Transpower and Engineering New Zealand create free in-school STEM programme

23 Jun 2021

Wonder Project

Transpower has co-designed and is sponsoring a new in-school STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) programme called the Power Challenge, as part of Engineering New Zealand's Wonder Project.

The Wonder Project Power Challenge is a fun, hands-on way for young people to learn how we can use different energy sources to create electricity and deliver power to Aotearoa New Zealand homes and communities.

It’s the third challenge in Engineering New Zealand’s Wonder Project initiative and is aligned to Level 4 of the national curriculum.

The 8-week challenge is free for schools and has been designed for 11 – 13 year olds. It will pilot in around 30 classrooms from Monday, 26 July and roll out nationwide in 2022. It will be an annual event across Aotearoa New Zealand in Term 3 for year 7 and 8 students.

As part of the Power Challenge, children will use renewable energy to light up their town of the future, with the support of their teacher and a volunteer Wonder Project Ambassador – a local STEM professional.

Students will be encouraged to think like engineers, build and test their own prototypes and use teamwork, problem solving and creativity to keep the lights on, the schools open and the hospitals running.

Engineering New Zealand President, Rosalind Archer, says she’s thrilled to team up with Transpower:

“Engineering New Zealand and Transpower are both committed to creating a dynamic and diverse future workforce. We’re well suited to work together and it’s such an important time to pull resources. Engineering is one of the fastest growing fields in the world, but in Aotearoa we don’t have enough young people pursuing engineering careers.

“We need to get more Kiwi kids keen on STEM. Research tells us intermediate years can be pivotal, as it’s when young people start making decisions that inform later career options. Unfortunately, this is when many disengage with STEM subjects.

“Our hope is every school in Aotearoa will experience the Wonder Project and for all our challenges to have a te reo version for kura kaupapa and Māori immersion classes.”

Transpower Chief Executive, Alison Andrew, says she’s proud to partner with Engineering New Zealand and the shared commitment to inspire children to pursue STEM careers:

“The Wonder Project is a great way to build curiosity, confidence and a commitment to STEM. We are highly impressed with how Engineering New Zealand curates innovative and interactive learning materials, and how the Wonder Project supports teachers to provide students the best STEM experience they can.

“We’re proud and excited to co-create and financially back the Power Challenge. It’s part of our responsibility to empower New Zealand’s energy future. We’re going to need thousands more highly skilled people in the energy sector as we work to create a low-carbon future. Getting young people from all walks of life interested in STEM careers is an important step.

“We have our own Transpower people signing up as Ambassadors to work in classrooms with teachers and students and are keen to encourage more of the sector to join us. It’s a great way to share knowledge and pay it forward.”

With the announcement, comes the call for schools and STEM professionals to be involved in Wonder Project challenges. Become a Wonder Project Ambassador or Wonder School today – register interest at

Wonder Project Power Challenge - Kōwhai Intermediate School Visit

This week, Alison Andrew (Chief Executive of Transpower) and Rosalind Archer (President of Engineering New Zealand) met a class of Year 7 students from Kōwhai Intermediate in Auckland, who will participate in the Wonder Project Power Challenge pilot from 26 July.

Malcolm Clarke, Kōwhai Intermediate’s DigiTech Leader, says the students are excited to be part of the pilot:

“We’re proud to be part of the Power Challenge pilot. Children thrive with hands-on learning. They love getting into the details of how things work and go off on tangents adults sometimes never think of. The young people I teach already have a great understanding of world issues and the importance of socially conscious choices. I expect learning more about renewable energy and the roles they could potentially play to create a low-carbon future will excite them.

“We’ve already had a great experience with the Wonder Project, through the Rocket Challenge. It’s benefitted the whole school and given our teachers a great steppingstone for bringing more STEM initiatives into their classes.”

Transpower and Engineering New Zealand create free in-school STEM programme

Wonder Project Power Challenge Kowhai Intermediate School Visit

For further information contact:

Rebecca Reedy
Senior Corporate Communications Advisor

[email protected] or 021 437 974

Shelley Pearce
Wonder Project Programme Manager

[email protected] or 027 447 9992