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Video created by Represent Online, funded by Trust Horizon

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What is NZ Aquabots?

The process in the NZAquaBots programme is for teams to compete locally in one of the following areas:  Northland, Auckland, Rotorua, Whakatane, Masterton, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, or Invercargill. The top 9 teams (3 from each age group) are invited to Nationals which is held towards the end of the year. The top 2 teams from Nationals are invited to the international competition in the USA, via Sea Perch or MATE.
ONLY teams that win at Nationals will be eligible to go to the international Sea Perch competition in the USA. 

What is NZ Aquabots?

NZ AquaBots is the first underwater robotics programme for school-aged children in New Zealand.  In this innovative underwater robotics program, school-aged children forms 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.

How do I participate in NZ Aquabots?

Ministry Of Inspiration is the exclusive provider of NZAquaBots in New Zealand. MOI works with local coordinators to run local events delivering the programme developed by MOI in conjunction with RoboNation (Sea Perch).

Anyone or any school can purchase NZAquaBots and have fun with them! Competition procedures are to be followed if students wish to attend the Regional/National event and potentially feed to the International event run by Sea Perch in the USA. To compete, all you have to do is build your NZ Aquabot to the rules for the current year (see resources for rules), then participate in a qualifying regional (see further down for a list of regionals).  Teams who place 1st, 2nd or 3rd in their regional qualify for the National event.  Teams who place 1st in the High School Division and Intermediate Division are eligible for the International SeaPerch event run in the USA by RoboNation.

If you have questions, please contact us: admin@ministryofinspiration.org

What equipment or tools do I need?

The image below shows the typical contents of an NZ Aquabots kit. To purchase one or get replacement parts please visit our shop. Many of the parts are sourced locally and so may differ slightly from those shown here. You will also need to purchase a battery for the kit locally.  The kit is re-usable, as advanced students need to modify the structure of the AquaBot from year to year in order to compete.

What support can I get?

If you are in one of our supported areas then you can chose which (or all) of the free support that is available for you.

  1. Build days – we bring all the tools and equipment required to create or adapt your robot.  By the end of the day teams will have a fully functioning robot and will be ready for testing.  We can adapt these days to support new teams, existing teams and everything in between
  2. Teaching and Learning Guide – our teaching and learning guide (accessible under resources) or as a printed copy has a host of pre-activities, extension activities and includes all the science and math knowledge you need to be able to support your NZAquabots team
  3. Online Masterclasses – we provide free 2 hour masterclasses on how to create the paperwork required, including the Factsheet (1 page poster), Presentation (10min presentation on the team’s learning journey) and technical report.  These sessions are practical and cover design principles and elements as well as providing feedback on student work.
  4. Pool practice sessions – where possible we arrange free practice pool sessions so those schools without a pool can participate on a level playing field.  Often other local schools host these, so we appreciate their support as well.
  5. A co-ordinator on call – we’re always here via email or phone to help if it all goes pear shaped, so reach out if you are struggling or think your teams are.

National Winners for 2023

Selwyn Aquatic Centre November 26th 2023

High School

1st: Blue Magic – Rotorua Primary School (Qualified for International Seaperch Competition)

2nd: Team Tahi SAGE Engineering – SAGE Engineering Club (Qualified for International Seaperch Competition)

3rd:Poka Wai – Whakatane High School


1st: Devil Marines – Rotorua Primary School (Qualified for International Seaperch Competition)

2nd: Bohally Hydroneers – Bohally Intermediate

3rd: Atlantis – Hobsonville School

Primary School

1st: Bumble Bots – Springlands School (Qualified for International Seaperch Competition)

2nd: Aqua blue – Diamond Harbour School

3rd: Scallop Savers – Diamond Harbour School


Congratulations to all our participants and we hope to see you in 2024


How do I register or get more information

We work with regional co-ordinators in a number of areas. Dates for 2024 are indicative at present

Register your team to attend a regional here:

North Island Regionals contact Jessica Cathro jessica@ministryofinspiration.org

Northland Regional: TBC

West and North Auckland Regional: 24th August 2024

South Auckland Regional: 17th August 2024

Rotorua Regional: 21st September 2024

Whakatane Regional: 14th September 2024

Masterton Regional: 22nd June 2024

South Island + Wellington Regionals please contact Amy Cornelisen: amy@ministryofinspiration.org

Wellington Regional: 27th July 2024

Nelson/Marlborough Regional: 22nd September 2024

Christchurch Regional: 11th August 2024

Invercargill Regional: 2024

Nationals 2024: Auckland 1st December 2024

For enquiries outside these areas or for more information please email info@ministryofinspiration.org