Mensa hunting Taranaki brains

In a world built for average minds being very intelligent can be the same as being very unintelligent, Mensa member Dara Robbins says.

The New Plymouth testing officer for the global "smart cookie" club is expecting a host of new members in the coming weeks as her club celebrates today's World Intelligence Day by offering discounted IQ tests.

She also hopes it will help build understanding of those who are just that little bit smarter than everyone else.

"New Zealand is wonderful for gifted athletes or people who are gifted artistically but really we don't do much for people with intellectual gifts," Mrs Robbins said.

"Being very intelligent is like being very unintelligent. The whole world is made for the average and if you are not average it can be difficult."

Mensa members are anything but average. Membership in the club implies an intelligence in the 98th percentile of the population. That puts a person in the same IQ clubhouse as Einstein, science fiction writer Isaac Asimov and the toothy-grinned actress Geena Davis.

It is not known how many clever dicks reside in Taranaki, with most preferring to keep their IQ secret, often fearing discrimination against their bigger brain power, Mrs Robbins says.

"A lot keep their membership very discreet," she said. "What do I care though. I'm 70 in a few months. What can happen to me to change my life."

Despite its massive brain power, Mrs Robbins said Mensa was just like any other club where members enjoyed talking about all sorts of things including, but not exclusively, of course, Britney Spears.

Dr Aloma Parker, of Mensa New Zealand, said a testing session could give people a better understanding of their own mental capacity.

"It can also provide an opportunity for contact on a level playing field with an international group of people who can discuss a range of topics and have diverse opinions about each and everyone one," she said.

Joining Mensa is free as long as you pass their test and next week anyone can take it for $10, or $5 for students and the unwaged. Forget about studying for it. You can't. It's a measure of how you think, not what you know.

Contact Dara Robbins on 06 756 6939 or email: to arrange a time.


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Taranaki Daily News