Robotics champs from 22 schools will face off this week in the National Robotics Scrimmage 2020, the culmination of a year-long programme engaging more than 700 young Māori in ‘STEM’ - science, technology, engineering and maths.
It is the fourth national programme run by Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi technology hub RoboPā, which has doubled the number of kaupapa Māori kura – schools - it is working with to strengthen STEM development through the robotics challenge.
RoboPā co-ordinator Thomas Mitai said 110 rangatahi - young people - have qualified to compete in the marathon two-day national finals after engaging for a year in computational tasks designed to challenge them to solve problems using STEM.
The event on November 34 and 25 at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi in Whakatāne will challenge top robotics students to design, modify and manipulate a prototype robot to complete a series of set tasks. The rangatahi are from 22 kura across the rohe of Mātaatua - 16, Waikato-Tainui -5, and Waiariki - 1.
“Each team qualified for their place in the 2020 Nationals by winning local scrimmages held at every single one of the 22 kura,” says Thomas. “A total of 736 rangatahi engaged in this year-long challenge. One of the highlights has been bringing whānau – family - together to experience what their rangatahi are doing.
“A lot of parents expressed surprise – they were unaware of what their tamariki were achieving in this area until they came and saw for themselves.”
On a technical level, robotics is a test of skill and innovation in technology, design and programming. But competitive robotics adds another dimension, where rangatahi learn to succeed through critical and strategic thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, leadership, and communication.
“This is achieved in an environment that focuses on kaupapa Māori values such as whakawhanaungatanga (relationship-building) and kotahitanga (working together), and the programme is delivered almost entirely in te reo Māori,” says Thomas.
The following kura - schools - will compete in the National Scrimmage:
• Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Kawakawa Mai Tawhiti
• Te Kura Mana Māori o Whangaparāoa
• Te Waha o Rerekohu
• Te Kura o Torere
• Te Kura o Papa Te Whai
• Te Kura o Waioweka
• Te Kura o Omarumutu
• Te Kura o Manaakitia o Ōpotiki
• Te Kura Kaupapa Motuhake o Tāwhiuau
• Te Wharekura o Huiārau
• Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hurungaterangi
• Te Kura o Taneatua
• Te Kura o Tawera
• Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Oriini ki Ngāti Awa
• Te Kura o Te Pāroa
• Te Whata Tau o Pūtauaki
• Te Kura o Kawerau Pūtauaki
• Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Ararima
• Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Kaokaoroa o Patetere
• Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Tōku Māpihi Maurea
• Te Kura o Ngāti Hauā
• Te Kura a Rohe o Whaingaroa