NZ AquaBots is the first underwater robotics programme for school-aged children in New Zealand.

NZAquaBots is an innovative underwater robotics program where youth teams build an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle then compete in New Zealand themed challenges. Students learn engineering concepts and hone skills in problem solving, teamwork, scientific communication, and technical applications. Building an aquabot teaches basic skills in design and encourages students to explore naval architecture and marine and ocean engineering principles. It also teaches basic science, electrical concepts, tool safety and technical procedures. Each year the theme of the programme is changed to reflect what is going on in Aotearoa and/or the world, this year we chose to work with Te Tai Tokerau Debris Monitoring Project and create the theme ’Ocean Pollution’ but previous years have been: Pasifika Navigation (2019) and Historical Maori Fishing Practices (2018).

The kit is re-usable, as advanced students need to modify the structure of the AquaBot from year to year in order to compete. Winning teams are invited to compete in the International Sea Perch competition in the USA.

This representative picture shows the typical contents of an NZ Aquabots kit. Many of the parts are sourced locally and so may differ slightly from those shown here.

Please note that the battery (red cross) is not included.


NZAB complete kit:  $199.99 – Free Shipping
Controller only: $59.80 – Flat rate shipping $7
Motor kit (1 motor, 1 cover, 1 prop set): 17.25 – Flat rate shipping $7
Prices include GST

Regional Contacts and Competition dates

“*** Please note that due to Covid-19, the following dates may be subject to change ****

Rotorua: and  07 351 8042 Competition date Saturday, September 25th, 2021

Richmond: Competition date Sunday, November 7th, 2021

Eventbrite Booking: 

Wairarapa: Competition date Wednesday, 27th October, 2021

Auckland: Competition Thursday, October 21st, 2021

Eventbrite Booking:

Dunedin: Competition date Sunday 18 July 2021

Eventbrite Booking: 


TBA Northland

Nationals – Richmond Aquatics Centre: Competition date Sunday, December 5 2021


NZ Aquabots is based on Seaperch


See the 2020 Mission animation

Watch video of Task 2 – Disposal Vault

Sponsored by:

Who takes part?

Teams are formed from a maximum of 6 students in Years 5 – 13. Students can be across varying year levels and schools if necessary. The NZAquaBots programme inspires students and helps discover the next generation of Kiwi scientists and engineers, while introducing potential maritime and robotics careers.

How do you compete?

Each year two aspects of the competition remain the same. There is an obstacle course that must be traversed and an oral presentation must be made. The other pool events change from year to year. These have included collecting invasive species, playing Connect 4, and collecting kai moana (seafood). New in 2018 is the ‘Hack-a-Kit’ competition, where students are permitted to re-design the kit under constraints, including keeping the cost to $20. These students are not permitted to continue to the International Sea Perch competition.