Winners of Wellington Science Fair Announced


The 2016 NIWA Wellington Regional Science and Technology Fair has again been a resounding success, with more than 500 intermediate and secondary school students taking part.

The fair, sponsored by the National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA), is open for public viewing today and tomorrow morning at Victoria University of Wellington. Prizes will be awarded tomorrow, Saturday 3 September, starting at 1pm.

Chief judge Bradley Douglass said the entries were very impressive with some truly new solutions to classic problems.

“But just as impressive was the obvious passion that was shown for the research topics. I think more exhibitors are doing a project for their own reasons, as opposed to picking an interesting topic from a book or the internet.

“It's nice to think that these young people are bringing critical thinking to things that are relevant to them personallyimproving little aspects of life, and making their hobbies more effective and rewarding.”

See some of the students competing in the Wellington Science and Technology Fair talk about their projects.


Top prizewinners:

Catherine Pot, a Year 13 student from Onslow College, won the $1000 Royal Society of New Zealand Wellington Branch prize for the best overall exhibit with her project: “A simulation correction technique for the Van der Pauw method”.  She also won the Victoria University Innovation Prize of $4000 towards the fees in the first year of a VUW undergraduate degree in science or engineering, and was also judged first in Class 5. The Van der Pauw method measures the conductivity of semiconductors.

Carlos Mendonca, a Year 10 student from Onslow College, won the Victoria University Faculty of Science prize of an iPad for the best Class 1-4 (Years 7-10) exhibit. Carlos’ exhibit was “Uptake of nitrogen pollutants”, and investigated which plants have the highest nitrogen uptake. This has applications for reducing the nitrogen levels of runoff into waterways.

Other age class winners:

Lucy Harris, from Northland School, was judged first in Class 1 (Year 7) with a project “The Strength of Eggs”.

Ystefano Ubaldo, from St Benedict's School, was judged first in Class 2 (Year 8) with a project “H.A.S.T. = E”, which investigated the best way to dry clothes.

Reuben Campbell, from Rongotai College, was judged first in Class 3 (Year 9)   with a project called “Breakpoint 3-D Printing”.

Details of the main prizewinners, and the first prizewinner in each class are posted at:

Public viewing:

Alan MacDiarmid Building, Kelburn Parade, Victoria University of Wellington

9am – 5pm, Friday 2 September
9am – 12.30pm, Saturday 3 September


1pm, Saturday 3 September, Kirk Lecture Theatre 303, Kelburn Parade, Victoria University of Wellington.


For further information, please contact:

Bradley Douglass
Chief Judge
Mob: 021 1233119


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Atmospheric Scientist