The Festival, which is in its fourth year, celebrates the fact that Lower Hutt nurtures science and innovation and is home to many high tech industries. The city’s science, technology, engineering, mathematics and manufacturing (STEMM) enterprises contribute more than $380 million to New Zealand’s economy, employ more than 3,500 people and support a Crown Research Institute, a government innovation precinct and four tertiary institutions.
The sky’s the limit (L-R): Dr Blank and Dr Cagle from NASA inspired and enthralled children at a STEMM Festival event at the Walter Nash Stadium last year.
While the festival begins tomorrow (1 May), it will officially be opened on Monday 7 May by Mayor of Lower Hutt, Ray Wallace, with guest speakers, the Minister of Research, Science and Innovation, Hon Dr Megan Woods and Professor Gary Evans from Victoria University’s Ferrier Institute.
The Festival, which has grown from one week to a full month, will include speakers, interactive workshops, conferences and other events for local residents, children, and businesses. Events will cover topics ranging from 3D Printing, self-driving cars and artificial intelligence to creatures that survive in the world’s harshest environments, what it’s like to be a plant, how to build a rocket and a celebration of World Metrology day – that’s the science of calibration and measurement.
There will be two Women in Technology breakfasts – an opportunity for women to network and hear discussions about closing the gender gap in ICT careers and the impact of technology on the future of work.
Free movies will include The Martian with some star gazing on 11 May and An Inconvenient Truth Sequel: Truth to Power on 24 May at Lower Hutt’s War Memorial Library.
Last year, as part of the festival, about 300 Lower Hutt school children were enthralled to hear about the work of two women from NASA: astronaut, Dr Yvonne Cagle and astro-biologist, Dr Jen Blank. This year, the interplanetary theme is continued with a day of rocket-related activities on Saturday 12 May. The Hutt City Libraries Rocket Day at Avalon Park will include launching waka water pressure rockets, a presentation about space rockets with a live launch demonstration; and a solid fuel model rocket-making workshop – bookings essential. As well as plenty of fun activities for children, teams of young boffins from local schools will compete in the Hutt Science STEMM student challenge on Tuesday 15 May.
Hutt STEMM Festival brochures will be available at Lower Hutt libraries, community hubs and from the Hutt City Council building on Laings Road, Lower Hutt.
For more information about the festival see: huttstemm.nz