Winners of NIWA Wellington science fair


An interest in spoilers on sportscars has paid off for a Year 8 Seatoun student who won the $1000 NIWA prize for best exhibit in this year’s NIWA Wellington Science and Technology Fair.

Samuel Webb, of Seatoun School investigated how spoliers affect the drag on sportscars. He designed a variety of spoilers for a toy car, which he then made using a 3D printer. 

Samuel also made a wind tunnel to measure the down force and drag for each car. The work also netted him the Victoria University Faculty of Science prize of an iPad.

Almost 400 students entered the fair which was assessed by 22 panel judges from all branches of science, technology and engineering.

Chief judge Bradley Douglass said there was an impressive willingness among the entrants to share information despite the competitive nature of the day.

“The judges learn as much from their discussions with the entrants as new-found colleagues as I hope the students do from the experience of following their investigations through and receiving quality feedback.”

Top prizewinners:

Blake Shepard, a Year 9 student from Rongotai College, won the $500 Royal Society of New Zealand Wellington Branch prize for the runner-up best overall exhibit with his project: “Is Cotton Rotten?”. He tested different fabrics to determine which were the best to wear when tramping.

Chenthi Heer, a Year 13 student from Queen Margaret College, won the Victoria University of Wellington Innovation Prize of $5000 towards living expenses in the first year of a VUW undergraduate degree in science or engineering. Chenthi’s project was “Waste not, want not”, which looked at the use of waste oil to produce biofuels, a cheaper and more sustainable alternative to petroleum.

Other age class winners:

Miro Kennett, a Year 7 student from Northland School, was judged first in Class 1. Miro’s project was “Prospering Podocarps”.

Jack Tetley, from Saint Bernard’s College, was judged first in Class 4 (Year 10) with a project called “Blue Light vs a goodnight”.

Sophie Mance, a Year 13 student from Wellington High School, was judged first equal in Class 5 with a project called “Particle Patterns: Tremors and Tessellations”.

Details of all prizewinners are posted at:


For further information, please contact:

Bradley Douglass
Chief Judge
Mob: 021 1233119