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Pounamu: exploring a science savvy New Zealand in 2023

Pounamu: exploring a science savvy New Zealand in 2023

Monday August 12 - Media Release: Pounamu: exploring a science savvy New Zealand in 2023.

Date: August 29 12.00pm – August 30 12.00pm

Location: Anywhere with an internet connection

Issued by: The MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology

Mātini māmano ka rapa te whai
By many, by thousands, the work (project) will be accomplished

Pounamu is a free, browser based, online game set in a future world where EVERYONE in New Zealand can use science as easily as they can use a computer now. Anyone can play: from primary school students to research scientists, from young entrepreneurs to kuia and koro. New Zealanders can play from anywhere with an internet connection.

Pounamu is the brainchild of The MacDiarmid Institute’s Professor Shaun Hendy and Dr Stephanie Pride of StratEDGY Strategic Foresight . The game is run with the support of The Institute for the Future on their ‘Foresight Engine’.

First played in 2012 in conjunction with the Transit of Venus Forum, the game proved itself to be a powerful tool for encouraging scientists and the public to think in the long term: “Pounamu is one of the most effective forms of science communication I’ve ever seen in action” says Professor Hendy, winner of the Prime Minister’s Science Media Communication prize in 2012. “It’s not just about scientists putting information ’out there’, it’s about scientists engaging in a conversation with the New Zealand public.”

Dr Pride agrees, adding “A game like Pounamu creates the perfect platform for engaging everyone from senior research scientists to school students with our future issues and opportunities. The challenges we face over the next decade are going to demand solutions that are both smart and creative. Being playful is a powerful way to unleash creativity and generate engagement.

On August 29 and 30, Pounamu moves the conversation forward, asking New Zealanders to consider the questions:

With the new tools generated by science and technology, imagine the possibilities! How do we treasure and build on what we have—our land, people, knowledge and connections—to create prosperity, good health, sustainability, resilience and accessibility for all New Zealanders?

What will you create? Who will you work with? What will you invest in? What problems will you solve? What will you change?


Players post micro-forecasts (concise ideas - 140 characters, like twitter) of future possibilities and build on, or reshape other players’ ideas. A player can play for ve minutes and share one idea, or play for the whole game and post hundreds of possible futures. Points are gained by posting ideas that create more discussion, contributing interesting ideas to the game and winning awards. Players are encouraged to play with others to explore what they could do at home, in their businesses, in their communities, and in their rohe.

This year, Pounamu will have ’hubs’ scattered around the country, so players who want to play in teams, or don’t have access to the internet, or just want to play in a social environment, have the opportunity to do so. These public spaces include Te Papa in Wellington, selected branches of Auckland Libraries , The Gap Filler ’Pallet Pavillion’ café in Christchurch and Otago Muesum in Dunedin.

Funding to support the running of Pounamu comes from the Prime Minister’s Science Media Communication Prize, The MacDiarmid Institute, Allan Wilson Centre, Gravida, Maurice Wilkins Centre, Ngā Pae o te Māramatanga, Riddet Institute and The Bio-Protection Research Centre.

Visit to register to play, watch the game video, create your avatar and find more information about The World Of Pounamu.


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