Young inventors steal limelight at Fieldays
Two young inventors are keeping the spirit of the No 8 wire culture alive at Fieldays, with new gizmos that are turning heads and leaving potential investors wanting more.
Matamata Intermediate schoolboy Patrick Roskam, 12, invented a fencing device, the Gudgeon Pro 4 in 1, and he and Ayla Hutchinson, 13, with her Kindling Cracker, were two of the 12 finalists to pitch for investment by the Innovation Den investors.
The Pitch for Investment event - featuring at Fieldays for the first time - is an opportunity for anyone with a commercially viable idea to make a play for funding.
Patrick got a personal response from invited guests when Sir William Gallagher got up and said it was a good idea and there was an opportunity for it in the New Zealand market. He also walked away with $1000 for the best pitch.
Patrick's patented invention was made for his father and would allow users to drill straight and accurate gudgeon holes to hang farm gates.
"We bought a new farm and dad had to hang 20 gates, and he was very frustrated and I had to do a school science fair project, so I came up with this," he said.
He was 11 when he designed his first wooden prototype, with a small spirit level stuck on with tape, but that evolved into a 1-metre long, aluminium level with drill guides and built in spirit levels.
He was invited to Auckland by Vodafone's Darren Hopper for help with marketing, and his mother Angela Roskam said the feedback had been "phenomenal".
"We've had feedback from farmers and fencing contractors ... just the dudes walking up and saying, 'I needed this 10 years ago, but good on you mate'. That's awesome."
Inglewood High School student Ayla Hutchinson, 13, wowed the crowds with her wood cutting tool, the Kindling Cracker, designed after she saw her mother dodge an injury with the axe.
"My mum nicked her finger when she was cutting kindling and I was doing a science board at the time so I ended up doing something to help fix the problem," she said.
She won the 2013 Fieldays young inventor of the year award, a Fieldays certificate of achievement and intellectual property advice from James and Wells worth $3000.
Ayla's original design had an axe head welded to a base plate with the edge pointed upwards.
Timber was placed on the axe edge and struck with a mallet to split into kindling.
She said it worked "really well" but after consultation with her father she decided to add a safety cage.
"First, I came up with the problem and then I did a little bit of research on it and played around with the axe, just sorting out which way," she said.
She priced the cutter at $80 and needed a minimum of 50 orders to put the unit into production. By the end of the second day she had more than 150 names in her book.
"It feels a bit unreal. I didn't expect to get this far.
"I didn't even expect to win in the science fair, but it brought me here."
Mr Hutchinson was at Fieldays to promote his own new invention and said Ayla was a "chip off the old block".
"We're a bit inventive.
"It's probably a bit in the blood for her and she's done a great job over there."
Best pitch: Patrick Roskam
Most viable business: Raglan's Droidworx
Best use of technology: Hamilton's Progressive Group