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Science Spinners Bring STEM To 800 Māori And Pasifika Students

Dr Shen Hin with students from Morrinsville.

Friday, 8 July 2022, 4:00 pm

Press Release: Kudos Science Trust

Enabling STEM success and higher academic achievement for Pasifika young people is at the heart of the matter for Science Spinners 2022 who have been running their hands-on STEM engagement programme all week from Claudelands, Hamilton.

As Minister Aupito William Sio announces the opening of the 2023 Toloa Scholarship Fund to allow more young Pasifika to become scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians, Science Spinners is doing their part to inspire, inform and encourage Pasifika students to further their academic aspirations as well as explore some of the exciting careers STEM has to offer.

The Ministry of Pacific Peoples funded project kick-started in South Auckland at the Vodafone Events Centre on 29 June and today ends the 5 day event in Hamilton which was attended by high schools from South Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Rotorua.

More than 800 Māori & Pasifika students have received hands-on STEM education at Science Spinners in 2022, a completely free programme that brings together students, scientists, industry and experts under one roof to engage in the practical application of STEM across various careers and fields of science.

Kudos Science Trust CEO Soteria Ieremia says: “Many of our Pasifika students have had discouraging experiences learning science at school, it’s not a subject we easily relate to when taught in a traditional classroom setting. But put us in this environment and you will see our natural ability to problem solve”.

Science Spinners is Waikato-based Kudos Science Trust’s education and outreach arm to support science education and careers. One of their aims is improving Pasifika and Māori success across STEM as a whole.

Nearly 40 high schools attended the programme with hands-on STEM activities run by nearly 30 science organisations, tertiary institutions and award winning scientists who all volunteered their time to inspire our youth to keep developing their STEM potential whether through academic aspirations or through more practical training pathways.

Ieremia adds: “The Productivity Commission’s report 2020 said the New Zealand education system produces persistently poor outcomes for some young people, especially children in socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds and Māori and Pasifika students."

Puatala, a trades recruiting and transitions company has partnered with the Kudos Science Trust’s Science Spinners programme to highlight STEM in Trades.

Puatala general manager, Sam Nonoa, says: "We’re passionate about igniting an interest for Pasifika and Maori of opportunities related to STEM and connecting them to businesses that offer internships, cadetships and apprenticeships."

Several companies and organisations involved this year included Ventia, WEL Networks, CB Civil, BCD consulting, Downers, Manaaki Manawa Heart Health NZ, Te Kupenga and NIWA to name a few.

Internationally recognised scientists included robotics engineer, Dr Shen Hin Lim who combined sophisticated cameras with computer vision, machine learning and a novel cutting device to create a robot capable of picking asparagus at a commercially-viable speed.

Mayor of Hamilton Paula Southgate also stopped by to show her support before taking part in the event’s daily tiktok challenge.


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