The latest New
Zealand International Science Festival has ''more than
delivered'' on its promise to ''leave the boring bits
behind'' and successfully brought science to the public,
organisers said yesterday.
The ninth and latest of the Dunedin-based festivals ended
yesterday, having offered attractions as diverse as a ''why
sharks matter'' competition, the ''science of whisky'' and
smashing a world record for firing potatoes at great speed
from a spud bazooka.
Having begun on July 5, the latest festival ended in the
harbour with a marine science day, titled ''fish and ships'',
led by the University of Otago.
Visitors heard talks yesterday at the Custom House
Restaurant, took part in shark-related competitions and
question and answer sessions and workshops at a nearby
warehouse, and could also step aboard the university's
research vessel Polaris II, which was moored nearby.
Talks were also given by research specialists, including
Malcolm Francis, of the National Institute of Water and
Atmospheric Research, and marine explorer and documentary
film-maker Ryan Johnson.
Festival organisers said greater use had been made this year
of festival venues outside the university, including the
Otago Museum, and this was helping to ''bring science to the
There had been more events overall, and organisers of a
two-day science expo at Otago University said more academic
departments had taken part.
Festival director Chris Green said final attendance numbers
had yet to be collated, but the week's activities had been
popular and thousands of people had attended.
And the festival had ''reached a wide range of audiences with
an increased focus on teenagers''.
Festival organisers had also worked to create location-based
events. Science demonstrations were held in the Wall Street
mall, and children's workshops in libraries and other
locations around the city.
The festival had helped celebrate science and cement
Dunedin's reputation as a city of learning and discovery.
More than 120 events were staged during the festival, 90% of
them being offered free of charge.