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About IYNT and NZYST

Who we are:

The International Young Naturalists’ Tournament (hereinafter the IYNT), is a team competition for school students to demonstrate their ability to solve research problems of natural sciences, convincingly present their solutions, and defend them in scientific discussions called Science Fights.

New Zealand Young Scientists’ Tournament (NZYST) is the official qualification tournament for New Zealand students and is open to all secondary school students aged under 17 throughout the year of competition.

The first IYNT was held in Eskişehir in Turkey in 2013. To date, 128 teams from 19 different countries have competed in the IYNT, from Switzerland in the West to China in the East, and from Russia in the North to New Zealand in the South. Some countries are represented by a national team, while teams representing their school are also allowed to enter.

At the closing ceremony of the IYNT the General Council of the IYNT releases the problems to be investigated by the teams for the following year’s tournament.  Teams must research theoretical and practical solutions to each problem. Some of the problems also involve a component of original invention.

During Science Fights in each round of the tournament a participant from one team will report their theoretical and experimental solution to one of the problems. A participant from a second team will then critique the report before debating its merits with the reporter in the discussion phase. A panel of jurors then awards scores after further examining the participants' scientific understanding through interrogation. Scoring highly requires excellent creativity, communication, the ability to present and refute logical arguments and deep understanding of the science that applies to each problem.

Teams consist of six students. While only one member of each team may perform each role in a Science Fight, team members collaborate on their arguments during the fight, and teamwork is essential to success.

Since 2019, the NZYST has been the national qualifying tournament. Schools can enter up to two teams consisting of three students each. The problems are posted on the New Zealand Young Scientists Tournament website in October of the previous year. Competition takes place over two days, with each team competing in three Science Fights before the top three teams compete in the Grand Final. The six students who will make up the New Zealand team will be selected following the Grand Final.


Real scientific discoveries need to stand up to scrutiny. Discussion and debate with their peers, in front of experts, enables students to learn to communicate, defend and justify their work.

From the IYNT website:
“Richly atmospheric, the IYNT is an experience of a lifetime for many of its entrants.


Participation in the IYNT nurtures student creativity and imagination. It helps students build a solid basic foundation in more than one discipline. By looking at core science subjects as a whole, the entrants can better understand their research interests that carry over into their future careers.

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The framework of the IYNT promotes not only an aptitude for interest-driven learning and research, but also long-term and dedicated work. It is impossible to solve an IYNT problem in a one-hour brainstorming session, and it is nearly impossible to solve it when working alone.”


IYNT 2017 – saw 18 teams of students from 11 countries around the world gather in China to debate their solutions to the 17 open ended problems set for the tournament. The 6th IYNT was held in Tbilisi, Georgia in July 2018, where 15 teams competed.

New Zealand has been represented at the IYNT by teams from Wellington High School since 2017. In 2017 The team were ranked first, “absolute winners”, while in 2018 they finished as 3rd ranked team. Three members of the winning 2017 team went on to represent New Zealand at the IYPT in Beijing in 2018: Luke Roeven, Zuni Preece and Ensai August.

New Zealand's first team comprising members chosen at the NZYST competed in Minsk, Belarus in August 2019. There were 21 teams from 11 countries present. New Zealand performed very well throughout the tournament and were unstoppable in the final! Ryan and Lydia from Wellington High School were joined by Ryaan and Matthew from Auckland Grammar School, Rhiannon from Hutt Valley High School and Hee Seo from Kristin School in the team. Natalie from Kristin was a team leader, accompanying Murray from Wellington High School. Ryan went on to represent New Zealand in the 2021 IYPT.

New Zealand did not compete in the 2020 virtual IYNT, but did enter a team in 2021, finishing 3rd in the final and earning silver (virtual) medals.

English, Swiss, Dutch, Georgians and kiwis in Tbilisi.

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2022 NZYST
NZYPT 2022
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