Budding young engineers from Rotorua Primary School have received a much-needed funding boost.
The Year 7 and Year 8 students competed at the New Zealand aquabot competition in March, where they were awarded first equal in the intermediate division, earning them a trip to the competition in the United States for underwater robots.
They will compete at Maryland University in June against 50 schools and more than 150 teams from around the world.
Genesis Energy brought its own underwater robot to the school on Thursday, with engineering manager Andrew Balme on hand to give advice, tips and tricks for remotely-operated underwater vehicles (ROV) before the competition.
"We use ROVs within Genesis for doing inspections, so we've brought one of ours along with us to show them how we use ours," he said.
"The similarities between the two is fascinating to see - just different scales - but at the end of the day it's got the same pieces on it, so that was awesome to see."
The students created an updated version of a previous aquabot for the world championships, which includes some of Aotearoa's colours and koru.
Year 8 student Dilan Moore said the old aquabot was big and bulky.
"It was able to pick up things from the bottom of the pool but we really didn't need it this time," he said.
"We decided to cut it down, basically in half.
"We used the front half for our aquabot so that it's both smaller and compact, meaning that it's both faster and easier to pick up things.
"We also put like Māori patterns on it, so we're taking a little bit of Aotearoa over to America so that we can represent our country in a world championship."
Balme said the team used a lot of skill to build the second version of their aquabot.
"I'd love to see them, you know in 10 years time in the industry, potentially working at Genesis," he said.
"I'd like to think that maybe they've learnt a couple of things off us today in terms of how we use ours, and maybe some tricks and tips to give them a better chance, but I think they're going to do really well - very impressed with what they've got.
"We wish the teams all the best over in the States for the competition.
"It's amazing what they've been able to achieve.
"I must say I was a little bit worried that they'd out-skill me, which they definitely have in terms of piloting their aquabot.
"It's great to see they've brought some of their culture into the way they've painted and designed their aquabot.
"Offshore is an amazing opportunity for anyone, and to see kids this young given that opportunity is just real special," he said.
The team has also been busy raising funds for the trip.
Genesis Energy donated $15,000 to the cause, more than doubling the $12,000 already raised through its Givealittle page.