Budding scientists in south Auckland

Publish Date : 03 Dec 2015
Budding scientists in south Auckland
Children from Papatuanuku Kokiri Marae and Koru Primary get excited about their science project.

Community science projects have kicked off with a hiss (of compost gas) and a roar (of stream turbidity) in south Auckland. 

Six community science projects have been successfully funded as part of the SouthSci initiative, the south Auckland pilot of the government’s Participatory Science Platform. 

The six projects are: 

  • Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate, in collaboration with AUT University, investigating water quality in the Otara Creek
  • Rongomai Primary and Manurewa High School, in collaboration with Landcare Research, investigating mould in homes
  • Aorere College and Makaurau Marae, in collaboration with Wai Care, investigating species diversity and restoration of mauri to the Oruarangi Stream
  • A cluster of five early childhood education centres in Mangere, in collaboration with NIWA, investigating air quality
  • Papatuanuku Kokiri Marae and Koru Primary, in collaboration with Sustainable Coastlines, investigating unassisted vs microbe-assisted composting (pictured)
  • Pupunga Taiamoni Tongan Community Trust, which is running a scoping study on the effect Kava Tonga has on the human body.

SouthSci project manager Dr Sarah Morgan says the initiatives will go a long way to meeting the aim of engaging local communities with science and technology. 

“They are fantastically diverse – from analysing compost gas (the fart project!), to the science around waterways restoration, and looking at the effect drinking kava has on the human body. 

“The projects are aimed at a range of participants, we even have children under five years old taking part in an air quality exploration project, in collaboration with scientists at NIWA.” 

The Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, Sir Peter Gluckman, says he is delighted to see these Participatory Science Platform projects get underway in the South Auckland region. 

“The appetite for science within the community has been huge and it is encouraging to see some of our researchers and research institutions pairing up to address highly relevant questions at the community level,” Sir Peter says. 

About SouthSci

SouthSci is run by COMET Auckland – a council-controlled organisation which supports education and skills across Auckland – in partnership with the Auckland STEM Alliance, and supported by Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED) and The Southern Initiative.  

A Nation of Curious Minds

The Participatory Science Platform is currently being piloted in three areas: South Auckland, Taranaki and Otago. It is an initiative under A Nation of Curious Minds, a government programme to encourage all New Zealanders to get involved with science and technology. 

A Nation of Curious Minds is coordinated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Ministry of Education, and the Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor. 


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