Gongs for scientists? Let’s extend talk of drought this summer to the honours list

Agricultural and horticultural scientists who feel their sectors have been short-changed by Government funding decisions over the past year or so shouldn’t be too surprised to find they have been starved in the 2016 New Year honours.

Perhaps they should have taken up rugby, which accounted for eight gongs according to our search for the word “rugby” on the honours list..

No, we stand corrected. The count rises to nine when we include Mr Richard Hugh McCaw, of Christchurch, who has been appointed to The Order of New Zealand “for services to New Zealand”.

The only nod to science we found on our initial run through the list (albeit a cursory search for awards for “science”) was among the Companions of the Order of New Zealand. The recipients include Professor Max Wenden Abbott, of Auckland, for services to health, science and education.

Looking beyond awards for “science”, and thinking more broadly about agriculture, horticulture and forestry, we note these worthy Officers of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM):

David Civil – pioneered a solution for using dairy by-products as a fertiliser replacement to tackle the environmental issues surrounding the disposal of whey waste. His company, Civil Whey Distributors, is now the industry’s largest disposal business,

Neil Craig – founder of sharebroker Craig Investment Partners, chairman of Comvita and backer of Priority One, Tauranga’s economic development agnency and investment group Enterprise Angels. A board member of Cricket New Zealand. trustee of Waipuna Hospice and an adviser to the philanthropic Acorn Foundation.

Rob Davison – a contributor to the sheep and beef industry for 40 years, including chief economist and executive director of the New Zealand Meat and Wool Board’s Economic Service, which he joined in 1973.

Roger France – a director and chairman of blue chip companies such as Air New Zealand, Fonterra, Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, Orion Health and Southern Cross Medical Care Society. From 1993-2000, a director of Team New Zealand during the America’s Cup challenge and defence under Sir Peter Blake. Chancellor of the University of Auckland from 2009-12 and a current trustee of the University of Auckland Foundation and the Dilworth Trust Board.

Andrew McEwen – involved with the forestry since the 1960s, including the Forest Research Institute and the Forestry Corporation during its corporatisation and sale. President of the NZ Institute of Forestry from 2008-14 and current chairman the NZ Institute of Forestry Foundation.

Yes, AgScience admits these names have been collected in a quick run through the list. If someone has been overlooked, please let us know.




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