Rights: The University of Waikato Published 15 April 2009 Download

You would think that after many years researching, Professor Keith Hunter of Otago University would think he knows a lot. In fact, Keith finds the opposite is true – the more he learns, the more questions he has and the more that he still needs to find out. This natural curiosity drives him in his work. In addition, Keith enjoys his work with young researchers, guiding them as they first start out in their research studies.


20 years ago, I thought I understood the field I was working in, and I'm happy to say that the following 20 years has proven me wrong. And I think today we understand even less than what we did 20 years ago, even though we know more. So it just gets more and more complex, and more and more fascinating. We really do need to know how quickly the climate’s going to change and where it’s going to get worse, and the models are far from perfect. So that is probably one of the main scientific drivers for doing the work. For me, it’s just simply the curiosity. I got interested because I was fascinated by the science. I'm a lot older now, and I think the other aspect of it that is important is I've trained a lot of people. I've had over 75 graduate students that I've trained, so that is a bit like being a super dad – you know, you've got 75 kids you've taken through a complex research degree, and they've gone out and got jobs and things like that. So working with the people is exciting as well.