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Wellington High Wins BIG Science

>From the Royal Society of New Zealand For Immediate Release Friday 4 August 2006

Wellington High Wins BIG Science Adventures Competition

Sir Edmund Hillary announced the Wellington team the winner of the Freemasons-sponsored BIG Science Adventures video competition today. Students Hannah Newport, Josh Barnes, Joe Russell, teacher Mark Sweeney, and natural history film mentor Melissa Sapietra will depart on the ultimate science adventure – a trip to the Antarctic – in January 2007, the beginning of International Polar Year. Their expedition is part of Antarctica New Zealand's Youth on Ice programme.

To compete for this privilege, the six finalist teams had to make a 10-minute documentary of their week-long Big Science Adventure with New Zealand scientists working in the field. New graduates of the University of Otago Natural History film-making course went along as mentors and assisted with the editing. At an event at Queens Wharf today, the Royal NZ Navy piped dignitaries off the HMNZS Manawanui and 150 guests saw excerpts from the films before the announcement was made. The Navy were involved in transport for the teams travelling to the more remote BIG Science Adventure locations. The teams in the final were from Burnside High School, Nelson College, Pakuranga College, Pukekohe High School, Timaru Boys High School, and Wellington High School. Full details of their names, the location of their adventure, etc are listed at the end.

The 10-minute documentaries about their adventures were judged yesterday by a panel including: David Mace, Grand Master of Freemasons New Zealand; Dr Seddon Bennington, Chief Executive, Te Papa Tongarewa; Admiral David Ledson, Chief of Navy; Hon. Margaret Austin, Companion and Council Member of the Royal Society of New Zealand; Michael Stedman, Managing Director, Natural History New Zealand; and Emma Reid, Communications Manager, Antarctica New Zealand.

Speaking on behalf of Freemasons New Zealand, the competition sponsor, David Mace said, "What a heartbreaking task it was to pick a winner from these incredible documentaries. It was a very close thing. They were all excellent in every respect - their team work, their personal skills, the absolute dedication they showed in completing the documentaries which took some all-night editing sessions in some cases, and their ability to communicate the science story well. They all had a marvellous time on their adventures, and have the satisfaction of having produced a very high class piece of work."

Judge Michael Stedman said, "The Wellington High film tackled a difficult subject in a visually interesting way, with maturity and with good use of sequences and structure. This gave the film a very accessible story and took the audience comfortably into very complex science. The script was very controlled which gave the film a strong narrative, and the use of music supported some very visually interesting camera work."

ENDS

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