Faculty of Engineering

The Annual Zome Construction and Design Competition

Beautiful Geometry and Cash Prizes


What is Zome?


Learn through visualisation

Zome is an approach to building design that gives us the ability to create and visualise objects in three dimensional space. This can be an enriching learning experience, since visualisation is a key component in the scientific process. Many complex concepts are made more accessible if you can explore them through rich hands-on models.

The Zometool is a plastic construction set that consists of small connector nodes and struts of various colours. The ends of the struts are designed to fit in the holes of the connector nodes, allowing for the syntheses of a variety of structures. 


Natural or Organic?

The basic geometric shapes within Zome structures are found in nature as well as in man-made structures. Zome structures are found in natural forms such as crystals, honeycombs and plants like pineapples, pinecones and artichokes. Certain man-made structures such as buildings and monuments also use a Zome structure. 


The annual Zome Competition


McConnell Dowell Constructors Ltd is the sponsor for the Zome Competition. The competition challenges and engages you to construct a model using Zome nodes and struts. It is open to currently enrolled University of Auckland Engineering students.

The competition encourages students to work together as a team, using their collective grey matter and creativity to build the most elaborate and impressive Zome structures. Your team could potentially to win a cash prize, recognition and bragging rights for the remainder of the year. 


2017 competition

  • Students can practice building their Zome structures in September in the Maker Space on Symonds Street.
  • The Zome building event will happen from 2pm – 6pm on Thursday, 5 October.
  • Teams will ‘pitch’ or explain the reasoning behind their Zome structure, in no more than 1 minute, to the panel of judges from 6pm – 7pm on October 5, 2017.
  • Prizegiving is at 7pm on Thursday, 5 October, followed by drinks and nibbles.
  • Registrations close on 28 September.

Previous winners

The 2016 competition

2016 marked the 10th year of the annual Zome Competition. Using their engineering design skills, 20 student teams had four hours to construct their entry for the chance to win their share of the $2000 cash prize pool. We saw some fantastic examples of engineering ingenuity, teamwork and artistic talent. The judges deliberated long and hard to decide on the winners, which are announced below.


2016 winners

zome winners
2016 Man-made First place winners, Team 1 (Wartime Invention “Radar”)
zome winners
2016 Nature First place winners, Team 19 (The Fox)
Natural structures


“The Fox” by Yian Qian and Siwon Han


“Beedrill (Pokemon)” by Cheryl Tianshu Jiang, Helen Xiaotong Pan and Alexander Catalinac

Highly commended

“Curious Kiwi” by Siobhan Lenehan, Hannah Waldron and Harry Shin
“The Scorpion” by Yunjian Shi, Sophie Lo, Yue Xiao, and Han Liu
Man-made structures


“Wartime Invention (Radar)” by Rowan de Costa, Charles Deng, Yotsak Wansong and Zihao Lin


“The Gramophone” by Chunyi Yang, Yingfei Cao, Jiatong Jiang and  Kaiqi Li

Highly commended

“NASA Instinct” by Guowei Wang, Zijun Jiang, Wanjing Yu and Kyle Hang


View a playlist of the previous winners and honourable mentions here.


What you need to know

  • The competition is only open to currently enrolled University of Auckland Engineering students.
  • Contestants are to enter and work in teams of 2-4 people.
  • Contestants must register here.
  • At least one member of a team must be present at all times over the four hours at the 'making' event on 5 October to be eligible for competition entry.
  • Each team may only submit one entry and in only one category. The two categories are:
    • Man-made (all engineering disciplines)
    • Nature (all flora, fauna, animal or physical environment)
  • Teams will construct their designs using the ZOME packs supplied over 2pm-6pm on Thursday, 5 October. 
  • Teams must creatively explain what inspired their chosen design, and what they learnt throughout the design and construction process during the judging session from 6pm-7pm.
  • Entries must be original. Judges will be asessing originality, creativity and the structural integrity of your model, so be sure to pay particular attention to these elements during the design and build process.
  • Teams must attend prizegiving at 7pm on 5 October to receive their prizes. In the absense of a winning team, the prize will be given to the next placed contestant.

Why take part?


The Zome competition involves a lot more the simply playing with sticks and balls…

  • Make professional connections: Participating in the competition will provide you with exposure to McConnell Dowell Ltd, it will look impressive on your CV as well.
  • Have some fun: Studying engineering can be challenging and at times stressful, Zome provides you with some breathing space and a fun activity to enjoy with your peers.
  • Enjoy cash rewards: Zome models winners and runners up teams share in a cash prize pool of $2000.