It’s great to see that when you toss out an idea, even from the root of you being angry at the world – or in this case, someone bagging Kiwi ingenuity and highlighting skewed statistical analysation of it – that others can grab hold of a limb and help grow it, because they see merit.

Page 10 of this issue has the official announcement by XPO Exhibitions in its endorsement of The Great Kiwi Engineering Challenge.

They spotted a good concept, shoved all-in along with NZ Engineering News, and logistically the Challenge will be in part propped by its avenues to market to promote the event. Finalists in two categories will be exhibited on Engineering News‘ stand with announcements of the winner on the seceond day of EMEX 2018 at the Greenlane Event Centre on May 2 (exhibition runs May 1-3).

The competition launch itself will be featured in our October edition and open for entries from October 1. We will make a song and dance about it at that time, and give you all the information needed to showcase your engineering talent through your manufacture of a Kiwi – any Kiwi – in Professional and Student sections. Quality of make will be important, but much judging emphasis will be placed on Kiwi innovation. Moving CNC-machined parts or perhaps you’ll go down the road of a mechanical robot Kiwi, or even something out-of-this world 3D printed; whatever you choose it needs to make people’s jaw drops that you and the engineering industry have been able to turn such a simple and proud Kiwi symbol into a re-engineered masterpiece. A work of mechanical art.

Go for it. We are looking for one more principle sponsor as well as next-tier-down sponsorship from within the industry. If you are a supplier to the engineering industry and would like your company to get involved flick me an email to [email protected].

Kiwi’s are indeed an innovative lot, and I don’t care what anyone says. We are, as we’ve had to be. In my role as NZ Engineering News editor I’ve already seen plenty of what the professionals have to offer (that’s you lot). And, of course, then there’s the SHEDers.

But even the professional engineers down this way have to think well out-of-box on occasion (and that doesn’t mean they neglect quality either, sheesh).It usually means you have to make something you don’t have or can’t get hold of, from what you have at hand. So you adapt with what you have and quite often, and I know this for fact, your adaption surpasses the original.

I’ve even talked to people who have turned out complex, heavy-duty machinery from a picture in a book. Now that’s creative.  One of the funniest moments though, and I think that it was at an NZ Steel awards evening, was when MC for the evening comedian and engineering SHEDer enthusiast Te Radar talked about the great, historic Kiwi No 8’ers in engineering.  I remember, in particular but one of many funny yarns, his portrayal of the first ever submarine – built in Dunedin, believe it or not.  It was called the Platypus, which in itself boggles the mind.

Finding gold at NZ’s most southern port was a priority, and in 1873 on December 14 the banks were loaded with onlookers at the world‘s first sub, the Platypus, as it froze its toes in the icy waters.Designed to work in Otago goldfield rivers, the Platypus was an iron cylinder constructed of 3/8-inch plates (total length 35 ft/10.6m, diameter 7ft 2ins/2.2m.) A paddle or wheel box was fitted on each side and between an iron hatch covering allowing entrance into the hull.

Dredging was the aim. Getting stuck turned out to be the game. For over four hours the ingenious craft stayed submerged until help came. It was truly cutting edge in terms of design, mechanics and engineering… if only for that rock.

Te Radar‘s delivery brought it all to life as he described manual flag messages and crew running along the bottom of the seabed through an open hatch, in true flickered-frame, black-and-white, Laurel and Hardie-fashion.

So, it’s in our DNA to try, and try again through innovation. Prove the engineering industry still has that mettle. No sinking subs please, but Kiwis that fly, cry, turn into a meat pie… they’re all good. A word to the wise, with the talent this industry has behind it we are expecting it to be a showcase to the whole country of just what you guys are capable of – best not to over simplify.