Story: Research institutions

Page 6. Scientific societies and museums

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Scientific societies

New Zealand has about 60 scientific and technological societies that coordinate and promote specific research disciplines. The larger societies include the New Zealand Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Science, the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry, the Geoscience Society of New Zealand, the Meteorological Society of New Zealand, the Hydrological Society of New Zealand and the New Zealand Institute of Forestry. Most of the societies have a regular newsletter or journal and a website, and hold regular annual or biennial meetings. The New Zealand Association of Scientists has members from all disciplines who are interested in policies relating to the philosophy and organisation of science.

Royal Society of New Zealand

The New Zealand Institute was renamed the Royal Society of New Zealand (RSNZ) in 1933. It functions as a national academy for the sciences, technology and humanities, consisting of a federation of individual societies as well as individual members and elected fellows. Although modelled on the Royal Society of London, the RSNZ has a much broader membership. It plays an important role in the promotion of knowledge in schools and society. It also administers the Marsden Fund, a ‘blue skies’ investigator-initiated research fund, on behalf of the government. In 2014 the Royal Society of New Zealand published eight journals concerned with both general and specific aspects of New Zealand science.


Museums in the main centres include some research staff who are responsible for the curation and conservation of collections assembled from both New Zealand and overseas. Much of the research in archaeology and ethnology in New Zealand is undertaken by museum staff, who also have specific knowledge of local history and natural science.

How to cite this page:

Simon Nathan, 'Research institutions - Scientific societies and museums', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 22 June 2024)

Story by Simon Nathan, published 22 Oct 2014