Transit of Venus centre of big week for NZ science   6 Jun 2012

Today’s Transit of Venus provides the ideal opportunity to discuss the important role of science in New Zealand’s future, Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce says.

The Transit of Venus – when Venus passes directly between the Sun and Earth – is a rare event and was the catalyst for Captain James Cook’s visit to New Zealand in 1769 after he observed the event in Tahiti as part of a scientific mission for the Royal Society.

The Minister is in Tolaga Bay today for the Transit of Venus ahead of a two-day national science forum which begins in Gisborne on Thursday.

“The forum was the idea of the late Sir Paul Callaghan who was a champion for the potential of science to make New Zealand a better place. It’s fitting that Sir Paul initiated this forum, drawing on science’s role in New Zealand’s past and using it as the basis for a discussion about our future,” Mr Joyce says.

“The Government recognises that science and innovation are major drivers of economic growth and boosting our international competitiveness which is why we have increased funding by $326 million in Budget 2012.”

Alongside the Transit of Venus events, the Minister also rededicated the historic Tolaga Bay Wharf today. The wharf was instrumental in the development of the township during the pioneering farming days of the East Coast.

(New Zealand Government)

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