Sparking innovation

One of our favourite events every year is the Aurora Energy Otago Science and Technology Fair.  

We are proud to foster science and technology in the Otago region. Since 2004, we have been the prime sponsor of the annual Aurora Energy Otago Science and Technology Fair, supporting the thinking behind some of New Zealand’s youngest scientists. We congratulate the many students who participate in the Fair each year with the support and inspiration of their teachers and families.  

The 2023 Fair

The 2023 Aurora Energy Otago Science and Technology Fair attracted 298 entries representing 23 schools in Dunedin and across Central Otago.

The winner of the Aurora Energy Premier Award, Best in Fair 2023, was Megha Senthilkumar (a Year 11 student from St Hilda’s Collegiate School). Megha’s project was on “Sleep and the wellbeing of adolescence: A national survey”. 

Megha conducted a nationwide secondary school survey on sleeping habits and received an incredible 800 responses from students across 200 schools!

The judges were impressed with all projects, particularly those ones which spurred from personal interest. Congratulations to all the students who participated!

Pictured: Aurora Energy Secondary Systems Manager Abdul Saboor, Best in Fair winner Megha Senthilkumar, Aurora Energy Chief Executive Richard Fletcher, and Ōtepoti Dunedin Deputy Mayor Sophie Barker.

Teacher resources

If your students want to get involved here is the information you need to get started.  

More information 

Please contact Steve Sexton, Fair Convenor, if you have any questions.  


NZ Institute of Physics Logo - the institute for professional physicists

Previous winners of the Aurora Energy Premier Award - Best in Fair 

2022 – Matthew Petegem-Thach a Year 8 student from Taieri College, for his entry 'The Cubeinator'.  

2021 – Satoshi Tomita a Year 13 student from John McGlashan College, for his entry 'Investigating solar panel efficiency with shading'. He also took home an Aurora Excellence in Energy Prize. 

2020 – Olivia Charles and Maia Robertson (with help from Angela Fu and Chloe Heineke) Year 12 students from Columba College, for their entry 'Mummifying Rats? Of Corpse!' 

2019 – Aaron Hewson, Year 12, King's High School for his project on "Investigating Chlorophyll concentration of Hound's Tongue Fern at Orokonui Ecosanctuary" 

2018 – Ollie Meikle, Year 13, Kavanagh College for his project "Ambulance at the bottom of the cliff" an investigation into the relationship between leaf pigmentation and New Zealand's native horopito and predation at Orokonui eco-sanctuary 

2017 – Corrie Anderson, Year 13, Columba College for her project "Horopito: Insecticidal properties and chemical structure analysis of a New Zealand native plant" 

2016 – Aaron Nelson, Year 7, Balmacewen Intermediate for his project "RATs" – a Robotic Automatic Table-setter 

2015 – Samuel Hulbe Pulver and Timothy Hulbe Pulver, Year 7, Dunedin North Intermediate for their project "Do I look like a scientist to you?", exploring non-conscious gender bias 

2014 – Meran Campbell-Hood, Year 12, Logan Park High School, Dunedin for her project "North by North-West" on the detection of soil nutrients using digital photography of plants 

2013 – Grant McNaughton, Year 10, Logan Park High School, Dunedin for his project "Branching Out", testing a Leonardo da Vinci theory about trees 

2012 – Hamish McMillan, Year 13, John McGlashan College, Dunedin for his project "Will varroa affect honeybee diversity?" 

2011 – Ryan Whelan, Year 8, John McGlashan College, Dunedin, for his project on which food goldfish prefer and what food generates the greatest weight gains