The Brain Bee is part of an international competition aiming to encourage high school student to learn about the brain and its functions.

Associate Professor Deborah Young, North Island and national coordinator for the New Zealand Brain Bee Challenge, says the event gives students a glimpse into the cutting-edge research they could contribute to, by pursuing a career in neuroscience.

“We are one of 40 countries to take part in the International Brain Bee quiz. We are so thrilled to be able to host this important initiative in New Zealand and share the excitement and wonder of the human brain.”

Students put in many hours of study to reach the finals and are selected based on the results of two challenging quiz rounds, completed at school in March and June each year.

A record number of New Zealand students entered the Brain Bee this year, with more than 385 students from 45 North Island schools taking up the challenge.

Of those, 186 students were selected to progress to the live North Island final held at the University.

The event was hosted by the Centre for Brain Research and supported by the Neurological Foundation, the Freemasons Foundation, Freemasons Lodge Discovery and the CatWalk Spinal Cord Injury Trust.

A southern regional final will be held in Christchurch for 36 top-achieving students from ten South Island schools.

As well as competing in the live final, students spent the day immersed in the world of neuroscience, visiting labs and meeting neuroscientists at the Centre for Brain Research.

For many, it was their first visit to the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland.

Participating in the Brain Bee can be a transformative experience for many students, opening doors to future studies and careers in neuroscience.

Neurological Foundation Brain Bee Internships that enable 25 students to spend a day in the Centre for Brain Research are a coveted part of the prize package.

The event concluded with announcement of the highest-scoring students.

Janie Kim from Macleans College, Auckland emerged as the 2024 North Island Brain Bee champion, with second place going to Yu Na Lim from Carmel College. Jessie Wu from St Cuthbert’s College was placed third.

Janie and the South Island Brain Bee winner will compete for the title of the New Zealand Brain Bee champion in Australia later this year.

From here the New Zealand winner goes on to compete in the International Competition.