Congratulations to NZIAHS award winners

I am delighted to announce a series of awards made by NZIAHS for 2022. They span a diverse range of fields, but this year happen to be dominated by Mainlanders.

Our awards deliberately recognise different kinds of contribution made by our members, from supporting the infrastructure of our Institute to changing the way we understand interactions between soil and the environment. We have a permanent Awards Committee with revolving membership that now considers potential nominees for our various categories of award throughout the year. They also consider our members’ eligibility as potential recipients of RSNZ or other national awards and distinctions.

We have an annual call for nominations that comes out to you all as members. I strongly encourage you to propose your colleagues for an award. I am well aware that it can take a significant amount of effort (and time) to prepare a good nomination, but these award recipients benefit us all in many ways. First, their example is inspirational; while it may be exhausting to read of someone’s achievements, it also shows us a path that we may not have considered for ourselves. Second, awardees are usually recognised for their impact on science and society, and ‘impacts and outcomes’ form the most important language understood by investing agencies and the public alike. Third, our awardees are generally recognised because of their generosity to more junior colleagues and the way they have helped to grow agricultural and horticultural science, not just their own importance.

So, bearing all that in mind, please do keep an eye on your colleagues, whether their success is in research or in communicating that research to end users or supporting our Institute as it seeks to fulfil its purpose. Send in suggestions of people to watch, and please do take the time to make formal nominations when the time is right.

Formal presentations of the following awards will be made at the Canterbury Section Christmas function on Wednesday 7th December 2022 from 4pm to 6pm. Venue:  Conference Room 1 & 2, Mrs O’s, Lincoln University. You and your colleagues are welcome to attend, please RSVP to Jenny

Jubilee Medal

Emeritus Professor Keith Cameron

Keith Cameron, whose research aims to improve scientific knowledge and understanding of interactions between soil and the environment, is Head of the Centre for Soil & Environmental Research at Lincoln University. He helped to establish the Centre for Fresh Water Management (a joint Lincoln University and Canterbury University Centre), the South Island Dairy Demonstration Centre and the New Zealand Agricultural Greenhouse Gas Research Centre.
Keith co-led the establishment of the first Research Dairy Farm in the South Island and a Research and Development Station at Ashley Dene in Canterbury, providing shared resources for interdisciplinary research to improve knowledge and understanding of nitrogen cycling in soil/plant/animal systems and develop ways to mitigate nitrogen losses to water and the atmosphere.  The Ministry for Primary Industries appointed him to the Global Research Alliance Senior Scientist Award selection panel.

Keith is a Fellow of NZIAHS, Royal Society of New Zealand and the NZ Society of Soil Science. His several awards and prizes include the 2019 Science and Research Award at the New Zealand Primary Industry Awards (in collaboration with Prof Hong Di and Ravensdown Ltd), he has published more than 200 science journal articles (with an ‘h-index’ of 47) and in 2008 he was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for ‘Services to Agricultural Research’.

NZIAHS Honorary Fellow

Professor Jon Hickford

Jon Hickford, Professor in Animal Breeding and Genetics at Lincoln University and Director of the Lincoln University Gene-Marker Laboratory, is an internationally recognised scientist, award-winning science teacher, enthusiastic promoter of science and technology, and a respected communicator. He won the NZIAHS Sir Arthur Ward Award in 2002 and became a Fellow in 2012.

His latest award recognises his service to NZIAHS at regional and national levels, including his election as President in 2009 (he served a three-year term) and in 2019 (a two-year term). During his latter presidency, the Institute addressed thorny issues to stimulate national discussion with forums in Canterbury on land use, gene editing and sustainable farming.

He further stimulated debate through a special issue of AgScience focussed on regenerative agriculture.  Two more issues are under way, on nitrates (water, food and health) and science recruitment (from early school through to careers).

Jon’s next initiative, the Hot Topics, has addressed regenerative agriculture, nitrates and groundwater, and glyphosate. More are being developed to correct misunderstandings and help public understanding of the science.


Dr Ron Beatson

Ron Beatson, Honorary Fellow, Plant & Food Research is recognised for his outstanding contributions to plant breeding and genetics. Recently retired after 50 years at Plant & Food Research and its predecessor organisations, based at the Riwaka research station. His career has included work on tobacco, kiwifruit, apricots, berry fruit and (for 38 years) internationally recognised research on hops that has transformed the industry and includes the introduction of new genetics into New Zealand.

About 85% of the New Zealand commercial hop industry is now based on cultivars bred by Ron and the planted area has tripled in the past five years to 1,500 hectares in 2022, with another 500 hectares in the planting/conversion stage.

He became an integral member of The Hops Research Committee in 1982, a dedicated collaborative group hosted by New Zealand Hops Ltd, which included grower directors and key brewers and their technical staff.  He won the Brewers Guild of NZ Industry Achievement Award in 2015 and the prestigious Morton Coutts Trophy in 2021.

Ron was part of the team that received The Prime Minister’s Science Prize for its response to Psa in kiwifruit and he has been a mentor and role model for many emerging researchers.

Honorary Life Member

David Harrison

David Harrison chaired the NZIAHS Canterbury Section Committee with distinction from 2006 to 2021 and has provided eminent service to the Institute at the national level.  Under his leadership, the Section has been the most active in New Zealand and the annual Canterbury Forum has addressed topical issues of national significance.

To ensure the success of these Forums, the Canterbury Section Committee under David has established a close partnership with the National Secretariat to ensure successful planning, development, publicity and presentations and the communication of the outputs. Topics have included Biological Innovations for Agricultural Sustainability (2011), Sustainable Farming Systems for the Future (2015) and Gene Editing (2020).

Under David’s leadership, the Canterbury Section’s annual PGG Wrightson Seeds Significant Achievement Award has been of national as well as regional value to the Institute and David obtained generous annual sponsorship from PGG Wrightson Seeds. The award is made for the most significant recent contributions to the advancement of Canterbury agriculture/horticulture in several fields of research, development and technology transfer.

Sir Arthur Ward Award

Dr Robyn Dynes

Robyn Dynes, a Strategy Leader and farming systems Senior Scientist with AgResearch at Lincoln, has been recognised for her interaction with agribusiness and farmers and her outstanding skills in translating research findings into farming practices through communicating advances in agricultural science to pastoral farmers.

Widespread respect for Robyn, who has worked for the betterment of the agricultural industry for almost 35 years, has led to her appointments to advisory and governance boards and to her being admired as an effective change agent in an industry that faces major uncertainty.

She now leads the Whitiwhiti Ora Land Use Suitability programme (Our Land and Water NSC), which partners with farmers and communities to deliver science with impact, and her current research is focused on greenhouse gas emissions, as part of He Waka Eke Noa Extension and Adoption workstream. She is seconded to B+LNZ’s Northern South Island Farmer Council, a member of Southern Dairy Hub and Lincoln University Dairy Farm Research Advisory Committees, Foundation for Arable Research’s Research and Development Advisory Group and Future Hurunui project Governance Group.

AGMARDT Technology Transfer Award

Dr Trish Fraser

Trish Fraser, a soil scientist who researches ways to help arable farms become more environmentally sustainable and more productive, manages a team of seven at Plant & Food Research, where she has worked for almost 30 years. She collaborates closely with farmers to understand their needs, research solutions to their problems, and transfer her knowledge through training and outreach.  Trish has studied the role of earthworms and what they do in soil, the impacts of crop residue management practices, tillage practices in crop farming systems, and how these management practices affect nutrient losses from soil.

She is a passionate communicator of soil and crop science, highly regarded for her promotion of the value of soil to a wide range of audiences from school children and farmers to policy makers and scientists.

Her many awards for her contribution to farming included the Women of Influence Award (Rural category) in 2020.

Doug Campbell Award

Dr Wadia Kandula

Wadia Kandula, an active member of the Canterbury Section Committee for several years, has provided valued contributions to the organisation and on-the-day running of the annual Forum.

Wadia took on the task of IT liaison, ensuring that the Lincoln University system was running smoothly, downloading speakers’ presentations, and ensuring on-line presentations were successfully implemented.

Wadia is an award-winning photographer who has used his skills to take high-quality photos.

Further congratulations

I extend my congratulations, too, to the winners of other awards:-

At Massey University, Monique Radford (Bachelor of Agricultural Science) was named winner of the NZIAHS/Massey University Leading Student award.

A DairyNZ scholar, Monique grew up on a dairy farm and has hands-on experience in many aspects of the agricultural sector including relief milking, helping with fencing, fixing water leaks, caring for animals and artificial breeding. Studying for an agricultural science degree at Massey had been a logical next step, she says.

I extend further congratulation to Jon Hickford, who has become the first New Zealander to be awarded the prestigious Dunhuang Award from the People’s Republic of China.

His award, similar to a New Zealand Order of Merit but in recognition of international service, is given by the Gansu Provincial Government to honour foreign experts who have made great contributions to economic and social development in the Gansu Province.
Details of Jon’s award can be found HERE.