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Dame Patsy Reddy examines a wriggly chain-forming dinoflagellate
24 February 2017

Cawthron innovation impresses esteemed guests

New Zealand Governor-General The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne immersed themselves in the wonderful world of science at the Cawthron Institute.

They heard from Coastal Group Leader Chris Cornelisen, who explained with most of New Zealand’s territory under the sea, Cawthron has set out to answer how we can best look after our biggest asset. 

The Governor-General was impressed by the international component to Cawthron’s ocean-based research programmes saying, “The collaboration of ideas is what’s exciting.”


Biotoxin discussion with (from left to right) Sir David Gascoigne, Professor Charles Eason, Dame Patsy Reddy, Natural Toxins Section Head Catherine Moisan

The visit included a trip to the phytoplankton laboratory where they examined a particularly active, chain-forming dinoflagellate under the microscope. In this laboratory water samples from all New Zealand’s shellfish sites are tested to determine whether seafood grown in that water is safe for consumption.

The esteemed guests spoke informally with phytoplankton team members and Analytical Services Group Leader Nico Van Loon said, “In the past 12 years there has not been a single international case of a New Zealand Greenshell Mussels causing a toxic reaction in a human. This is testament to the diligent work of our team.”

Both guests ended their visit enthused by the innovation they had witnessed, Sir David Gascoigne commented on the work of Cawthron as “complex and significant. It’s very impressive.”

Cawthron CE Professor Charles Eason said, “One of the Governor-General’s strategic priorities is innovation, turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. Here at Cawthron we work towards this with our science every day.”


Media contact: Nicole Taber

Ph +64 3 539 3212 |