Six Hawke's Bay youngsters have made a big splash on the international science and robotics stage, scoring a second place in one of the strongly contested classes at the Lego League International Open which was staged this week in California.

The team, made up of Pereka Te Whakaahu, 11, Jimmy August, 11, Korey Anderson, 10, Arie Te Whiu, 10, Norma-Jean Richards, 10, and James Maxwell, 10, who come from Lucknow School and Mayfair School, took out the runner-up spot in the Research Project and Presentation category in the event which was contested by about 80 teams from around the world.

The youngsters, each accompanied by a parent along with school representatives, had embarked on a major fundraising programme to get them there.

"Everyone is so proud," Lucknow School vice-principal Sally Whitmore said.


"When we heard they had come second we all had lumps in our throats."

Whitmore said principal Brendan White, one of the those who accompanied the team, was quite simply "over the moon".

She said for the youngsters it was the first time out of the North Island let alone first time overseas to such a huge event.

"It has been such a neat experience for the kids and this will stay with them for the rest of their lives."

The Bay team, who took the stage under the name of New Zealand Blackbots, had qualified for the international event after taking out the national robotics competition in December last year.

The inventive and creative young crew came up with a concept idea which revolved around a reality film to help and support astronauts in keeping close contact with their families while away in space.

It was a detailed and extensively planned creation, which fitted in with the competition's space theme this year.

They also created a detailed pre-programmed robotic device, using Lego components, which had to manoeuvre through a challenging course.


After winning the New Zealand event, and the opportunity to represent their country in the global event, the fundraising and support began.

"It has been a huge journey and a lot of hard work and they got there," Whitmore said.

The team's success drew delight from Rocket Lab co-founder Peter Beck who had met and inspired the youngsters on their mission.

"Congratulations guys... this is awesome," he said.

The team also shared a memorable slice of their homeland for the 1000 spectators who attended the parade of nations by performing a traditional wero challenge which drew huge applause.

They are set to arrive home, and to a great welcome at their schools, on Friday.