U3A Alexandra – Specialists from the Otago Museum – Tuhura


Venue:       CENTRAL OTAGO REAP, 14-20 Centennial Avenue, Alexandra

Cost:           $5 per session

Dates:        Friday 16, 23 February & 2, 9 March 2018

Time:         10.00am – 12.00pm


Session 1 – Friday 16 February

Speaker: Ian Griffin

Observing the Universe with the Hubble Telescope: 28 years of discovery

Director of the Otago Museum in Dunedin, Ian has a PhD in Astronomy and from 2000 – 2004 served as Head of the Office of Public Outreach for NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Programme.

Ian will  describe how the Hubble telescope works, and share some of the amazing discoveries it has made during its 28 years of operation. From craters on the moon to the deepest images of the cosmos ever obtained, the Hubble telescope has made key contributions to our understanding of the Universe.


Session 2 – Friday 23 February

Speakers: Samantha Botting & Eden Gray

Developing Tuhura, New Zealand’s newest Science Centre/Living Environments Within Museum

Sam will be speaking about science communication in Tūhura, Otago Museum’s brand new Science Centre opened on the 15th December 2017. This Science Centre is the end of a $2.5 million and four year project and is home to over 45 new hands-on science interactives each with the mandate of inspiring the next generation of scientists. Tühura goes a step further than any other Centre like it in Australasia by intertwining the Kai Tahu creation story and Mātauranga Māori with current scientific knowledge. Sam will cover the development of and the research into the centre as well as the science communication tactics that Tūhura deploys to engage and inspire our visitors.

Eden will be speaking about the role of living environments within a museum setting, focused specifically on one of the attractions of our new science centre; the Tropical Forest. Filled with hundreds of butterflies and other animals, this space allows visitors to have hands on interactions with species they may never get to encounter in the wild. But facilities such as the Tropical Forest have the responsibility to ensure that education,  and not just entertainment, take place within. We are also home to a native jeweled gecko, Manawa, who was smuggled from the Otago Peninsula, and repatriated back to New Zealand several years later.


Session 3 – Friday 2 March

Speaker: Moira White

SY Aurora and the Otago Museum

Moira is curator of Humanities at the Otago Museum. She has published on a wide range of topics relating to the Museum , its collections, the people who contributed to them, and the role of the museum in the ways the people of Dunedin and Otago have sought to understand the world around them. She is passionate about exploring ways in which collecting and display can promote appreciation and understanding.

Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition famously did not succeed in traversing the Antarctic Continent. Shackleton’s spectacular survival story is well known. That of the men on the other Expedition ship is less familiar. The Aurora broke from her moorings in the McMurdo Sound and drifted trapped in pack ice for months before her crew were able to make their way to Port Chalmers. While the work of repair and preparation for the rescue of the men remaining on the ice was underway, the crew of the Aurora had a lot of contact with Otago Museum and this is represented in our collections.


Session 4 – Friday 9 March

Speaker: Emma Burns

What’s in a name? A dangerous, sordid and sexy natural history of how living things get named

Emma’s varied role is a reflection on the varied nature of the Otago Museum collection. Some days she working on sampling penguin feathers, other days Emma is  organising the cataloging of New Zealand moths. Carrying out secondary research that adds information to the collection keeps her busy, while hosting visiting researchers carrying out primary cutting edge research. Emma is a strong advocate for telling the collections stories and for building a research collection that facilitates and supports new discoveries.

Over 300 years ago the world’s longest running science project began. Since its inception, scientists, naturalists and amateurs from the around the world have worked together to purse the goal of naming and describing all life on earth. It would allow us to answer one of humanities most important and frequently asked questions – What is this?

We’ll take a journey into the often bizarre etymology around naming living things and ponder how far away we are from describing all life on Earth?


To Register: phone 0800 267-327, (03)448-6115 or email admin@coreap.org.nz



































































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