Toitū & Immersing Oneself in the Past

Photo Journal time again! This time it’s Toitū, Otago Settlers Museum. Toitū was reopened last December, and has been a local success since.

Inside the entrance of Toitū

Inside the entrance of Toitū

With various displays, ranging from Maori explorers and first settlers, to what the future of this little city could be it’s quite the experience. It also features the latest in interactive museum exhibit technology, with touchscreen interactive displays located throughout the museum.

First Great City interactive display

First Great City interactive display

There is also a research centre where anyone can research Toitū’s collections on Dunedin and it’s inhabitants. There is even a small section on Creative Cities!

Creative Dunedin - The story of Dunedin's literary past

Creative Dunedin – The story of Dunedin’s literary past

All in all a fun place to go for an hour, or an afternoon, however much time you have! It can be a learning experience if you want it to be, or it can simply be a good place to immerse yourself in the city’s past.

The photo journal can be found here on the blogs imgur site

Eureka!

Eureka!

Eureka! t-shirt all the finalists were given, I love mine.

So while this blog is about Dunedin, it is also about me, just a little bit at least. Over a week ago I went to Wellington as a finalist of the Eureka! Symposium. I was selected a few months ago along with 11 other finalists, from both secondary and tertiary institutions across the country. The Eureka! Symposium is the platform for the Sir Paul Callaghan Awards for Young Science Orators, each finalist had to give a twelve minute presentation on their topic, and then there was four minutes of questions from the judges. Sounds simple enough. I wish.

In reality, preparing for the presentation took me around 2 to 3 weeks of work. With three days of intensive preparation of rehearsing, and rehearsing, and rehearsing my presentation to my science mentor and other members of staff with ten minutes to spare. And I still felt under-prepared on the day. Public speaking has never really been something I had felt confident doing, I still would not say that I even enjoy it, but it is one of the most important forms of communication. When I finish university and get a job, I will have to pitch ideas to clients. As much as I may want to just to have these great concepts and ideas in my head, a desire and ability to get them down on paper before I make them something physical and tangible I need to be able to explain them to other people to get anywhere with them.

And so I force myself at every opportunity to do public speaking in whatever form it may be, so I get better at it and, eventually I hope, no longer find it so scary! Eureka! was a perfect opportunity at doing exactly that, and even better to a willing audience who wanted to listen to what I had to say.

I had a wonderful two and a half days in Wellington. I met some really passionate science communicators, along with many people in industry who I would have never felt able to sustain a conversation with, let alone that they would be interested in my opinions on science education and communication. My greatest surprise was just how many people enjoyed my presentation. I thought it was good but I never expected so many people, important people especially, to have actually enjoyed it so much that they wanted to come and speak to me personally to tell me! Kim Hill liked my presentation.

So while I won a Sir Paul Callaghan Merit Award, with Sebastian Hallum Clarke taking the Highly Commended Secondary School Runner Up Award, Lara Sweetapple taking the Highly Commended Undergraduate Runner Up Award and Evan Brenton-Rule taking the Premier Award, I wasn’t even disappointed, because New Zealand’s most well respected broadcaster liked my presentation.

Me and fellow finalist Ratu Mataira

Me and fellow finalist Ratu Mataira – Photography by Hayley Smith

Oh, and I forgot to mention, I met the Governor-General and had dinner at Government House!

Eureka! Group Shot

Eureka! Group Shot – Photography by Hayley Smith

So please, go watch the finalist presentations, they were all phenomenal. Also, Evans interview with Kim can be found here

Dunedin Midwinter Carnival

The Dunedin Midwinter Carnival has been held annually in Dunedin since 1997. This years theme was ‘Journey’s of Discover’ and the lanterns were simply amazing. I went along with some friends to watch the precession and soak up the atmosphere of Midwinter Solstice. We had a fantastic time, and the festivities were very enjoyable. The stalls that lined the central Octagon were selling food and drinks, all of which smelt amazing.

IMG_7151

HMS Endeavour Lantern

The Dunedin Medieval Society was offering Mulled Wine and Cider, and serving in costume none the less! Unfortunately I had driven and only had so much cash (I will be better prepared next year!). So we decided to just get some Churros, and they were definitely a winner for us.

I am always my happiest when I have food!

I am always my happiest when I have food!

After the precession had finished there were fireworks, followed by live music from Tahu & The Tahakes, all of whom were dressed suitably for the event and weather! There was also a fire poi performance, which was quite enjoyable.

Tahu & The Takahes

Tahu & The Takahes

For me though, I think my favourite memory will be all the kids from the precession running around, followed quickly by their parents, dutifully carrying their children’s lanterns for future posterity.

Sailing on to the next adventure!

Sailing on to the next adventure!

The album for my photos can be found here.

Audacious Top 40 Awards

Award Ceremonies always have such wonderful mood lighting!

Award Ceremonies always have such wonderful mood lighting!

Thursday night was the 9th annual Audacious Top 40 Awards, having participated in the competition last year I volunteered myself to go help set up the event and help out the wonderful audacious team. Setting up was fun, I got to move some really cool furniture around, have a good natter to my friends, and better still I got to have a look round the newly renovated Sargood Centre.

Before the Sargood Centre, as it is now named, the buildings original purpose was as an Art Gallery for the New Zealand & South Seas International Exhibition that Dunedin held in 1925. After the exhibit closed, the building was purchased by Mr and Mrs P R Sargood (the inspiration for the buldings new name), who bestowed it to the city, it was then the cities Art Gallery until a new one was later built nearer the city centre, and until 2011 was home to the New Zealand Academy of Sport. It’s current incarnation as the Sargood Centre makes it a hub for the Otago Polytechnic Institute of Sport and Adventure and Sport Otago.

So with that little history lesson, I’ll get back to the main event, Audacious. The Audacious Awards is a student entrepreneurship competition, open to Otago Polytechnic and Otago University students and is sponsored by Upstart, WHK and the Dunedin City Council. Running across both semesters,  the Top 40 Awards mark the end of stage one of the competition, only competitors awarded a Top 40 place can continue on into stage two of the competition.

Now, I’m quite fond of this competition, I actually competed last year and won a special category award! However my former glory is not the reason I am so fond of it, it’s the sense of community I got from the other competitors, the audacious team, and the people who devote their time and energy into helping out with the competition. I made some great friends last year, and I also got to know that I could achieve so much more that I had ever expected of myself. That award was the first thing I had ever won in my life. I was 21 and I had just realised I had the potential and ability to make something of my life. It was fantastic, but it would not have been possible without all the time, effort and help from the people I met through Audacious.

Now while Audacious is a business competition, it’s about innovative ideas. You can’t have an innovative business idea without a large dollop of creativity, and from the brief descriptions of the winners last night, there were some really creative ideas and businesses out there.

Full house inside the Sargood Centre

Full house inside the Sargood Centre

I thoroughly enjoyed myself on Thursday night, I wish all the Top 40 winners luck in the next stage of the competition, I truly hope you have as much fun as I did last year.

And just for laughs, here on page 7, is the Critic article on last years stage two award ceremony.