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Lego Olympics – two days of frantic fun

Lego Olympics – two days of frantic fun during the school holidays

They clicked, they snapped, they squeezed, popped and they puzzled. Nimble fingers took tiny toy blocks apart and tried them different ways dozens of times before furrowed brows smoothed and sighs of satisfaction filled the Bluestone School Hall.
And that was just the dads.

The Lego Olympics came to Timaru on Wednesday and Thursday last week (eds: July 8 and 9) with a spectacular display of creativity by more than 60 South Canterbury primary school children – and 15 DIY dads.

Pioneered as a New Zealand first last year by Rotary Timaru South, the Lego Olympics have captured the imagination of hundreds of young people countrywide. They have flocked to Rotary-run Lego building competitions to pit their skills against each other in building models to a pre-determined design and in anything-goes sections.

Timaru’s second Lego spectacular would have made a Phoenix proud as boats, cranes, harvesters, space stations and castles arose from a confused pile of colourful interlocking blocks.

Winner of both the Year 7 to 8 display sections kitset and creative as well as being in the winning school team Oliver Paisley, 12, from Barton Rural School has loved Lego since he could remember. His diorama of a Lego army fighting Aqua Bots impressed judges with both model building and creativity.

“It took me six hours to build and I just love it.”

This year watching proceedings with principal organiser Stuart Croft, Rotary Timaru South president Ken Batchelor, chief judge Don George and other Rotary members was newly-appointed district governor of 30 Rotary clubs in the lower South Island Lionel Wilson.

Mr Wilson said watching the excited primary school children from throughout the region enjoying the Rotary Timaru South project was a delight.

“The contest reflects Rotary’s focus on young people and is also an opportunity to thank the community for its support of Rotary projects throughout the year,” Mr Wilson said.

“Literacy and youth are two of the cornerstones of Rotary and Timaru South is showing just what can be done.”

Timaru mayor Janie Annear, who attended the Wednesday afternoon session said it was wonderful to see so many young people enjoying a fascinating contest that was going from strength to strength.

“It is especially pleasing to see so many young boys getting involved.”

Education experts point to boys generally not having the motor skills and dexterity of girls. Lego addresses that to some extent and gets their mind and fingers working together.

Mrs Annear said Rotary was to be congratulated for being “so in touch with the community”.

“It really is pushing the buttons.”

But this year’s contest held more than simply spectator fascination for some adults.

A Wednesday evening Lego building contest just for them was well supported with 15 turning up to make a drill, a task set by Mitre10, the sponsor of a cordless electric drill offered as a prize. A Mitre10 representative judged the contest and a Lego drill built by Struan George in the time allowed that featured a cranking handle and moving parts took out the prize.

Schools entered teams of three in each age group in the day contests – junior, Year 3 and 4; middle, Year 5 and 6; and senior, Year 7 and 8.

Taking out the Year 7 to 8 section was Barton Rural School team members Cameron Tapper, Oliver Paisley and Ben Mitchell.

Pleasant Point Primary Year 5 and 6 pupils Tim Wills, Jacob Parker and Michael Gray won their section, and the Year 3 to 4 contest was won by William Valentine, Thomas Valentine and Nick Bradshaw.

The static display contest featured two sections, kitset and creative.

Results were:


Year 7 to 8: Oliver Paisley, Barton Rural School.

Year 5 to 6: Dylan Snelleksz, Bluestone. Special prize: Philip Knubley, Albury.

Year 3 to 4: Riley Taylor, Waimataitai.


Year 7 to 8: Oliver Paisley, Barton Rural School.

Year 5 to 6: Benjamin Crozier, Bluestone.

Year 3 to 4: William and Thomas Valentine, Gleniti. Special prizes: Imogen Christie, Waimataitai; Sam Taylor, Bluestone; Finlay O’Connor, Bluestone; and Philip Knubley, Albury.


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