Entries are opened for the 2022 New Zealand Food Awards

Entries opened today for the 2022 New Zealand Food Awards and close on 31 May. The awards will be announced at a gala dinner in Palmerston North in October.

Massey University is the principal sponsor and owner of the awards, which have celebrated New Zealand’s food and beverage manufacturers, focusing on innovation and excellence, since 1987.

The awards are open to small and large food and beverage manufacturers, primary food producers, food service providers and ingredient supply companies. This year, the awards will continue to build on the “Food Hero” theme, developed during the 2020 lockdown to celebrate the way Kiwi companies are responding and reacting to the global pandemic.

Massey University Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas says the standard of entries each year is outstanding, and the calibre of previous winners is testament to that. Continue reading

New research highlights differences in New Zealand beef

Pasture-raised beef is a cornerstone of the New Zealand meat industry. But do we really understand the benefits we get from the meat when it is raised this way?


New research from the Riddet Institute indicates there are differences in meat quality relating to health and digestion, depending on how the animal is raised.

A research team led by Dr Lovedeep Kaur and Dr Mike Boland s from Massey University’s Manawatū campus compared the digestion differences between pasture-raised New Zealand beef to grain finished beef, and a plant-based alternative.

To mimic the human digestive tract, researchers used simulators in the laboratory to observe the differences.

They found differences in the fat content of the beef, potentially leading to better health outcomes. Continue reading

Finding new genetic disorders in cattle could help animals and milk production

Genetic disorders compromise the welfare of farm animals and have adverse impacts on the production and management of these animals.

Milk production can be reduced in cattle with genetic disorders,  body weight lost (by up to a quarter), and the prospects of a premature death increased.

The mutations can be caused by intensive breeding techniques, such as artificial insemination, which allows a single elite bull to inseminate more than 1 million cows.

Genes have been tested before in cows suspected to have mutations, but fresh research shows that proactive gene testing in seemingly healthy farm animals can uncover new genetic disorders. The authors say this will help to minimise genetic disease, improving both animal health and productivity.

Continue reading

Students are being encouraged to join thriving food and fibre sectors

Lincoln University is joining forces with Massey University, Horticulture NZ and DairyNZ to encourage high school students to pursue careers in the thriving food and fibre sectors.

The organisations are running careers events in a variety of regions throughout the country over the next two months.

The series, called Feed Your Future, provides opportunities for Year 11 and 12 students and their parents to hear from young industry professionals and visit agricultural and horticultural businesses.

Lincoln University Domestic Engagement Manager Jaime Shone said the initiative is in line with the Government’s commitment to encourage 10,000 more New Zealanders into the sector over the next four years. Continue reading

Waikato University to reduce roles from its science faculty

About a week after Massey University flagged to staff the next move in its sciences restructuring, Stuff reported Waikato University’s cutting 12 roles from its science faculty.

A proposal for changes to Te Aka Mātuatua– School of Science has been  circulated to the school’s staff and its management and with the Tertiary Education Union.

Staff were invited to submit by March 10, 51 submissions were received and the university decided to disestablish 15 full-time and part-time roles.

The change is part of enabling the School’s Vision and Strategy 2021-26, developed with staff input during 2020.

The university says the restructuring was necessitated by the school experiencing challenging financial situations not relating specifically to Covid-19, but years of escalating staff costs and a decline in students.

The cuts would reduce the deficit for 2021 from $1.93m to $1.17m, and in 2022 the deficit would fall again to $0.64m.

While 12 roles are disestablished, several new ones will be established to better fit the current needs of the school.

The net change is a reduction of 5.2 full-time equivalent academic staff and 1.2 full-time equivalent general staff.

Stuff reported a Waikato University spokesperson as saying the restructuring would allow the university to shift to a more integrated, student-centred approach, with an increase in full-time equivalent roles in teaching, undergraduate support and pastoral care within the School.

“It increases support for students, particularly in their first year when they need it most, so they can stay in science, and makes the future of the school more sustainable.

“We are actively supporting staff to be redeployed to these new roles. We have minimised the roles impacted in the change as much as possible through staff opting to take voluntary redundancy and early retirement.”

The change will not mean a loss of subjects or papers offered at early undergraduate levels.

Source:  Stuff

Massey University puts out latest proposals on science shake-up for consultation

Massey University floats latest moves in science shake-up

New Zealand Herald science reporter Jamie Morton has updated his newspaper’s readers on the restructuring of science courses at Massey University, saying staff have been apprised of proposed changes that effectively create two new schools.

These schools would replace Massey’s schools of fundamental sciences and natural and computational sciences.

They would bring biological and physical sciences into one school and mathematical and computational sciences into the other.

In a document outlining the proposals, college pro-vice chancellor Professor Ray Geor said the changes marked “a shift in strategy away from campus dependence and towards a single college curriculum spanning locations”.

“An organisational structure that best supports research, teaching and the student experience is critical to the future development of our college and Massey University,” he said.

“It must also support improved operational efficiency in the context of our constrained financial environment.”

Continue reading

71 professors express concerns about Massey’s science shake-up

Seventy-one Massey professors have appealed to the university’s chancellor over a controversial science shake-up that could cost dozens of jobs.

The letter to chancellor Michael Ahie represented about half of those employed full-time at Massey, and outside its senior leadership team, according to a report in the New Zealand Herald.

It stated that, after 90 years of “iconic science and innovation leadership”, the core strengths that made Massey a leading university would be removed with the proposed cuts.

It was sent shortly before the university this month finalised a wide-ranging overhaul of its science offerings. Continue reading

New tool to measure the welfare of NZ dairy cows

Veterinary researchers at Massey University have created a way to assess the welfare of dairy cows within a day.

New Zealand has no industry-recognised protocol to assess dairy cow wellbeing, but the researchers say protocols tailored to NZ dairy farms are ‘essential’.

Further testing is needed, but the team say this protocol could form the basis of a standardised process for monitoring the health of the country’s dairy farms. Continue reading

Education Minister rebuffs National’s call to intervene on proposals for science culling at Massey

The two major parties are taking differing positions on Massey University’s proposals to reduce its science academic staff.

National’s science spokeswoman. Parmjeet Parmar, says she is worried at the scale of proposed cuts and has called for the Government to step in.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins says universities are autonomous and it would be inappropriate for him to intervene.

Eight months ago Massey administrators signalled their need to cut spending by $18.1 million a year, including $11.7m of staff cuts in the College of Sciences.

The New Zealand Herald today reported revised proposals were released yesterday. Continue reading

Scholarship placements for agricultural emissions scientists have doubled

Scholarships have been announced for 57 early-career agricultural emissions scientists from 20 developing countries.  They are another example of New Zealand’s international leadership in primary sector sustainability, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

Hundreds of applications were received for this fourth round of the CLIFF-GRADS programme (Climate, Food and Farming Global Research Alliance Development Scholarships), Mr O’Connor said.  Nearly twice as many scholarships were awarded as in the previous round.

The Minister said:

“The growing interest from GRA member countries and host research institutions is impressive, and shows the high regard for this programme among the global climate science community.

“Supporting these international study programmes is one of many ways New Zealand is contributing to addressing agricultural emissions. Doing so will provide us with key knowledge to help farmers in New Zealand and in other countries to farm more sustainably.”  Continue reading