What to feed an astronaut and other entries in this year’s Wellington NIWA science fair


From designing food for astronauts to the best bait for catching rats, Wellington students are applying their creative talents to scientific endeavour this week as the annual NIWA Wellington Science and Technology Fair gets under way.

More than 400 entries from 40 schools across Wellington, the Hutt Valley and Paremata have been submitted to the judges across a diverse range of subjects.

Innovation is a key component at the annual NIWA-sponsored fair and this year some of the more novel and topical entries include:

  • Power at your Footsteps – can our school power some of its lights using kinetic energy from footfall?
  • Origami-inspired emergency shelter
  • Does sea lettuce reduce nitrogen in polluted water?
  • Can YOU spot fake news?
  • Hand it to me – low cost ways to create a robotic hand

Students compete for some fantastic prizes – NIWA offers $1000 for the best overall fair exhibit, while Victoria University offers $5000 towards fees in the first year of a VUW undergraduate science or engineering degree.

The University of Otago offers an all-expenses trip to the 2018 Hands-on at Otago summer school for the entry displaying the best application of the scientific method while the Wellington branch of the Institution of Professional Engineers offers two prizes of $500 each for presentations of an innovative illustration of an engineering principle. 

Organisers say the standard of entries continues to be extremely high with the quality of entries far exceeding the expectations of their age.

“Science and technology fairs are all about getting students to think about the world around them and solve real-life problems. The students come up with new ideas and technologies that have real potential to become business enterprises or enhance our understanding of the world.

“This is a great opportunity to view innovative and interesting ideas from our future scientists.”
This year the venue for the fair is Newlands College, Bracken Rd, Wellington and is open for public viewing on Friday from 9am to 4.30pm and on Saturday from 9am to noon.

Prizewinners will be recognised at an official ceremony on Saturday starting at 1pm.

NIWA wishes all students entering the fair the very best of luck. NIWA is also a major sponsor of the Auckland, Canterbury-Westland, Bay of Plenty, South and East Auckland and Waikato fairs.

For more information see: sciencefair.org.nz

Contact: Sylvia Nichol, Ph 04 386 0396