Science education.

Follow the links below to find out more about our science programmes:

Cawthron Scitec Expo (Science Fair) 

The Scitec Expo continues a tradition of science fairs in Nelson that goes back more than 30 years. Cawthron Institute has been heavily involved for much of that time – originally as a sponsor and now as manager of the event. The Expo brings together scientists, students, teachers, local and national businesses – all working together to support our region’s young enquiring minds.

Are you the next Ernest Rutherford, Albert Einstein or Isaac Newton? Explore the wonderful world of science at the Cawthron Scitec Expo; no idea is too crazy, no theory too preposterous. This year the Expo is for secondary schools and is being held on 25th -26th September 2018. More information is here or you can contact


Mussel Biology workshops 
(Year 13 Biology students only)

The Year 13 Mussel Biology workshops were introduced by Otago University and Cawthron in 2011. They are run annually with the collaboration of Spat NZ and NMIT.

During the workshops, students fulfil requirements of the NCEA Level 3 Biology 3.1 Curriculum Assessment, which includes a small animal investigation. Students are required to alter something in the mussels' environment and measure the mussels' response to the change.

The workshops consist of:

  • Induction sessions (1-2hr) conducted at the schools, provided by either Otago University or Cawthron’s Community Educator.
  • 2 day workshop at the Cawthron Aquaculture Park, where students carry out their investigation at the NMIT student laboratory, assisted by both educators and class teacher.
  • Guided tour of Spat NZ facilities.
  • Post workshop report, written by the students and marked by their teachers.

The workshops allow students to:

  • Get fully immersed in ‘real science’.
  • Work in a purpose-built lab, with equipment not available in a school environment.
  • Meet Cawthron scientists and discuss with them their research and career paths.
  • See how Cawthron science has allowed for huge industry advancements.

Click on Cawthron Institute to view more Cawthron videos on Vimeo.

Equipment and resources available:

  • Adult mussels
  • Mussel Spat
  • Containers
  • Refractometers
  • pH meters
  • Fluorimeter
  • Light meter
  • Sea water
  • Algae
  • Wave machine
  • Specialised computer software
  • Thermometers
  • Sand bath