Nanogirl captivates young minds in Dargaville

You don't often get an academic, doctor, nanotechnologist, author and the recipient of a NZ Order of Merit delivering science education in Dargaville but this week Nanogirl, aka Dr Michelle Dickinson, and bilingual entertainer Krystal Lee Brown from TVNZ's Te Karere, blended Maori myths with explosive science experiments in their show Matatoa.

Nanogirl Dr Michelle Dickinson during her presentation in Dargaville, proving science is for everyone. Photo / Supplied
Nanogirl Dr Michelle Dickinson during her presentation in Dargaville, proving science is for everyone. Photo / Supplied

This unique presentation, on December 10 at the Northern Wairoa Memorial Hall, has been delivered from Opotiki to Turangi and Dannevirke because the organisation recognises that science education is lacking particularly in rural districts.

"Four out of five young New Zealanders enter secondary education with inadequate science education to enable them to thrive at high school," said Joe Davis, CEO and Co-Founder of Nanogirl Labs.

To help fill that void, Nanogirl team has delivered many presentations since starting their business, showing that science can be found in different facets of life.

Matatoa is one example of that, using tikanga and science together to make it understandable.

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"There is so much knowledge and actually a huge amount of science - passed down through pūrakau, Māori myths and legends," said Davis.

This dual purpose has served the Nanogirl team well with previous projects, helping to deliver the message that science can be easy and fun to discover.

Dickinson's successful, self-published Kitchen Science Cookbook uses this template mixing the subject of cooking with science exploration. This book includes recipes for items such as edible earthworms and erupting volcanoes.

Dickinson believes science is more than just a school subject and wants to encourage more people into the industry.

"Scientists and engineers are the problem solvers of our world," she said.

Based on that premise, for every book someone purchases online, another is donated to community organisations, schools and families which would not otherwise have the opportunity to explore science in this way.

This is her way of giving back and sharing her vast knowledge to as many people as she can.

Books can be purchased at https://nz.kitchensciencecookbook.com/

Steampunk comes to Dargaville parade

The Dargaville Christmas parade appeared to be a quiet affair this year. Instead of the usual crowds where kerbside space is a premium, it appeared that there was room for everyone.

One of the many floats in Saturday's Santa parade. Photo/Sarah Powell
One of the many floats in Saturday's Santa parade. Photo/Sarah Powell
Classic cars bring some colour to the colourful Christmas parade in Dargaville. Photo/Sarah Powell
Classic cars bring some colour to the colourful Christmas parade in Dargaville. Photo/Sarah Powell
Just one of the many floats in Saturday's Santa parade. Photo/Sarah Powell
Just one of the many floats in Saturday's Santa parade. Photo/Sarah Powell

Sponsored by Ritchies and First National, floats headed down the main street in Dargaville on Saturday.

The winning float was Dargaville Kindergarten which stepped up to win the colourful Christmas theme. Happy Steps Early Learning Centre was second and the guys from Steampunk Whangārei third.

TV chef Michael Van De Elzen in town

The food truck

and

Family recipes

TV chef Michael Van De Elzen visited Dargaville on his tour of Northland schools last week.

He hosted a cooking demonstration on Thursday at the Sacred Heart Church Hall to an avid audience.

Van De Elzen talked about the growing problem of obesity in New Zealand and believes bringing children back into the kitchen may help to remedy that.

His new cookbook, specifically written for children, is based on good quality, simple ingredients and this ethos, of knowing what's in your food was also a common theme of the night.

"It was a superbly successful evening, with around 60 parents and children attending a 90 minute cooking demonstration with question and answer time.

"Our tamariki learnt the value of cooking great, healthy kai from scratch. How to sustain our bodies with food and what's actually in our food," said Tracey Scott at St Josephs school.

"Michael was fabulous interacting with everyone, and an absolute pleasure to have come to Dargaville and we felt so blessed to have him here," she said.

The good from scratch kids' cookbook is out now ready for Christmas and has recipes for lunch, breakfast and dinner and those extra treats.

Council adopts new alcohol bylaw

As Christmas comes and parties are fuelled by alcohol and barbecues, the Kaipara District Council has adopted a new bylaw to manage restrictions of alcohol in public places in time for the merry season.

After consultation with the public in September, the council decided on several changes to the previous legislation.

These include permanent alcohol bans at schools in Dargaville and Te Kopuru, a new control area in Tinopai from 8.30pm to 7am all year round and an introduction of a 24/7 ban from December 22 to January 13 in Mangawhai.

There has been considerable discussion with police about how to enforce these new restrictions, and this has led to more flexibility in the bylaw with police able to offer potential exceptions for events and a variety of options to their responses to breaches of the bans, such an imposing a fine, or encouraging disposal of the alcohol.

The changes take effect from next Wednesday (December 19). Visit Kaipara District Council website for more information.

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