Marine centre gets Gig grant

The secret life of Dunedin sea creatures will be shared with viewers throughout the world, thanks to a $32,000 GigCity grant to livestream underwater footage, via the internet.

The grant went to the University of Otago's New Zealand Marine Studies Centre at Portobello, for a proposed ''Fishy Webcam'' project, using internet cameras to film sea creatures, including in aquarium tanks and near a wharf at the centre.

Centre manager Tessa Mills said the ''fantastic'' grant, announced on Monday, would help boost national and international awareness of the studies centre, and also of Dunedin, as a leading wildlife and educational centre.

It was hoped to buy the necessary internet cameras within the next couple of months, and to undertake some trial livestreaming during the next New Zealand International Science Festival, from July 6 to 15.

The $32,000 grant is part of the final $45,000 left from the $500,000 earlier given to the city by Chorus, for winning its Gigatown competition in December 2014.

Chorus Dunedin liaison manager Kim Stewart said the fish webcam project ''showcases how technology can open your world''.

The public could also better appreciate the ''diversity of Dunedin's underwater world'', she added.

A second project - ''The Elder Gateway''- from Presbyterian Support Otago, was given $13,000 to develop an app which acts as a central resource to provide information for older people in Dunedin.

This app would provide information on a host of local events, activities, resources and services of interest to older people.

The overall $500,000 granted had been given to city community organisations to help develop a wide range of tech projects that will help city residents in several ways.

Digital Community Trust chairman John Gallaher said the most recently funded projects were a ''fantastic addition'' to an extensive list of technology-related community assets.

Earlier funding support had included coding classes for youth and Virtual Reality learning programmes, as well as public digital art projects.

john.gibb@odt.co.nz

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