2010 CONFERENCE REPORT

NZABA 2010 was held at the University of Canterbury over the weekend of 3-5 September. There were 37 registered for the conference, and 26 presentations scheduled, along with 6 posters presented at the welcome event on Friday 3rd. As usual, nearly half the presentations were given by student researchers.

The welcome event went well. However, there was a massive earthquake at 4.36 am the following morning, setting much of the city in turmoil. Conference participants were all fine, fortunately. One conference participant wrote:

“Personally, I am glad to be back in Auckland. This was the most frightening experience of my life. … It started with a huge bang, and immediately the world started moving violently 8” back and forth—and the lights went out. I shot out of my unit, which was moving and creaking alarmingly, and into the courtyard (meeting others out there). It was almost impossible to stand, and there were fantastic showers of sparks on the horizon as transformers blew. … And then aftershocks, some very large, … The aftershocks were still occurring when I left at 2 pm Sunday – airport was working, and surprisingly the cellphones were working throughout, but started to run out of battery.

Things I learned: Keep your phone battery charged; use your laptop (not booted) as a light source; carry muesli bars just in case; fill something with water when you get to a motel room.”

Good advice for your next conference. We residents of Canterbury would add the following for home:

1) You can buy a “night light” that has a rechargeable battery, plugs into the mains, and turns on when the power goes off. It is cheap. Buy one.

2) Buy a car adaptor for your cellphone.

3) You may be separated from your wallet, keys, cellphone. Life is difficult without them. Keep a stash of cash somewhere easily accessible, and consider doing the same with a spare house key, an old cellphone, …

The conference

We displayed great resistance to disruption in that we salvaged a good bit of the conference. But circumstances were difficult — there was no power in our part of Christchurch until after midday on Saturday 4th, and the conference venue (University of Canterbury) was closed and sealed off. We met for talks in a motel dining room Saturday afternoon (without a data projector), and again from 9 am Sunday. In the end, most of the scheduled presentations were actually delivered. There was also a conference dinner, although the intended venue was closed.

Andrew Hucks was awarded the prize for the best student presentation, and the NZABA spear, awarded for various salient presentation features (originally for ―thrusting anthropomorphism‖), was awarded to Douglas Elliffe for reasons that are now forgotten. The NZABA Hatchet was not awarded this year, and was last awarded to Doug Elliffe (he now holds both). Our congratulations to Andy and Douglas.

Anthony McLean (Chair NZABA 2010)

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