office. A mark of respect for the victims and their whānau, and a time to reflect. A week later, here are a few thoughts.

The Beehive in Wellington with its flag at half-mast