In case you've missed it, the VRC National Championships which were due to take place this weekend have been postponed again due to the latest lockdown.
He waka eke noa - we're all in this together, and we have been working on solutions with multiple organisations to make sure that we find the best possible solution for all our tamariki.
Third time is the charm, right?
Instead of a single major event in Auckland, the VRC Nationals is now a Championship Series, with an event in Auckland and Christchurch. The Auckland event will take place over Easter, from 2nd - 4th April 2021. The Christchurch event will have dates announced sometime this week.
What does a National Championship Series actually mean?
There will be TWO National Tournament events, both with World Qualification spots available, and both with full sets of awards available (e.g. Design, Think, Innovate, Amaze etc.).
Teams may choose to compete at any one of the following events for direct qualification to VEX World Championships 2021:
Auckland VRC National Championship – 2-4 April 2021, Vodafone Events Centre In-person event with in-person judging – max. capacity 70 teams 3 World Championship Qualification Spots – Excellence Award, Tournament Champions
Christchurch VRC National Championship – Date TBC 2021, St. Andrew’s College In-person event with in-person judging – max capacity 20 teams 1 World Championship Qualification Spot – Excellence Award
2 additional World Qualification Spots announced at conclusion of BOTH events – Robot Skills Highest National Ranking (MS) and Robot Skills Highest National Ranking (HS)
Teams do not have to attend the event closest to them - both events are open to all NZ teams, e.g. An Auckland team unable to make the Auckland event may choose to register to compete at the Christchurch event
We will aim to run the STEM Expo at the Auckland event
Teams may not enter both events - they will need to choose one or the other. However, an organisation may split up their teams if they wish, e.g. 1234A compete at Auckland, and 1234C and 1234E compete at Christchurch.
A huge thank you to RECF Regional Support Manager for Australia New Zealand, Jessica McGaffin, who has been liaising across timezones to get this bespoke solution approved for us as NZ is usually seen as a single region with no option to split our awards.
A major thanks is also owed to our schools in Christchurch, who have gone above and beyond to try and host this at short notice for us.
Registrations and Refunds
Once a date has been confirmed for Christchurch, we will announce this and create the event on RobotEvents. Kiwibots will transfer over the teams that have already expressed interest in choosing Christchurch instead of Auckland, and then any other teams wishing to join will need to notify us.
Registration fees will remain the same, with $150 for Auckland teams and a financial accessibility discount given to non-Auckland teams.
All teams no longer competing at either National event will be eligible for a refund - this can either be issued as store credit to the Kiwibots store, or refunded in full.
Please email email@example.com if you wish you process a refund for teams no longer competing. Any teams that do not notify us but remain registered as of Friday 19th March will be charged.
New call for volunteers
You guessed it - new dates, new volunteer roster.
We've set up a new form that will ask you the same questions as last time, but with an additional one - do you want to volunteer in Auckland, Christchurch, or both!
Even if you signed up last time, please complete this new form - we're starting clean for this new event series :)
If you're able and keen to help out, please register here.
This is the same form for folks who want to volunteer at the Christchurch event (once we confirm those dates).
With the Nationals being pushed out, we are looking at announcing the KiwiChallenge sooner so new organisations and teams can begin working towards something fun before the new season starts in June.
Please watch this space for when we release the VRC KiwiChallenge and VIQC KiwiChallenge, which will run until end of May 2021.
That's it for now. Thank you for sticking by us, thank you for being patient, and thank you for getting through these massive novels!
We can't wait to finish off the season with the fanfare it deserves, and to give these students the chance to show off what they've been working so hard on in a competition with their Kiwibots community.