General news

Luke Heaphy, Supreme Technology Award winner, and Phoebe Fulton, Supreme Science Award winner
26 October 2017

Next generation of scientists celebrated at Scitec Expo Awards ceremony

Talented young scientists from Nelson Tasman and their environmentally-focused research projects were celebrated at the 2017 Scitec Expo Awards ceremony on 18 October.

Nayland College year 13 student Phoebe Fulton was awarded the John Cross Award for the best scientific investigation in recognition of the three investigations she completed into ocean and river health.

One project was an experiment she conducted during biology workshops at the Cawthron Aquaculture Park. When Phoebe looked at the effect of microbeads on mussel feeding, she found that higher concentrations of microbeads led to decreased feeding rates. Phoebe’s other two studies looked at sediment changes in Tasman Bay and whether the amount of dissolved oxygen in the Maitai and Brook waterways could be used as an indicator of river health.

Year 8 student from St Joseph’s School Luke Heaphy was awarded the Des Duthie Technology Award. Luke decided to build an electric motocross bike that he could race with, aiming to reduce CO2 emissions and noise pollution. He did in-depth research about the type of motors and starters he would need and, after several modifications, built a fully functional motorbike. Luke tested the bike’s speed against his normal bike and found it was great.

Proud moments for Nelson Tasman's budding scientists

This year the Scitec Expo included both primary (years 1-6) and secondary students (years 7-13) in the Nelson Tasman region competing for the top prizes. The event is run by Cawthron Institute and a dedicated team of volunteers.

“Interest in science in the top of the south is strong and judging 370 projects from 35 schools has been a mammoth task,” says Cawthron Institute Community Educator, Cristina Armstrong. 

“There's considerable community support for the Expo. In addition to the time and energy that the students and schools put in to participating, local science professionals and volunteers donated more than 500 hours to the event this year. Local businesses also donate money to cover Expo operating costs and prizes. The prizes alone are worth around $7,000.”

Winners of the Wakatu-Te Reo Māori Awards 

One long-standing major sponsor is Nelson Pine Industries Limited (NPI). “The Expo is such a rewarding event for everyone involved,” says Murray Sturgeon, Managing Director of NPI. “It’s a great opportunity for students to receive recognition for some of the incredible technology-focused projects they’ve completed during the year.

“The reason we keep on supporting this event is that the standard of projects continues to rise and entrants come into this contest with a high personal investment in their projects. I get a real kick out of seeing student research being translated into solving problems and my company is proud to support these students who will one day make a real difference to science.”

Cawthron congratulates all the winners and thanks everyone involved in Scitec Expo 2017.

Winners of the Art in Science Awards, and one of the many entries for this new award category