01 December 2015

Transpower Neighbourhood Engineers Awards 2015

  • Churchill Park School students use their new outdoor classroom, developed with guidance from Fulton Hogan engineer Lucian Doig GIPENZ. Photo: Vicki Smith.

Electronics and the environment were key themes among the entries to this year’s Transpower Neighbourhood Engineers Awards. Schools from across the country contributed to the 39 projects entered for this year’s Awards.

Entries included a school clock tower, rainwater collection systems, sheltered outdoor learning spaces, and electrical devices for monitoring student attendance and alerting students if the school is going into lockdown.

A team from Auckland’s Sancta Maria College won the Senior prize with their project, “Propagation Trolley”, which was designed and built for the school’s technology department to transport tools and gardening equipment. Students Erica and Tracy developed the trolley, which needed to be lightweight and easily portable. They researched the surfaces the trolley had to move over, made models using 3D modelling software SketchUp and working drawings, and then built their final design.

Sancta Maria old boy Zac Mackintosh, who mentored the team through the engineering design process, says “It’s been great to give back to my old school, and to see how far the technology programme has developed since I was a student. I found the freedom the students were given to imagine a project and see it through to completion refreshing.”

Teacher Matt Henderson says “My students have had the opportunity to see what it is like to experience actual engineering situations with ‘real world’ stakeholders. As their teacher, it has been a real privilege to guide them through the process and watch them succeed in taking a stakeholder brief through to construction”. He says other students were inspired by seeing Zac working with the group.

Churchill Park School in Auckland won the Junior section with their “Leave a Legacy” project. The team of 10 Year 8 students developed an outdoor classroom, suitable for student and community use. With guidance and support from Lucian Doig GIPENZ, project engineer at Fulton Hogan, the students led every aspect of their project, from planning and design, and stakeholder and supplier communication to cutting and tensioning canvas and construction.

“The students’ engagement, ownership and authentic learning have been invaluable”, says Assistant Principal Vicki Smith. “This project has engineering at its heart, but it has been so much more. As well as engineering opportunities, the students have had real challenges, real money and real successes. Their sense of achievement is real.”

The judges also gave Merit Awards to teams they considered had demonstrated particularly good technological practice and collaboration.


Merit Award recipients – Junior

  • Otumoetai Intermediate School, Tauranga
  • Kokatahi-Kowhitirangi School, Hokitika
  • Hobsonville Primary School, Auckland
  • Cashmere Primary School, Christchurch
  • St Brigid’s School, Dunedin
  • Newbury School (two projects), Palmerston North
  • Rosehill Intermediate School, Auckland
  • Matata Public School, Whakatane.

Merit Award recipients – Senior

  • Glendowie College, Auckland
  • Avonside Girls’ High School, Christchurch
  • Sancta Maria College, Auckland
  • Karamu High School, Hastings
  • Mission Heights Junior College (three projects), Auckland.

Find out more about the winning and Merit Award projects