A group of Kerikeri students have turned boaties' frustration into an award-winning invention - and they're hoping it will also make them rich.
The Springbank School students' Ultrasonic Bird Repeller - a device which uses a high-pitched sound to frighten away seabirds - could see boats free of bird droppings and a major company investing in their product.
Their team, Vanish Productions, won top prize in the Northland Young Enterprise awards in Whangarei last week.
Under the Young Enterprise scheme, high-school students form a company and create, market and sell a product or service.
Vanish Productions was one of only five teams nationwide selected to pitch their idea to investors. The criterion was whether judges could see the product turning over $2 million a year. If successful, investment company and business incubator Movac could pump money into developing the product.
Vanish Productions team member Nadine Ansler said the idea for the bird repeller came from their physics class.
"We were talking about sound frequencies and how there are some sounds that only animals can hear. Somehow, we got on to the subject of how it would be good to scare the seagulls away from the boats."
The device runs off a 12V boat battery, and emits a high-pitched noise inaudible to humans but unbearable to birds.
Vanish Productions will now compete for the national Young Enterprise crown in Wellington on November 5.
- NORTHERN ADVOCATE