Final Update – Wild Dunedin on You Tube!

Episode one of Wild Dunedin aired on Local Dunedin TV last Thursday.

Channel 9 were going to put the episodes up on their website ( once they had broadcast them. They appear to be a bit slow in doing so. So I have uploaded episode one to You Tube for anyone to look at. Its in 4 bits (10 minute limits for You Tube.

Will try and get the other episodes up in the future..


Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

part 4

The Year is over.

Its been an intense 9 months, but the first year of the innaugural Masters in Science communciation has come to a close. No more taught classes. Just the small matter of producing a film and academic thesis next year!

Our thesis projects will be done in pairs or individually, and more than likely each team will be producing a blog site and/or web site to promote their film along the way.

So this blog site will be brought to a close for now. I may revisit it, and put links up to all the classes new blogs once people get organised.

Thanks for all the good comments. Hopefully it will get us an A for this paper!

If you have any questions about the course over the next few weeks, feel free to e-mail us on either or

P.S. If anyone needs short term accomodation in Dunedin over the Summer, before the course starts, we have a spare room in our house which we would be happy to rent out on a short term basis. Just drop me an e-mail.

Good luck to those applying for next years course. See some of you in February!

About the Blog

A students perspective and insight into the 2008 Masters Science Communication course at Otago University, New Zealand and the experiences it provides.

Authored by Nathan Smith and Pete Holmes, two students participating in the first ever intake of the new Masters course starting in 2008 this blog aims to inform anyone interested in the course as to what it is ‘really’ like. We are both on the Film making stream of the course, so the blog will be slightly biased towards that area.

On a weekly basis, one or both of us will try to find time between assignments and filming to let you know how things are going. We will take you into the classroom, on field trips, into editing suites and out and about in this beautiful part of New Zealand over the duration of the course.

Click on the blog history panel on the right to see our weekly blog.

About the MSci Comm course

The MSci Communication course is split into three streams : (note – clicking on each link will take you to the official science communication website)

Science and Natural History Filmmaking: Learn how to take factual film-making to new heights. Taught in association with NHNZ, the world’s second-largest producer of documentaries. ScreenMark accredited, the course is taught by award-winning filmmakers who are some of the best in the business. Student films produced on the course to date have won many awards, including the most prestigious the industry has to offer.

Creative Nonfiction Writing: Discover how to communicate science more effectively with the written word. Taught by award-winning writers. You’ve always wanted to write that book, huh? Well, in this course you have no excuses: you have to write it and you get mentored by a practicing professional as you do it.

Science Communication: For a general qualification that covers all aspects of science communication, select this option. Key elements include how best to communicate science using online digital media (hey, this is the future – be there or be nowhere) and the design of displays and exhibitions from small-scale through to large-scale (the latter is taught in association with the Otago Museum).

We are two of the first 25 excited and ambitious new students have now begun this incredible programme each with their own personal mission. Operated by Otago University in Dunedin, the course uses world renown experts in Natural History Film Making to guide and lecture the students through the course and on there way into the world of science and natural history film making.


9 Responses to “Introduction”

  1. Hi Nathan and Pete,

    I came across your blog thanks to the link on the site. What a great way to find out about students’ actual experiences of the course!

    I am actually very keen to apply for the course myself as it seems like the perfect match for my interests – I completed a Bachelor of Biomed Science, but then yearning to do something a bit more creative took on a Graduate Diploma in Design.

    Since then I have been a bit confused as to what to do next, but I really think this course would be the answer!

    So what advice would you guys give for the portfolio/application? ( At this stage, I’m actually most keen to apply for the general option, rather than the film making or writing options).

    I’m also keen to come down to Dunedin in a couple weeks to check out the course and the region (I’m from Wellington). Any suggestions for the best way to make the most of this?

    I look forward to your response.

    Kind regards,


  2. Hi Rebecca,

    My advice would be to get in contact with Jean Fleming (popularising science) or Lloyd Davis (head of department) regarding more information. Their numbers and email addresses can be found on the MSCICOMM website. In putting together a portfolio I strongly suggest showing NOT just academic talents but also creative and expressive talent and somehow show that you have the ability to think outside the circle and to take an idea and under your own energy to carry it out. Anything youve done for the community etc would be good. But also speak to Jean and she will let you know what they are looking for as I got into film and was interviewed by the film making department. Hope that helps!

  3. Hey Nathan & Pete…
    Its really cool of you chaps to put up this site. Its fantastic reading all that’s happening down there in Dunedin.
    While the skies r getting clearer there, i am writing to you from the tropical/humid climes of Mumbai/Bombay, where I work as a cinematographer. Apart from the sort of animals/wildlife that one encounters in Bollywood, I have a serious interest in nature filmaking, hence very keen to apply for the course and hope I dont miss the Oct 31st deadline…
    Will keep myself updated thru this site…Gr8 going chaps…
    Cheers, Vicks….

  4. Cheers Vicks,

    Hopefully we see you here next year!!


  5. Hi,

    My name is Eliza and I am finishing a bach of Animal Science with a Diploma of creative arts (filmmaking) at Melbourne University in Australia. I came across your blog after just doing (just one more) search on this course. I found out about this course earlier this year and have been working on my application. I have always wanted to combine science and filmmaking and I couldn’t believe it when I found this course. I am really hoping to be accepted on the 09 intake….any last minute advice for my application? Do you find the course as amazing as it sounds?


  6. Hey Eliza…

    Just put in as much as you can and try to display your creative side. Ask someone who knows photography to have a look at your photos or video and help you choose what to put in. Style your application. Try to show how you REALLY want to do this. Think why you want to do the course and maybe think of some ideas for films you might like to make. I don’t know but I imagine that they are looking for talent (great photos or film could be a bonus), commitment (so showing your passion by what you have done before), science knowldge could help andyour ABILITY TO TELL STORIES. Last year Lloyd and Richard interviewed all of us and in the interview they asked us to ‘Tell a story about something that happened to us in the last two weeks’. Think about story structure and get a book out on it…. have a read and think about this question before your interview in case they ask it again.

    Is the course amazing? I started the masters in science communication course in Flinders (SA) and it is so far ahead of that masters. But it does have some faults. I found a some classes were not prepared properly but we will address this at our final meeting. But in all it really was great. If this is what you want to do go for it. You can get a subsidy being Australian and you can also get a student loan which includes $150 NZD a week in allowance so for an Aussie its an easy move.

    Hope this helps.


  7. Thanks so much Nath…..

    I have all my student films but i’m unsure of what ones to put in for my application (show them all to show my progress or show only 1 or two of the best?). Do you think I should include the types of films I want to make in my application letter….? I can tell stories but it is hard to get this across….. especially in a phone interview i imagine! Can you recommend a book?
    Did you move to SA to do that course? I am originally from Adelaide and considered applying for that course but didn’t think it looked very good. I can imagine that it being such a new course at otago it would take a bit of ironing out.

    In terms of the course fee how does the subside go about helping with this? Is it just a case of taking the money out as a loan when I arrive? How would I apply for the allowance?

    It is amazing that you guys started this blog.

  8. Hi Eliza,

    we are at the end of the year now, and will be closing off the blog soon. Nathan has gone off on his travels for Summer.
    If you need more advice from Nath on allowances from Australia and things, I’m sure he would be happy to receive e-mails on


  9. Thanks Pete…

    Have a great holiday and hopefully see you next year!!!


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