May 15th, 2019

Girl Powered Kiwi robotics team
crowned best in the World

The first all female
team from New Zealand has been crowned winners of their
division at the world championship for Middle School (years
6-8) students and best all-girl team at the VEX IQ Robotics
World Championships, the biggest and fastest growing youth
robotics competition in the world.

Riley
Pollard and Tara Stevens of the Nakibots robotics team,
winners of their division at the VEX IQ world
championships.

Tara Stevens (14) and Riley
Pollard (11), from New Plymouth and Okato and the Nakibots
team, fought off around 80 others in their division from 24
countries, including the United States, China and the UK.

Not only did they win their division but also go on to
compete and be placed 6th in the world across all 400 teams
in the wider competition, in front of 20,000 spectators.

The World Championships is based on the VEX
robotics system, the largest producer and distributor of
robotics kits in the world. New Zealand sent 90 students
between the ages of 11 and 18, including their support teams
to this year’s event in Louisville, Kentucky, United
States. The teams have just returned home.

As well as
Taranaki, the teams this year came from Feilding, Palmerston
North, Auckland and Tauranga.

Chris Hamling, from
Kiwibots says Tara and Riley’s win makes them the best all
girl robotics team in the world for their age
group:

“This is a great victory for Girl Power as they
were up against the might of some very well funded teams
from big schools and cities.

“We’ve all lost our
voices cheering for them as they beat off team after team.
They showed just how good young Kiwis are at innovating,
building and programming robots to compete.

“Their
win is an example for all young people, especially girls, to
get involved in robotics and technology as a way of
understanding the importance of STEM skills.”

Nakibots
is an afterschool club created by parents keen on helping
their intermediate and high school kids learn about STEM
(science, technology, engineering and maths) and use it to
create and be innovative.

The competition involves
building a robot to compete in a game designed by VEX IQ. It
is completely student led with adults acting as mentors.
This year’s game involved moving and stacking plastic
objects called hubs, hanging the robot from a bar and
working together with another team (selected at random), all
in a 60 second time limit. Robots could only carry one hub
at a time, but the students quickly figured out strategies
to move large numbers of hubs without lifting them.

(to
explain this visually, see this link to the winning match:
Nakibots win)

Kiwibots produces and
promotes robotics education and competitive events, with an
aim to inspire young New Zealanders to be innovators and
creative thinkers. It is a trust supporting seven regional
robotics organisations, involving around 2,500 students and
manages two national robotics competitions. It’s aim is to
help teach STEM skills and prepare young people for the
future of work.

In 11 years of competition Kiwi teams have
been crowned World Champions and Division Champions ten
times.

It is supported by New Zealand sponsors
including: Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Glidepath’s Sir
Ken Stevens, SMC Corporation and Smales Farm.

The entry of
the Kiwi teams is supported by the Royal Society, an
independent, statutory not-for-profit body in New Zealand
providing funding and policy advice in the fields of
sciences and the humanities.

ENDS

Other awards won by
Kiwibots individuals and teams:

Inspiration All-Star
Award: Stephan van Haren, St Peter’s College, Palmerston
North
Middle School: Science Division Teamwork Champions:
Team 2518R from Nakibots, Taranaki,
Elementary
School
Judges Award: Team 11446A MSS Odderbots from
Manchester Street School in Feilding
Energy Award: Team
2223A CSNS T-VEX from College Street Normal School in
Palmerston
North

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