• iceberg
  • boy with flowers
  • checking water quality
  • planet eclipse
  • solarsystem model
  • rangitoto trees
  • kids with test tubes
  • kids with earth
  • snowy mountains
  • teens in physics class
  • Rainbow Clouds

    Refraction and diffraction of light through ice crystals in the clouds

  • Philippa On The Ice

    Philippa On The Ice Philippa Werry at an Antarctic research camp 2016

New Zealand Science Teacher

Science Curriculum/Scientific Literacy

Help survey New Zealand with metagenomics

Contribute to important New Zealand data by joining in this annual project.

Left: A scene from last year's Metagenomics Day.

Expose your students to the latest DNA sequencing technology by signing them up to KATOA’s metagenomics event this year.

The aim of the project is to use DNA sequencing technology to identify the microbial communities living in the soil of Aotearoa. A range of schools across the country will result in an interesting set of data and build on last year’s efforts. Science students will have the opportunity to contribute to interesting research.

Teachers and their Years 11-13 students are responsible for sample choice, data collection (e.g. site picture, GPS coordinates, temperature, average rainfall, soil type, etc.) and the actual soil collection. This is done manually, from a depth of 30cms. These samples will then be sent to Auckland University for DNA extraction and sequencing.

Last year, students from Dunedin collected samples from the Carisbrook sportsground.

In addition to the soil collection work, science classes are invited to take part in a unique Hands-On Day. This will take place on September 27, 2014 at the following centres:

  • University of Auckland
  • Waikato University
  • Massey University (Auckland and Palmerston North)
  • Victoria University of Wellington
  • University of Canterbury
  • University of Otago.

The Hands-On Day is free to attend and promises an interesting lab experience for all involved. Activities on offer include extracting DNA from the samples, perform a PCR, run this on an agarose gel, and do some bioinformatics on previous years’ data to identify bacteria in the soil. Also on offer are short lectures from leading New Zealand scientists.

Read about last year’s event on New Zealand Science Teacher.


KATOA is a consortium of leading New Zealand scientists who have a common goal: to share equipment and knowledge with young scientists.

How to get involved

Before May 10, contact KATOA and register your school, or email Justin O’Sullivan: justin.osullivan@auckland.ac.nz for further information and instructions. Time is of the essence: last year, 50 secondary schools took part and it’s hoped this year’s event will be even bigger.

Post your comment


  • Hi again Tracey, Justin confirms they can take students from Years 11-13. Sorry about that!

    Posted by Melissa- NZST, 14/04/2014 12:45pm (6 years ago)

  • Kia ora Tracey, thanks for your question. I should have mentioned the eligible year levels. I think it senior school students- but will check with Justin and get back to you.

    Posted by Melissa- NZST, 14/04/2014 12:31pm (6 years ago)

  • Is this open to Year 7 and 8. I have a class of 16 girls.

    Tracey Burgess
    St Peter's School

    Posted by Tracey Burgess, 12/04/2014 5:49pm (6 years ago)

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