Secondary students win engineering challenge

Rutherford College students take part in the Waterview Connection: A Learning Pathways Challenge 

September 15 2015. Students learned about engineering careers through the context of the Waterview Connection roading project.


Students from Auckland’s Rutherford College and Green Bay High School won prizes in a special engineering-based challenge related to New Zealand’s largest roading project, the Waterview Connection.

The three students from Rutherford College defeated 14 other Auckland secondary schools in the team challenge. This event involved the correct use of plastic segments to build a scale model of a tunnel section in the fastest time. The Waterview Connection includes the construction of twin motorway tunnels, 2.4km long.

Rutherford student Crystal says the challenge was harder than it looked and good teamwork was required.

Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce and Transport Minister Simon Bridges were present for the challenge at the Waterview Connection’s project office in Auckland.

The event was one part of the Waterview Connection: A Learning Pathways Challenge, an initiative by the Ministry of Education and the Tertiary Education Commission to encourage more secondary students to consider engineering-related careers and to choose the required subjects in their senior years.

The initiative was supported by the NZ Transport Agency and the Well-Connected Alliance, which is constructing the Waterview Connection for the Transport Agency. As part of the initiative, groups of Year 10 students from 15 colleges were also given a rare behind-the-fences view of the project when they visited its construction sites during August. 

Green Bay High School students make their presentation about engineering.A trio of Green Bay High School students won the prize for best presentation. Students were asked to submit a video or presentation about what they had learned about engineering.

Green Bay student Amy says her experience has given her a clear understanding of what she wants to do after high school.

“I have my eye on being a civil engineer.”

Green Bay High School principal Morag Hutchinson says the Learning Pathway Challenge captured the interest of students.

“We had three teams competing to give the presentation – we had our own competition within the school. The students showed a high level of enthusiasm right through the project.”