STEM Wana Trust

STEM Wana Trust is a Registered Charity (CC56830 on 8 March 2019) and was set up as an incorporated Charitable Trust in January 2019.  The Trust has been created with the following purpose and aims:

“To engage and inspire a new generation of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians through creative community initiatives and events.”

• promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (“STEM”), including by way of festivals and community events to engage and inspire a new generation of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians;

• being beneficial to the community by providing direction and management of resources to promote awareness of opportunities in STEM to young people and their families;

• advancing education by providing guidance to nurture and retain talent in STEM.

2020 STEM Initiative

Introducing a programme of STEM engagement for the whole year incorporating...
2020 STEM Initiative
  • Conversations in STEM
  • STEM Curiosity Day
  • Headline Kaupapa STEMFest

2020 STEM Initiative is a year programme of STEM activations and engaging events, culminating in a celebratory Festival of STEM (STEMFest) closing down a block of Tauranga’s CBD.

STEMFest is inspired by Ada Lovelace Day – an international day of celebration marking the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. Tauranga STEM Festival is the first official partner event marking Ada Lovelace Day in New Zealand.

Tauranga STEM Festival (STEMFest) is an annual event showcasing all that is happening in the world of STEM and making it accessible to all communities in Tauranga, the wider Bay of Plenty and across Aotearoa. Every year Tauranga will be the focus of the nation for anything relating to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It will be the ‘Fieldays’ of STEM bringing thousands of curious minds into the region from across the world.

Events in 2019

We delivered the following activities in 2019.

Looking to the future...

Our plans for the future include outreach by taking STEM directly into the community alongside an ambitious iconic project for a dedicated and purpose built and designed STEM Discovery Centre. This will be a world-class venue bringing the very best of STEM innovation and exploration to New Zealand - the first of its kind in Aotearoa.

Board Trustees

Providing governance, guidance, and encouragement.
Tia Lush - Tauranga STEM Festival

Tia Lush

A graphic designer and technologist with a passion for inspiring young people and their families through shared learning experiences.

In 2016, Tia founded and co-organised the first ever (and subsequent) STEM festivals in the City of Peterborough, UK. The Peterborough STEM Festival is now in its fourth successful year and continues to grow in impact and strength. Tia has replicated the success in Tauranga with the first ever STMEFest NZ welcoming over 3,500 visitors to the CBD in October 2019.

Tia immigrated to NZ with her family in 2017 and settled on the sunny shores of Tauranga. She’s been thrilled to have met so many likeminded people who share the same passion for working with young people and driving change for the good. When she’s not organising STEM festivals, Tia loves working with companies and individuals on creating brand identity and design projects. Visit for all things design related. You can read more about Tia’s story from Peterborough to Tauranga.

Steven Vincent

Steven is a Chartered accountant and technologist specialising in business systems & processes. His key focus is promoting the use of Open Source software in business, education & non-profit sectors, as a cost-effective and sustainable alternative to proprietary applications through TechnologyWise.

Steven is also a co-Director of TechnologyWise, Basestation, and Venture Centre. In the very little spare time he has Steven likes to run marathons and tinker with cool tech, although not at the same time.

Erin Nicholson

Erin is Tauranga born, bred and proud to live in the most beautiful city on earth. She and her technology teacher husband have three teenaged daughters, all of whom are looking towards their futures and have a strong interest in science. The family includes a fat fluffy cat and two cockatiels, as well as a flock of crazy chickens who rule the roost.

A long and varied administration-based career has included ten years at the Bay of Plenty Times where, as part of her role, Erin ran a bi-weekly column for children to write letters about their lives, school, heroes, issues of the day and aspirations. She is currently administrator in a parish office where a large part of her day is spent assisting the 40+ community groups who regularly meet in the churches complexes.

Outside of work Erin indulges in science in her own way with baking, cooking and gardening. She also spends a fair bit of time chicken wrangling.

Erin is excited to be a part of STEM Wana Trust and would love the annual STEM Festival to be a gateway for young people, in particular girls, to immerse themselves in the areas that it celebrates.

Amanda Crowther

Amanda Crowther

Amanda is an organiser, a communicator, a planner, and educator. Her career in technology started in the UK as a software trainer and facilitator nearly 20 years ago, roles which taught her the value of communication. Following the urge to plan and organise things, she moved into a Business Analyst role, and from there into Product Management. Amanda returned home to New Zealand in 2016, and has settled in the beautiful Bay of Plenty.

In an alternate life Amanda would have been an astronaut or possibly a rocket scientist. Unfortunately, she didn’t discover her love of space and science until she was already a good way into adulthood. One of the things she loves about STEMFest is that it enables children and young people to discover the amazing world of STEM, and widen their horizons and their dreamscapes. So that they can be the next astronauts or rocket scientists… the possibilities are endless!