Inventors starting out young

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.

Taranaki Daily News