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Hochstetter Lecture

The Hochstetter Lecturer (named in honour of Ferdinand von Hochstetter - see below) 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 He or she gives a lecture at GSNZ branches during the year on recently completed and largely unpublished findings, and must have a reputation as a good speaker.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 2016 nomination to the Awards committee now!

The 2015 Hochstetter Lecturer is Nick Mortimer from GNS, Otago. Nick will be touring the country during the year. At University centres the Hochstetter and a Supplementary lecture are given.

About the speaker

Nick MortimerNick Mortimer is a geologist at the Dunedin office of the Crown Research Institute GNS Science. In his 26 year career he has carried out land- and ship-based field work throughout the length and breadth of New Zealand and Zealandia. He recently co-authored a Penguin book on Zealandia with his colleague Hamish Campbell.



Hochstetter Lecture

"Zealandia - Earth's 8th continent"

ZealandiaContinents are the largest solid objects on the Earth's surface. In this illustrated talk Nick will summarise the scientific case that there are not seven but eight continents: Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, South America and Zealandia. Although Zealandia is 4.9 million square kilometres in area, it has literally lain hidden because 94% of it is under the sea. In the talk Nick will also speak about how Zealandia became the world's most submerged continent and why its continental identity is important to science and to society.





Supplementary Lecture (University centres)

"Litho2014: a New Zealand stratigraphy for everyone".


Stratigraphy has been described as the triumph of terminology over common sense. But stratigraphy has the potential to be a useful descriptive, interpretive and educational tool - and not just for sedimentary rocks. In this talk Nick will explain the creation and application of 14 recently-named high-level stratigraphic units for New Zealand plutonic, volcanic, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. These new units enable the Cambrian to Holocene geology of the entire country to be simply and holistically explained and understood.


Branch / CentreDate
Email contacts
AucklandTuesday, 11th AugustEmail:
WaikatoMonday, 10th AugustEmail:
TaupoWednesday, 14th October Email:
Thursday, 15th OctoberEmail:
Tuesday, 15th September


Wellington Wednesday, 19th AugustEmail:
Monday, 14th SeptemberEmail:
NelsonWednesday, 15th JulyEmail:
Thursday, 6th August
CanterburyTuesday, 14th JulyEmail:






About Hochstetter by Mike Johnston

Christian Gottlieb Ferdinand von Hochstetter (1829-1884)

Hochstetter was born in Esslingen in the Kingdom of Württemberg 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.

A list of previous Hochstetter Lecturers can be found on the Awards page

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