In March, New Zealand celebrated Brain Awareness Month with events happening all across New Zealand bringing together researchers, community organisations, and the wider public.
In Auckland, Brain Research New Zealand worked with the Centre for Brain Research and The Neurological Foundation to deliver a range of exciting events. There were 3 public panel discussions throughout the month: “Understanding Autism and Learning Differences”, “Is it in our Genes? Neurological Disease, Therapies and the Future”, and “Memory and the Ageing Brain.” The evening discussions were well attended and the audience had a lot of questions for the panelists, leading to very lively discussions.
Auckland Brain Day was hosted at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences and drew a big crowd of people keen to learn more about the brain. The event featured three public talks: “Revolutionising Stroke Rehabilitation” – Prof Cathy Stinear, “The Magic and Excitement of the Human Brain” – Sir Richard Faull, and “Migraines and Headaches” – Prof Debbie Hay. (You can re-watch the talks here!) Another highlight was the performance of the CeleBRation Choir (a choir for adults living with neurological conditions such as stroke, aphasia, Parkinson’s, or dementia), and some very engaging talks by community groups. Visitors could also explore science displays and find out about the offers of different community groups at their stalls. The buzzing Being Brainy area kept the kids entertained with many exciting brain experiments, creative activities and even some real brains to discover!
Brain Awareness Week in Dunedin was held in partnership with the Brain Health Research Centre and the Neurological Foundation. It started out with a talk on neuroplasticity by BRNZ Board Member Prof John Rostas, and two evening talks on the “History of Your Brain”. An inflatable giant brain was a big draw card for the “Brains in the Octagon” event, where researchers from the Brain Health Researcher Centre and members of neurological community groups talked about their work and answered questions about all things brainy. Brain Awareness Week ended with an event on the topic of “Taking Responsibility for Your Ageing” at Otago Museum, including a film screening and discussion, as well as a talk by Dr Gary Cheung and a performance by the Otago Neuro Choir.
Dunedin Brain Day was cancelled out of respect for those affected by the terrorist attacks in Christchurch, as were the Brain Awareness events in Christchurch.