Honorary Life Members

Glenn Vallender2020 Honorary Member: 

Dr Glenn Vallender

Glenn has been involved in Geoscience education one way or another since discovering the wonderful world of geology at the tender age of 15.  After deciding that a field-based career wasn’t his preference, Glenn committed to living his passion for geosciences through the avenue of teaching,  and enrolled at teacher training college.  But he was met with a resounding lack of geology content in the curriculum.  This led to his active advocation for inclusion of geoscience in the NZ science curriculum.  Glenn’s honours and achievements in geo education include:

  • a travel award from the then Geological Society of NZ to visit Keele University in England in 1985, to learn about the pedagogy of the earth sciences and the Earth Science Teachers’ Association (ESTA)
  • a Royal Society fellowship to the 2nd International Geoscience Education Organisation (IGEO) conference in 1997
  • contributing to the international Earth Science Olympiad (IESO) syllabus development
  • participating in the development of the 1993 National Science curriculum where geoscience eventually became equivalent to physics, chemistry and biology.

In 2010, Glenn completed his PhD thesis through Curtin University, entitled Geological Science Education and Conceptual Change.  Among other things, Glenn’s research shed light into what are some of the most challenging concepts for students learning geoscience, providing valuable information which can then be used by developers to target key areas for strengthening the curriculum.

While Glenn retired from full-time classroom teaching in 2011, he has still remained active in geoeducation, through several avenues, including convening the Society's Geoeducation Special Interest Group, participating in the Rū seismometers in Schools Programme, and setting up an independent educational research company which offers evaluations of intervention strategies and assistance for science teaching and learning, and publishes geoeducational resources. 

And, of course, he also kept himself busy as the editor of the Society newsletter, a highly valued membership benefit.  Glenn took over the role in 2011.  Since then, he has overseen the publication of 30 individual issues, as well as several supplements.  This has involved not only soliciting articles, compiling them and arranging printing, but also affixing stamps and posting what once was as many as 900 copies per issue!  But the time has come to pass the torch, and with the publication of the November 2020 issue, Glenn stepped down from his editorship.

Honorary Members

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.

Honorary Life Members




Nick Mortimer


Janet George


Campbell (Cam) Nelson


Mike Johnston


Jack Grant-Mackie


David Skinner


Bruce Hayward


Simon Nathan


Bruce Thompson