Conference Speakers 2018

Additional speakers added as they are confirmed

Matt Walters


From scientific photography to communication design, book publishing to school outreach, Matt has a unique and wide ranging role as the science communicator for Biological Sciences at the University of Canterbury. He teaches and supports students and staff to effectively communicate their ideas to their selected audience(s) across a range of media from image to text, presentation to poster. 

Kate Hannah


Kate Hannah has a Master of Arts (2004) from Waikato University in 19th Century American Literary Culture. Her principal research area is the historiography of the history of science, with a focus on the cultures and subcultures of science, gender in science history, and narrative and complexity. She holds dual roles at Te Pūnaha Matatini, a New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence for complex systems and networks – executive manager and associate investigator; she is a research fellow in the Department of Physics at the University of Auckland, course convener of Science Scholars 101, and a Te Pūnaha Matatini-funded PhD candidate in the Science and Society Group at Victoria University Wellington, investigating novel hybrid methodologies for the historiography of science. Basically, she’s a historian in a Physics department.

Merryn McKinnon


Merryn started out as a marine scientist, but she soon realised that talking to people about her science could do a lot more for conservation than her project would. She moved to science communication and has stayed there ever since. Merryn has slimed presidents, made children laugh and created programs and events to change ideas, inspire interest in science and to support pursuit of science careers.

She is now a lecturer and researcher in science communication at the Centre for the Public Awareness of Science at the Australian National University. Her teaching and research focuses on helping the scientists, public health workers and policy makers of tomorrow to communicate clearly and with influence, and identifying ways of creating meaningful public engagement. 

Merryn’s research explores perceptions of science, and of those communicating their science. Diversity of disciplines and ideas is important in a society, but only if they are given equal visibility and voice. Her work aims to contribute tangible mechanisms to allow that diversity to flourish. 

Merryn believes that communication is an essential part of the scientific process and can create change which benefits us all.

Dan Hikuroa


Dan is Senior Lecturer, Māori Studies, Te Wananga o Waipapa, University of Auckland and a Principal Investigator for Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga and Te Pūnaha Matatini National Centres of Research Excellence.

From 2011 to 2016 he was the Research Director at Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, New Zealand’s Māori Centre of Research Excellence

He is an established world expert on integrating indigenous knowledge and science and has undertaken many projects including co-writing the 2014 State of the Hauraki Gulf Environment Report, geothermal developments, planning river and catchment restorations, co-writing iwi environmental management plans, Independent Review Panel member of Sea-Change Tai Timu Tai Pari marine spatial planning for the Hauraki Gulf.

He is interested in the way science and mātauranga are used to realise great outcomes and solve challenges facing communities and the nation, from flax roots to policy. Dan has published on the responsibility of scientists to society and is increasingly communicating with various audiences through television, radio, documentaries, print media and social media on kaupapa ranging future of our seas, future of food, voice of the river, water and resilience to natures challenges.