Upcycled food, edible insects and rat trap: the festival with a successful formula

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The New Zealand International Science Festival features over 100 unique events from July 8-18.

New Zealand International Science Festival / Supplied

The New Zealand International Science Festival features over 100 unique events from July 8-18.

Foodies bought tickets for a three-course meal that included foods often destined for scrap.

It costs $ 10 to reserve a seat at the table and diners will be asked to “pay as you see fit” in the evening.

The Recycled Catering Dinner is one of hundreds of events being held as part of the New Zealand International Science Festival in Dunedin from Thursday to July 18.

Festival director Dan Hendra said the festival was the only one of its kind in the country and had lasted for more than two decades.

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“It’s really unique. Science festivals are a worldwide phenomenon… but New Zealand just hasn’t quite got it.

A ‘micro’ version of the biennial event took place last year, weeks after the country emerged from Level 4 lockdown, Hendra said.

While Covid-19 had affected the international portion of the event, the online program had generated great interest from outside Dunedin, particularly from Christchurch and Auckland.

Just over 100 unique events were planned and many would be repeated during the festival.

The live science program is entirely devoted to chemistry.

New Zealand International Science Festival / Supplied

The live science program is entirely devoted to chemistry.

Hendra said most of the events were “hands-on hands-on experiences” aimed at children and coincided with the school holidays starting on Monday.

The experiments included approaching a 4-meter replica moon based on NASA footage and stage shows featuring explosions, ice and smoke.

The live performances were to attract several thousand people, while around 30,000 were to attend the entire festival.

Some adult-themed events, such as the Recycled Food Experience, sold out within days.

“It’s not unusual,” Hendra said.

Stargazing is one of the events offered at the New Zealand International Science Festival.

New Zealand International Science Festival / Supplied

Stargazing is one of the events offered at the New Zealand International Science Festival.

Another event costing $ 2 a ticket included a lecture on the history and research of edible insects and even included a tasting.

“One of our long-term strategies is to make it as accessible as possible. “

The strategy meant, for example, that customers could take a free round-trip bus from anywhere in town to the festival in its first week and for live performances that Saturday.

“It’s little things like that that we merged to make everything more accessible.”

Companies such as Miter 10 have also been involved. The hardware store offered workshops on building rat trapping tunnels, insect hotels and bird feeders, Hendra said.

Corporate partnerships reduced the cost of tickets and participants were able to learn pragmatic skills that would benefit New Zealand’s natural environment.

Or they could look at the dissection of a sheep’s heart, or look at some unusual specimens inside the University of Otago Anatomy Museum.

It is not rocket science.

Visit scifest.org.nz for more information.


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