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Science Fair bigger and better

The Tairāwhiti-wide Science and Technology Fair will be back in Term 3 this year, promising to be bigger and better than ever, with young scientists, experimenters and innovators coming together to showcase their work and present their findings.

Eastland Network is returning as the Platinum sponsor for the third time, with other local businesses invited to come on board as sponsors.

“The fair has been going strong for more than 40 years,” committee chair Shanon O'Connor and Tōnui Collab director said.

“With the involvement of the community, it has grown to be one of the largest in New Zealand for the size of the region.

“With more emphasis being put on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning in schools, the science fair is a great way to get students to engage in the topics, display their work and get feedback and encouragement.

“After reluctantly cancelling the 2020 event due to Covid-19, the committee is excited to announce that the fair is back and we're planning to ramp it up even more in 2021.”

In 2019 there were a record number of entries. Eighteen of those were in te reo Māori.

“For this year, we're exploring some new additions such as hands-on activities and categories, with a focus on the issues that are important to Tairāwhiti,” committee member Renee Raroa said.

“We want to make the event relevant for all our learners across the Tairāwhiti region and are trying to work out how to make it easier for our East Coast and smaller rural schools and kura to participate.

“It's good for students to see the work of other children from different schools across the region and it encourages healthy competition and shared experience between them.

“And of course, students who enter will be in to win a share of $5,000 in prizes.”

The organising committee is made up of volunteers.

“As our Platinum Sponsor, Eastland Network's support is pivotal in enabling our team of volunteers to pull off this annual event,” Ms Raroa said.

Eastland Network general manager Jarred Moroney said the fair was an important Tairāwhiti institution.

“Many thousands of students have taken part in the science fair over the decades, and it provides such inspiration for budding young scientists, engineers and other inquisitively-minded kids.

“Encouraging and promoting STEM in schools is so important for the future of our tamariki and our region, and Eastland Network is proud to be the name sponsor once again. I'd like to acknowledge the committee, who give up hours of their time to make sure this fantastic event continues.”

The committee also invites other businesses to get involved through prizes, sponsorship and offers of support.

“There are two main categories – science or technology,” explains Ms Raroa. “All topics are welcome and we see a range of things being explored based on the interests of the participants. These often reflect the hot button issues of the day, so it will be fascinating to see what themes emerge this year.”

Businesses and other organisations, as well as those wanting to register to take part should email gisbornesciencetechnologyfair@gmail.com for more details.