At recent AquaBots competitions, Rotorua children put their robotics skills to the test and made their mark as a town with robotics ability.
NZ AquaBots is an underwater robotics programme for school-aged children in New Zealand.
Teams are formed from Year 5 to 13 students and aim to inspire students and help discover the next generation of Kiwi scientists and engineers, while introducing potential engineering and robotics careers.
In mid-September Rotorua had its first AquaBots Regional.
Forty-one teams competed across four different events, with six ultimately qualifying for the National AquaBots Competition in Nelson at the start of this month.
Four local teams travelled to compete at the nationals in Nelson recently and had a successful weekend with great results.
In the secondary division, JPC Year 10 Boys from John Paul College gained first in Harvest and Trade (collecting and delivering items underwater), first in Pacific Journeys (navigating underwater through an obstacle course), first in Presentation (a 10-minute talk about their experience including scientific theory).
The also received second in Celestial Navigation (turning lights on underwater and completing a quiz on Pasifika navigation).
They finished first overall in the high school category, out of eight teams.
This qualifies them to travel to the USA to compete in the Sea Perch Challenge at the University of Maryland in May, 2020.
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The team said they felt proud and surprised when they found out they had come first.
Sam Fox, 15, said the national competition included challenges like turning on lights with magnets on the robot, a quiz on the navigation that Pasifika people used to navigate to New Zealand, an obstacle course of hoops.
He said he liked the problem-solving aspect of the AquaBots programme - "being able to have a problem and work on it until you get a solution".
Danyon Wang, 15, said they had to improvise and adapt parts of their robot as aspects of the national competition were different from the regional one.
He said he liked robotics for its hands-on aspect.
Ivan Zaw, 14, said the team enjoyed taking part in nationals and having the opportunity to travel to another place in the country to participate.
He said he liked how the programme gave them challenges.
Ivan said it felt good to be able to qualify to represent the country in an international competition and to know they were good enough.
In the primary and intermediate division, the Malfroy Sharks from the Malfroy School Montessori Unit gained third in Pacific Journey, first in Presentation, second in Celestial Navigation and finished first overall, out of 24 teams.
The Malfroy Sharks team members are Cody Sinnott, 11, Tiana Dean, 12, and Jurnee Leonard, 13.
This also qualifies them to travel to the US for the Sea Perch Challenge.
The team said the win was a surprise and they enjoyed the whole experience of the national competition.
They said they learnt a lot and it was fun, and they liked the process of making the AquaBots.
It was exciting to have qualified and been given the opportunity to travel to the US for the international competition, they said.
The Soggy Potatoes from the Te Aka Mauri Robotics Club based in the Rotorua Library were first in Harvest and Trade, third in Celestial Navigation and finished second overall in the division (out of 24 teams).
Also in this division, the Underwater Allstars from St Mary's were second in Harvest in Trade and first in Pacific Journeys.
- For information on AquaBots Rotorua 2020 (attending, competing or sponsoring) and other robotics events and programmes in Rotorua contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- To support the Malfroy team attend Sea Perch USA in 2020 please contact:email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
- To support the John Paul College team attend Sea Perch USA in 2020 please contact: email@example.com