ANTHROPOLOGIST Dame Anne Salmond, of Gisborne, has been awarded New Zealand’s highest science honour, the Rutherford Medal.
Dame Anne, who is currently in Germany, was one of 11 outstanding New Zealand researchers to be awarded prestigious medals at the Royal Society of New Zealand 2013 Research Honours event in Dunedin last night.
She will also receive $100,000 from the Government as part of her prize.
It is the first time in the award’s 22-year history it has gone to a social scientist and she is the third woman to receive the prestigious medal.
The award acknowledges Dame Anne, a distinguished professor at the University of Auckland, for her eminent work on Maori social structures and interactions with the European world, and on European exploration and engagement in the Pacific.
Her widely-acclaimed books have challenged thinking on cultural interaction in the Pacific, and deepened understanding of the individuals, social structures and political forces that collided in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in New Zealand.
President of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Sir David Skegg, said it was important to recognise the achievements of New Zealand’s top scientists and scholars.
“These medallists have all made major advances in their varied fields — anthropology, architecture, engineering, biology, chemistry, sociology and physics. High-quality research in science, technology, and the humanities is vital for the economic and social advancement of New Zealand.”
Dame Anne is also the 2013 New Zealander of the Year.