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Wakatipu Hosting Inaugural ‘Open Minds’ Challenge

Wakatipu Hosting Inaugural ‘Open Minds’ End of Year Regional Challenge

The top creative problem-solving teams from schools throughout the region will compete for the first ever Central Otago Open Minds Challenge Trophy in Queenstown's Memorial Hall on Tuesday (November 23).

Parents and the wider community would be welcome to watch the dramatic presentations each team had developed, Wakatipu High School teacher and challenge organiser John Hilhorst said.

Inspired by similar international challenges such as Future Problem Solving, Odyssey of the Mind and Tournament of the Mind, the Open Minds Challenge has been sponsored by the Wakatipu High School Angelo Trust to test the critical and creative thinking of teams of years 7-10 students.

Mr Hilhorst said a team of five teachers from the region had developed the challenge as a more affordable option that better fitted the New Zealand School calendar, so that more Central Otago students could take part.

Students could choose to write and present the annual Independence Festival poem of Hullaballoonia - an anarchic, chaotic republic - or create and demonstrate the attributes of the fictional song plant, a technology puzzle within a coming-of-age story.

Each team had two to four weeks to prepare their up to 10 minute presentation, to be given within three square metres, on a zero budget using only recycled materials.

The top two teams of each age group (years 7-8 and 9-10) from internal competitions run over the past week at schools in Queenstown, Wanaka, Cromwell and Alexandra would be competing for a spectacular trophy designed and sponsored by Metal Works of Wanaka, Mr Hilhorst said.

At Wakatipu High School, all year eight and nine students had taken part in the challenge through their social studies class.

Mr Hilhorst said this end of year Open Minds Challenge was the first of what was hoped to be a series of interschool events for Queenstown, Wanaka, Alexandra and Cromwell students, based on intellectual rather than sporting activities.

The event will be held at Memorial Hall from 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, with the prize-giving at 2.45pm.

ENDS

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