An Evening with a Palaeontologist – Event Recap

By Rachael Pratt

A fine, crisp Tuesday evening saw over 100 people join the STEM Wana crew at the Wesley Methodist Church to listen to our amazing guest speaker Professor James Crampton.

Hailing from Victoria University, James travelled to Tauranga to share with us stories of his life as a Palaeontologist. From teaching Geology at Victoria University to field trips in the South Island and even exploring other countries like Antarctica in the search of fossils, James is a fountain of knowledge within the fields of geology and palaeontology, and an engaging and enthusiastic speaker.

Before the main event started and during a half time break we had hot drinks available to keep the chill away, a popular Tinkd Makerspace display was set up, showcasing some of the creative areas of making available in STEM Wana’s very own Makerspace. At the Tinkd display we had adorable laser cut dino badges and keyrings available for the dino fans who wanted a memento of the evening.

Also set up in the hall, we were extremely lucky to have Steve and Johanna Raynor who are fossil enthusiasts and members of the Tauranga Gem and Mineral club bring some of their amazing finds along for everyone to look at and admire.

Our large crowd then moved into the chapel where Tamati Tata started the evening with a mihi and Karakia. Once housekeeping was out of the way, we welcomed James to the stage and the multi generational audience sat enraptured by his tales and eager to hear more.
James himself was very impressed by the level of engagement and the multitude and complexity of questions asked of him by our audience.

Dinosaur enthusiasts, avid fossil hunters, and those curious about what life was like on planet Earth in the millions of years before humanity, came together to hear just some of the tales from a man who has made a career out of working out what was here aeons ago.

I would like to thank Professor James Crampton for his willingness to travel and share his knowledge with us all.

Steve and Johanna Raynor for sharing some of their collection, passion and knowledge with us.

The team of SWT volunteers Phoebe, Scarlett, Danielle, Lex, Hope, and Elliot who came and helped the evening run smoothly, and the SWT crew, Nathan, Te Ara, Tia, and Erin for all their help behind the scenes.

The Reverend John Carr and the congregation at Wesley Church for sharing their venue with us and supporting this event.

And lastly my thanks to all those who came to this event. Without an eager audience, there is really not much point in holding these events!

I look forward to seeing you at our next #RepresentationMatters event is on the 25th of July 2023 and it will be a chance to spend an evening in the company of Jack Thatcher, the highly renowned Celestial Navigator (that’s travelling via the stars). Tickets for which will be released shortly so make sure you’re subscribed to our mailing list.

Stay curious,