The Royal Society of New Zealand is an independent, national academy of sciences, technology and the humanities as well as a federation of scientific, technological and humanities organisations, and individual members. Established in 1867, the main aims of the Royal Society of New Zealand are:
- to foster in the New Zealand community a culture that supports science, technology and the humanities, including (without limitation) the promotion of public awareness, knowledge, and understanding of science, technology and the humanities, and the advancement of science and technology education
- to encourage, promote, and recognise excellence in science, technology and the humanities;
- to provide an infrastructure and other support for the professional needs and development of scientists, technologists and humanities scholars
- to establish and administer for members a code of professional standards and ethics in science, technology and the humanities
- to provide expert advice on important public issues to the Government and the community and
- to do all other lawful things which the Council considers conducive to the advancement and promotion of science, technology and the humanities in New Zealand.
The RSNZ administers various research funds and programmes on behalf of the government of New Zealand. The most important one is the Marsden Fund that was established by the government in 1994 to fund excellent fundamental research.
The RSNZ also supports New Zealand researchers to collaborate with international partners by managing funds for collaboration and travel as well as New Zealand's involvement in international unions.