5 Years of Vex in NZ

So this weekend is the 5th New Zealand National VEX Competition.

5 years ago had you asked what trips I planned to take in the next 6 months I would have said nothing. Little did I know we were a few weeks away from winning the first NZ National champs and qualifying for the Elevation World Champs. At that world champs one of the 4 NZ teams made it to their division finals while two more made it to division semifinals. I don’t think anyone had expected anything like that 8 months earlier when we were all looking at starter kits building 24” robots because we didn’t understand the rules, it was an amazing achievement.

Since then VEX in NZ has come a long way. We have seen 5 high school world champions crowned from NZ, and now there are competitions that reach almost every school in the country. We have hosted some huge events, the 2012 Asia Pacific competition was the third biggest of the Sack Attack season.

For me it showed just how far VEX NZ has come, all of the on the day management and volunteer organization roles were filled by people who had participated in VEX as high school students and were now volunteering their time to help the next generation.

I have personally been involved with two different teams through the past 5 years, I started out in high school on 2911 Binary Blitz, and when I started University we formed the Auckland University Robotics Association (AURA) through which we have competed twice at College world champs. AURA has also been heavily involved in running competitions at all levels around Auckland, from providing refs and volunteers at small monthly scrimmages through to helping run Nationals and events like Asia Pacific.

I have just graduated University and moved to Sydney for a new job and sadly won’t be involved in any VEX in the near future. While sad that might be I can’t wait to see what AURA gets up to next. I also look forward to seeing how NZ VEX develops, there are large changes coming to the way qualifications for Nationals work as we move towards a ladder model where only some teams will qualify from each new region. I can’t wait to see this in action, it will be a big change but is going to allow NZ to expand to even more schools and hopefully crown some more world champions!!

Good luck to all those competing at Nationals over the next 3 days (but secretly i’ll still be rooting for 2911!)

Great post, thanks for sharing. It is amazing to see how New Zealand has developed robotics over the last 5 years.

New Zealand always shows up at worlds with excellent robots. This year I have not seen as much discussion about New Zealand but I’m certain many of those 29 robots will contend for championship.