Callaghan Files

Last year I went along to hear a lecture by Professor Paul Callaghan, who is head of the MacDiarmid Institute at Victoria University, called “Beyond The Farm And Themepark”.

It was an excellent thought provoking presentation which I recommend to anybody who is interested in NZs place in the world.

Set aside 90 minutes and watch it online here:

Hot Science – Beyond The Farm And Themepark

Here is the description from that site:

Leading science communicator, Professor Paul Callaghan, outlines his vision for New Zealand’s future prosperity in this lecture at Auckland War Memorial Museum as part of The Royal Society of New Zealand 2007 Distinguished Speaker series. Converting most of our forest into greenhouse gas has given us an abundance of grass and a thriving dairy industry. Yet through good fortune and some wise heads, we have, notwithstanding attempts to subdue it, sufficient residual natural environment to claim the label “clean and green”. Our landscape is magnificent and helps define who we are. But this lecture will argue that we have the potential to be a great deal more besides, and that we must be if we are to build the society we want our children to thrive in. It will argue that we can enhance our prosperity through sensible investment in science and technology, coupled with culture change. The first part is the easy bit. The second requires self-belief and a sense of purpose. David Lange once said New Zealand’s destiny was to be a theme park (and Australia’s, a quarry). We can surely think and act beyond that. Indeed New Zealand is such an interesting place to live precisely because we are so capable of determining our future.

There has also been a series of interviews with prominent NZ business people running on Stratos over the last few months.  Unfortunately I think this channel is only available to Sky Digital subscribers, and probably even them most of those will be blissfully unaware of it.  But, the interviews themselves are available on the MacDiarmid website:

The Paul Callaghan Interviews

What do you make of all of this?  Do you agree with his suggestions?

Or are we happy being well regarded as farmers and tour guides?

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