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The Brain Bee is an international neuroscience competition

Students sitting in an auditorium

The Brain Bee is an international neuroscience competition for Year 11 high school students who learn about the brain, its functions and the latest discoveries in neuroscience research. The competition takes place over three rounds culminating in the crowning of a NZ Brain Bee champion at the end of each year who goes on to represent NZ at the International Brain Bee Competition. The Centre for Brain Research at the University of Auckland hosts the North Island segment of the competition.

Late June saw 170 students from North Island schools participating in Round Two to find the North Island Brain Bee champion. Funding from the Freemasons Foundation, Lodge Discovery and Catwalk Trust enabled these top-scoring students to converge at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences for an exciting day of activities. In addition to the competition, students also had the opportunity to interact with neuroscience postgraduate students and scientists and hear an inspiring talk from guest speaker Dr Justin Rustenhoven about his research and career to date. Students watched science in action and engaged in careers in science session.

Female students smiling

There was fierce competition for the title of North Island Brain Bee champion, with Xin-Xin Zhu from St Cuthbert’s College crowned this year's winner. Anna Li from Macleans College was second and third place went to Kate Healy from Rototuna High School. It was a very close competition, with Xin-Xin winning in the final sudden death round.

First place in the team’s competition went to a mixed Baradene College/Palmerston North Boys High School team, with second place awarded to a team from Rototuna High School/Te Aroha College. Students from St Cuthbert’s College were awarded third place.

Congratulations to the 2022 NZ Brain Bee Champion Stanley Zhang from Auckland Grammar School. Stanley has just competed in the virtual 2023 World Championship and was placed second, part of the competition taking place from midnight to 2am to coincide with Washington time. Thirty-one countries took part in the International BB competition, with the Hong Kong champion taking out the title, and the Iranian champion placing third.

Student holding trophy and book

To find out more about Brain Bee visit


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