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Historical Section Workshop

Monday 5th June

Join us for the RASNZ Historical Section Workshop where we will define and explore Aotearoa / New Zealand astronomical history, review existing research, and identify priority areas for future investigation. Lead by Director and Deputy Director of the RASNZ Historical Section, we aim to form research teams for these areas and set target outputs for each project, such as publications and conference presentations. Additionally, we hope to encourage local astronomical societies and other RASNZ Sections to document their own histories.


By the end of the workshop, we aim to identify new research projects with team members, designated leaders, and scheduled outputs, including oral papers or posters at the May 2024 Nelson Conference. Join us in this exciting endeavour to delve into the rich history of astronomy in New Zealand.

Workshop tickets $30 

More Information

The Intent of the Workshop: As the Section is very new, this will be our first chance to collectively discuss our research, presentation and publication strategies, research methodology, and current and possible future collaborative research projects. The following topics will be covered: - Briefly review key elements of NZ astronomical history - Identify those areas that have already been researched and written up, and research areas that are currently being investigated (and by whom) - Discuss the concept of collaborative research teams, and review the resources available to astronomical historians - Identify priority areas for future research and try to form collaborative research teams for some of these - Discuss target outputs for each research project (publications, lectures/seminars, conference papers or posters) - Encourage local astronomical societies to research and document their own histories (if they have not already done so) and, likewise encourage other RASNZ Sections to document their own histories.

Venue: Anchorage Park Community House, 16 Swan Crescent, Pakuranga, Auckland.


The workshop venue, shown lower right on the map below, is 3.9km by car from the Waipuna Hotel (shown top left). From the hotel travel east on route 10A, veer left on to route 10 – after 2.5km turn right on to Ti Rakau Drive (route 8). At the first set of lights turn right on to Mattson Road. Turn right on to Aurea Ave, right on to Jan Place, left on to Tiraumea Drive, then left on to Swan Cres. Parking is available outside the community house, otherwise there may be further space outside the school next door.

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Meet our Historical Directors


Director of Historical Section


University of Southern Queensland


Wayne Orchiston

Wayne Orchiston is a prominent New Zealand astronomer and science historian. He has published extensively in the field of astronomy, with a focus on the history of astronomy and the development of observatories. Orchiston has held various academic positions, including at James Cook University, the University of Southern Queensland and the University of Science and Technology of China. He has also been a Visiting Researcher or Visiting Professor at  several national and international observatories. Orchiston has received various awards for his contributions to the field of astronomy, including  the Donald Osterbrock Book Prize of the American Astronomical Society.

Glen Rowe

Glen Rowe, Deputy Director of the Historical Section, has an extensive background in science and astronomy. Together, Glen and Wayne Orchiston (above) have dedicated a section of RASNZ to researching and documenting the rich history of astronomy in New Zealand. Glen has published numerous articles and books on various topics related to New Zealand's astronomical history, and the section encourages further research in this area. Glen is also a fellow member of RASNZ, which is a member who has been recognised for their outstanding contributions to the field of astronomy or to the society itself.


Deputy Director of Historical Section

Fellow Member

In addition to its research and publication efforts, the RASNZ Historical Section also hosts workshops and events for members to share their knowledge and collaborate on projects related to New Zealand's astronomical history. The section also maintains an extensive online library of historical documents, photographs, and other resources, providing a valuable source of information for anyone interested in learning more about the history of astronomy in New Zealand.


Overall, the Historical Section plays a crucial role in preserving and promoting New Zealand's scientific heritage and inspiring future generations of astronomers and researchers. To learn more about our historical section, please see the link below.

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