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STEMFest Is Back With A Bang In 2021

Expect experiments and explosions as the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics festival STEMFest returns, promising an even bigger and better event for 2021.

The inaugural Tauranga STEM Festival (STEMFest) in 2019 attracted 3,500 visitors from across New Zealand. The event also scooped the TECT Community Awards for Event Excellence for its innovation and creativity.

Now, after being cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the free, family-friendly festival returns on Sunday 3 October 2021, in Tauranga’s Durham Street.

STEMFest organiser, registered charity STEM Wana Trust, hopes to attract 10,000 visitors in 2021 in its aim to engage and inspire a new generation of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians.

“STEMFest is interactive, it’s hands-on, it's experiments and explosions - it’s all based around STEM but learning by doing,” says STEM Wana Trust Founder Tia Lush.

“There is a global shortage of young people entering STEM fields and careers. If we want to create a workforce of future problem solvers in New Zealand, we need to engage them as young as possible and show how broad STEM is and what amazing opportunities there are.”

Hosting the event during the first weekend of the October school holidays will hopefully encourage holiday makers to the region, Lush adds, and stimulate activity in the Tauranga city centre.

“This is the biggest event of its kind in New Zealand. We had hundreds of visitors from other regions at the last event and there’ll be something to impress the whole family at this one-day extravaganza.

“We’ll be running a diverse programme to engage different communities and make STEM fields attractive and accessible, working closely with local organisations including the Pacific Island Community Tauranga Trust (PICTT) and Māori employment pathway group Kiwi Leaders.”

Highlights of STEMFest this year include an International Space Zone, capitalising on New Zealand’s high-flying space industry. Exhibitors will include NASA, the New Zealand Rocketry Association, and the NZ Astrobiology Society with its amazing planetarium.

Also featured is an AquaSTEM Zone which will showcase STEM opportunities around water, spearheaded by 2021 STEMFest ambassador and PhD student in Marine Biology, Natalie Prinz. Exhibitors will include the Coastal Marine Field Station, and Tauranga City Council with its water education programme.

There will also be a focus on the strong STEM knowledge base in the Bay of Plenty region, thanks to sponsorship from energy provider and generation company Trustpower, food science specialists Zespri and Comvita, engineering leader Beca Group, startup tech software company Lawvu, cloud software company Xero, and tertiary providers Toi Ohomai and University of Waikato.

“STEMFest is all about connecting all the amazing things that are already happening in this area and showcasing it in one celebratory day,” Lush says.

STEMFest will be preceded by a week of STEM in the Community activations run by STEM Wana Trust, including an outreach programme for schools in the Bay of Plenty area.

FREE Tickets for STEMFest will be released in September. Sign up on the website www.stemfest.nz to receive information and announcements of early bird tickets.

Please follow @stemfestnz on all the social media channels for more information.

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