Otago team prepares for 'University Challenge'

The University of Otago's University Challenge team (from left) Naomi Woods (24), Matthew Ordish (23), Tim Foster (22), Dylan Gaffney (22) and Francesca Allen (23). Photo by Gerard O'Brien. The long-running quiz show University Challenge is set to return after 25 years off the air and the University of Otago team is pulling out all the stops to take back the crown.

The TVNZ quiz show, which ran from 1976 until 1989, will be back on the air at the end of this year, with filming set to take place in late June and early July.

The Otago team for the modern iteration was selected after a rigorous 100-question general knowledge quiz, taken by about 200 students. Team captain Naomi Woods said living up to Otago's legacy as the team with the best record - winning six of 14 editions - came with ''a lot of pressure''.

The team had a ''strict training'' regime, but she was reluctant to give away too many details. ''It's a secret process; we don't want the other teams knowing,'' she explained.

They were all determined to do Otago proud and their first test would be beating defending champion Waikato University.

Fellow team member Matthew Ordish said they were all keen pub quiz participants, but this would be taking things to the next level.

''It's also nice to represent the university in something that isn't a traditional sport.''

Francesca Allen, who has spent some time in Britain where the programme originated, was excited to be able to compete in the New Zealand version.

''I grew up watching it on telly, so to be able to do it here in New Zealand is a big surprise.''


Challenge introductions of the C20th

'I'm from Massey, reading agriculture, Heidegger, Hobbes and Bentham'. 'I'm from Canterbury, and I'm not reading anything'.