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Sunday, 14 June 2015

Have your say...submission's called to the Ministry for updating of the Education Act

The Ministry of Education is consulting about updating the Education Act 1989. They want to know people’s views about the proposals presented in their discussion document. The closing date for submissions is, apparently, 14 December so there is some urgency.

We feel there is a need for the gifted voice to be heard (does the document, for example, focus on achievement with no direction about what this looks like for gifted students and so on? You have your own opinions.)

The link to their site to read the document and to submit your views is

The more voices the better- and it does not need to be an essay!!”



Bright Sparks 2015

Bright Sparks offers a prize pool of $10,000 for students to develop their skills in electronics, technology, software and science.
The annual Bright Sparks Awards is a showcase for the creativity and discipline of school students. The students develop a prototype using electronics, engineering and/or programming elements. Prototypes are submitted and scrutinised by a judging panel of industry experts.
The categories for 2015 are:
·         Best Concept: The best idea presented as a design portfolio.
·         Science: The best science investigation with a technological theme.
·         Engineering: The best invention incorporating hardware and software.
·         Environment: The best project with a technological theme that relates to the environment.
·         Software: The best program, as stand-alone or as part of a project.
·         Prizes will also be awarded for Best Overall Male and Best Overall Female.
·         A prize will also be awarded for the People’s Choice, the recipient of the most votes from the public at
The age groups are:
·         Junior: 14 years and under
·         Senior: 15 years and over.
Projects must be completed and arrive at The Skills Organisation no later than Wednesday, September 30, 2015.
To download an entry form and for further

Going super heavy – the end of the periodic table of elements 
Distinguished Professor Peter Schwerdtfeger
Massey University 
7 pm Thursday, 13 August, PNBHS Speirs Centre, Featherson Street, Palmerston North 
The first periodic table of the elements was proposed in 1869. It was compiled by arranging the elements in ascending order of atomic weight, grouped by chemical properties. At that time it was not known how high in atomic weight the elements could go before becoming too unstable and decaying.  But in the last decade we have seen the production of new elements up to nuclear charge 118.  So just how heavy can elements go and what can chemists do with such exotic elements? Where does the periodic table end? All warmly welcome. Please register through the following link to ensure a seat:

Bird Evolution, from Dinosaurs to DNA 
Professor Scott V. Edwards
Harvard University
 6.30 pm Tuesday, 18 August, Globe Theatre, Palmerston North 
Birds are the living descendants of dinosaurs. This theory, based on the study of fossilised bones, is now accepted by most evolutionists. What is less well known is that the genomes of birds - comprised of over 1 billion DNA letters and thousands of genes - bear traces of their dinosaur ancestry as well. Modern genomics reveals how bird genomes reflect their streamlined and high-energy lifestyles, epitomized by their ability to fly.All welcome. A gold coin donation is appreciated. Seat reservation is recommended. To reserve your seat, please visit:

New Zealand's Remote Islands - The Antipodes/ Bounties and the Chatham Islands 
Paul Gibson, Photographer 
7.30 pm Tuesday, 11 August, Central Library, 4 The Square, Palmerston North 
This meeting is a joint talk with Birds NZ, Manawatu Branch 
All welcome. A gold coin donation is appreciated. 

Talk 4
2015 Manawatu Lecture
Sustaining the productive capacity of our soils 
Professor Mike Hedley
Massey University 
2015 is the International Year of Soils, which aims increase awareness and understanding of the importance of soil for food security and essential ecosystem functions. In this, our seventeenth Manawatu Lecture, Professor Mike Hedley will talk about the work that he and his co-workers are doing here in the Manawatu to sustain the productive capacity of our soils.
 Mike Hedley is Professor in Soil Science at Massey University and Director of the University’s Fertiliser and Lime Research Centre. Mike’s research is focussed on soil-plant interactions; fertiliser development and evaluation; soil fertility; and nutrient cycling in grazed pasture systems and nutrient budgeting. The Manawatu Lecture was established by the Royal Society of New Zealand Manawatu Branch as its annual prestigious lecture to recognise aspects of science particularly relevant to the Manawatu.
 All warmly welcome 27th August at 7:30 pm in the Art Gallery Te Manawa.        

  ******************UPCOMING CenGATE MEETING**********************

August 13th 5 pm at PNGHS. Look for the CenGATE banner to direct you to our meeting room.

It is a busy term, but our first session will be feeding back on the Columbus Conference in April and the recent NZAGC conference.

Ingrid Vaipuna-Frengley, Te Toi Tupu GATE Advisor will facilitate this meeting.

An RSVP would be appreciated by August 11th to

All welcome!

Heather, Pearl, Suzanne


Special Education Update Meeting for Parents

On behalf of Jann Marshall and Margaret Carvill:

When:                 Thursday 30 July 2015
Time:                    5.30 – 7.00 pm
Where:                Palmerston North MoE Office (possibility of venue change if we have more than 50)
                              1-3 Oxford Crescent
                              Palmerston North
RSVP:                 By 28.7.15 to or 0800 737275 and ask for Daughne Black

About the Update

We’d like to invite parents to join a further forum to discuss the Special Education Update. The Update is about finding ways to make educational progress and achievement easier for these children and young people with special education needs. 
While much has been achieved in recent years in inclusive education, there is more to be done to reduce fragmentation of services, simplify access to support and increase consistency of services across the country.

This forum will follow the same format as the previous initial forums we held on the Special Education Update. It will be the start of an ongoing engagement process as we work through the Special Education Update.

The Update includes all support for children and young people with special education needs - from early childhood, through primary, secondary and tertiary education.

The Update aims to:
·         Ensure achievement is the focus of  support for children and young people with special education needs
·         Simplify funding and access to services
·         Ensure schools and other key parties are integral to decision-making
·         Ensure end-to-end management of each child’s education pathway
·         Make it easy for everyone to play their part in supporting the child’s progress and achievement 
·         Improve information about how the education system is working for children and young people with special education needs.
Background reading and the areas for discussion are attached. 

Your valuable input will contribute to the success of this progressive piece of work and we look forward to working with you.

Kind regards
Jann Marshall, Director of Education, Taranaki, Whanganui and Manawatu
Margaret Carvill, District Manager, Special Education Taranaki and Central

RSNZ Manawatu Branch June Meeting
Topic: The National Science Challenges
Speaker: Dr Prue WilliamsMinistry of Business, Innovation and Employment
When: 7.30 pm Tuesday, 16 June
Where: Te Manawa – Art Gallery, 326 Main Street, Palmerston North

The Government has established 11 National Science Challenges, designed to take a more strategic approach to investment in science by targeting a series of goals. The goals range from developing high-value foods with health benefits to drive New Zealand’s economy, to harnessing science to sustain health and well-being into the later years of life.

The Challenges provide an opportunity to align and focus New Zealand’s research on large and complex issues by drawing scientists together from different institutions and across disciplines to achieve a common goal through collaboration. Thus they will be the template for a significant portion of the government’s science agenda and funding.

Dr Williams will tell us what the Challenges are, how they are structured, and what their focus is to achieve “major and enduring benefits for New Zealand” through scientific research. 

Dr Prue Williams is General Manager – Science Investments at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). She has a PhD in Soil Science from Massey University, Palmerston North, and over 30 years’ experience in research and science management.
The NZ Association for Gifted Children is a non profit organisation, serving the gifted and talented youth in our community for 40 years.

On the 3-5 July New Zealand Association for Gifted Children is hosting a 40 year expo, celebrating the many faces of giftedness.
A line up of international and local expert speakers will enlighten educators and parents of Gifted youth.  Stimulating workshops are also provided for all kids; such as Robotics, National board game championship, Nanogirl and sessions with child prodigies Tristan Pang, Adrian Mann and Brian Gashema.    

Dr Dickinson is another of the many inspiring conference speakers.  She will be hosting a session for kids "Superhero in action – a nanoscience workshop" and she will also be sharing for the very first time with educators and parents, how growing up with conventional teaching at school made her feel more isolated.  Furthermore, she will offer insights and coping techniques to assist educators and parents of 'quiet kids'.  

Dr Michelle Dickinson is a World renowned academic and head of the Nanomechanical Testing Lab at the University of Auckland, but she is best known to many as "Nanogirl". 
Through her alter ego, Nanogirl purses her mission to motivate young students into science and engineering subjects — which she sees as the future of our economy.
Dr Dickinson was recently awarded, Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to science.  She also accepted a role as Science Ambassador at New Zealand Association for Gifted Children. 
The NZ Association for Gifted Children is a non profit organisation, serving the gifted and talented youth in our community for 40 years.  

To go to the NZAGC conference page click here


 Gifted Awareness Week 

Parent Meeting

We are holding a meeting for parents who have an interest in gifted education PN City Library (George St entrance) , Monday 15th June, 7.30pm.
Come and hear what is currently available in our region and discuss what families of gifted children see as current/future needs and possibilities with student voice being welcome. (We will not have activities for young children but we promise not to leave them out in the cold!)
Please RSVP by Saturday 13th June


Our next  next session, open to parents, educators and other professionals will be on Thursday 30th April at Palmerston North Girls' High School Huia Centre from 5pm. 

Nationally-respected gifted educator, Tanya Thorogood, will be exploring a  couple of theoretical models that maximise effective study skill habits for students. This is based on her highly effective 'Essential Study skills (ESP)' programme she runs for high school students.  You can RSVP at 

*******************The Next CenGATE meeting is Thursday 26th March*****************
    Huia Centre, Palmerston North Girls' High School 

Coffee and a catch up from 4.15pm, with our discussion session starting at 4.30pm. This is a chance for educators to spend time further exploring the issues raised by the Rose's 'Imposter Syndrome' presentation, as well as share problems and successes experienced this year on any gifted related theme.


If you haven’t already registered then don’t miss popular and inspirational speaker on autism spectrum disorders, SUE LARKEY, in an informative and empowering one-day seminar with inspirational UK speaker DEAN BEADLE. Our term 2 seminars are designed to give participants practical strategies and ideas to help children with an autism spectrum disorder learn, and show them how they can make a real difference.
Don't miss Sue Larkey’s exciting joint sessions with Dean Beadle!

Auckland (Albany)
Monday 11 May 2015
QBE Stadium
Tuesday 12 May 2015
Napier War Memorial Centre
Wednesday 13 May 2015
James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor

Early bird registration ($170) closes Monday 20 April 2015 (payment after this date is $190).

These joint seminars were hugely popular in New Zealand and Australia in 2014 and we are delighted to see Dean back in 2015! After receiving a standing ovation in Auckland in 2014 we expect to see these events sell out this year - so book early!!

Sue Larkey is a highly qualified special educator and has authored several books and resource material. She is a truly inspirational speaker and not only is her one day seminar informative ‑ it is also a lot of fun! She has a remarkable ability to captivate her audience for an entire day, and attendees come away fuelled with strategies and ideas to teach children with autism and aspergers syndrome.

Dean Beadle is a public speaker and writer who is proud of being on the autism spectrum. He will share his journey from a child proclaimed a "Monster" to an A-Grade student, and provide strategies for teachers to help make a difference. Dean encourages his audiences to see the condition in a much more positive light, through his humorous and poignant anecdotes.

For more information please contact Jo Adkins

To keep up to date with our upcoming seminars please like us on Facebook – just search for Creating Success Limited.

The following is from TKI....You may be interested know about a new film coming out called X + Y, about a young twice exceptional mathematical prodigy. It releases in New Zealand next week and I’m sure will be a great watch for all of us involved in gifted education. I also think it could provide a wonderful opportunity for our gifted children, particularly our twice exceptional children,  to experience some “like-minded-otherness”, watching a film about someone perhaps like them. The film is rated M.
Please find links below to the synopsis from BBC films and the trailer on Youtube.

Manawatu Branch  of the Royal Society of New Zealand event: Student research in the Manawatu – a showcase

The February meeting of the Manawatu Branch of the Royal Society of New Zealand will showcase the research of three students for Gold and Silver CREST (Creativity in Science and Technology)  awards and the Genesis Energy Realise the Dream national celebration of secondary level science and technology excellence, administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand.
  •  Zoe Glentworth: Safe Sunscreen Solution. Zoe’s Silver CREST and science fair project from 2014 focused on developing a natural, safe and effective sunscreen, building on the results of her previous research to create a kawakawa balm. 
  • Brittany ViningProtein: Pro Teen? Brittany’s Gold CREST project aimed to investigate whether an increase of whey protein in the diet of female adolescents improves their endurance, agility, and leg power in set physical tests.
  • Minushika PunchihewaDeciphering the ambiguities of Trifolium ambiguum. Minushika wanted to identify a number of morphological traits that the plant breeder can use quickly and inexpensively determine the number of sets of chromosomes a clover plant has before cross-breeding. 
Details7.30pm Tuesday 17 February, Te Manawa Art Gallery, 326 Main Street, Palmerston North. All welcome.
All these scientists are either current or former PNGHS students.

Columbus Group to give Symposium in New Zealand

REACH Education
 is delighted to share with you the very exciting news that ALL TEN MEMBERS of the Group will present a special symposium here in New Zealand in April of next year. This is a great honour for our country: the Group have never before presented outside the United States. It’s also a unique opportunity for us to meet face-to-face with these leading experts, tap into their wisdom, ask our questions and receive their guidance.
Want to know more?
If you’d like to receive the full details of this special symposium – where, exactly when, format (and we’ve got something novel in that respect), costs, earlybird discounts, how to book, etc etc – then write now to We’ll put you on our mailing list for email updates about bookings, fee discounts, and so on.
Meanwhile ….. check out the accompanying articles for more background information, and for details of exactly who’s who in the Columbus Group!

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