Sir Paul’s Message Lives On

Sir Paul’s life impacted on the lives of many different people. For the team at the Institute, it was his message and his generosity of spirit that will continue to inspire us. He believed New Zealand could be a better place if we diversified our core business and looked more deeply at manufacturing, in particular using science to grow business. It is a message that resonated with us; a vision of New Zealand as a place where talent wants to live. Sir Paul had a charming way of making us question ‘why not New Zealand?’; and in regard to his vision, he considered it ‘a dream worth having’. He never made anything sound complex, quite the contrary; he made science simple and exciting, and in doing so he removed the barrier that often exists between science and society. Further, he explained that science can answer many things, but it cannot tell us how to live as human beings. Each generation needs to determine how it wants to live, and he challenged this generation to think hard about what we are doing and what we could achieve.

Sir Paul did all of this through narrative and humour; he could tell a great yarn and, by being frank and honest, blast myths out of the water. He belongs to a small group of truly great New Zealand leaders; his intelligence, curiosity, optimism, commitment and integrity will be sadly missed. Rest in Peace Paul, and know that your message lives on.

Wendy McGuinness
On behalf of the team at the Institute and the participants of StrategyNZ: Mapping our Future.

Note: Sir Paul was the keynote speaker who opened the StrategyNZ: Mapping our Future conference on the 30 March 2011, a 20 minute Youtube clip can be found here. A really interesting infographic of the data in his presentation, put together by Alex Gibson and Graham Jenson, can be found here. We were also very fortunate to have Sir Paul contribute the foreword to our latest report,  Science Embraced: Government-funded science under the microscope.

You may also be interested in Sir Paul Callaghan’s two books:
Wool to Weta: transforming New Zealand’s culture and economy (2009, Auckland University Press) and As Far As We Know: conversations about science, life and the universe (co-authored with Kim Hill) (2007, Penguin Group NZ).