May 29th, 2024

Calling all volunteers

SciFest is seeking a team of enthusiastic people to help out at this year’s NanoFest, from 10-14 July, and at a special Matariki event on 29 June. A variety of roles are available including hands-on activity leaders, AR assistants, ticket takers & general event supervisors. Keen to help us bring the science to the people? Click here to find out more!

May 10th, 2024

Festival Hub

This year's free and family-friendly Festival Hub will be located in the Tūhura Otago Museum's HD Skinner Annex. Stop by daily from 10-14 July for a rotating selection of interactive hands-on science! We'll also have some workshops going on upstairs and a handful of other events at venues around town. The full programme will launch on 7 June - stay tuned!

September 6th, 2023

Introducing the NZISF Podcast!

Many of the panel talks and discussions held as part of the 2023 Science Festival in July were recorded and are now available as a podcast! Talks include:

  • Playwriting Panel with Tim Jackson

  • Post Growth: Life After Capitalism - with Tim Jackson

  • Healthier Kiwis 

  • Enabling Kaitiakitanga

  • Feeding Aotearoa

  • Liveable Cities

  • AI and the Workforce

  • Antimicrobial Resistance

  • Tackling Food Waste Together (coming soon!) 

Find us here or wherever you get your podcasts.

May 25th, 2023

Volunteers wanted!

NZISF is now recruiting volunteers to help at our events. We have a range of opportunities on offer. Click the link below to apply.

SciFest Volunteer Application

May 23rd, 2023

Festival Programme is Live!

Welcome to the 2023 New Zealand International Science Festival! We are thrilled to bring you more than 90 events in venues all across Dunedin from 30 June - 9 July. Tickets are now on sale, so don't delay! We've got everything from stage shows to panel talks, tours to tastings, hands-on workshops to museum exhibitions. Check out our full programme here:

May 15th, 2023

2023 Festival Programme: coming soon!

Get excited! The 2023 New Zealand International Science Festival's programme will launch on 25 May. The programme will be available digitally right here on our website and in The Star newspaper. Print copies will be available outside our office at 19 George Street and in a number of other public locations around Dunedin. Tickets will go on sale the same day, so don't delay!

November 21st, 2022

Call for Ideas

Do you have a great idea or project you'd like to share with the community? We are now accepting applications to run an event for our next festival in Ōtepoti Dunedin in July 2023!

For more information and how to apply, check out our event host page here:

We look forward to working with you to put on another excellent festival!

Any questions? E-mail us: [email protected]

June 20th, 2022

Call for Artists

Hey artists! Want to have an amazing (and FREE) VR experience? We are currently looking for artists of all backgrounds to spend a few hours creating art in the virtual world on our VR Artist's Stage. The work you create will be projected on a large digital display behind you for the public to enjoy. Never tried art in VR before? No worries! The software is incredibly intuitive and easy to use and we can also offer you a chance to practice before you hit the stage. Interested? Get in touch with Festival Director Jerome Cousins ([email protected] or 021 186 5137) to learn more! Spaces are limited, so don't delay.

June 20th, 2022

Volunteers Wanted!!

We are seeking a team of enthusiastic people to help out at this year’s NanoFest from 14-17 July. A variety of roles are available including hands-on activity leaders, VR centre assistants, ticket takers & general event supervisors. Keen to help us bring the science to the people? Fill out our volunteer application here:

Note that we have limited roles available. Applications due 1 July. Volunteer roles subject to availability. More information can be found here:

June 20th, 2022

VR Centre open early

Have you heard? We're opening up our VR Centre on the weekend ahead of NanoFest to provide another activity option for families on the weekend the All Blacks are in town! Get a sneak peak at the Centre when we pop open on 9 & 10 July in the Meridian Mall from 10am - 4:30pm. Then come back again during NanoFest! Tickets are on sale now:

March 1st, 2022

That's a wrap!

Thanks so much for being a part of our 2021 Festival - this festival was our biggest event ever, and we are so happy with the result.

As ever, the festival would not be possible without our sponsors, supporters and volunteers - thank you to you all! And thank you to everyone who came out! NZISF is your Science Festival, and we really appreciate the enthusiasm and support of our community, and the enjoyment you receive from it.

See you in 2022!

November 3rd, 2021

Goodbye Dan, Hello Jerome

Shortly after the conclusion of this year's Science Festival, Director Dan Hendra left his role to take up a new job as the Team Leader of Events at the Dunedin City Council. Dan has led the Science Festival team since 2017 and has been responsible for growing the Festival to new heights, culminating in our most successful Science Festival yet this July. Dan, we thank you for 5 years of dedication to making science education fun and accessible for people of all ages. You will be missed and we wish you all the best in your future endeavours!

Saying goodbye gives us an opportunity to say hello, so let us introduce our new Festival Director, Jerome Cousins! Jerome comes to us from the University of Otago, where he has worked as an events specialist. His background also includes science communication at Otago Museum and theatre production which means he's pretty well placed to hit the ground running. Welcome to the festival, Jerome! We can't wait to see where it goes with you at the helm.

September 20th, 2021

Festival Director wanted

June 30th, 2021

Free Travel to the Science Fest

The Otago Regional Council is a proud sponsor of the New Zealand International Science Festival, running from 8-18 July during the school holidays.

If you are planning on going, consider taking the bus at only $2 one way with a Bee Card (including free transfers).

Orbus will also be offering free travel for the University Expo at the Otago Business School and the Big Science Show at the University of Otago’s Teacher’s College Auditorium on the weekend of the 10th and 11th of July.

Festival director Dan Hendra says, “We are delighted by a new initiative from one of our key sponsors for this year’s festival, the Otago Regional Council, who have made science even more accessible by providing a number of free services across the festival period. This aligns strongly with our strategy to make science accessible to everyone, everywhere.”

The terms and conditions for free travel are as follows: Passengers should show the Orbus advert from the official Science Festival programme to the driver (or say they are attending the science festival) to get free return bus travel. This is to any bus stop in the tertiary precinct on Albany Street, Clyde Street, Union Street East and Harbour Terrace when travelling on routes 14, 15, 37, 38 and 63 on Saturday the 10th and Sunday the 11th July 2021.

June 3rd, 2021

NZ Science Festival announces massive 2021 programme, over 100 events.

The New Zealand International Science Festival in Dunedin has announced its full 2021 programme, its largest and most diverse to date. The Festival, which takes place in the July school holidays (8-18) features even more events for every age bracket and every interest level. 

Festival Director Dan Hendra remarked “We have received more support than ever before, which has meant that we have been able to expand the scope of what the Festival can be, and turn it into a world-class science festival - up there with the world’s biggest and best.” 

Big Science Show with returns for the first weekend of the Festival. Expect the usual bangs, pops, thrills and spills which are a part of the always popular festival event. This year, the Festival has engaged local comedian and playwright Abby Howells to write the show, and Alex Wilson to direct. Howells has just one ‘The Director’s Award” award at the NZ International Comedy Festival for her show HarleQueen.

In addition, the Festival will also present a second science show with the University of Otago’s Chemistry Department during the final weekend of the Festival. Bang! Science Show, also written and directed by Howells and Wilson respectively, follows Dr. Frankenstein and her assistant Igor in her pursuit to become a supervillain!

The Festival is excited to present Our Moon: Then Now and Beyond, an installation artwork by British artist Luke Jerram. The work, a 4m diameter inflatable sphere with a high-resolution NASA photograph of the Moon that will be suspended inside Hanover Hall, an early 20th century red brick church, for the second half of the Festival. The Moon will play host to a number of other events, such as yoga, the Space Frontiers Exhibition, storytime for children, and much more.

The Festival is thrilled to announce that Tiny Ruins' Hollie Fullbrook will perform a very special solo show underneath Luke Jerram's Moon sculpture. Celebrating the 10th anniversary of her debut album 'Some Were Meant for Sea', the celebrated New Zealand songwriter will play an intimate show directly underneath the massive glowing sculpture, in the ambient setting of Hanover Hall after dark.

The CODE Virtual Reality & Gaming Centre will transport attendees to other worlds. The VR & Gaming Centre has proven extremely popular in the past, offering the public the opportunity to experience the latest in Virtual Reality technology. This time the Centre will be located in the old Aotea Gifts shop at 19 George Street, as a part of the Science Festival Trail, a walking trail leading to Festival hubs and venues all within 20 minutes’ walk of the Octagon.

On the opening night, the Festival presents Science in the Spotlight, a fireside chat between Festival patron Helen Anderson, the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor Dame Juliet Gerrard, and the chair of the Climate Change Commission Rod Carr. The panel will discuss the challenges faced by climate change, as well as the massive leaps forward that science is currently making and those that science will need to make, in order to tackle future challenges.

The Festival is reimagining play with the Imagination Playground, where children can build and engineer their own structures with giant blue building blocks. The Municipal Chambers will play host to Imagination Playground, which will mark the starting point of the Festival's walking trail.

Open now as a part of a series of lead up events, Slice of Life: The World Famous Dunedin Study provides an overview of the Dunedin Study, it's methods, and its major findings and celebrates the lives of the Study Members. The exhibition is open 10am-4pm every day leading up to and through the Festival at 375 Andersons Bay Road.

A regular staple in the science festival programme during the first weekend, the University of Otago’s Science Expo invites visitors to explore the range of different departments and research taking place at the tertiary institute. The Expo features a myriad of exciting activities for kids and adults across dozens of different scientific disciplines in the Otago Business School. 

The Festival will also play host to two conferences during the event. Over two days, Science Teller is bringing together some of the best thinkers and doers on sustainability. From dealing with climate change to engineering our way into a sustainable future, this is about more than just imagining a better world for us; it’s about creating a more sustainable future. Additionally, the Association for Women in the Sciences (AWIS) Triennial Conference provides an opportunity for women working in or supporting the sciences to develop skills to support their professional advancement, and opportunities to learn from and network with other women working in the sciences.

As usual, there are extensive programmes being hosted at familiar Science Festival venues including Mitre 10 Mega, who will present a Backyard Builders programme for kids. The Meridian Mall, Golden Centre Mall and Otago Museum will also host an engaging programme of activities and workshops in the lead up to and during the Festival, and Petridish will be the hub for a full programme of panel discussions and talks for adults, including a fireside chat with Dr Siouxsie Wiles.

All of these event details and the full Festival programme of over 100 events are available now, and tickets are available at

May 6th, 2021

More stellar events announced as part of the 2021 New Zealand International Science Festival

Creating young engineers with giant building blocks and an up-close experience with the Curiosity Rover, mathematicians with geometric papercraft, and ecologists with an indoor forest are just some of the fantastic experiences added to the 2021 Science Festival lineup today! 

The Festival is thrilled to be announcing additional events to its largest and most dynamic festival to date. With over 150 events planned, the Festival team are excited for what is to come this year. The full programme will be revealed in early June, leaving over a month for participants to plan their Festival experience, which spans eleven days around the July school holidays. 

The Festival will open with Science in the Spotlight, a fireside chat between Festival patron Helen Anderson, the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor Dame Juliet Gerrard, and the chair of the Climate Commission Rod Carr. The discussion will focus on the challenges we face, as well as the massive leaps forward science is making toward tackling our future climate crisis.

NZISF is thrilled to present the Maths Craft Festival, a free event as part of the festival, hosted at the Dunedin Town Hall. Co-founded and run by mathematicians Dr Jeanette McLeod and Dr Phil Wilson, the event is dedicated to bringing maths to the masses, through craft. Over the past five years, Maths Craft have run festivals and workshops all over the country, and now, armed with crochet hooks and origami paper, Maths Craft is coming to the New Zealand International Science Festival for the first time.

Imagination Playground is a kids building and engineering experience where participants are encouraged to build whatever structure their mind can muster with giant blue building blocks.  Imagination Playground will form part of the Science Festival Trail, a chain of activities available within 10 minutes walk of the Octagon. Festival director Dan Hendra is thrilled to be able to present Imagination Playground in Dunedin for the first time, which will become a mainstay of future festivals.

The University of Otago’s Dunedin Study exhibitionSlice of Life’, launched at Toitū in 2018 with rave reviews, and which has been on the road ever since, returns home and will join in the 2021 Festival’s line up. The exhibition will be held at the old Smith’s City building in South Dunedin and run from the beginning of June.

Unleash your inner detective with The Science of Crime series, which will put forensic science under the microscope and take attendees deeper into the science of crime scene investigation. Forget what TV crime drama has taught you - this is the real deal. Conceived and presented by a forensic science expert, The Science of Crime offers a number of different experiences suitable for young children through to teenagers and adults.

The Festival, in cooperation with the Meridian Mall and the Dunedin City Council, will be establishing an indoor forest experience for the duration of the festival which accompanies hands-on activities exploring the world around us. The Outside/Inside Forest will contain hundreds of plants, donated for the week by the Ribbonwood Nurseries.

The Golden Centre Mall will play host to the Victoria University of Wellington’s replica of NASA’s Curiosity Rover, which is an operational model of the robot which touched down on the Martian surface in August 2012 and continues to broadcast data back to earth to this day. The replica rover will be available for viewing on the second weekend of the Festival.

The full programme will be available in The Star newspaper as an insert on Thursday 3rd June 2021 and at

The festival is made possible thanks to our long term major partners, the Dunedin City Council, the University of Otago, and the Otago Community Trust, all who share our vision of making science accessible for everyone. 

March 17th, 2021

Brace yourself, serious science is set to explode as part of International Science Festival

What does the moon, running with dinosaurs, and explosive science have in common? It’s all happening as part of this year's New Zealand International Science Festival! The Festival is thrilled to be launching their largest and most dynamic festival to date. Usually a biennial event, participants are in for a rare treat as the festival is set to run for a second consecutive year throughout the city of Dunedin this July school holidays (8th - 18th)  after a year of disruptions due to COVID-19, and having to reduce the 2020 festival to a nano size edition. 

With over 150 events planned in the pipeline, the Festival team are excited for what is to come this year. The full programme will be revealed two weeks earlier than in previous years, leaving a full five weeks for participants to plan their Festival experience, which spans a longer season of eleven days this year. 

In lieu of international guests, the Festival Director, Dan Hendra, says he is electrified that they are able to present an artwork by British artist Luke Jerram who is renowned worldwide for his sculptures, large installations, and live artwork. “To bring a global artwork of this calibre to Dunedin as part of the festival is just brilliant, as it’s such an out of this world spectacle to see”, says Mr Hendra. Presented in the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra’s Hanover Hall, Our Moon: Then, Now and Beyond is a way to experience Earth’s moon like never before. A four metre diameter sphere featuring a high resolution image of the moon’s surface and illuminated from within will be suspended from the ceiling of the 100 year old church. This artwork is presented by the Nelson Provincial Museum (Tasman Bays Heritage Trust) and in partnership with the Rātā Foundation, Cawthron Institute and the Embassy of the USA.

Back by popular demand the Festival have levelled up their virtual reality experiences, this time by building a Pop-Up Virtual Reality and Gaming Centre dedicated to some of the latest virtual reality experiences from around the globe. Walk on the moon, kayak the Grand Canyon or run amongst dinosaurs! This is an immersive experience like no other with the latest headsets on offer to play, engage and discover new worlds. To accompany the virtual reality experiences the Festival have partnered with CODE and the local gaming industry to showcase the incredible work being done right here in Dunedin.    

The Big Science Show was a standout at the 2020 Festival, and the team are excited for what they have in store for this year. Thanks to support from a DCC Arts grant, the festival has been able to further combine theatre and science to dramatically boost it’s capability, working with Dunedin playwright and comedian Abby Howells to write the show, and local theatre director and founder of Arcade Theatre Company Alex Wilson to direct. With all the serious fun of previous shows plus many new wow-factor experiments, expect to go through an explosive journey all in the name of science. 

The Festival is launching with some changes this year. For the first time since its inception, the Festival has undergone a major rebrand. The new brand identity was produced by Dunedin design and marketing agency Walsh & Beck, and the accompanying website was designed by Astronaut Digital with funding support from our long term partners, the Otago Community Trust.

The full programme will be available in The Star newspaper as an insert on Thursday 3rd June 2021 and at, with a second programme announcement on the 6th of May 2021.

March 15th, 2021

Festival rebrand revealed

You may have noticed that things are looking very slick around here lately. For this first time in over 20 years, the festival has undergone a major rebrand, which has brought us into the 21st century. The new logo is thanks to our friends at Walsh and Beck, just down the road.

We also have our amazing hero image for the 2021 Science Festival, which has been created for us by Gwilym Devey, who is a Wellington based illustrator continuing the adventures of the Science Festival robot. You can check out more of his work here.

And the slick website on which you are currently surfing was put together by our friends over at Astronaut Digital with funding support from our wonderful long term partners, the Otago Community Trust. Whether you're on a laptop, phone, tablet, or whatever other device you may be viewing this on, you certainly hope you are finding your way around with ease.