2021 Festival 8-18 July

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 Amadeo 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 scifest.org.nz