Who we are

What is the Royal Society of New Zealand?

A place for knowledge and excellence

The Royal Society of New Zealand promotes science, technology and the humanities in New Zealand. Operating since 1867, we are proud to have been part of New Zealand’s research landscape for almost 150 years. We are an independent statutory organisation constituted under a private Act of parliament. Originally named the New Zealand Institute, we became the Royal Society of New Zealand in 1933. From the beginning we have promoted science and technology and in 2010 embraced the humanities.

At our core is a national academy of scholars, known as Fellows of the Royal Society of New Zealand (FRSNZ), elected by their peers for distinction in research, covering science, technology and humanities.

We administer a number of research funds, including the Marsden Fund, which support emerging, mid-career and distinguished researchers through research grants and scholarships.

The Society also promotes international research collaboration through international research funds and membership of international associations.

From the first set of academic papers in 1869, the Society publishes eight peer-reviewed scientific journals. These publications profile high-quality work and are valued by researchers around the globe.

Nationally, the Society aims to improve science and technology education, working with teachers, supporting their professional development, and with students, offering a wide variety of scholarship and learning opportunities.

We aim to lift the profile of research in New Zealand by awarding prizes and medals to celebrate research excellence.

We also run an extensive programme of public talks and special events to provide opportunities for all New Zealanders to learn from leading international and national speakers and discover how current research could affect and improve their lives.

Through undertaking major reviews on topics of national significance, the Society helps inform policy makers and citizens about challenging issues and leads discussions about the path New Zealand should take towards prosperity and cohesiveness.

The Royal Society of New Zealand – promoting, supporting and celebrating people and ideas, for the benefit of all New Zealand. 

Royal Society of New Zealand people

Our membership currently comprises:

  • over 1300 members
  • 387 elected Fellows
  • 10 regional branches
  • 60 member societies

Our membership represents nearly 20,000 individuals.