Customer: University of Auckland
Project: Taniwha
Published: August 2014

Onehunga’s Taniwha

Local company Jackson Electrical Industries has played a key role in a Kiwi success story. Project Taniwha, a human powered, one person submarine has just achieved a top finish at the European International Submarine Race at Southsea, England.

Held in a huge water tank measuring 120 by 60 metres and 5.5 metres deep, the competing vessels had to negotiate an underwater obstacle course in as fast a time as possible. While the Kiwi team finished 7th best non-propeller vessel. Inspired by sharks’ fins, the Taniwha is driven by four innovative fins which oscillate to move the sub forward.

Built and raced by engineering students from the University of Auckland, the craft’s external hull was made from a mould created at Jackson Electrical in Gloucester Park Rd. The Onehunga connection came about when the Project Taniwha team were building their vessel earlier this year. They needed someone to create a mould for the shark-like, fibreglass outer shell. Jackson Electrical were recommended for their reputation of working with innovative materials.

Jackson Electrical Project Manager Cam Walker, a graduate of Auckland University’s Engineering School, jumped at the chance to help out when Project Taniwha approached the company. They supplied him with a 3D computer design of the hull and he used an ingenious method, making the mould from polystyrene.

This material had two advantages; it could achieve the precision needed to create the final streamlined hull and it was very cheap, which suited the students’ limited budget.

With the success in England, Project Taniwha’s next challenge is the International Submarine Race in the USA in June 2015.

To see the Taniwha in action you can check out their videos at http://www.abi.auckland.ac.nz/

Taniwha-MK-II-no-hull-titled Taniwha-Fig-4-At-the-startline