The event was spread over two days and at the opening ceremony, all were welcomed by the host university, AUT by Jairo Gutierrez, the Head of Computer Sciences. AUT was a fine host and the lab and rooms we used were in the Paul Reeves Building which has won architectural awards. Phil Robbins worked hard behind the scenes making sure all the systems worked as we wanted them to and coaches and site directors helped out on the contest floor delivering print outs and balloons for each problem a team solved. Our Technology Talk, which focusses on interesting industry developments, was taken by Gareth Cronin of the Wynyard Group. This is a NZ company that specialises in fighting crime from their desks and Gareth gave us some insights into an area that does not seek publicity and about which we all knew very little.
Not only did Auckland turn on the sunshine for the 2nd annual Regional Finals for our South Pacific Region (making the gift of umbrellas to all contestants superfluous – but it is Spring!), it was also a cracker of a contest. Twelve teams were challenged by an interesting set of problems developed by a large team of judges headed by Malcolm Corney and Darcy Best. The problems were noticeably a step up in difficulty from the Divisional Contests and all teams managed to solve at least one problem.
The students had all expenses paid for when they reached Auckland, plus free tickets to the Skytower, thanks to Wisetech Global and Facebook. Adelie and Cody from Wisetech added a new dimension with some fun and games with chocolate fish as rewards, a previously unknown NZ icon to most Australians.
It was a great team event, for the students and the coaches and site co-ordinators. We congratulate the two teams who won the right to advance to the World Finals in Phuket next May and wish UNSW and UWA all the best; we are sure they will represent us well.
Raewyn Boersen, Super Regional Contest Director