2019 News

International Young Physicists’ Tournament  2019 report

The New Zealand team at the International Young Physicists’ Tournament performed admirably in IYPT 2019 (the 32nd IYPT) held in Warsaw, Poland in July.

The NZ team of five students was comprised from Auckland Grammar School (Shunxing Daniel Shi), ACG Parnell (Sidhaarth Kumar), Manurewa High School (John Chen), Onslow College (Yan Amy Cui) and Wellington High School (Sophie Mance – Team Captain). These students had been selected from over a hundred students who had competed in the regional and national NZYPT competition.

All five students had worked in their respective schools, with university backup where possible, to gain comprehensive solutions to the seventeen open ended problems set in the tournament. This involved formulating and testing hypotheses, designing and making apparatus, experimental verification of findings through links with theory. All of their findings are then distilled into t a twelve minute PowerPoint presentation which they present then defend in a structured debate against an opponent from another country.

The team were supported throughout the tournament and in intensive training camps held in term two by team leaders from Auckland Grammar School (Gavin Jennings), Manurewa High School (Fenella Colyer), Onslow College (Kent Hogan), Riccarton College (Sue Napier) and Wellington High School (Kerry Parker). In addition to mentoring the team Gavin, Kent, Sue and Kerry were recognised for their international judging experience by being selected to chair judging panels throughout the tournament.

IYPT consists of five rounds of debates with a world final for the top three placed teams (or four if scores allow). The NZ team scored consistently well throughout the five rounds of the competition. After rounds one and two of the competition they were in 9th place. They improved to 7th place in rounds three and four before slipping to 8th place at the end of round five. This was a very pleasing performance for the team. By ending up as one of the top 10 scoring countries meant the NZ team were awarded silver medals.

Of the 36 countries took part in the tournament in 2019 the top 10 places were:

  1. Singapore             2. Germany             3.  Switzerland              4.  China             5.  Korea               6. Brazil          7.  Ukraine         8. New Zealand         9. Sweden          10.  Canada

For information :   the  USA was 21st ,  Australia 22nd and the UK  was in 26th place.

Once again the New Zealand IYPT team have represented their country with pride and returned with medals showing their depth of understanding and creativity towards Physics.

2018 News

*****  Massey University   “NZYPT – Physics research day”  *****

Massey University (Albany Campus) is holding a one off

 ***** “NZYPT get you started with your research day”  ***** on Monday 3rd December 2018.

The taster day will introduce some of the problems for NZYPT 2019.

For all students thinking about entering the NZYPT competition in 2019 this is a chance to:

– get some hands on time with apparatus

– see the effects for yourself

– get a feel for what you are going to research

– talk to lecturers and fellow students about the competition

***** It is a great way to get your research underway ready for participation in NZYPT in 2019.

Places are strictly limited to 48 so contact Patrick Bowman at

P.O.Bowman@massey.ac.nz   to apply for this event.

New Zealand Young Physicists’ Tournament

& International Young Physicists’ Tournament

2018 News

2018 was another successful year for school based physics research in New Zealand. The NZYPT competition attracted some new schools to the competition and the new format of the National Final saw several new schools competing at the top national level.

The regional tournaments for NZYPT were held on Saturday 10th March 2018.

There were 23 teams entered in the Auckland region, 9 teams in Wellington, and 6 teams in Christchurch.

Regional tournament Venues:

Auckland venue: Westlake Girls High School, North Shore.

Christchurch venue: The University of Canterbury.

Wellington venue: Victoria University of Wellington.

The new format of the national final had the top two teams from each region, plus three more teams chosen to represent the regions proportionally (this year three more teams from the Auckland region) competing in the National final of NZYPT at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch on Saturday 24th March 2018.

The results of the national Final were:

1st: Wellington High School,

2nd: Onslow College,

3rd: ACG Parnell College 1.

All the teams who competed

The other teams that competed at the Final were ACG Parnell College 2, Auckland Grammar School, Kristin School, St. Cuthbert’s College, Riccarton High School, and Burnside High School.

The IYPT team selection process was similar to previous years with student nominations from the NZYPT National final and the regional competitions. A squad of 8 students was initially chosen and a final NZ team of 5 students from this squad were selected for IYPT.

The 31st IYPT was held in Beijing, China from July 19th to July 26th 2018. 32 countries competed.

The members of the New Zealand IYPT team in 2018 were:

Zuni Preece (Wellington High School), Ensai August (Wellington High Sch

ool), Luke Roeven (Wellington High School), Zoë Danger Mansell (Onslow College), and team captain Finnegan Clapcott Messerli (Onslow College).

Team leaders / mentors: *Kent Hogan (Onslow College), *Kerry Parker (Wellington High School), *Rachel Tutty (Rangi Ruru High School),

Gavin Jennings (Auckland Grammar School) and Susan Napier (Riccarton High School).

“*” Indicates Team leaders who attended IYPT in China with the NZ team.

As preparation for the team prior to departure, training camps were held in Wellington over Queens Birthday weekend and for the 3 days before leaving for IYPT. During the training camps the students all received feedback and suggestions for how to improve the standard of their solutions to the international level ready for the IYPT.

The team arrived in China on Sunday July 15th, and after a couple of days acclimatising, dealing with jet lag, and working on presentations for the tournament, were ready to compete.

Background: There are five rounds of Physics “fights” with 3 teams from different countries in each round of the tournament. Each fight is a structured debate on an open ended problem challenged by an opposing team. The top 3 scoring teams and the top team (if any) who is unbeaten in the 5 rounds of fights compete in the IYPT final.

Summary of the New Zealand team performance at IYPT 2018:


The New Zealand team

Fight 1 New Zealand, Singapore and Bulgaria

Result NZ 2nd in Fight, overall placing 22nd.

Total score for the round of 30.4 points. A rough round to start with being

opposed by 4 time defending champions and eventual IYPT 2018 winners Singapore.


Fight 2 New Zealand, China and India

Result NZ 2nd in Fight, overall placing 18th (up 4 places).

Total score for the round of 41.4 points, overall score 71.8.


Fight 3 New Zealand, Hungary and Austria

Result NZ 1st in Fight, overall placing 15th (up 3 places).

Total score for the round of 37.9 points, overall score 109.7.


Fight 4 New Zealand, Canada, Slovakia and Serbia

Result NZ 1st in Fight, overall placing 12th (up 3 places).

Total score for the round of 41.5 points, overall score 151.2.


Fight 5 New Zealand, Korea and Chinese Taipei

Result NZ 3rd in Fight, overall placing 11th (up 1 place).

Total score for the round of 39.8 points, overall score 191.0.

After the tough first round the team did well to make up places in every Fight for the rest of the tournament. The final placing of 11th saw the team safely within the bronze medal range.

FINAL WORLD results of  IYPT 2018 were:

1st Singapore,           2nd China,      3rd Germany,             4th Korea.

We would like to thank all of the supporters of the NZ Young Physicists’ team for their help again this year in making this another very successful year.

In particular thanks to :

The Royal Society of New Zealand, especially Debbie Woodall

SONZ             Electrix,          Warpspeed Computers       The MacDiarmid Institute

The hosts of the NZ tournaments, Westlake Girls High School, Victoria University of Wellington and The University of Canterbury

Victoria University of Wellington School of Chemical and Physical Sciences

The University of Auckland, The Institute of Physics  + many past IYPT participants/parents.

Further News of NZYPT students:

Congratulations to 2017 IYPT NZ team member Jonathan Chan (Auckland Grammar School) on winning the 2017 Prime Minister’s Future Scientist Prize.

2015 and 2016 IYPT NZ team member and 2016 Prime Minister’s Future Scientist Prize winner Catherine Pot has made it through the first round of selection for the new Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment internship at NASA.

2018 IYPT NZ team members achieved highly in the NIWA Wellington Region Science Fair:

Zuni Preece: VUW Faculty of Education Prize and Highly Commended

Luke Roeven: VUW Faculty of Education Prize, VUW School of Mathematics and Statistics Prize and Fourth in Class 5

Finnegan Messerli: Engineering NZ Prize, VUW Faculty of Science Innovation Prize and Third in Class 5

Ensai August: Kainic Medical Communications Prize and Second in Class 5

Luke Roeven and Finnegan Messerli are both being nominated for the 2018 Prime Minister’s Future Scientist Prize for their research this year.

The team with their medals