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New Zealand’s Most Brilliant Young Minds Shine in Comp

New Zealand’s Most Brilliant Young Minds Shine in Global Competition

2014 Australian Mathematics Competition NZ Medallists and Prize Winners announced

Event: 16 October 2014

New Zealand secondary school students have taken out honours in one of the world’s biggest mathematics competitions. A presentation ceremony will be held at 2pm on Thursday 16 October at Linwood College, Phillipstown, for the annual Australian Mathematics Competition sponsored by the Commonwealth Bank (AMC).

The AMC is one of the world’s largest school-based mathematics competitions with more than 14 million entries since 1978. New Zealand has participated since 1979. It is a fun 30-problem competition with many of the problems set in situations which show the relevance of mathematics in students’ everyday lives.

Several hundred thousand students of all levels of ability from schools in more than 40 countries entered this year’s competition. This included more than 17,000 entries from almost 300 primary and secondary schools in New Zealand.

Each year a number of AMC medals are awarded to secondary level students for performances which are outstanding both within their country and overall in the competition.

In 2014, a significant number of students achieved scores worthy of a medal. The medallist list grew to 77 globally for 2014 and four of these medallists are from New Zealand.

The special medallists’ award ceremony has not been held in Christchurch since before the earthquake in 2011. Dr John Hannah,Senior Lecturer in Mathematicsat Canterbury University will be the guest speaker and present the medals.

The New Zealand medallists are:

Name School Year Resides

Max Gu Auckland Grammar School 9 Epsom, Auckland

Robin Wan Burnside High School 9 Burnside, Christchurch

Samuel Chen Pakuranga College 10 Pakuranga, Auckland

Prince Michael Balanay Botany Downs Secondary College 12 Manukau, Auckland

Adjunct Professor Mike Clapper, Executive Director of the not-for-profit Australian Mathematics Trust that runs the AMC and a range of other mathematical enrichment programs, said, ‘ In a positive sign, the number of medallists from New Zealand has increased from three in 2013 to four this year, and they are all first time medallists. In another first, the Trust will be conducting a workshop here for both students and teachers as part of a recentlyintroduced outreach program. Our work is not only about the AMC, but also about connecting with students and teachers to better enable them to enjoy and benefit from what the study of mathematics offers.’

The Commonwealth Bank is the principal sponsor. Vanessa Nolan-Woods, General Manager Schools and Not for Profit Sector Banking, stated, ‘We are proud to be associated with the Australian Mathematics Competition. Mathematics is central to understanding finance and smart money management is a crucial skill to prepare students to be secure, successful adults. For those students who have been awarded medals in the competition, we congratulate them on their outstanding results.’

The University of Canberra is Trustee and supporting sponsor of the Australian

Mathematics Trust.


Robin Wan

Resides: Burnside, Christchurch

School: Burnside High School

Year: Year 9

Age: 14

Robin was awarded First Prize in the 2012 Otago Problem Solving Challenge and also when representing Cobham Intermediate with other students in 2012 and 2013. His interest in Maths was sparked by early number activities and problem-solving with Lego. Robin’s hobbies include playing piano, reading, chess, swimming and playing Clash of Clans. He hopes to become a financial analyst in the future, combining his interest in both maths and technology.

Max Gu

Resides: Epsom, Auckland

School: Auckland Grammar School

Year: Year 9

Age: 14

Max was part of the 2nd place team in the 2013 & 2014 Auckland Mathematical Association’s Mathex Competition and the 1st place team in 2012. He credits his sister’s times tables practice and success in maths when he started school with his early interest and focus on the subject. Max enjoys chess, racquet sports such as badminton and table tennis and swimming. He hopes to study science and to become a biologist in the future.

Samuel Chen

Resides: Pakuranga, Auckland

School: Pakuranga College

Year: Year 10

Age: 14

Samuel was awarded a prize in the 2013 Australian Maths Competition. He placed 15th in the 2014 Auckland Maths Olympiads (Junior Division) and Top 30 in the 2013 & 2014 Junior Mathematics Competition, Otago University. Samuel liked maths from a young age as he found it fun. He also enjoys tennis and piano. Samuel hopes to further his studies in something engineer related but notes he likes sciences too.

Prince Michael Balanay (ba-la-nigh)

Resides: Manukau, Auckland

School: Botany Downs Secondary College

Year: NZ Year 12

Age: 17

Prince Michael was an Australian Mathematics Competition Prize Winner in 2011 and 2013. He achieved a Silver Award for the Australian Mathematical Olympiad and was a member of the 2013 New Zealand International Mathematical Olympiad team. Prince Michael learnt mathematics from his parents at an early age and found solving problems to be very rewarding. He enjoys basketball, badminton and guitar. In the future, he hopes to become a software engineer or mathematician.

SOURCE: Australian Mathematics Trust


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