Kiwi ideas help shape daily lives

By Morgan Jack

JOHN Britten, Bill Gallagher, Colin Murdoch, Richard Pearse and Alan Pritchard - all famous New Zealand innovators who have helped shape and grow the country into what it is today.

We have grown up with these and many more names influencing our everyday lives. But have the youth of today grown lazy with everything being provided for us or is it the opposite?

There are many competitions available for today's young innovators to show what they're capable of, providing opportunities to help New Zealand grow and develop.

New Zealanders are leaders in innovation. We have a culture of being able fix anything with a bit of number 8 wire, and this is reinforced by the number of inventors and life-changing inventions that have shaped New Zealand's history.

Godfrey Bowen, a New Zealand farmer, invented an improved sheep shearing technique that changed the industry; John Britten designed and built a world-record-setting motorbike; Colin Murdoch invented the first disposable hypodermic syringe; and Richard Pearse was the inventor of the first powered flying machine.

Our small country has produced many prominent innovators who have changed our everyday lives.

We can be proud of our status as leading innovators, paving the way for the inventors of the present and future.

"But everything's already been done" is one of my brother's favourite sayings. However, this is not true.

With over 300 new medicines having become available in the past 10 years and nearly 3000 in development, I think it is safe to say that there are constantly new developments being made in the medical world alone.

In another sphere, we have the thrilling ride provided by the Zorb, invented by Kiwi brothers David and Andrew Akers and scientist Dwayne van der Sluis. Thrill-seekers, strapped into the giant ball, are sent down a grassy slope near Rotorua at a speed of up to 50km/h.

Such creations add to the New Zealand experience, not only for tourists, but for the country as a whole.

And with devices such as retinal implants for the blind and new computer interfaces being invented daily, there are clearly still plenty of new things to discover and invent.

With opportunities in the form of TV shows and awards to spur the efforts of young innovators, there is lots of motivation to step up and shape our future.

Schools up and down the county participate in annual science fairs that offer great prizes for exceptional ideas. Competitions like the Young Innovator Awards also help promote innovation and invention. These competitions give the next generation of inventors the chance to show off their ideas.

The TV programme Let's Get Inventing also shows and shapes young Kiwis' dreams and inventions, making them tangible and helping to solve real-life problems. There is no shortage of information or aid for the next generation of Kiwi inventors to make themselves known to the world.

Inventors define our past and shape our future. New ideas make our lives easier, more comfortable or simply more exciting.

With fresh ideas from our latest generation of creative thinkers, the country will continue to grow and thrive through innovation.

Morgan Jack, Year 11, Katikati College

- NZ Herald

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