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

AquaBots are a remotely operated, tethered, underwater vehicle, designed and built by a group of students from a supplied kit. The varying levels of sophistication of the AquaBots ensures a broad appeal to students. The students must build the structure of the AquaBot as well as solder the components, including the controller. The programme culminates in a national challenge at the Richmond Aquatic Centre in November each year.

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:  $195.50
Controller only: $59.80
Motor kit (1 motor, 1 cover, 1 prop set): 17.25
Prices include GST. Shipping is not included.

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/Sunday November 7th/8th 2020

Nelson: Competition date Sunday November 8th 2020

Wairapa: Competition date Tuesday November 24th

Auckland: Competition date TBA

Nationals – Masterton: Competition date Sunday November 29th


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.