The New Zealand Mathematical Olympiad Committee was established in 1986 through the combined efforts of the New Zealand Association of Mathematics Teachers and the Departments of Mathematics at the Universities of Auckland and Otago. Its annual program consists of a number of mathematics extension activities for high school students, culminating in the selection and training of New Zealand’s team for the International Mathematical Olympiad.
The over-riding objective is to raise the level of motivation, enjoyment and achievement in Mathematics of all gifted students in NZ, so that ultimately they get a huge kick start for mathematical tertiary study and life beyond.
Other specific objectives are to :
- Increase the awareness of the value of mathematics
- Increase achievement in Mathematics
- Increase participation in the Mathematical Olympiad committee’s programs
- Provide academic extension and social development for gifted students through international competitions which establish benchmarks for educational achievement and promote international contact and understanding
- Cement in place a robust national network of mathematical facilitators and mentors to support the NZMOC programs.
- Develop a transparent and formal system of integrated coordination of the Science and Mathematical Olympiads
The Olympiad Mathematics program is targeted at the differing needs of students at different stages of their mathematical talent, but the global picture is targeting gifted mathematical students of all ages, gender and ethnicity as well as raising the level of mathematics knowledge in teachers. It is to actively extend their knowledge, skills and understanding of the discipline, develop open-mindedness and insight and confidence in their abilities. Through contact with like minded peers, locally, nationally and internationally they can experience intellectual stimulation on a level not available to them at school.
Students need to be able to develop friendships with other intellectually able students through the training camps and NZMOC programs and ultimately develop national student networks within the academic discipline.
The NZMOC approach is a top-down pyramid:
- 6 students attend the IMO each year
- Roughly 25 students attend the training Camp each year
- Roughly 75 students sit the NZMO round 2 each year
- Around 150 students sit the NZMO round 1 each year
- 400 students are involved in the regional maths workshops
- hundreds of teachers whose students are involved in the above
- thousands of students those teachers then have contact with
Future goals are the maintenance of the existing NZMOC program as outlined above, plus promotion to ensure better access for all students who fit into this group.