Problem-solving youth Roman Avery has invented a vaccine pass checking machine making life easier and safer for cinema staff and customers alike.
The Vax-Scan machine has been a hit at the Shoreline Cinema, in Waikanae, where Rowan works as a systems engineer while studying at Victoria University.
Customers of all ages have adapted quickly to the system and are happy with it.
"They say 'I haven't seen that before' and 'what a great idea'."
The Vax-Scan had done "close to 10,000 scans" so far.
"That's pretty impressive."
Customers use the machine, at the entrance, to scan their vaccine pass QR code either from a smartphone or a printed copy.
A ticket is issued stating the person's name and time/date of entry after the machine verifies the pass.
The ticket is then taken to the counter, given to staff, before the customer can buy their movie ticket, beverages and food.
The cinema stores the details for a month, to aid with contact tracing if needed before it's deleted.
Roman, 18, said the Vax-Scan machine, along with the perspex dividers between the theatre couches, had greatly assisted in providing customers with a safe movie experience.
It was shortly before the introduction of the orange traffic light setting, late last year, when the idea for the Vax-Scan started.
"The motivation behind it was to help staff just do their job.
"We [including his father Peter Avery who owns the cinema] thought the traffic light setting would be quite difficult for staff in terms of checking a vaccine pass every time someone came in especially during busy sessions, so we thought about having something at the door, not a person, but a machine scanning a customer's pass.
"Staff aren't here as security either.
"We've had some tense moments over the phone and in-person as well.
"It seems to have subsided because people know there's no point arguing with a machine.
"We had an old printer lying around, we had some parts, and we got some more from overseas, and we just starting building.
"It took a couple of weeks to create the Vax-Scan which we've made minor improvements to over time."
Two other independent cinemas have invested in a Vax-Scan including the Tivoli Cinema, in Cambridge, and Regent Theatre, in Te Awamutu.
"We got them delivered straight to the door and it was only a matter of plugging them in.
"The Vax-Scan is designed to be as easy as possible and that includes any maintenance which is done remotely.
"The ones up north have been running for about a month without a problem."
The Vax-Scan costs "less than three weeks wages on the minimum wage" and was good value.
"We've seen shops with people sitting outside all day waiting to check people's passes."
He said the Vax-Scan could work in a variety of places where there were a lot of people, like rest homes, cafes, restaurants, libraries, swimming pools, post offices and so on.
And there were options for the machine in a post-Covid world barring any new variants.
"The options could be a receptionist for an office building where you could get your ticket via email, and then scan the code once in the building to notify staff.
"The other option could be in a Post Office for a ticket queuing system.
Roman, who attended Waikanae School then Whitby Collegiate, had a bit of knowledge behind him before delving into the project.
He's in his second year of a BSC at Victoria University, initially studying electrical engineering but later swapping to mathematics and physics, and is good with software.
His long-term aim was to "solve more problems".