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2016 Science Wānanga

May 2016, Ōtākou Marae, Dunedin

In May 2016 Science Wānanga delivered a Wānanga to year 9-11 students at Ōtākou Marae, Dunedin. The Wānanga focussed on the geochemistry of pounamu, human nutrition, diabetes, and physics.

Pounamu is a highly significant taonga of Ngāi Tahu. It has traditionally been used for the production of tools, jewellery, and weapons. It is valued for its utility as a raw material but also for its mana, with mere pounamu and toki poutangata in particular being symbols of chieftainship. Geologically, pounamu is restricted to particular locations on the west and north coasts of the South Island, although traditionally it was traded in significant numbers to the North Island. During this wānanga, we investigated whether it was possible to geochemically distinguish between the different pounamu sources, using a non-destructive technology which is more appropriate for cultural taonga.

Diabetes and human nutrition are two important health issues facing New Zealand today. The focus of this aspect of the wānanga was to have a discussion about diabetes and the causes of diabetes. We investigated a range of activities around energy balance, nutritional requirements and why certain people with diabetes are prone to infections.

To demonstrate the amazing world of physics we looked at the thermal properties of materials. We investigated, through a series of hands on demonstrations, what happens when we make things very cold, what a superconductor is, what is heat, how heat van be visualised, and what makes up the light spectrum.

The Wānanga attendees included:

  • 52 year 9-11 students
  • 7 teachers
  • 10 postgraduate students and academics

The Wānanga was delivered in collaboration with Te Rūnanga o Ōtākou, and the Dodd-Walls Centre.

June 2016, Hungahungatoroa Marae, Tauranga

June saw the Science Wānanga team deliver a Wānanga to year 10-11 students at Hungahungatoroa Marae, Tauranga. The Wānanga focussed on chemistry and physiology.

Water is an important resource and traditional focal point for Māori communities. In the modern world water is under threat from a variety of activities. To preserve natural waterways for future generations it is important to monitor their condition so problems can be identified and remedied. The Chemistry project investigated key aspects of water quality monitoring and testing, discussion of why they are important, and how to assess the results.

The human body is an amazing and complicated machine that requires constant maintenance to ensure everything keeps running smoothly. Our individual organs need to function in perfect synchrony to ensure that we stay in good health. Much like Te Whare Tapa Whā, the four conerstones of Māori wellbeing, if one of your organ systems starts to malfunction, it can be detrimental to the body. The physiology programme investigated how diet and exercise are critical to our wellbeing, including how our body handles vital nutrients and discussion of what can go wrong if dietary intakes are not managed properly.

The Wānanga attendees included:

  • 42 year 10-11 students
  • 12 teachers
  • 13 postgraduate students and academics

The Wānanga was delivered in collaboration with Te Rūnanga o Ngai te Rangi Iwi Trust, Hungahungatoroa Marae, and the Dodd-Walls Centre.

August 2016, Waimarama Marae, Hastings

In August 2016 Science Wānanga delivered a Wānanga to year 8-10 students at Waimarama Marae, Hastings. The Wānanga investigated chemistry, Nga Whetū korero, and environmental sciences The Wānanga attendees included:

  • 34 year 8-10 students
  • 6 teachers
  • 8 postgraduate students and academics

The Wānanga was delivered in collaboration with Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga and Waimarama Marae.

September 2016, Nga Tai Whakarongorua Marae, Tinopai

In September 2016 Science Wānanga delivered a Wānanga to year 9-10 students at Nga Tai Whakarongorua Marae, Tinopai. The Wānanga investigated marine science, physics, and water chemistry. The Wānanga attendees included:

  • 26 year 9-10 students
  • 7 teachers
  • 8 postgraduate students and academics

The Wānanga was delivered in collaboration with Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whatua, Nga Tai Whakarongorua Marae, and the Dodd-Walls Centre.

October 2016, Waikawa Marae, Picton

Marine Science and Water Chemistry connected to the wellbeing of the Marlborough Sounds. This was the theme the Science Wānanga team delivered to year 9-10 students at Waikawa Marae, Picton in October 2016. The Wānanga investigated marine science, water chemistry, and physics.

The Marlborough and Tasman regions are a fantastic place to study all things marine. Probably more than any other area in New Zealand, as the regions run on seawater. The Marine Science programme took place aboard the "Steadfast", replica 1913 gaff-rigged pilot cutter. Students contributed to the citizen science project "Secchi Disk", a worldwide project monitoring water clarity, as well as hauling sails, navigation, using a traditional ship's log, wildlife identification and water sampling.

Water is an important resource and traditional focal point for Māori communities. In the modern world water is under threat from a variety of activities. To preserve natural waterways for future generations it is important to monitor their condition so problems can be identified and remedied. The chemistry project investigated key aspects of water quality monitoring and testing, discussion of why they are important, and how to assess the results. 

Humans have been exploring and utilising the properties of light for thousands of years. Many cultures have used star light for navigation, and fire to cook food and provide warmth and protection. Almost all modern technology uses light and its interation with matter in some way. The physics programme investigated how light can be bent by lenses, how different light wavelengths can be split up and examined, and how to measure the speed of light using a microwave and a block of chocolate.

The Wānanga attendees included:

  • 37 year 9-10 students
  • 7 teachers
  • 9 postgraduate students and academics

The Wānanga was delivered in collaboration with Waikawa Marae, Sustainable Seas Trust, and the Dodd-Walls Centre.