Inventors starting out young

BARRY EASTON
Last updated 09:30 20/06/2013

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In the world of inventors, age knows no barriers.

Nowhere was this more evident than at the 45th New Zealand National Agricultural Fieldays at Mystery Creek last week.

While 11-, 12- and 13-year-olds were the wonder kids in the new innovations category, at the other end of the spectrum was a 93-year- old.

All were exhibiting at Fieldays for the first time.

A kindling splitter invented by 13-year-old Ayla Hutchinson, of Inglewood, garnered two awards - the 2013 Fieldays Young Inventor of the Year, and the Intellectual Property and Advice award from James and Wells, worth $3000.

The invention was inspired by a near-accident, when Ayla's mother nicked her finger while cutting kindling with an axe.

"I was a bit upset about it, so I invented this," she said.

A student at Inglewood High School, Ayla intends to pursue a career as an inventor. "I want to go global."

Few inventors at Fieldays received as much media attention as 12-year-old Patrick Roskam, of Matamata, who won six awards with his fencing tool, the Gudgeon Pro 4 in 1.

Not only did he invent the tool, he also proved that he has the skill to market it - winning an award for that following an enthusiastic pitch to the Innovation Den panel. The effort earned him the $1000 Best Pitch award.

Patrick also won a marketing pack from Vodafone's Darren Hopper, who offered time with the company's creative agency in Auckland. However, the icing on the cake for the young inventor was a personal invitation from Sir William Gallagher for an internship at Gallagher's research and development department during the school holidays.

Accompanied by his daughter-in- law, Denise, 93-year-old Pahiatua inventor Pat Fouhy attracted plenty of attention with his "scrapermobile".

The purpose-built machine is designed to clean cowyards, thereby reducing the vast quantities of water used daily by New Zealand's 10,000-plus dairy farmers.

This year's Fieldays were attended by 125,127 visitors.

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- Taranaki Daily News

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