School notices

Students with a passion for astronomy

Picture of Rachel Cann
Students with a passion for astronomy
by Rachel Cann - Sunday, 12 March 2017, 11:41 AM

Student competition to win free entry to NZ's largest astronomical conference (SWAPA)

The Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand (RASNZ) is interested in promoting astronomy to young students in New Zealand’s schools who have an interest and passion for this science.


The Society is holding its annual conference in 2017 at the Otago Museum in Dunedin, Friday 12 to Sunday 14 May 2017. The normal registration for non-members of the Society is $195 to come to the conference, but the Society is waiving this cost for up to 10 young astronomers who are keen to come and find out more about our science. We are also offering to these young astronomers participation in the conference banquet and planetarium show (normally $80) on the evening of 13 May, making a total prize package of $275 each.


Astronomers from throughout New Zealand and some from overseas will participate in this year’s conference. Many of these will be amateur astronomers, and RASNZ is pleased that amateurs in New Zealand contribute so much to the strength of the Society, together with a core of professionals, mainly in our universities.


To find out more about the RASNZ annual conference, the Society’s website at  should be consulted.


To be considered for free registration at the RASNZ conference, students should email a short statement of no more than 300 words explaining why they would like to attend the conference and why they are interested in astronomy.


This statement should be sent to RASNZ President, John Drummond (email: – that is john underscore drummond @ ) by Friday 7 April at 5 pm. Please also include your name, school, age, year of study at school in 2017, email address, telephone contact and science teacher’s name. The winners of the competition will be selected for a clear enthusiasm for astronomy, their seniority, and good English in their submitted statement. Alternatively, a printed version can be posted to John Drummond, PO Box 113, Patutahi 4045.


The RASNZ Students with a Passion for Astronomy competition is most suited for students who are in years 11, 12 or 13 in 2017.


Those who win the free registration will be notified around mid April 2017. Winners are expected to be able to come to Dunedin and take part in the conference.


The free registration includes lunches and other refreshments on the 13 and 14 May and a reception on the evening of 12 May.


The costs of travel to Dunedin and accommodation there are not covered in this offer.


This is a great opportunity to expose students to the exciting world of astronomy and the various sciences that are linked to it.



John Drummond

President, Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand