Students came together to battle it out with their robots at the VEX Robotics Competition 2017, with spots in the world championships up for grabs.

The event was held at the Rotorua Energy Events Centre.

Chris Hamling, VEX regional support manager for Oceania, said they gave the students the rules of the competition and then students went away and designed their robots to play the game to the best of their ability within the rules.

The rules were announced in April.


The week started with the New Zealand IQ Nationals on Monday. The international Asia-Pacific Robotics Championship took place from Tuesday through to yesterday.

Hamling said there were teams from China, Taiwan and New Zealand competing in a "friendly, though high-pressure" competition.

The supreme award winners from the high school VEX VRC and the middle school VEX VRC with metal robots, along with the supreme winners from the middle school VEX IQ and elementary school VEX IQ with plastic robots, will qualify for the world championships.

The world championships will be held in Louisville, Kentucky in the United States, in April next year.

Hamling said they have had 230 teams compete.

He said the robotics competition had been running for 10 years and New Zealand had been the world champions for the past nine years.

Hamling said this competition helped to make science and education fun, and they were hoping to make young students feel like they could do science and technology.

It also created an international community and some New Zealand students had made friends from around the world.


Rotorua's St Mary's Catholic School had a team take part made up of five pupils.

Lily Kautz, 11, enjoyed being able to learn and get better each time.

Millie Lucich, 10, said the whole experience had been fun.

Ariahna Ngawhika, 11, said she had enjoyed controlling the robot and being in the matches.

Robots were in action. Photo/Shauni James
Robots were in action. Photo/Shauni James

All three had enjoyed meeting people from other countries and would like to take part again.

Elizabeth Parnell, 7, and Maiah Ngawhika, 9, also took part at different stages during the week.

For their competition, they were put together with another team and had to do lots of practice with them before the event.

St Mary's assistant principal Anne Cato said they had been loaned a robot which they had to build from St Peter's College in Palmerston North.

She said they would like to see a whole group of schools in Rotorua get involved so they could practice, learn and have fun together.

Stephen van Haren, St Peter's College head of department digital technologies, said it was a great programme because students collaborated and communicated while learning new skills.

"There are a bunch of students that have been through the programme that are volunteering here today because they are infected with the bug of this programme."