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An icy blast as Avarua goes polar

Wednesday September 26, 2018 Written by Published in Education
Te Uki Ou's Olive Easterbrook, aged 9, and Taunga Miller, 8 with new-found friends - a leopard seal and a blue penguin - at the Far from Frozen exhibition at Sinai Hall. 18092503 Te Uki Ou's Olive Easterbrook, aged 9, and Taunga Miller, 8 with new-found friends - a leopard seal and a blue penguin - at the Far from Frozen exhibition at Sinai Hall. 18092503

A little bit of Antarctica has blown into Rarotonga over the past few days, courtesy of New Zealand’s Otago Museum.

 

Far From Frozen is an interactive event on at Sinai Hall where people can wander in and learn a lot about Climate Change, among others things, in an easy and fun way.

The exhibition opened on Monday and the three Otago Museum staff running it have been flat out dealing with the demand, particularly from school classes.

Craig Grant is the director of science engagement at Otago Museum and he told CI News they are trying to de-mystify the science of Climate Change.

“We want to introduce what Climate Change is, because I think people hear about it, but it is spoken about in such conceptual terms we are trying to de-mystify the science behind it.

“So, rather than just being something they hear in the media, they get it what it is.

“We are trying to set up a whole range of science interactives and experiments so kids can feel a bit more confident about what Climate Change is.”

The set up at Sinai Hall is pretty cool, with the major displays being a polar tent and the gear required to work and survive in Antarctica.

However, the Virtual Reality headsets that “take people to Antarctica” seemed to grab the kids’ attention.

The learning part of the VR-helmet lure comes in the following discussion where they discover that Antarctica is really this big engine that drives climate patterns around the Pacific and is itself an early casualty of Climate Change.

And visitors can explore Antarctica and the potential impacts of Climate Change using the latest in virtual and augmented reality, holographic computing and animated projection mapping technology.

The Hands-on Interactives allow visitors to use a 3D model to explore Antarctica’s structure and create their own island landscape and extreme weather events in an augmented reality sandpit.

The Cook Islands also feature and children and visitors can learn key local facts and impacts about sea level rise, extreme weather events and ocean acidification.

With Grant are Nathalie Wierdak and Isobel Andrewartha and together they are holding about five 50-minute sessions a day.  

“We are trying to cram in as many as possible. When members of the community come in some people stay here for an hour-an-a-half or two hours,” Grant said.

Funding for the exhibition has come from the US Embassy’s Small Projects Grant and Air New Zealand has sponsored it to bring it to the Cook Islands and on to Niue.

The showcase is running until Thursday.           

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