Each year the GSNZ presents a number of awards, and recognises members for their achievements and contribution to the geosciences.
Whether you're a student or early career scientist looking for support for your research, or would like to see a colleague honoured please take the time to browse our awards.
All our awards are considered by our Awards Subcommittee. Members of the Awards Subcommittee are not eligible for any of the awards or prizes under consideration and will ordinarily be chosen so as not to include any author of a paper under consideration. Awards are usually presented at our annual conference towards the end of each year.
A full description and application/nomination criteria and forms are available within the description of each award in the list below.
History of our awards and award winners
A brief history of our awards and details of current and past winners can be found here.
Any questions about awards should be directed to the Society's Vice President who heads the Awards Subcommittee.
Return to Awards homepage here.
The McKay Hammer is the Society’s top award and is given to the author or authors of the most meritorious contribution to geology published in the previous three calendar years (for example, if nominating someone in 2020, publications from the years 2017, 2018 or 2019 will be considered; works published in 2020 or ‘in press’ will not be considered).
For the purposes of the award, a New Zealand contribution is any contribution by a New Zealand‑based author.
Each award shall consist of a certificate and a good quality geological hammer, suitably inscribed, which shall remain the property of the winner.
The New Zealand Geophysics Prize is the Society’s top geophysical award, presented to the author or authors of the most meritorious eligible publication in the field of geophysics.
To be eligible for the prize a publication must meet the following conditions:
- The publication shall describe research in the field of geophysics that has been either carried out in New Zealand, or carried out principally by a New Zealander, temporarily overseas, or pertains to the New Zealand region; and
- The publication must have been published in the current or previous two calendar years (eg for 2020 that would be 2018, 2019 or 2020).
The prize shall normally consist of an inscribed book. In the case of papers written by more than one author, the prize will normally be jointly awarded to all authors.
The Hochstetter Lecturer is awarded to an Earth scientist who is undertaking or who has recently completed a major and as yet unpublished study, and who has a reputation as a good, informative speaker.
The Hochstetter Lecture shall be delivered to each branch of the Society. Emphasis should be on the dissemination of new concepts or techniques, and/or of important new information which modifies existing interpretations. The topic should be of interest to both a professional and amateur audience.
The lecturer shall be encouraged to present one or more support lectures at each centre with a university geoscience department, as well as any other activity which he/she considers appropriate.
The GSNZ Honorary Member award is presented to an individual who has contributed significantly to the success of the GSNZ and/or its predecessors, and to the advancement of the geosciences in New Zealand.
It is not necessarily about recognising a lifetime contribution to geoscientific research but rather it acknowledges outstanding and sustained contributions made to the successful and continued operations of the GSNZ and the wider geoscience community.
The recipient shall receive a certificate, a suitably inscribed award and Life Membership of the GSNZ, with annual subscriptions paid for by the GSNZ until the passing of the recipient.
Offered for the first time in 2020, the Hayward Geocommunication Award will be awarded to a New Zealand-based geoscientist or geoscientists for the most meritorious contribution to geocommunication in the previous 3 calendar years.
To recognise and promote excellence, innovation and accuracy in “geocommunication” to “public” audiences by a New Zealand “geoscientist” or group of geoscientists. Definitions:
- “Public” audience means any audience other than a geoscience-specific audience (i.e., not a geoscientific conference, workshop, thesis, journal publication or technical report, university or school geoscience course or lecture).
- “Geocommunication” means communication of geoscience topics at a level that can be understood by the public audience. The communication may be in any field of geoscience. The mode of communication may be by any means, which may include (but not be limited to) oral, written, video, web-based, social media, digital applications, games, field trips, artistic media etc.
- “Geoscientist” is to be interpreted liberally to include anyone involved in geoscience (scientist, technician, graduate student) or with a geoscience background, but excludes career reporters. Professional geoscience lecturers, geoscience communicators or teachers are eligible for this award if it recognises contributions outside the normal communication duties of such positions.
- The Society shall award the Hayward Geocommunication Award for the most meritorious contribution to public communication by a New Zealand-based geoscientist or geoscientists in the previous three calendar years. No award shall be made if, in the opinion of the Awards Subcommittee or the Committee of the Society, no sufficiently meritorious contribution has been made or nominated in the field of geocommunication within the specified 3 year time frame.
- In judging, the main criteria of this award should be excellence, clarity of message, accuracy and possibly innovation. The societal importance of the geocommunication topic or the size of the audience should not be of primary consideration. The award will be judged by the Awards subcommittee of the Geoscience Society of New Zealand
- The Award. The award shall consist of an inscribed certificate and a monetary prize. The amount of the monetary prize is to be determined by the national committee of the Geoscience Society of New Zealand. Funds shall be invested and each year up to two thirds of the interest may be used for the award with the balance reinvested.
- Nominations shall be called for annually along with other general awards of the Society. Where possible the nomination should include copies of, or links to, the outstanding communication/s being considered.
- The Award shall be presented or announced at the Annual General Meeting or Annual Conference of the Society.
- The awardee shall be invited to share their geocommunication or insight into geocommunication with members of the society through the most appropriate forum.
The Kingma Award recognises the important contribution made by technicians in the geosciences in New Zealand. It is awarded annually to an outstanding New Zealand earth science technician. To be eligible for the award technicians need to have been employed in New Zealand in the field of earth sciences for at least two years, shown marked ability in their field of employment and have made a notable contribution to the work of their institution or field team.
The names of winners shall be inscribed on a kauri plaque on which is mounted a geological compass, formerly owned by Dr Kingma, and held in the Geology Department of Canterbury University for safe keeping. In addition, the recipient will receive a certificate and a monetary amount.
The Wellman Research Award was established for the purpose of assisting quality New Zealand research in geoscience, especially by younger scientists. A sum of $4,500 is available for a geological or geophysical research project.
An application for the Harold Wellman Research Award shall be a proposal to undertake specific research on any geoscience topic (including a topic that already has existing funding, provided that a specific objective is identified in the application).
The decision on making the award shall be based on the calibre of the applicant and on the merits of the proposed research, with preference being given to younger scientists.
The recipient of the Research Award will be expected to publish the results of the research in an appropriate scientific journal, and to publish a summary of the research findings in the Society's Newsletter.
The Harold Wellman Prize shall be awarded in recognition of recent discovery of important fossil material within New Zealand. Each recorded fossil discovery must have been recorded in the New Zealand Fossil Record File, and an account of each rewarded fossil discovery and its significance shall be written for the Society Newsletter.
The Harold Wellman Prize shall be awarded entirely at the discretion of the President of the Society.
The Prize shall include an inscribed certificate and a monetary sum.
The Pullar-Vucetich Prize shall be awarded to the author or co-authors of the most meritorious contribution to tephrochronological research in the New Zealand region published in the previous three years.
Tephrochronological research shall be deemed to include its applications in any field of science, such as archaeology, geomorphology, oceanography, paleobotany, petrology, soil science, stratigraphy, neotectonics, wherein tephra studies are used to elucidate past events.
The Prize shall consist of an inscribed certificate together with a book or books with suitably inscribed bookplates. A monetary amount may be substituted where, in the opinion of the Committee of the Society, it would be impractical to award a book prize.
The Werner F Giggenbach Prize is awarded to a young (aged 38 or under at the time of publication) New Zealand-based geochemist, who is the first author of the most outstanding publication in the field of geochemistry for the calendar year preceding the current one.
The recipient must either be full-time employed or a post-doctoral researcher in New Zealand or a full-time student at a New Zealand university at the time of publication.
The Prize will consist of a monetary amount, a certificate and a medal.
The Alan Mason Historical Studies Fund was established to assist research on the history of geoscience within New Zealand. Applications are by way of a proposal related to the history of Earth science in New Zealand. Awards will be relatively modest (in the region of $700), and are intended to cover some of the expenses of undertaking historical research or a contribution to publication costs.
The Young Researcher Travel Grant is to help fund (fully or in part) one or more early career geoscience researchers or PhD students to present at their first overseas international conference or international workshop. The grant will fund or contribute to funding of registration, travel and accommodation costs.
An ‘international conference‘ or an ‘international workshop' is defined as an internationally recognised geoscience conference or meeting, held overseas from New Zealand. A student who has previously attended conferences or workshops prior to starting their PhD or employment in New Zealand is eligible to apply.
To be eligible to apply for the grant, applicants must:
- Be current financial members of the Geoscience Society of New Zealand
- Be currently undertaking, or have recently completed, their PhD on a geoscience topic at a New Zealand university or research institute, OR
- Be currently employed in a post-doctoral, lecturer/researcher or similar position in the field of geosciences at a New Zealand university or research institute
- Be under the age of 35 years at the round cut off date and have completed their PhD within the last five years.
A maximum of $5,000 will be awarded in any one year or granted to any one applicant, although applicants should expect values closer to $1,000.
The SH Wilson Prize is awarded in recognition of a lifetime of service in New Zealand geochemistry. The award is presented to an outstanding individual who has contributed significantly to the development of geochemistry in New Zealand. The successful recipient must be more than 60 years old, be resident in New Zealand and have contributed to New Zealand geochemistry throughout a minimum of a 20-year period.
The prize will be a certificate and a medal.
The Prize is awarded no more frequently than once every four years, with the next award due to be made in 2021.
The John Beavan Geodetic Fieldwork Fund seeks to support students involved with geodetic research to undertake or participate in associated fieldwork in New Zealand or the southwest Pacific region (including Antarctica). Awards can be made either directly to the student to undertake his or her own fieldwork associated with a research project, or to a more senior researcher, to reimburse the expenses associated with including the student in the fieldwork. The latter is intended to encourage experienced fieldworkers to take along students who might not otherwise get a chance to work with them.
To be eligible for this award, the student must be engaged in geodetic research based at a New Zealand university. For this purpose, the term "geodetic" is to be interpreted broadly to include global, regional and local scale measurement and representation of the Earth, including its gravitational field and geodynamical phenomena such as crustal stresses and motions, tides, and polar motion. Preference will be given to students with strong quantitative skills.
The aim of the award is to cover or contribute to the expenses of the fieldwork. This would cover such things as travel, food, and accommodation costs, as well as equipment hire, the cost of permits, insurance, and other incidentals. An indicative budget might be on the order of $1,000-$3,000 for New Zealand based projects or $4,000 for the wider SW Pacific or Antarctica.
Applications can be submitted at any time in the year, acknowledging fieldwork occurs year round, and the involvement of students in that fieldwork often occurs at short notice. Applications can be submitted by the student or a lead researcher.
No student may receive more than one award.
Within 12 months of receiving the award, the student is responsible for submitting a short report on the research undertaken for inclusion in the Society newsletter.
The SJ Hastie Scholarships seek to fund educational scholarships for Masters or Honours research in the field of geosciences. Recipients must be New Zealand residents who are planning to undertake research in New Zealand Geoscience.
The scholarships shall be primarily to assist with research expenses and shall normally be awarded at the time that research work is about to commence.
One award per year shall be offered to each of the University of Auckland, University of Waikato, Massey University, Victoria University of Wellington, University of Canterbury and University of Otago, with Heads of Department responsible for nominating suitable student candidates at the end of each year.
Each award shall be given to the geosciences student who, in the opinion of university staff, is most deserving of the distinction, taking into account proven academic and research ability, and the likelihood of significant expenses accruing during practical work.
A Head of Department from any New Zealand university not named above may forward a recommendation for the nomination of a suitable student to the Convenor of the Awards Subcommittee, together with supporting information, and this nomination shall be considered by the Awards Subcommittee.
Each award shall consist of an inscribed certificate and a monetary sum. Half the scholarship money shall be paid at the time the award is made. The other half shall be paid not earlier than five months later on application from the winner of the scholarship, supported by a letter from his/her supervisor certifying that satisfactory progress has been made; the application shall include a one page summary of the research for publication in the Geoscience Society of New Zealand Newsletter.
The Hornibrook Award shall be made to a student enrolled for postgraduate research at a tertiary institution in New Zealand. To be eligible for the award, a student shall demonstrate a high standard of competence and ability to carry out research, with a focus on methods of stratigraphic correlation judged to be relevant to New Zealand and the southwest Pacific.
The availability of the Award shall be advertised in tertiary institutions and in the Society Newsletter. Applications shall be called for not more than once a year, and not necessarily every year.
The Hornibrook Award shall not be awarded more than once to any one person.
The Award shall consist of an inscribed certificate and a monetary amount.
The Jim Ansell Geophysics Scholarship is intended to encourage and assist students to further their study and research in the field of geophysics.
To be eligible for the Scholarship, an applicant must have:
- completed undergraduate qualifications sufficient for postgraduate study in geophysics; and
- arranged to undertake a postgraduate degree at a New Zealand university embodying geophysical study of relevance to New Zealand; and
- either completed or arranged to complete a significant amount of degree study in New Zealand.
Except in exceptional circumstances, an award shall not be made more than once to the same person.
The nomination must be accompanied by evidence of merit and a statement of the arrangements that have been made for further study.
The award shall consist of a sum of money which will be paid after the winner has registered for their arranged studies.
The Summer of Applied Geophysical Experience (SAGE), is a unique ‘hands-on' geophysical educational programme held yearly over a four-week period in June/July in New Mexico. It aims to enhance the experience and knowledge of students of geophysics in an intense course of geophysical exploration and research that goes beyond the classroom.
SAGE is conducted by the Los Alamos National Laboratory, a Branch of the Institute of Geophysical and Planetary Physics, University of California. Since 2001, through an arrangement between the US organisers and the New Zealand Geophysical Society, an enrolment at SAGE has been available to one student from New Zealand. The SAGE Scholarship is awarded to the most suitable New Zealand candidate, with funding for attendance at SAGE provided by sponsorship from a number of institutions, and in some cases the Geoscience Society of New Zealand.
To be eligible for the Scholarship, an applicant must have:
- completed undergraduate qualifications sufficient for post-graduate study in geophysics
- arranged to undertake a postgraduate degree at a New Zealand university embodying geophysical study of relevance to New Zealand
- either completed or arranged to complete a significant amount of degree study in New Zealand.
Except in exceptional circumstances, an award will not be made to the same person more than once.