Young Achievers’ Newsletter 9: January 2013

Young Achievers' Newsletter Masthead

I hope you have had a relaxing break and are enjoying your holidays so far.  It’s hard to believe that we are practically reaching the end of January already.

There are quite a lot of students to congratulate and there are also some international opportunities which I would encourage you to apply for if you are eligible. 

I would love to hear any of your news and happy to add it to the newsletter if you wanted.

All the best


Debbie Woodall
Talented School Student Programmes

2012 Genesis Energy Realise the Dream

Realise the Dream took place in mid December and was attended by 20 secondary school students who were selected for this prestigious event because they had undertaken an excellent piece of research of technology development.

They spent a week travelling through the North Island and were hosted by organisations such as NIWA, DairyNZ, Genesis Energy, Liggins Institute and Massey University.

On Friday 14 December an award ceremony took place at Government House which was hosted by the Governor-General.

Genesis Energy Realise the Dream 2012 awards


Winners of Awards at 2012 Genesis Energy’s Realise the Dream

Royal Society of New Zealand Peter Spratt Memorial Award

$2,000 Cash Scholarship
Winner: Kate Gear, 14, Taradale High School
Project: Cyber Bullying

Royal Society of New Zealand Travel Award

$1,000 cash scholarship, three days of organized visits and sightseeing in Sydney, and a very special sightseeing flight over Antarctica.
Winner: Timothy Harker, 17, Onehunga High School
Project: Investigating and predicting foot print size of the rare Duvaucel’s Gecko.

Royal Society of New Zealand Travel Award

$1,000 cash scholarship, three days of organized visits and sightseeing in Sydney, and a very special sightseeing flight over Antarctica.
Winner: Hamish McMillan, 18, John McGlashan College, Dunedin
Project: Will Varroa affect Honey Bee Diversity?

Institution of Professional Engineers NZ (IPENZ) Travel Award

An all expenses paid trip to attend the Taiwan International Science & Technology Fair in Taiwan in February 2013.
Winner: George Moon, 17, Burnside High School, Christchurch
Project: Creating an online management system where all students at Burnside can register for particular courses electronically.

DairyNZ Travel Award

An all expenses paid trip to attend the Taiwan International Science & Technology Fair in Taiwan in February 2013.
Winner: James Watson, 17, Burnside High School, Christchurch
Project: Designing and making of a robot that can solve the Rubik’s cube

DairyNZ Outstanding Award

This award includes a $3,000 cash scholarship, three days sightseeing in Sydney and the Antarctic sightseeing fly-over.
Winner: Nicolette Adamson, 17, Morrinsville College, Waikato
Project: Mastitis study in cows

New Zealand Commission for UNESCO Outstanding Award

This award includes a $3,000 cash scholarship, three days sightseeing in Sydney and the Antarctic sightseeing fly-over.
Winner: Minushika Punchichewa, 16, Palmerston North Girls’ High School
Project: Investigation in the genetics of White Clover

U.S. Ambassadors Outstanding Award

An all expenses paid trip to attend the INTEL Science Fair in Phoenix, Arizona in May 2013
Winner: Sohail Abdulla, 17, Mount Roskill Grammar School
Project: Designed and made a Robotic Window Cleaner

Genesis Energy Supreme Award

This award includes a $7.000 cash scholarship and an all expenses paid trip to attend the European Union Young Scientist Competition Prague in September 2013.
Winner: Hannah Ng, 18, St Cuthbert’s College, Auckland
Project: Study into Myopia – eye condition

For more information about all participants and their projects please go to

Recipients of the BayerBoost Scholarship

Congratulations to the six students selected for a BayerBoost Scholarship Award.  Two secondary school students and three undergraduate students are undertaking some amazing research during the summer break.

Name: Jessica Le Grice (Recipient of the Jessie Lineham Memorial Award)
From: Papakura High School
Host: Massey University (Albany Campus)
Project: Research and release of four juvenile New Zealand falcons (karearea) into the Hunua Ranges.

Name: Alexandra Tonks
From: Nelson College for Girls
Host: Cawthron Institute
Project: Applying various methods of dinoflagellate cyst identification to obtain data on the abundance of the toxic bloom Alexandrium catnella in the Marlborough Sounds.

Name: Rowan Smith-Waddell
From: Victoria University of Wellington
Host: Robin Simpson Design, Nelson
Project: Remediating a site in Mapua, Tasman Bay, using local materials and native plants. The project aims to build community trust in the site, which was once the most toxic site in New Zealand.

Name: Oliver Bone
From: Victoria University of Wellington
Host: NIWA
Project: Collecting water and sediment samples at a number of locations in Wellington Harbour and the Wellington South Coast to gather data on the microbial processes. The aim is to combine this data with water quality data collected by the Greater Wellington Regional Council to provide a more comprehensive view of the microbial community and the pressures it may be subject to.

Name: Evan Brenton-Rule
From: Victoria University of Wellington
Host: Victoria University of Wellington
Project: Participation in an ongoing research programme involving DNA extraction and analysis from wasp specimens. This project is an essential step towards the control of invasive common wasps, which are a major conservation problem in New Zealand native forest ecosystems.

Name: James Scoullar
From: University of Canterbury
Host: University of Canterbury, Department of Civil & Natural Resources Engineering
Project: Continuing the hydrological monitoring of six different pilot-scale green roof systems at the University of Canterbury for the purpose of future implementation in the Christchurch rebuild. The research will involve monitoring of soil moisture, run-off, rainfall, water quality and weather parameters throughout the duration of the project. The data will be used to estimate the optimal substrate of plan communities, as well as irrigation requirements for living roofs in Christchurch’s climate. 

Recipients of a FREESTA grant to attend Hands On Science, Dunedin

Congratulations to 43 students who received funding to attend Hands On Science.  We hope that you really enjoyed the experience.

FREESTA grant winners:

  • Alice Klein, Western Heights High School
  • Amy Lee, Rangi Ruru Girls School
  • Annabel Naokes, Wellington Girls College
  • Annie Richards, Taumarunui High School
  • Brittany Vining, Palmerston North Girls High
  • Caitlin McCarrigan, Wellington East Girls College
  • David Boddington, Aranui High School
  • Ella Madsen Reid, Westlake Girls High School
  • Fiona Wratt, Marlborough girls College
  • Gemma Lamont, Motueka High School
  • Hannah Brian, Wellington Girls College
  • Hannah Cook, Marlborough girls College
  • Hannah Kay-Hall, Okaihau College
  • Harry Elworthy, Takapuna Grammar School
  • Hazel Celeste, McAuley High School, Otahuhu
  • Hema Bansal, Palmerston North Girls High
  • Isabella Grant, Dunstan High School
  • Josh Davies, Horowhenua College
  • Juliet Briar Sherwood, Central Hawkes Bay College
  • Kate Fraser, Nelson College for Girls
  • Kelly Davenport, Nga Tawa Diocesan School
  • Leanne Adlam, Pakuranga College
  • Lucy Coyle, Pukekohe High School,
  • Madeleine Bell, Wellington East Girls College
  • Maggie Howie, Kerikeri High School
  • Maor Ben Shahar, Wellington College
  • Marnie Van Daalen, Rosehill College
  • Matthew Newman, Cllinane College
  • Mei Ong, Westlake Girls High School
  • Mekhala Anjaria, Upper Hutt College
  • Michael Fox, Otago Boys High School
  • Mikaylarjo Beets, Te Kura (Correspondence School)
  • Minushika Punchihewa, Palmerston North Girls High
  • Mitchell Bradley, Hastings Boys’ High School
  • Navodhi Delpachitra, Onslow College
  • Praise Li, Wellington Girls College
  • Sam Carter, Hastings Boys’ High School
  • Tiaina Urirau, Tereora College, Cooks Islands
  • Tiqvah Round, Pukekohe High School
  • Stephanie Tema, Pukekohe High School
  • Yi Wei Ng, Otag Girls High School
  • Zach Butters, Pukekohe High School

International opportunities for Yr12 and Yr13 students

London International Youth Science Forum  24 July – 7 August 2013

Open to Yr13 students only

LIYSF 2013 will explore the future developments in the sciences, with lecture demonstrations, specialist seminars and debates led by a team of scientists and experts and scientific visits. Support will be provided by the Talented School Students Travel award for some of the international travel, accommodation and registration costs.  For more information on what is involved in the two week programme please go to

USA International Space Camp, Huntsville, Alabama, (late July)

Open to students in Yr 12 or Yr 13

This is an opportunity for two students who have a passion for astronomy to participate in an international gathering, and experience the advanced space school program at Huntsville, Alabama. You require a passion for astronomy and if you are involved in an astronomy club then this would be an advantage. Support will be provided by the Talented School Students Travel Award to successful students for some of the international travel costs. Accommodation and registration costs are covered by the Space School.  

Professor Harry Messel International Science School  30 June – 13 July 2013 (Sydney)

Open to YR12 and Yr13 students

Join 140 high school students from 10 countries with talks on cutting edge research lead by leading scientists for two weeks of amazing experiences.  The theme for ISS 2013 is Nanoscience. Support will be provided by the Talented School Students Travel Award to successful students for some international travel and registration costs.

Youth ANZAAS (Australia New Zealand Association for Advancement of Science), Tasmania, July 2013

Open to Yr12 and Yr13 students

This is an opportunity for up to 5 students to experience a five day programme with Australian students. You will visit top scientific and technological institutions and be in involved in a hand-on programme. Support will be provided by the Talented School Students Travel Award to successful students for some international travel and registration costs.

Important information about applying for the above opportunities


  • Students must either be a New Zealand citizen or have permanent New Zealand residency
  • Students who apply should be excellent communicators and have a passion and aptitude for science in general or a particular area of science. Students should at least be studying 2 of the following sciences being Biology, Chemistry or Physics.
  • Extra curricular science activities may be an advantage.

Please send three (3) copies of your application which must be unstapled and unbound.

Each application needs to include:

  • Letter of recommendation from the principal and HOD Science
  • Letter from applicant outlining why they think they would make a good candidate for selection
  • A verified copy of NCEA results or equivalent
  • Brief CV (please include email address – maximum 2 pages)
  • Verified copy of passport or birth certificate
  • Application form which can be found on

Complete applications must be received by 4.00pm on Tuesday 26 March 2013 and sent to Debbie Woodhall, The Royal Society of New Zealand, PO Box 598, Wellington 6140. Fax: 04 473 1841, Phone 04 470 5762, Email:   Late applications will not be accepted.

What’s happening?


Makers, creators, tinkerers and inventors large and small are cordially invited to Makertorium, hosted by Te Papa. Makertorium is an interactive event containing spectacles, hands-on workshops, and a showcase of kiwi maker culture by innovators and Makerspaces from across New Zealand.

See robots, flying machines and 3D printers in action, with outdoor spectacles that will amaze and delight. Come to the 3D Printing Petting Zoo, play with LEDs, microcontrollers, wires and widgets, meet crafty folk or get hands-on with workshops for mini-makers. Make your own rocket or enter the Eggs Prize, a competition for school teams to move a free-range egg through challenges using ingenuity, engineering and design.

Makertorium – the first event of its kind in New Zealand – is a joint venture between The Wellington Makerspace, Makers Org NZ, Mohawk Media, SketchChair and Pixelbrid, supported by Wellington City Council and Te Papa to promote maker, creator and indie culture in New Zealand. Follow news @MakertoriumNZ

Public lecture: Roald Hoffmann, 13 February, Auckland

The MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, in association with the Royal Society of New Zealand and the Auckland Museum Institute, brings you a special opportunity to hear Nobel Laureate Roald Hoffmann.

Roald Hoffmann is a theoretical chemist and writer at Cornell University in the USA. Born in Poland, he survived the Holocaust thanks to the bravery of his parents and the kindness of a Ukrainian teacher and his family who hid him and his mother in a schoolroom attic. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1981.

In this generously illustrated lecture, he will present several views of chemistry, stressing its psychological dimension and its tie to the arts.

Details: 6pm Wednesday 13 February 2013, Auckland Museum Events Centre. Attendee $15, RSNZ/AMI member $10, Student $10. Buy tickets

Callaghan Symposium, 18-19 February, Wellington

A celebration of the life and works of Sir Paul Callaghan GNZM FRS FRSNZ will be held in Wellington on 18 and 19 February. The event is a partnership between the MacDiarmid Institute and Victoria University of Wellington. 

Day 1 will cover the full scope of Sir Paul Callaghan’s scientific career.

Day 2 will include the following topics with collections of 15 minute presentations:

  • Who was Paul?
  • Economic prosperity including pest-free New Zealand
  • Smart tech/commercialisation
  • Science communication/outreach.

The event is free of charge. For more information and to register, visit the webpage or email with “Paul Callaghan Symposium” as the subject header.

Cave art in France and New Zealand – comparative research and public seminars

Professor Jean Clottes, a world-renowned French archaeologist and cave art expert, will travel to New Zealand in February 2013 for an exchange of scientific knowledge. He will meet with New Zealand researchers working in this field, and focus on Maori rock art, while making comparisons with rock art found in caves in France, with particular focus on the Chauvet Cave.

He will give public seminars in: 

  • Christchurch on 15 February;
  • Wellington on 17 February;
  • Auckland on 24 February.

More details available soon. 

Public lecture by Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell (Oxford) – “We are Made of Star Stuff,” 29 January, Auckland

Our bodies contain atoms of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and a number of other elements. How did these atoms come to be in our bodies? Where did they originally come from? This talk shows that we are indeed made of star dust, that we are children of the stars.

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell DBE FRS FRAS is an eminent British astronomer and an exceptional lecturer. She discovered the first radio pulsars, which is recognised as one of the greatest astronomical discoveries of the 20th century. She has received many medals, awards and honours for her work in astronomy.

Dame Jocelyn’s visit is in conjunction with the International Conference New Zealand and the Beginnings of Radio Astronomy – A Process of Discovery.

Details: 6pm Tuesday 29 January, AUT Conference Facility, AF Building, North Shore Campus, 90 Akoranga Drive, Northcote. All welcome. Parking available.

Victoria sciences courses open to the public

Victoria Community Continuing Education is offering the public the chance to attend some mainstream Victoria University science courses without having to do assessments or sit exams.

Climate Science and Decision-Making (SCIE 401) is an intensive 4-week course suitable for graduate students, policy analysts, CRI, city and regional council employees, and people in the private sector working on environmental issues. It starts on 21 January. For more information contact Rhian Salmon (

Revolutions in Science (SCIE 302) is a fully online course starting on 4 March. This course is suited to anyone interested in history and science.

You can see more about these courses and enrol on our website…

Elements of History: This course examines the social and cultural history of selected chemical elements, such as nitrogen, platinum, hydrogen and radium. You will learn about the discovery of these elements, the political and economic consequences of the resulting technologies and the cultural impact on human societies.

Find out more and enrol at:

Follow the Royal Society of New Zealand on Facebook and Twitter

Get timely updates from the Royal Society of New Zealand team via our Facebook and Twitter channels.