Photo credit: Robyn Edie

You may have heard of Madi, Kaycee and Sophie – three young Southland students who have created an award-winning app to help bees. You can check out a prototype of their app here.

The next step for the girls is to work hard on tidying up their prototype and taking it live.  They will enter it into the world competition Technovation Challenge and they are hoping to get to San Francisco in August next year.

“This will be an amazing opportunity for the girls, for Invercargill and for the bee world,” says Ginia McGearty, Madi’s mom. “They are really hoping to make as many people aware of this issue as they can.”

Thanks, Madi, Kaycee and Sophie for taking the time to answer our questions!

How did you first become interested in helping save bees? 

We heard about the bee problem and once we read more about it we could see that there is a real problem. We love the environment and want to help.

How does it feel to have won the South Island regional prize and the UN environmental award, and to be invited to compete in San Francisco?

It is so exciting, especially because so many people have seen what we are doing and are starting to learn about how we have to help the bee.

What are you doing to prepare for presenting your project in San Francisco? 

We are going to have to work really hard to tidy up our app and make it a bit more techy. We also have to get funding so we are going to be approaching some businesses who we hope will help us.

Do you see yourselves coding more and creating more apps in the future? What would they look like? 

We love it. This has been one of the most fun parts of the whole competition. It would have to be something interesting.

What devices can be used with Beefriend Pi? 

It is currently only a prototype and we are in the middle of making it live. It will be available on Google Play store and App Store.


What are your favourite bee facts? Or, what did you learn about bees that surprised you the most? 

We learned that if you leave out a bowl of water with some honey in it, the bees will drink from this and it gives them energy. This is a fun fact that we hope children will do.

How did you come up with the name Pi for your bee character? 

There were heaps of names that we come up with and nothing seemed to sound right and then someone googled the Maori name for “bee” and it just sounded so good.

What is one thing you want to come out of developing this app?

We really want kids to able to teach their parents and others about the problem. We don’t want them thinking that all bees do are sting; we want them to know how important they are to the environment and that we can help them. This is just the start of our journey, and we really hope to take it far and wide. Please check out our website