Otago/Southland Brain Bee 2008

Snow, ice, rain, sleet and wind couldn’t keep the teams from James Hargest High School (Invercargill in Southland) or Dunstan High School (Cromwell in Central Otago) or Waitaki Boys High School (Oamaru in North Otago) away from Dunedin on Tuesday June 24th.

This was the first Otago-Southland Brain Bee Challenge and no one was willing to let the winter weather gain the upper hand. Twelve teams and 39 individuals participated in Round 2 of the Brain Bee. The University of Otago St David Street Lecture Theatre complex provided an excellent venue with space for exhibits, lunch and the large theatre to host the quizzes. Professor Gareth Jones, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Otago University welcomed the students to the campus and enlightened them with a brief talk, plastinated brain in hand, on the ethical challenges neuroscientists face. Professor Cliff Abraham, James Cook Research Fellow, Department of Psychology delivered the inaugural keynote lecture “the Brain as a Learning Machine” to a captivated and receptive young audience.

Visits to working neuroscience laboratories in the Physiology and Psychology departments were very popular and the neuroanatomy displays attracted plenty of visitors during the breaks. Green t-shirted helpers shepherded lab groups, manned the displays, scored the quizzes and answered zillions of questions. The individual and team rounds were keenly contested while the teachers-only “brain assembly” contest provided opportunities for the students and parents to be enthusiastic supporters and to be entertained!

Morning tea and lunch received accolades from everyone and numerous spot-prize draws had everyone hoping to hear their name called! Like all great days, it had to end and we took time to celebrate the team and individual winners and especially all the students who participated and the teachers, parents, helpers and sponsors without whom the event could not have been dreamed of.

Associate Professor Greg Anson



Individual Competition

  • Winner: Kieran Bunn, Logan Park High School
  • Runner-up: Adam Scott, Logan Park High School
  • Third: Hadi Harris, Logan Park High School

Team competition

  • Winner: Logan Park High School
  • Runner-up: Waitaki Boys High School
  • Third: Bayfield High School