Genesis Energy
Royal Society of New Zealand

Participant Projects: 2010

View the Participant Projects Archive: Click on the links: (2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)

20 of New Zealand's top secondary school science researchers and technology students have been selected for the 2010 Realise the Dream event.

These students were selected from 53 nominations and underwent a two stage rigorous judging procedure.

Realise the Dream will begin in Auckland on Sunday 5 December and finish in Wellington on Saturday 11 December. During that time they will spend a day at the Liggins Institute, Auckland where they will participate in a day of hands-on activities. The participants will then travel together by coach and stay in Hamilton 2 days where they will spend time with DairyNZ and have a special tour of Hamilton Zoo. From there it is overnight in Turangi where they will spend time with Genesis Energy who have planned an afternoon activity for them and an evening BBQ. On the 9th they then travel to Palmerston North where they are spending an afternoon at Massey University and then travel on to Wellington where they are spending two nights. This event culminates in an award/cocktail function on Friday.

It is important to note that the project summaries below are purely just that, a small glimpse into what the students have researched or produced. All students have carried out a remarkable amount of research, some over a period of two years.

Students who have been selected from New Zealand are:

Allan Bailey, 13, Palmerston North Boys' High School


As a child Allan was always disappointed with the bit of froth on top of their McDonald's hot chocolates instead of the expected marshmallows bobbing about. The aim of Allan's project was to create a marshmallow which held its shape in a hot drink and if successful be marketed in the shape of famous logos such as McDonald's golden arches. He noted too, that other major fast-food outlets such as Burger King, Starbucks and BP's Wild Bean Caf, could also benefit from this additional branding tool.
Allan's experiment variables were cane sugar and gelatine. He trialled until he found the maximum sugar level when he could see evidence of saturation. Not only was not all the sugar dissolved, but a firm, external crust formed on the set product. The gelatine variations stopped when he tripled the gelatine quantity and the mixture ended up burning and sticking to the bottom of the pot as there wasn't sufficient water to dissolve the gelatine! With the maximum capacity of either variable identified, he then experimented with different combinations of the 2 ingredients, as well as an extra trial which involved chocolate coating.
The ultimate test was placing the sample cubes in a 65C hot chocolate drink (McDonalds serve theirs at between 65 & 70C). He measured the surface area after 4 minutes to see how much it had altered compared with the original size. He didn't measure changes in thickness as his aim was to get a visible image of his logo from the top view only.
The most important stage was the taste test. There is no point making a marshmallow that's too rubbery and if it didn't taste good - no-one would buy it! Fortunately, the most successful result proved to be the taste test favourite also, emerging as the most liked for taste & texture. The winning variations were both the plain and chocolate coated recipes with 2 times the original amount of gelatine - which during testing, resulted in a virtually perfectly retained shape.
Other potential uses could be supermarket products, as Allan does not think there is anything out there. For example shapes such as 'zoo animals' for hot chocolate's at home or decorations for kids parties etc. Another idea could be one-off promotional shapes for special occasions - such as 'heart' shapes for Valentines Day, 'flower' shapes for Daffodil Day, 'rugby balls' for a World Cup event.
For fun, Allan made up the two best variations in the shape of the McDonalds golden arches. They looked great, held their shape in the hot drink and lastly, tasted great! Allan wrote to McDonald's NZ with his concept and the further idea that it could be used for promotional themes alongside their Happy Meals - e.g. a Shrek or a Yogi Bear head bobbing about would be cool. They replied and were really impressed with Allan's creative ideas and have passed them on to their national marketing team.

Lina Barthlen-Potter, 17, Kerikeri High School, Northland


Girdling is a process in which a small thick layer of bark that runs the circumference of the kiwifruit vine is removed. This isolates the roots from the leaves, allowing the fruit to absorb more nutrients than it usually cold, increasing Fruit Weight and Dry Matter. Dry Matter is the name that is given to the part of the fruit that contains all the important nutrients such as starch; it is what gives the fruit its flavour and taste. The girdle will remain open and active for approximately 3 weeks.
In this investigation the Girdles were applied using a hand chain saw and girdling knife. They were applied during spring and summer to correspond with different kiwifruit growth stages. The vines were either girdled in spring, summer or both spring and summer.
The global kiwifruit company Zespri have a payment method in place based on Dry Matter. It is therefore important to growers that they raise Dry Matter and increase their income. This investigation was focused on Girdling on Double Planted orchards. This is orchards that have more vigorous root systems, which decreases Dry Matter draining nutrients from the fruit. Girdling on Double Planted orchards does however reduce much of the dangers involved with Girdling as more roots are present.
The results from this investigation show that applying a single Girdle in Spring had the greatest influence over Fruit Weight with an average increase of 24g, but had very little effect on profit. Applying a single Girdle in summer had the greatest influence over Dry Matter with an average increase of 1.07%, this had a huge effect on profit with an estimated profit increase of $12 000 per hectare of Kiwifruit. Double Girdling increased both Fruit Weight and Dry Matter respectively but had a lower profit increase. A single girdle in summer would be the best option in raising Dry matter and profit.
Girdling, in particular Double Girdling has many other possibilities as well. In double planted orchards the maintenance costs are quite high; girdling can be used as a way to stop root growth. This could then lessen the labour costs required for pruning. Girdling also can increase flower rate the following year, which may one day limit the use of Hi Cane, a very controversial spray. It seems like the possibilities for Girdling are endless.

Yufei Chen, 17, Auckland Grammar School


Yufei's research originated from his work for IYPT (International Young Physicists' tournament) which he attended earlier this year.
The original question was:
Suspend a water drop at the lower end of a vertical pipe. Illuminate the drop using a laser pointer and observe the pattern created on a screen. Study and explain the structure of the pattern.
It became Yufei's mission to personally extend on the question to relate it to real life applications.
For the problem itself, the work mainly focused on the behavior of light and how light would interact with the water drop. Ray optics, contamination of light source, speckle patterns and Fresnel's diffraction were the main topics investigated. Out of the four, ray optics was the best researched, with extensive theory built and a computer program written for it. The correlation between the theory and the practical was very high in this part of experiment, which shows, when the light source is very close to the water drop, you could use 3-D geometry to approximate the path of light ray. Most of the analyses for light source and speckle patterns were qualitative, but the correlation with the theory was quite clear. Yufei has also looked into Fresnel's diffraction to see how single light source, without destructive and constructive interference, could create maxima and minima in the pattern. Yufei has also investigated how different wavelengths of light would affect the pattern, and the effect of partial reflection. All the work mentioned are theoretical with a lot of mathematical postulations.
Yufei has extended his theories to give real life application to the project. He built a wooden frame for a stable testing environment, and he could test the water quality using his setup, for both suspensions and opaque particles. The test result was clear for suspensions. Results for opaque particles show only qualitative analysis at this stage.
Also, Yufei looked into the potential of the project, showing that the water drop does not have the ability to replace a conventional lens, but has the potential to be a good magnifier. The setup also has the potential to act as a scanner if he were to use the 3-D model he built previously.
The reason for doing this research is mainly for the versatility of the project. Many water testers have very accurate testa for chemicals in water, but do not have the ability to look into the size and amount of opaque particles in the water, and Yufei's setup does. Also, it can be a cheap alternative to the optical tomography that has been developed around the world.

William Fitzgerald, 17, Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (Correspondence School). From Dunedin


Sutton Salt Lake is New Zealand's only inland salt lake. It is located just south of Middlemarch, Otago at approximately 250 metres above sea level. As the rate at which surface water is lost to the atmosphere exceeds the rainfall, saline sediments from marine aerosols - salts dissolved in rain from the ocean - have accumulated in the depression of the lake bed. The lake water level varies from being completely dry in summer to filling up to a maximum depth of approximately 1 metre in late winter. Plants growing around the lake edge can be affected by the highly saline water from the lake splashing and spraying onto them during winter and spring.
The relationship between the soil chemistry and the presence of a salt tolerant plant - Puccinellia fasciculata was investigated using a radial transect method, in which sampling lines radiating from a central point were used. Five transects of variable length were used sampling the soil and plant presence at 0.25 metre intervals in the vegetated zones around the lake edge and every 10 metres in the dry lake bed. Electrical Conductivity (EC) - a measure of how well a solution can conduct a current and soil salinity, and pH of the soil were the two chemical measures used.
The average EC values of the soil were significantly higher where P. fasciculata was present compared to where it was not present (mean EC = 2.18 compared to mean EC =0.97 respectively, p =0.009). A similar trend was found with pH values (7.92 compared to 7.83 respectively, p = 0.000017). These results are highly significant and not due to a chance observation. The results show that the presence of P. fasciculata and soil EC and pH values are closely related. A wide range of EC values were recorded in the soil where P. fasciculata was found (0.05676-14.87). However, the greatest number of P. fasciculata plants were found in soil with EC values between 0.50 and 2.00 mS/cm with an upper tolerated limit of 0.50 mS/cm for healthy growth. In soils with an EC above this the plants were clearly unhealthy, and many were dead. This plant is relatively tolerant of salty soils but has a preferred range of salt concentrations in the soil for healthy growth.
Significant vegetation succession has occurred since 1972 when an earlier study was carried out investigating vegetation patterns at Sutton Salt Lake. This is possibly due to the prevention of large animals grazing the area when the lake was made a reserve in 1992. Prior to this time cattle grazed on P. fasciculata however this plant has successfully recolonised most of the lower vegetative zones nearest the lake bed. This is probably because it has a number of unique adaptations to salty soils that the other competing plant species do not have.
Further research on this topic could be directed at defining the molecular basis and isolation of genetic factors contributing to salt tolerance in P. fasciculata. This could be extremely useful, as the genes may be able to be inserted into another grass species (wheat, for example) so it would be tolerant of salt. This would make it possible to irrigate crops using seawater in coastal areas where there is very little rain such as in parts of New Zealand, North Africa, Australia, Chile, Peru and in the Middle East.

Leon Forbes, 18, Tamaki College, Auckland


Leon became interested in environmental toxins, particularly Bisphenol-A, as he was surprised that so many consumer items contain BPA and so little is actually known of the effects on our health and growth and development. While doing this research he networked with Masters and PhD students as well as research Fellows at the Liggins Institute. He was also in contact with hospital staff from the University of Canterbury. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a monomer widely used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and dental sealants and it has been shown to have endocrine disrupting properties. It has a similar structure to 17-estradiol (a from of estrogen) and therefore it is able to interact with the estrogen receptor. Miniscule amount of hormones can have massive biological effects. Recent studies have shown that BPA transfers across and accumulates in the placenta and some concern has been expressed over BPA's effects on fetal brain development. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of BPA on the expression of placental cytokine genes.
. Preliminary results from this study imply that some cytokine production may be altered in the placenta by BPA. This aberrant regulation may have adverse effects on the fetus and on placental function.
. There were large variations in gene expression and cytokine production between placentae. Even though all of the samples used were from elective C-section, there is a possibility for some placentae to have been in early labour. This might explain the interplacental variations seen.
. There is also a possibility that some effects of BPA and estrogen may have been masked by the inter-placental variations.
ELISA tests were used to measure the proteins being produced and real-time PCR was used to measure gene expression. Leon spent a huge number of hours in the laboratory under supervision practicing techniques and skills over and over until he was able to complete the ELISA and real-time PCR successfully.

Hadleigh Frost, 15, Lincoln High School, Christchurch


Computer circuits operate through the use of small circuits called logic gates which perform simple operations on signals. With the limits of electronic computing fast approaching, the development of optical logic gates could lead to smaller, faster, more efficient computers. I aimed to build optical logic gates and to experiment on relevant phenomena otherwise unexplained by textbooks. Hadleigh pursued the best of his ideas with his four step approach.

1. Conceive of a way to represent computer binary with light.
2. Find ways to manipulate this using optics.
3. Create relevant theoretical models.
4. Use these models to design and build light logic gates.

Hadleigh rigorously pursued creating light logic gates utilizing the phenomena of polarization and wave superposition. Whilst the polarization based idea was impractical to build, pursuing the superposition based idea led to several successful prototypes. In keeping with his second aim (experiment on relevant phenomena) he also produced models to explain the various aspects of these successful prototypes. Subsequently, he met both of his aims.
Specifically, the superposition based idea was to represent binary as light intensity, and manipulate this with optical components such as mirrors, glass and intensity filters to guide and combine beams. Hadleigh used mathematics to theoretically describe how light interacts with glass (which he verified with experiments) and also how light combines at different phases, amplitudes and polarizations. Based on this he designed his gates, the first being an optical NOT and an optical OR gate. A NOT gate outputs the opposite of what comes in (i.e. 1->0 and 0->1) and an OR gate outputs 1 if either or both of its two inputs are 1.
Hadleigh's project took a very different approach to mainstream research and as a result overcame many of the problems associated with this. By combining a theoretical and prototype based approach throughout the project, development of the gates moved quickly. Also, the spin-off invention, supporting models and research he produced as part of this project have value in other optical areas. Hadleigh's continuing research aims to improve the successful optical logic gates and the accompanying theory for use in creating optical computers. He has already taken some steps toward this, investigating the gates theoretically and building a simple optical circuit. The end result of which will be the realization of small, fast optical computers.

Alicia Harrison, 14 Morrinsville College, East Waikato


Alicia invented Glo Tags because every night during calving season (In New Zealand July- October) Farmers all over the World have to go out in the dark and try to match Cow numbers with their Calves. This is generally a very difficult, time consuming job. As Cow Tags are very hard to read and Cow's often walk away when people get too close with a torch. Depending on the Herd size there can be around 100-200 springing (close to calving) cows per night.
Alicia's criteria was that the Tags had to be weather proof as the Tags have to last roughly 8 years (a Dairy Cow's life-span) in all sorts of weather. The Tag has to be easily readable from a least a couple of metres away and will need to glow for at least 15 hours as farmers go out at any time of the night. The substance used to make the Tags glow will need its energy source to be Sunlight (UV rays). It also has to be non-poisonous as Cows often lick each other's ears.
All Glow in the Dark items contain Phosphors. A Phosphor is a substance that emits visible light after being energized by a light source such as fluorescent or ultraviolet rays. There are different types of Phosphors. What Alicia used were Strontium Aluminate and Zinc Sulfide. Strontium Aluminate is newer and has stronger glowing qualities and it lasts longer than Zinc Sulfide.
For Prototypes 1 and 2 Alicia sourced some Glow Powder containing Strontium Aluminate. She then mixed this with nail polish, as it is virtually un-removable! For Prototype 1 she painted the background with the substance and for Prototype 2 she did the opposite; unfortunately neither worked to full effect as the polish was lumpy and made it hard to read.
Alicia then found some Glowing Reflective Tape for her next two Prototypes, this is used by the USA Army troops. For Prototype 3, her final design, she traced the number and put this on the adhesive side of the tape. She then cut out the numbers after connecting the tape together and then peeled off the adhesive and stuck it all together.
Recently Alicia attended the KUDOS awards and from that has been contacted by the CEO of Zee Tags, Michael Gardner. They are currently sourcing Glo Powder so they can manufacture a Tag.

Hayley Haskell, 13, St Peter's School, Cambridge, Waikato


Flying High is a project studying airfoils. Hayley thought it would be interesting to study what factors affect the amount of lift an airfoil produces. She studied how the following affected the airfoil lift:
. The airfoil shape.
. The angle of the airfoil.
. The wind speed.

Hayley tested these variables using a Wind Tunnel she made from Coro flute (the wind tunnel was about 3 metres long). The wind tunnel consisted of a large, wide inlet that reduced down to a small testing area. Reducing the area resulted in the wind speed being faster. The air was pushed through the wind tunnel using a large fan. She used 6 airfoils of different shapes made from cardboard.
The wind speed inside the wind tunnel was adjusted using the fan's three different fan speed settings. The airfoils were adjusted at angles of 0, 2, 4 ,6 & 8 degrees. The lift that was produced by the airfoils was measured with electronic kitchen scales and the wind speed was measured using a wind meter that was made using a toy windmill, an electric motor and a power multimeter.
Hayley found that:
. Airfoils with a large, curved top produced the most lift.
. The lift increased when the angle of the airfoil increased.
. The lift increased when the wind speed the lift increased (approx proportion to wind speed squared).

Hayley was hoping that she would also see the "stall angle" of the airfoils but the test part of my wind tunnel was too small (ie she couldn't increase the airfoil angle more than 8 deg).
Hayey had lots of fun with her project and learnt a lot in the process. Her favourite part was taking the readings (even though it consisted of about 180!) and it has helped broaden her knowledge in Physics which is a great learning exercise.
If she were to do this experiment again, Hayley would like to make a bigger test section and use a more powerful fan at the inlet so that she could test past the stall angle and get more detailed results. Hayley enjoyed the experience and would like to do some further investigation in this field.

Maia Ihimaera, 13, Gisborne Girls' High School


Maia's research focused on identifying how we could off-set man made or man-managed contributions to atmospheric carbon dioxide levels more efficiently, as she is concerned about the potential negative impacts that greenhouse gasses, climate change, global warming and rising sea levels has upon Pacific Island populations like Kiribati, New Zealand and the world.
Maia investigated how Gisborne and other sunnier regions around New Zealand could maximise carbon sequestration capacity of carbon sink forests through exposing three different pinus radiata clone set groups to three different sunlight treatments over an experiment research duration period of approximately 104 days.
Her research questions were:
. Does the amount of sunlight that clone carbon sink forests (pinus radiata clone seedlings) receive, increase their growth and carbon sequestration capacity? If so,
. Which experiment clone set will achieve optimum carbon sequestration growth rates during the experiment period, and prove to be best suited for New Zealand's sunnier (light intensity and longer photo periods) climates, such as, Gisborne?

A total of 90 pinus radiata seedlings (x30 clone M, x30 clone A, x30 clone X), divided into groups of 10 of each clone set (M,A, X) were observed during the experiment in each of the different sunlight treatment sites:
. Site A: 462.91 natural sunlight hours and 332 additional sunlight (cool light) hours;
. Site B: 462.91 natural sunlight hours;
. Site C: 332 sunlight (cool light) hours only.

Measuring each clone set overall average starting and end biomass measurements provided the required data to analyse biomass growth performance of each clone set in sites A, B, C:
. Initial height, weight, root collar diameter, root growth and new growth;
. Recording and analysing the daily sunlight hours, and the daily light intensity readings at each site (A, B, C) at two different points of time;
. Recording and analysing or discussing the impact of other external factors that contribute to plant growth during the experiment, such as rainfall levels etc;
. The experiment end measurements, including clonal set average weight after drying to a constant weight.

Maia's research proved that site A's increased sunlight (cool light) hours, did increase the overall average carbon sequestration growth capacity for all clone sets M, A, X compared to site B or C clone sets. Both sunlight treatments in site A, B proved that sunlight, photosynthesis is essential to carbon sequestration growth capacity, compared to site C.

Finally, Maia's research identified a clone set that proved its clonal characteristic, superiority and suitability for sunnier regions, like Gisborne. Clone X was the optimum performer that maximised carbon sequestration within Site A, as it achieved the highest overall average biomass growth increase of all of the clone sets. Also, Clone X proved that it was the overall competitive clone that performed equally with clone M in site B, and performed the best overall in site C.

Bailey Lovett, 17, James Hargest College, Invercargill


Bailey's project involved the investigation of microbial contamination of shellfish in the Riverton/Aparima area in Southland. This involved taking samples of shellfish and water from three different sites; Jacob's River Estuary at Railway Bridge, Jacob's River Estuary at Fish Co-op, and Riverton Rocks at Mitchell's Bay, and sending them to the lab to be tested for faecal contamination. The sampling period was over 30 days in order to capture a range of tides, weather conditions and levels of flow, with the ultimate goal being to capture at least one high flow event, when the flow level rises to above 110 cumecs.
At the conclusion of 30 days of sampling Bailey had captured a high flow event, which had a maximum flow of 123.7 cumecs, and she had received all results from the samples she had collected over this time period. From there she collated her results into a report which she presented to many organisations in her local community of Southland. The results of the samples she took each day showed that the levels of faecal contamination at the sites investigated were well above the 'safe' guideline for faecal coliforms; which is 230/100mL in flesh of the shellfish, and 14/100mL in water. The exceeding of the guidelines for faecal coliform count occurred during the high flow event, and from this it was concluded that there is a strong relationship between the level of flow caused by environmental conditions such as rainfall and tides, and the level of faecal contamination at the sites. Ultimately this showed that after periods of heavy rainfall it was unsafe to bathe or collect shellfish at any of the three sites, and that the current guideline for shellfish collection after heavy rainfall (2 day ban on shellfish collection after heavy rainfall) was unsuitable and needed to be revised. This caused Environment Southland to extend the ban on shellfish collection after heavy rainfall from 2 to 5 days, and also resulted in a number of shellfish collecting safety regulations to be changed throughout the Southland region.
Bailey's research also provided valuable data which has already been used by a number of organisations in Southland, and has also not only given Environment Southland valuable historical data, but has also aided them in the revision of their annual monitoring of the contamination in water bodies in the Southern region. She would like to continue this research with Environment Southland in trying to develop a warning system where the level of flow in a particular water body could be used to inform the public as to how many days a ban should be applied for. This would not only give the public a better understanding of what is going on but also helps to keep members of the public who collect shellfish or bath in these areas safe. Overall Bailey's project helped to protect members of our society from illness and helped to ensure public safety when gathering shellfish and bathing in these areas.

Nicholas Mabey, 18, King's College, Auckland


Nicholas's project is a transforming robot, who he has named Reggie. He's about a foot tall and can transform from a biped into a vehicle and vice versa.
Reggie has been Nick's project for just under a year now, mainly working on him in technology classes. He operates on his own, so everything he needs from micro controllers to power is stored somewhere on Reggie's body.
Reggie is controlled through a programmable Arduino board (programmed in C++) that is connected up to a motor driver, for controlling the two driving motors and an SSC-32 servo controller for controlling the 14 servos via serial port.
All the parts were produced on a 3D CAD system to begin with, as well as the robot as a whole, although the design did change drastically over the course of its construction.
Most of the parts were from the servo erector set from lynx motion, although some of them were used in the way they were intended to and most of them were modified slightly. Some parts Nick manufactured himself either on a rapid prototyping machine, a lathe or milling machine and sometimes a combination of them or even high temperature soldiering.
Currently Reggie is capable of driving and standing up but walking might not be possible without getting stronger leg servos. He is also only capable of following a set route once activated but Nicholas is working on making Reggie remote controlled very soon.

Priya Mittal, 17, Mt Roskill Grammar School


Are you regularly receiving visitors and courier parcels but aren't able to tend to them because you're not at home? The solution that Priya has developed for her client allows the doorbell to call her cell phone so that she is able to talk to the visitor and give instructions from wherever she is. Priya created a system which uses an ATmega64 microcontroller to control a cell phone. The keypad of the cell phone was recreated by connecting a grid of FETs in parallel with the internal keypad connections of the cell phone and connecting the gates of each FET to the pins of the microcontroller. This allowed each key press on the cell phone to be mimicked by sending voltages to the required FET. She then had to then connect all the other relevant hardware to the system, such as the LCD, keypad, speaker and switch to allow for easy user interface. There were major issues in trying to find a suitable way to connect the cell phone to a microcontroller so that it could be controlled. After having many unsuccessful attempts at using the cell phone as a GSM module (as was used in similar existing products), Priya had to come up with an alternative. When she started to pull apart her cell phone, she came up with the idea of connecting in parallel to the internal keypad connections of the cell phone. This unique approach allowed the keys to be controlled of the cell phone, thus she was able to programme the microcontroller to stimulate the key presses like it was operating the phone. By doing so, the microcontroller could be programmed so that when the doorbell is simply pressed, the system is able to dial to her client's nominated cell phone so that she is able to talk to the visitor and give them suitable instructions, for example, dropping the parcel to be delivered off next door. When her client is home, she does not require the system to call to her cell phone, so Call Mode can be turned off, allowing the system to act as a regular doorbell. When she leaves the house Call Mode can be turned on to call to a desired number. The user is able to store two separate numbers into the system and choose which one they'd like to be called to when Call Mode is turned on.

Hammond Pearce, 17, Kerikeri High School


The Virtual Company Project is a website that Hammond has built from the ground up first as a self-interest program, then as a regional technology fair project, and now finally as a Realise the Dream project. It is an educational website designed for students studying business with a focus on Economics (especially at NCEA Level 1). To put it simply, it is an interactive economic simulator whereas the student controls a company that interacts with other students companies.
Having taken NCEA Level 1 Economics, Hammond knew that there was no real suitable environment for students to apply the knowledge that they learnt in class to real life situations. There was only textbook work. Right then and there he wanted to make a program for students, but he did not have the skills to do this until he was in Year 13 and taking Level 3.
Hammond has presented this project several times now, firstly at the regional science and technology fair where it won a special prize and was nominated for Realise the Dream, and secondly at the biweekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Kerikeri in a successful bid to gain funding for a New Zealand server. It has since been awarded funding from FreeParking and nominated for the E4E awards.
Hammond has been programming computers since he was 7 years old, beginning with Qbasic on a very old 486 machine. Since then he has selftaught himself enough knowledge to build this website entirely without help - aside from all the graphics, and the beta testers.
It relates back to five NCEA Level 1 Economics standards with a total sum of 22 credits. Specifically, it was designed to fit into the following NCEA Level 1 Standards:

US6857 - Explain and demonstrate the concepts of supply and demand in economics (7 Credits)
AS90179 - Describe the concept of Supply (3 Credits)
AS90196 - Describe producers, resources and production (5 Credits)
AS90198 - Describe the market and market equilibrium (5 Credits)
AS90199 - Describe major sectors of the economy and the relationships between them (2 Credits)

The website has been under development since May 2010 and is under constant development - with the Rotary funding Hammond hopes to be able to keep this website going for as long as possible, and even maintain it while he is at University.
The website has 85 registered companies on it now, reflecting about 50 users, from New Zealand to Australia, America, and Ireland. It is free to use, free of advertisments, and free to obtain copies of - and hopefully this will be able to be maintained. It has been operating publically under construction since the first of June 2010. Access it free at

Sarah Pirie, 17, Kerikeri High School


Food safety problems are internationally recognised with the handling of Bivalve Molluscan Shellfish (BMS) with many countries having regulations that control the collection and processing of shellfish. In New Zealand laws governing their handling are issued by the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA). In 2009, The Pacific Oyster contributed to the $1.35 billion worth of seafood that was exported from New Zealand. Pacific Oysters are filter feeders, filtering plankton from the water, and, like mussels and clams, can accumulate hazardous disease-causing micro organisms, viruses, protozoa, marine bio-toxins or toxic substances- if present in the water. Oysters are alive at the time of chilling, and people handling them from this point will control their environment. Before reaching the consumer, within New Zealand, and in our valuable Export Market, these delicacies go through a series of handling and re-handling. The process they undergo whilst preserving them, damages the oysters' quality and health, exposing the consumer to a less than "perfect" product. Knowing this product is not "sterile", are we doing the right things to inhibit further growth of microbes present in this valuable live marine organism?
Sarah found that the optimum range for storing The Pacific Oyster is a chilling temperature of 8 C or below- supporting current NZSFA rules enforcing that all BMS be stored at 7 C. However, and of equal importance, is the length of time that The Pacific Oyster is kept in refrigeration. Currently no regulations are in place enforcing the length of time that BMS can be in chilled storage for. Sarah believes that this needs to be regulated and/or monitored. Her experiments suggest that ideally, oysters should be removed from chilled storage within 5 days, (certainly no longer than 7 days), for further processing, as at this time bacterial counts of agar plates show the first signs of temperatures struggling to control bacterial reproduction.
After 7 days, regardless of temperature, bacterial counts rose very rapidly at a concerning rate, from this point oysters began to deteriorate in their "health" with bacterial colonies becoming dominant, further adding to their rapid deterioration as consumable and desirable products.
For the best possible product to reach the market, (meeting the current NZFSA), Sarah believes that a review could be undertaken into the storage length of oysters. When storing oysters for extended periods, a slightly cooler temperature (say 5C), although causing distress to the oyster might, in fact, be preferable, as the lower temperatures inhibit the growth of the microbes most successfully.
Both of her conclusions, if investigated further, could be extremely beneficial for the Export Market, especially when the shellfish must undergo long periods of transportation - ultimately, this could mean, getting a better quality product to the marketplace and so enhancing the reputation of the New Zealand Oyster Industry.
Sarah believes that the Oyster Industry, the consumer and the organism itself could benefit quite markedly from a slight alteration in The Pacific Oysters storage procedure, and if researched further, could see a revision in the NZSFA Regulations for BMS.

Reuben Posthuma, 16, Homeschooled, Canterbury


Have you ever driven down an unfamiliar road, and wondered what the speed limit is? This seems to be a common problem, so the DriverGuider was in part created to overcome this simple need. Although some in-car navigation systems do display the speed limit, it is often out of date, inaccurate, and, of course, it cannot update for road maintenance or other hazards. The DriverGuider contains a cellular internet module, so it downloads the current speed limit - and any relevant road hazards or warnings - from a powerful, up to date database on the internet.
This is not all that the DriverGuider does. In New Zealand during 2009, over 1 in 11 fatal crashes were caused by drivers who were unlicensed, banned from driving, or driving the wrong class of vehicle for their license (e.g. a heavy truck on a standard, light motor vehicle license). The DriveGuider, using contactless cards as used in many commercial building access systems, uses the server to verify that a driver is legally allowed to drive, as well as to ensure that a vehicle's Warrant of Fitness and registration is current, before the vehicle is allowed to be started.
The DriverGuider includes a large, easy to read display for informing the user of the current speed limit, relevant road hazards, or any system messages. It also includes a voice module for providing the user with audible warnings when the speed limit changes or a new hazard is detected.
The DriverGuider provides significant benefits to the consumer. Since it includes a GPS positioning device as well as a cellular internet connection, the user's vehicle can easily be tracked - or even disabled - if it was stolen, making it far easier to recover! Also, since it requires the user's license to be scanned, and validated at the server, the user could request that only his license be allowed to start his vehicle, making it far more difficult for thieves to steal. Obviously, the system can also prevent speeding tickets caused by ignorance of the speed limit.
Ideally, because of its potential and low cost, the DriverGuider could become a mandatory car safety device, as it would hold huge benefits for governments, through safety advantages; financial benefit, by making it more difficult to drive an unregistered vehicle; and preventing excess wear on roads, by ensuring vehicles have a current Warrant of Fitness.

William Quach, 17, Mt Roskill Grammar School, Auckland


The caller ID Divert System device allows users to store data about usual callers' name and phone number in the device. The user can then select which phone(s) to divert the phone call to. This device uses caller ID services to detect the phone number of the caller when someone calls and compares the incoming caller's phone number to the database of caller's information. If the caller's phone number is set in the device, the device will divert the call to the phone(s) set by the members of the household. Users are also able to select which phones to divert general callers (callers who are not stored in the device) and callers who have "Private" numbers to. There are also several modes which the user can choose depending on the circumstances including not allowing any phones to ring (e.g. to stop late night calls).
The issue for William's technology project was that of his client, Peter, who found the ringing of phones from callers very annoying as there was a phone in his bedroom. This was annoying especially during the times when he needed to sleep or study as there would be several phone calls which were seldom for Peter. As a result of these phone calls, Peter would lose concentration or end up tired from being woken from the phone calls.
There was also the issue of several phones in the house ringing, with the phone either not being answered by anyone or more than one person picking up the phone which lead to confusion as both people would put the phone down thinking the other person had taken the call.
William used a ATMEGA32 microcontroller as the main processing unit, a touch screen to allow for easy user input, a 128 x 64 LCD screen to display the user interface, a set of relays to control each phone line and the MC145447 microchip which decodes incoming caller ID data and sends the data to the ATMEGA32. By synthesizing all of these separate parts into one device, he was able to solve issue of phone calls disturbing people during their study and sleep as well as create a simple yet comprehensive user interface for his stakeholders.

Chris Ryan, 14, Howick College, Auckland


The purpose of this investigation was to look at the environmental health of the Tamaki Estuary using dissolved oxygen (DO) and bacterial levels as indicators of environmental health. A secondary aim was to examine the effects of development on the estuary. As a beach user and fisherman the health of this environment is important to Chris because it is important to be able to swim confidently knowing that the water is safe (doesn't contain high E.coli counts) and that fish populations can breed and feed within (if DO levels get too low fish cannot live and food sources for fish such as worm-beds are vulnerable to pollution). The environmental health of the Tamaki Estuary is important because animals such as the Shags which roost at the entrance to the Panmure Basin rely on the life within the estuary for food, if these food sources suffer then so too will the Shags.
Firstly it was necessary to determine how, salinity (salt levels), agitation (waves and chop), plant and animal life, temperature, and pH (acidity) affect DO levels in water. These tests were carried out in controlled environments to determine how these factors influence the DO. Research showed that pH and modest agitation had no effect upon DO levels. In hindsight agitating the water with a lab stirrer doesn't replicate the action of waves and chop very realistically. In the future experiments an alternative set up would be devised. Temperature and DO had an inverse relationship; this is as temperature increased DO levels decreased. This is because oxygen molecules are only loosely held in the water and can leave the water as temperature rises and the space available to them decreases. Salinity should have recorded an inverse trend but a positive relationship was observed, it is not clear why this occurred. Plant and animal life did affect DO. This was as expected because animals respire consuming oxygen, plants photosynthesize producing oxygen. Some on this oxygen dissolves into the water. In the dark DO levels decreased as plants consumed oxygen.
There was no relationship between DO, and the bacteria (E.coli and total coliforms) because these bacterium use faculative anaerobes. They can respire (breath) aerobically (consuming oxygen) or anerobically (without oxygen) and therefore the presence of oxygen is irrelevant.
The research showed that the Tamaki Estuary is healthy because, DO levels were within the range that will support life and bacteria levels were all within the 'safe' guidelines.
Recent developments do not appear to have had a negative impact upon the estuary. The absence of stock and the development of storm water holding ponds and new sewage systems in the latest developments reduce the run off of waste into the estuary. These factors mean that development has been beneficial to the Tamaki Estuary.

Shahn Taylor, 18, Taikura Rudolf Steiner School, Havelock North


Shahn has worked on a year- long project in which he decided to build a micro wind-turbine. He has always been fascinated with mechanics, mathematics, engineering, aerodynamics and electricity. A wind turbine is a mixture of these technologies, with the overall goal of electricity production. In a world that is starting to see the true costs of fossil fuels, renewable energy seems to be increasingly popular and the demand for electricity is always growing.
Shahn was aware that building a wind-turbine from the foundations up wouldn't be easy. Many of the experts he contacted in the early days cautioned him against trying such a complex thing in one year. There were, however, people prepared to support him. Michael Lawley, who builds micro wind turbines in New Plymouth was very helpful and full of priceless knowledge and gave Shahn a few basic parts to start with. The knowledge gained from Doug Clark, who also builds his own 11 kW wind turbines, was such an inspiration. Later Shahn had practical help from Wilson Springford and Darron Matthews.
Shahn investigated and documented the history of and current state of wind technology, as well as his own experience and learning in the design, construction and testing process. He thought it would be interesting to find out how the electrical and mechanical side works.
The generator, a washing machine motor, needed to be completely rewired, and converted to DC (direct current) from AC (alternating current). Shahn built my own 3-phase AC to DC converter.
Other parts like the disc brakes and bearings had to be found. The rest was hand-made and every part, to a certain extent, had to be modified. Probably more than twenty braking system design attempts led to the final decision to incorporate the wind-activated hydraulic disc brake where the wind paddle starts to ease the brake on over a certain wind speed.
Shahn studied the dynamics of wind turbine blades, their shape, the material they were made from and how this affected their performance. The decision to make his own blades helped him gain a great sense of achievement and knowledge of blade design. He found some New Zealand made 100% recycled plastic pipe, an added bonus because he wanted to have minimal environmental impact. He designed the turbine with three blades to give better starting torque along with a lower top speed, perfect for how he wired the generator.
Shahn designed the swivel, the part of the wind turbine that enables the power cables to get from the turbine down the tower without twisting up and has the job of carrying the whole turbine, which is mostly made from recycled aluminium. The steel and bearings used to create the swivel were all second-hand parts and materials. The power from the turbine passes through the swivel into the cables and down the tower. The main mast of the tower is a little over 4.7 metres and pivots on two shorter supporting poles which go down around 2.6 metres to the bottom of the reinforced concrete foundation.
Shahn says "The truth about this project is that I would have never have even started if I had understood the full extent of the difficulties I would come up against. What I managed to do, design and construct an operational prototype wind-turbine, incorporating recycled materials as much as possible, surpassed all expectations".

Beauty Tema, 17, Onehunga High School, Auckland


Beauty lives and goes to school in the Onehunga area in Auckland. Also located in this area is the Onehunga Bay Lagoon, a small body of water created with the construction of the northwestern motorway in 1978 (motorway out to Auckland Airport). Beauty was aware of a problem caused by excess sea lettuce (Ulva sp.) growth in the lagoon from both local paper headlines and her own personal experiences - the lagoon had become unsightly and very smelly from the rotting sea lettuce growing in the lagoon. The dense seaweed mats in the lagoon have also caused fishing problems as they also interfere with fishing nets and foul lines.
Beauty organised to meet with local businessman, Jim Jackson, who provided information and documents relating to the history of the Onehunga Bay and strategies that have been undertaken to remedy this problem. In her literature search Beauty was to find that there was a lot of material relating to Ulva but not as much relating to species growing in New Zealand. In her search she found that of the Ulva species growing around New Zealand the only site where Ulva scandinavica is found was in the Onehunga Bay.
From this Beauty developed the aim of her investigation - To identify the environmental factors that determine the distribution of Ulva scandinavica in the region of Onehunga Bay.
Factors making up the physical and biotic environment of these areas were measured and analysed to determine what might be causing this. With a support teacher from her school she visited a number of potential sites around the Manakua Harbour to determine suitable sites for further testing. She then gathered information on the past and current land use surrounding these sites, which she was later able to use in her report to confidently explain the differences or similarities between the different sites around the harbour.
This will provide some guidance for the control of Ulva, in turn allowing people to use the lagoon without suffering from the smell of the decomposing Ulva. The true value that Ulva contributes to the Onehunga Bay ecosystem is unknown and with Ulva scandinavica only being found in this area this study will provide more information on these.

Alana Wylie, 18, Diocesan School for Girls', Auckland


There are more golf courses per capita in New Zealand than in any other country in the world and golf is the most popular sport. Many tourists visit New Zealand expecting the image of the 'clean and green' golf courses. In order to maintain this image, appropriate management programmes involving the broad application of fertilizers and pesticides, are essential.
Previous studies have shown that these types of management programmes have the potential to lower water quality in the immediate surrounds, resulting in environmental damage. Factors that impact water quality adversely vary from chemical to physical. These can include the levels of nitrate, dissolved oxygen, pH, chlorine, ammonium, turbidity, flow-rate, and temperature.
This research study was carried out at The Grange Golf Course in Auckland where there are two waterways flowing through the course. The hypotheses were, firstly, that the water quality in these waterways would decrease due to a cumulative effect from the application of fertilizers and pesticides as the water flowed through the course. Secondly, it was predicted that the water quality would improve over a five-month period, as the seasons changed from summer to autumn due to the increased rainfall resulting in increased levels of water in the waterways.
Contrary to the hypotheses, this study revealed that the fertilizer and pesticide programme employed by the green-staff at The Grange did not adversely impact the water quality. Instead findings revealed that certain parameters of water quality improved as the water flowed through the course, for example, the nitrate levels decreased from an average environmentally threatening level of 1.32mg/L at the start of the stream, to an optimal level of 0.7mg/L upon exiting.
This study shows that if maintenance programmes are well managed and quantified, then risks of environmental damage can be mitigated. In saying this, geographical and topographic details must be taken into consideration before applying the findings to subsequent sites; as no golf course is identical to another.

International Students

Yang Chia-Ying, 18 and Sun Ruei-Lin, 18, Taipei First Girls' High School, Taipei


Staphylococcus aureus is one of the most important human pathogens and causes over 500,000 infections in the United States each year. The traditional methods take several days for the bacterial identification it is a waste of precious time for patients who are suffering severe bacterial infections.
On the other hand, nucleic acid amplification methods such as real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), strand displacement amplification (SDA), and ligase chain reaction (LCR), require expensive machines, enzyme mix, and fluorescent detection reagents. These requirements limit the wide spread use of the technologies. For this reason, a new platform technology for bacterial identification is in need for clinical diagnosis.
Aptamers are single-stranded RNA or DNA molecules. Like antibody, Aptamers are capable to specifically bind to its target molecules with pico-to nanomolar range of bind affinity. In this study, Aptamers specifically against S. auerus were isolated and characterized. Moreover, a rapid, sensitive and low cost method for bacteria identification that based on sensing the resonance light scattering signal of aptamer-conjugated gold nanoparticules (GNPs) was developed.
By this method, Yang Chia-Ying and Sun Ruei-Lin successfully detected as low a 4 x 102 per ul of Staphylococus aureus within 30 minutes.

Yin Yue, 17, The Experimental School Attached to Beijing Normal University


Li Xingyu, 17, Beijing Huiwen Middle School