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Synergy of traditional knowledge and science

Tuesday 18 October 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Education, National

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Synergy of traditional knowledge and science
Apii Nikao juniors are delighted to look through a telescope. 22101717

School students were thrilled to experience new scientific experiments at the inaugural Climate Change Prime Minister’s Science Expo which started yesterday at the National Auditorium

Lab in a Box, a fully equipped mobile research lab designed to engage and get kids of all ages intrigued by science, is featured at the Science Expo.

This is the first time the University of Otago-led Lab in a Box project which is aimed at engaging young people to learn more about science and technology, has left New Zealand.

The portable research lab is built in a 20-foot shipping container will run through to Wednesday, October 19.

Apii Avarua Year 7 students Rosine Vehiarii and Terii Tuakana were both “happy” to see the new booths.

“I feel amazing, I asked some good questions and this is a really good Expo,” said Tuakana.

The theme for the Expo is “Synergy of Traditional Knowledge and Science – Keeping it Cool”.

In his opening address, Prime Minister Mark Brown said: “Science is in everything we know and use in our lives today, as we have learned from our ancestors who have knowledge of the land, sea and the sky.”

“Our traditional knowledge and science are also important to preserve and continue. It has been passed down from our tupuna to each of us and many things we do from planting to fishing links to this traditional knowledge and science.”

Apii Nikao students are intrigued by the science experiments. 22101714

Approximately 1500 school children are expected to pass through the Expo, members of the public including tourists are also welcome to attend.

Brown hopes the Expo will encourage more kids to take up the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) for university study. 

“These will be the skills and talent that we will need as we shift towards a knowledge economy, and I do hope that our parents also take some time to visit the Expo and that they will also encourage our children into these fields of study,” said Brown.

Because of the unique nature of the inaugural Science Expo, many international and local partners have jumped on board. They include Manaaki Whenua (Landcare Research), New Zealand National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Sciences (NIWA), University of Auckland, University of Waikato, Otago Museum, University of New South Wales, and Brigham Young University - Hawaii.

Local partners are the Ministry of Education, Office of the Public Service Commissioner, Infrastructure Cook Islands, Ministry of Marine Resources, Cook Islands Investment Corporation, Korero O'te Orau, Gallery Tavioni and the Cook Islands Voyaging Society.

Each of these partners will host science/traditional knowledge display booths at the Expo, and PM Brown encouraged school students to take advantage of all the learning opportunities.