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Bringing science to the community at 2023 Porirua Love Local Expo

16 June 2023

Porirua Love Local Esr
Porirua Love Local Esr

Wellington put on spectacular weather on Saturday 10 June as crowds turned out in droves at Te Rauparaha Arena for the 2023 Porirua Love Local Expo. They were there to catch a glimpse of the world class innovation local businesses are leading from the city, including ESR at 34 Kenepuru Drive.

Project Lead Amy Bradshaw from the Health group delighted Expo crowds as she invited them to peer through her vintage microscope to see what things look like under magnification. People were particularly impressed to realise how artistic petal cells are when you view them up-close.

Senior Data Scientist Richard Dean impressed passers-by with his interactive tool that uses a webcam to render people’s image on a monitor and then combines this with sophisticated code that intelligently adds shaded shapes over different areas of the body, like the viewer’s head.

Shimon Endo, Senior Technician in the Forensic Specialised Analytical Service Bioanalytical team, spent the day sharing his passion for science and talking Expo-goers through the ‘Walk the Line’ demonstration, as they tried to keep on the ‘straight and narrow’ by following a line of tape on the ground while wearing goggles that replicate being intoxicated. This year another line of tape was added in zig zag formation. Although it varied as to who could pull-off the seemingly improbable feat of walking the ‘zig zag’, what didn’t waiver was how excited Porirua locals were to find out what we do at Kenepuru. 

The great thing about the Expo is that people who might have come to find out about ESR’s toxicology expertise were also able to learn about other areas of our work, like SHIVERS/WellKiwis. The ESR team had the pleasure of meeting Kathryn and Rachel who have been proud participants in the SHIVERS study since 2018. It’s thanks to incredible participants like them that SHIVERS is able to provide unique insights into how flu-like viruses interact, which could potentially see more effective vaccines being developed.

ESR’s Lumi Drug Scan proved as popular as ever. It’s an understatement to say crowds were impressed that this platform has been co-developed right here in Aotearoa by ESR experts working closely with frontline Police, and how Lumi is focussed on helping people found to have small quantities of illicit drugs to get support.

Events like Porirua Love Local are key as they enable us to bring all of ESR’s scientific disciplines under one roof and demonstrate to the public and other stakeholders the value ESR adds through science. It really is about taking our science for the community to the community! Thanks to everyone involved.