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Rebecca Priestley

I am an interdisciplinary scholar and creative non-fiction writer who works at the boundary between science and the humanities. I am trained in earth sciences, history of science, and creative writing and have a research focus on science in New Zealand and Antarctica. Before starting my academic career in 2013, I had more than 20 years' experience in science communication in Aotearoa New Zealand.

My books include Fifteen Million Years in Antarctica (VUP, 2019), a personal response to my three visits to Antarctica; Dispatches from Continent Seven (Awa Press, 2016), an anthology of Antarctic science writing; and Mad on Radium: New Zealand in the Atomic Age (AUP, 2012). My essays and articles have been published in Griffith Review, Granta, Turbine, North and South and the New Zealand Listener.


  • 2018–present
    Associate professor, Te Herenga Waka
  • 2013–2017
    Senior lecturer, Te Herenga Waka


  • 2018 
    Victoria University of Wellington , MA
  • 2010 
    University of Canterbury, PhD
  • 1992 
    Victoria University of Wellington , BSc (hons)
  • 1990 
    Victoria University of Wellington , BSc


Prime Ministers Science Prize team member 2019, Prime Ministers Prize for Science Communication 2016, Royal Society of New Zealand Science Book Prize 2009