Robot worlds beckon


Uber-talented Wakatipu High students are taking on the world in a robotics competition to help save the world.

Queenstown’s RoboStormers – who last week were promised support by local MP Hamish Walker – will compete against more than 160 countries at the five-day FIRST Global Challenge in Dubai in October.

The competition theme is ‘Ocean Opportunities’, and the team – comprising captain Tannin Heeley, 14, Monique Rider, 13, Pearce Summerfield, 14, Josh Nyberg, 14, and Minnie Tam, 14 – will be programming their robots to complete a range of tasks on the competition table like removing plastics from the seas.

The team will also form an alliance with two other overseas teams to show the spirit of cooperation needed to solve issues.

They were invited to Dubai after impressing judges at the Asia-Pacific champs in Sydney last month with their robot design and innovation, and their haka and poi per-formance.

The kids are mentored by Paula Hugens and Kristian Summerfield, who’ve taken over from their original mentor, Martin Wightman, who died days before they competed in a national comp in 2017.

They’re sponsored by Wightman’s sister, Queens-town Kip McGrath owner Emma Wilson.