Manukau's young scientists on show

Budding scientists are showcasing their talents at the NIWA Manukau Region Science and Technology Fair this weekend.

More than 150 projects from students in Years 7-13 have been entered from about 25 schools in the Manukau region.

This is the first time NIWA has sponsored the Manukau fair and NIWA biologist and science fair co-ordinator Tracey Burton says she is looking forward to seeing what New Zealand's future scientists are thinking about today.

"Science and technology fairs are all about getting students to use scientific methods to solve problems. They learn about the value in conducting science experiments that have been properly researched, designed and analysed.

"It is often the first step towards a career in science and we want to encourage these outstanding young people to go on and lead New Zealand's scientific contribution in the future. NIWA is delighted to be involved."

Projects to be judged on Sunday include:

  • How to filter contaminated water for disaster situations using common household items
  • The effectiveness of light proof milk bottles
  • The anti-inflammatory activity of kawakawa, a traditional Maori medicine
  • The best way to deliver 190 newspapers over 5.1km
  • The best air pressure in a soccer ball for kicking it long distance
  • Solar cooking
  • The effects of chlorine in swimming pools on asthma
  • The effectiveness of organic versus synthetic fertilisers

A team of judges, comprising scientists, educators and industry leaders, will interview the students and select the best in each category.

Students are competing for prizes in 10 categories together worth about $11,000. The winner of the NIWA-sponsored Premier Award will receive $1000 with the runner up receiving $500 sponsored by the Kiwianis Clubs of Counties Manukau.

The NIWA Manukau Region Science and Technology Fair is open to the public on Monday and Tuesday, 19 and 20 August, at Mission Heights Junior College, Jeffs Rd, Flat Bush, from 9am to 5pm.

Prize winners will be recognised at the official prizegiving on Wednesday, 28 August.

NIWA wishes all students entering the fair the very best of luck. NIWA is also a major sponsor of the Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and Wellington Science and Technology Fairs.

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Adrina Venayagam from Tawa College was judged first in Class 4 (Year 10) for "Wood ash to the rescue". Credit: Dave Allen, NIWA