Smart sisters become Mensa's youngest members
Lucy and Georgia Halcrow could be New Zealand's smartest sisters.
The Torbay pair's IQ test results rank in the top 0.4 per cent in the world.
At six, Lucy is the country's youngest member of the high IQ society Mensa.
She can draw at a level about five years above her age, thanks to highly advanced visual spatial awareness.
Her 10-year-old sister Georgia, also a Mensa member, has written a 20,000 word, 25 chapter, novel called Long Live the Dolphins.
The book has garnered praise from authors including award-winning Kiwi writer Margaret Mahy.
In fact, her reading and writing is so voracious she has had to have treatment to deal with short sightedness.
Her advanced critical thinking and language comprehension allowed her to enter Murrays Bay Intermediate at nine.
At primary school she completed extension exercises including designing her own country, right down to its political setup, topography and taxation system.
"With Georgia it's just reading, reading, reading. She reads hundreds of books every year. With Lucy it's just drawing, drawing, drawing," says their mother Amanda Halcrow.
"Both girls were reading at two. They're the only girls I know who went to bed cuddling a book, not a teddy."
The first signs the girls were gifted came early on, says Mrs Halcrow.
She remembers being bemused when an 18-month-old Georgia started calling out colours, seemingly at random, on a trip to get milk.
She soon realised her baby was identifying the colours of passing cars.
Similar incidents happened with her younger sister.
On one trip to a doctor, a preschool Lucy pointed out every change in the set-up of the surgery since their last visit, down to the colour of the sheets, says Mrs Halcrow.
Those skills developed to the point where she took the girls to see child psychologist Lynn Berresford.
Both were assessed as being exceptionally gifted, with IQ test scores better than 99.6 percent of people who took the test.
That got them entry into Mensa, which admits people who score in the top 2 percent.
"We just felt we should get them assessed, particularly Georgia, because she was passing all her milestones so early," says Mrs Halcrow.
Both the girls already have plans for what they want to do when they grow up.
The idea of working with dolphins appeals to animal lover Georgia.
"I want to be a vet because I like animals and I like studying about them, especially dolphins. Or I could be a marine biologist and study dolphins," she says.
If that doesn't work out, she'd like to pursue her love of literature by becoming a writer.
Lucy would like to pursue her drawing full time.
"I want to be an artist, drawing lots of pictures."
Mrs Halcrow just wants the girls to end up doing something they love.
"All a parent can ask is for their children to get jobs they enjoy and for them to be happy," she says.
"They could really do anything they want."
North Shore Times