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Hochstetter Lecture

The Hochstetter Lecture is named in honour of Ferdinand von Hochstetter (see below) and a speaker is chosen annually by the Awards Subcommittee. He or she gives a lecture at GSNZ branches during the year on recently completed and largely unpublished findings, and must have a reputation as a good speaker. Send your 2019 nomination to the Awards committee now!

A list of previous Hochstetter Lecturers can be found on the Awards page here. A link to video of the 2014 Hochstetter Lecture by Nick Mortimer and a pdf of Dave Craw's 2017 lecture are below.

The 2018 Hochstetter Lecturer is Alan Cooper from Otago University.

Educated in Burton-on-Trent and Sheffield, England, I came out to New Zealand in 1966 as a Teaching Fellow to undertake a PhD in the Geology Department, University of Otago, supervised by Professor Douglas Coombs. My thesis area was the Haast River, south Westland where I investigated the structure and progressive metamorphism of greenschists and amphibolites in the Alpine Schist. In 1970, I was appointed to the position of Lecturer at the University of Otago, retiring in 2012 after 46 years service.
I continue to do research work in the Southern Alps, investigating amongst other things, a lamprophyre-carbonatite dyke swarm intruding the schist (first documented by Julius von Haast), the Pounamu Ultramafics and correlative rocks, marine terrace remnants and uplifted Holocene sedimentary sequences, mapping of the Alpine Fault, anatectic pegmatites, and more recently ages of detrital zircons within the Alpine Schists. The lamprophyre-carbonatite interest has taken me to experimental work on carbonate minerals in Toronto, Canada, and mapping of carbonatites in Antarctica, Namibia and Turkey. I have had eight field seasons in Antarctica mainly supervising students, investigating the basement geology of the Transantarctic Mountains and more recently the Neogene to Recent alkaline volcanic rocks of the Erebus Province of the McMurdo Volcanics.

The Hochstetter Lecture is entitled "The Pounamu Terrane: a new component in the assembly of Zealandia". Supplementary Lecture: "Carbonatites". Supplementary lecture to New Plymouth High School: "The Alpine Fault plate boundary".

Hochstetter Lecture: The Pounamu Terrane: a new component in the assembly of Zealandia

The Haast Schist of New Zealand, composed predominantly of Otago, Alpine and Marlborough Schist components, is the most deeply buried and strongly metamorphosed part of a broadly eastward younging accretionary complex developed on the subduction margin of Gondwana. The Torlesse Composite terrane protoliths that grade into schist range in age from Carboniferous to Triassic. They were multiply deformed and metamorphosed in the Jurassic. However, extensive areas of Alpine Schist in the west, in part overlying a metamorphosed ophiolitic sequence, and rich in metabasite and metachert, have been shown to have anomalous detrital zircon ages, as young as ~108 Ma. This deposition occurred approximately synchronous with both the cessation of westward-directed subduction in the Eastern Province of New Zealand, and localised covering of the erosion surface in the now contiguous Otago Schist to the east by extensional terrestrial and volcanoclastic sediments. These Mid Cretaceous schist protoliths are interpreted to form the exotic Pounamu terrane accreted and interfolded with the Otago Schist on the western margin of Southeast Zealandia. The accompanying metamorphism on the tectonic margin between SE and NW Zealandia microplates is dated from zircon overgrowths on detrital grains at 69 Ma (although over an extended period, 64 to 98 Ma, regionally). The Haast Schist is therefore a polygenetic unit formed from the two-sided amalgamation of polyphase metamorphic components

Supplementary Lecture: Carbonatites

A carbonatite is a carbonate-rich rock of apparent magmatic descent, first proposed from igneous complexes in Scandinavia. Although an igneous origin was initially hotly disputed, experimental work and other natural occurrences have confirmed the concept. Now, carbonatite complexes are highly prospective as potential sources of REE.
Petrogenetically, carbonatites are believed to result from combinations of fractional crystallisation and liquid immiscibility from a silicate parent magma, although direct melting of carbonated mantle is capable of generating small volumes of highly mobile carbonatite magma.
This presentation will outline the field relationships and origin of carbonatite magmas in complexes that I have been directly involved with, including occurrences in New Zealand, East and West Africa and Antarctica.


Branch / CentreDate
Email contacts
Auckland10th & 11th Sept.
Waikato12th Sept.
Taupo13th Sept
17th Sept.
18th & 19th Sept.


24th Sept.
Wellington 25th & 26th Sept.
20th & 21st Sept.
Nelson22nd May
9th & 10th May
Canterbury23rd and 24th May






About Hochstetter by Mike Johnston

Christian Gottlieb Ferdinand von Hochstetter (1829-1884)

Hochstetter was born in Esslingen in the Kingdom of Wrttemberg (southern Germany) and joined the Austrian Geological Survey in 1853. Four years later he was appointed geologist on the Austrian frigate Novara that undertook a global scientific cruise. The Novara berthed in Auckland, then the capital of New Zealand, on 22 December 1858. At the request of the New Zealand Government and supported by the Auckland Provincial Council, Hochstetter, accompanied by Julius Haast and others, surveyed the Drury Coal Field to the south of the capital.

This was accomplished so successfully that the provincial council persuaded the commander of the Novara to allow Hochstetter to remain in New Zealand so that he could undertake further work in the province. Over the next five months Hochstetter and Haast, and a support team, visited much of southern part of Auckland Province, including the volcanic region and the gold diggings at Coromandel Harbour.

On completion of his Auckland mapping, Hochstetter was commissioned by the Nelson Provincial Council to report on the mineral wealth of the province. Hochstetter, accompanied by Haast, arrived in Nelson, after brief stops at New Plymouth and Wellington, on 4 August 1859. In Nelson, they examined Dun Mountain, and from which he collected and subsequently named dunite, the Aorere Gold Field and other places of interest. While Hochstetter visited the Wangapeka Gold Field in the west and Lake Roto-it, Haast geologically examined the eastern part of the province . Hochstetter left Nelson for Sydney on 1 October 1859, on the first leg of his return voyage to Europe.

His geological maps of Auckland and Nelson were the first of their kind in New Zealand

Website editor's note: the "o" in Hochstetter definitely does not carry an umlaut ()

Previous Hochstetter Lectures - audio and video are not studio quality!

Nick Mortimer 2015

Hochstetter Lecture: "Zealandia - Earth's 8th continent" here. Supplementary lecture: "Litho2014: a New Zealand stratigraphy for everyone" here.

Dave Craw 2017

Hochstetter Lecture: "Tectonics and genetics in topographic evolution" here.