Tauranga CBD to be turned into a rocket, robot and shark wonderland for STEMFest 2022

STEMFest 2022
The free, family-friendly event will include more than 40 interactive activities. Photo credit: Supplied

Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) fans rejoice - Tauranga's CBD is set to be taken over by rockets, robots and sharks as part of STEMFest 2022 in October.

Free tickets to the event during the October school holidays are now available, with more than 50 exhibitors taking to the streets on Sunday October 2.

The free, family-friendly fun will include more than 40 interactive activities and experiments aimed at engaging and inspiring a new generation of STEM fanatics.

More than 2300 tickets were snapped up within the first 72 hours of being released, with a limited number of free tickets now remaining, STEMFest said.

"The exhibits and workshops are extremely exciting this year," Tia Lusk, Founder of  organisers STEM Wana Trust said.

"We don't want anyone to miss out on the fun. We've got everything from bioengineering to biosecurity, chemistry experiments to renewable energy investigations."

Visitors will also be able to get behind the wheel of a space rover and Grumman aircraft or even build bridges and robots, Lusk said.

"They'll be able to explore high-powered rockets, or the external and internal features of a shark.

"It's a wonderful showcase of the vibrant and varied work that takes place in the STEM sector which will hopefully inspire our young visitors."

In addition, the five finalists of The Great InsectBot Mission Competition will have their InsectBots judged by a panel of experts at STEMFest for the chance to win an exclusive VIP tour of the Rocket Lab facilities. 

The nationwide competition, inspired by NASA and supported by the US State Department, challenged students aged 10-16 to create an InsectBot capable of surviving on Mars.

"We had more than 100 registrations from around the motu for this competition, highlighting some of the incredible innovative STEM minds we've got in our schools," Lusk said.

The inaugural STEMFest in 2019 attracted 3500 visitors from across Aotearoa but was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The STEM Wana Trust hopes to attract 7500 visitors this year.