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ANZGG News...

Major news items are archived below. To stay up to date with all ANZGG-related news items, subscribe to the ANZGG email distribution list, by completing the 'Stay up to date' box on the right of this page.


Emeritus Professor Paul Williams made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit

In June 2023 Emeritus Professor Paul Williams was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to geoscience and environmental science, in particular for his world-leading research in geomorphology, hydrology, karst and paleoclimatology over the past 50 years.

Professor Williams has held several roles at the University of Auckland since 1972, including Deputy Dean of Science and Head of the Geography Department. He led the establishment of Environmental Science teaching in 1975. He led the 1974 Waitomo Cave Research Project, creating sustainable management guidelines for the Waitomo Glow Worm Cave to operate as a tourist attraction. He directed the 1983 Upper Waitemata Harbour Study for the Auckland Regional Authority, providing guidelines for sustainable land and water management. He researched and assembled New Zealand stable isotopic data spanning the last 125,000 years, which is used to inform climate change models. He is a world-leading expert in karst landscapes, landforms and aquifers formed by the dissolution of soluble rocks that occur across 13 percent of the Earth’s continental area. He became a member of the World Commission for Protected Areas in 2001, an expert specialist since 2008 for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Councillor since 2018 of the IUCN Geoheritage Specialist Group. His input on international conservation has contributed to many sites being awarded natural World Heritage status. Professor Williams has authored books which remain foundational texts for geomorphological research and teaching.

The ANZGG congratulate Paul for his outstanding contributions to geomorphology recognised by this special honour given by the New Zealand government.



ANZGG to host the 11th ICG in Christchurch, NZ

The ANZGG has been successful in its bid to host the IAG 11th International Conference on Geomorphology. The conference proposal was approved by the International Association of Geomorphologists (IAG) Council in Sept 2022.

The conference will be held at the new convention centre, Te Pae, in Christchurch in 2026 (likely February, dates TBC). The LOC consists of Ian Fuller, Jamie Shulmeister, Sarah McSweeney, James Brasington, Sam McColl, but there will be a large number of other people in support.

To make it a successful conference, we hope to engage the help of our ANZGG colleagues, e.g. for running sessions, fieldtrips, and encouraging attendance. We have already been in touch with some colleagues about running fieldtrips, in preparation of the bid (there will be 2 post and 2 pre conference fieldtrips, 2 of which will likely be in Australia). If you are keen to get involved please get in touch. The conference website is planned to be up and running soon.

The LOC wish to thank University of Canterbury for the financial underwriting, and Tourism NZ and ChristchurchNZ for support and sponsorship.


Vale Jane Soons

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our friend and colleague Emeritus Prof Jane Soons on 8 September 2020. Jane was Canterbury University’s first female professor. She was appointed as a lecturer in Geography in 1960 where she taught geomorphology. Jane became known internationally for her study of the glacier-sculpted landscapes of the Rakaia Valley, and also made major contributions to our understanding of the glacial landforms of the West Coast and the movement of the Franz Josef Glacier. Jane became a professor in 1971 and was for many years the only female professor on Canterbury staff. She convened the National Committee for Quaternary Research for the Royal Society and in 1994 she won a Royal Society Silver Medal. She was also a past President of the International Quaternary Association (INQUA) and Fellow of the Australia New Zealand Geomorphology Group. She was a foundational figure in modern geomorphology in New Zealand and an amazing role model for generations of female scientists.

On a personal note she was also our close friend.

Vale Jane Soons.

Jamie Shulmeister and Maree Hemmingsen


Vale John Chappell

It is with great sadness that we announce that Emeritus Professor John Chappell, passed away on 3 October 2018. John was a central figure in the world of Geomorphology and Quaternary Science, a great friend and mentor to many, and a great friend of the ANZGG. A short obituary of John's career and achievements has been put together by Martin Williams and can be read here. The ANZGG have sent John's wife and family a Totara tree (Podocarpus totaro) to plant in their garden in Dunedin in his memory.


Griffith University Geomorphologists win Eureka Prize

Congratulations to Associate Professor Andrew Brooks and the Catchment Sediment Budget Research team at Griffith University for winning a 2017 Australian Museum Eureka Prize for Environmental Research. Their award winning research is focused on identifying the sediment sources in the catchments draining into the Great Barrier Reef. Further details are here.

L-R: Graeme Curwen, John Spencer, Prof. Jon Olley, Assoc. Prof. Andrew Brooks


Vale Wayne Erskine

Sadly, the geomorphology community has lost Professor Wayne Erskine, who died suddenly in Darwin in August 2017.Wayne was one of Australia's most influential fluvial geomorphologists, and a great mentor, colleague and friend to many of us. He will be sorely missed.


International Recognition

Associate Professor Kirstie Fryirs from Macquarie University received the 2015 Gordon Warwick Medal at the British Society for Geomorphology (in Southampton). The medal is awarded for excellence in geomorphological research by someone within 15 years of graduating with their doctorate. She delivered an address on approaches to analysis of river sensitivity.

Previous award winners at the BSG who have an Australian or New Zealand connection are: Gerald Nanson and George Dury (Linton Award for leading contribution over a sustained period), Stephen Tooth (Gordon Warwick Medal) and Paul Bishop (Wiley Award for best paper in ESPL in the given year).

    gerald KF

 L: A/Prof. Kirstie Fryirs receiving her award from Prof. Mike Kirkby. R: Prof. Gerald Nanson receives his award from Prof. Ken Gregory. 



A new volume, Australian Landscapes, edited by Paul Bishop and Brad Pillans, has been published by the Geological Society of London. This contains a collection of papers in tribute to Prof. Martin Williams and Prof. John Chappell. Details can be found at:

Martin Williams and John Chappell are two of the many former students of the late Joe Jennings, Professorial Fellow in Geomorphology at the ANU. Brad Pillans has prepared an account of the lineage of geomorphologists whose training can be traced to Joe. This can be downloaded as a PDF file: The genealogy of Joe Jennings

A partial list of publications of the ANZGG (Inc) can be downloaded here.  

For ANZGG conference abstracts and fieldtrip guides visit our Conferences page


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