Things to do  |  28 Jun 2022

Visitors to this year’s Tīrama Mai lighting festival can explore what makes light possible at an interactive installation run by Tūhura Otago Museum and the Dodds-Walls Centre for Photonics and Quantum Technology.

The Otago Museum’s Tūhura Science Centre is the largest professional science outreach team in New Zealand and specialises in hands-on science engagement activities.

“We will be demonstrating how light can travel inside water, how to read a light’s 'fingerprint', how bending light can create a cloaking device, how reflections can trick the eye into seeing something that isn’t there, how we are actually surrounded by rainbows all the time – and more,” says museum science engagement manager Jessa Barder.

From 5pm to 10pm on Saturday and Sunday 2-3 July a team from the museum and the Dodd-Wall Centre will be in a container in Cathedral Square using lasers, lenses, luminous chemicals and other techniques to explore the science behind illumination 

“We’re stoked to be bringing some of our favourite photonics demonstrations to Tīrama Mai to enhance the festival experience,” says Ms Barder.

“We hope visitors will be blown away not only by the artistic creativity and innovation of the installations but also by the underpinning phenomenon that is making that art possible: light!

“Whether you’re five or 85 ‘Otago Museum - Bringing the Light’ will have you seeing the artwork in a new light.”

Bookings are not required.

Class sessions will also be offered at the Arts Centre on Thursday June 30 and Friday 1 July, tailored to the specific age range of the class group. Bookings are required for these sessions and interested teachers can contact Katy at

Visitors to the museum classroom in Cathedral Square can also enjoy nearby installations such as the Matariki Storytelling Firepit, the Matariki Arch and a stage with live performances, projections and light displays.

Tīrama Mai is brightening the central city with a range of lighting artworks and immersive experiences until Sunday 3 July.