Rotary Forum

By Clair Caird, Louis Whitburn and Tarren Loughran | Posted: Monday February 27, 2017

Over the last two weeks of the 2016/17 summer holidays, Louis Whitburn and Tarren Loughran and I had the wonderful opportunity of joining 165 other students from around Australia and New Zealand in attending the Rotary National Science and Technology Forum in Auckland.

The trip was an amazing experience, we were kept busy from six o'clock in the morning until ten o'clock at night doing a whole range of exciting activities. Each day we got to attend science and technology modules based at Auckland University, Massey University and the Auckland Institute of Technology. Other events included amazing speakers such as Dr Michelle Dickinson (AKA Nanogirl), visits to businesses such as TVNZ and Air New Zealand, a volleyball tournament and in our breaks, a chance to see the sights of Auckland. Highlights would include the mathematics module, which got us to rate different types of chocolate on the Hedonic scale, and visiting the AUT Millennium where we saw athletes such as Valerie Adams and Liam Malone training! The trip was a an incredible chance to experience what university life would be like, and over the course of the two weeks I made some lifelong friends. I would highly encourage others to apply in the future.

- Clair Caird. 


My highlights from the forum included the “technical options” visits. These ranged from the NZ Police to Labtests. The ones I visited were TVNZ, Landcare Research, and Air New Zealand.  

At TVNZ we got to have a look at some of their studios, and learnt about the auditing required for the lottery draw. We also saw the mixing rooms, the final transmission feed control room, and the news room.

At Landcare Research we were given a talk about the importance of fungi, and shown some of their collections of insects, moths, and fungal samples.

For me, Air New Zealand was the supreme highlight of the whole forum. We were given a tour of the maintenance facilities, the diagnostics facilities, and also went inside of a Boeing 777-300 cockpit.  We received a very privileged tour, as we were able to walk out through the apron to visit their main hangars, and see the maintenance areas while actual work was being done.

Overall the forum was a positive experience, and I enjoyed all of it.

- Louis Whitburn


I think that one of the quotes in the handbook, “It was everything I expected, but at the same time it was nothing like that at all,” (or something like that) perfectly encapsulates the forum experience.

The modules were really well put together, and helped to show the kind of stuff that we could be doing after we leave high school and go to University. But the overall feel of the forum was so chill and sort of laid-back, nothing like I was expecting whatsoever.

Everyone was friendly, open and willing to talk with the complete randoms that they had just met because everyone all shared a common interest, being science and technology.

For me the highlights were the crazy intense volleyball matches, as you had the entire gym roaring the team chants while the volleyball matches were on, the biomedical science module in particular, as we were able to dissect a sheep’s heart and lungs each, and meeting some amazing people that I won’t be forgetting any time soon. If you get shoulder-tapped and told that you should apply, definitely take the chance as it is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I’m really glad I seized.

- Tarren Loughran

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