Chch tech brains team up to solve city’s challenges in hackathon

This article is supplied by LEW KAI PING from BIZEDGE, MARCH 20, 2018

Christchurch is one step closer to solutions for the city’s future challenges thanks to a 48-hour hackathon, hosted by Ministry of Awesome, which brought the best and brightest tech minds in Canterbury together at Epic Innovation Campus from March 16 to March 18.

Powered by Christchurch City Council and Canterbury Tech, over 50 tech workers and community volunteers participated in Future City Activator, with the youngest just 13 years old.

Together with leaders from the public sector they worked in groups under high pressure to create big ideas to some of the city’s most pressing social and environmental challenges.

Canterbury tech chairman David Carter says, “Events such as Future City Activator empowers members of our community to have a voice in the future of the city and participate in solving real-world problems that affect us all.”

During the hackathon, teams addressed five issues ranging from transport and housing to land, water, mental health and biodiversity.

Team WaiWatch was announced the overall winner for their innovative solution to the problem of inefficient and high volume residential water use which is the most per person in New Zealand.

WaiWatch suggested a mobile app and smart sensors on each of Christchurch’s household water meters for data collection – with the data being used by City Council and consumers to monitor their own water usage.

“WaiWatch takes Christchurch water monitoring into the 21st century,” Christchurch City Council sustainability principle advisor Tony Moore says.

“It is vital that we can accurately measure water use so we can better manage this precious resource for the future.”

“WaiWatch delivers an innovative, yet simple idea that has the potential to benefit every household and business in the region. Christchurch and Canterbury needs to watch its water.”

WaiWatch will now go through a formal application for potential funding from Christchurch City Council’s Innovation and Sustainability Fund to help bring their idea to life.

Other creative solutions included:

  • an online platform to put Cantabrians in touch with each other as a solution to social isolation
  • a mobile app that helps house owners locate and report on housing quality issues, such as drafts and mold, and easy to implement solutions
  • a mobile app that supports front line professionals to direct homeless people to the right services
  • a social bike transport platform to encourage bike usage amongst company employees
  • a platform that enables people to understand their carbon footprint and incentives them to choose greener transportation option
  • software to enable bike-sharing, gather data and keep the city free from ‘wandering’ bikes

The solutions demonstrate that Christchurch’s tech and innovation community is world class according to Ministry of Awesome CEO Marian Johnson.

“Christchurch is the second largest exporter of tech in New Zealand.

“Events like Future City Activator are a great way to get those powerful brains and this close-knit community working collaboratively to support the city they love,” Johnson says.

“The result of the hackathon are tangible ideas that can make a significant contribution to Christchurch.”

The five issues Future City Activator Addressed were:

Land and Water

  • Canterbury has the highest water use per person in NZ and a drying climate
  • Local rivers and streams are polluted


  • New Zealand has lost most of its native plants and animals – we want to “restore the dawn chorus” (people need to plant for birds / biodiversity) and manage pests

Social Isolation

  • Canterbury has the highest youth suicide rate in the world because of high levels of social isolation and poor coverage of support services
  • Growing rates of social isolation especially for elderly – communities to be more connected

Transport Education

  • At 18 tonnes per person, NZ has one of the highest carbon footprints per person in the world
  • 65% of the cities’ carbon footprint is from transport despite cycleways and bus infrastructure – New Zealand needs to find ways to get we need to get people out of cars (bus, bike, walk or sharing)


  • Highest asthma rate in the world (poorly heated, cold damp homes)
  • Highest winter mortality rate in the world (1600 per year), 4 times the number of road deaths (old and young die in cold damp homes over winter)

Social Enterprise – in New Zealand & around the world.

Our monthly speaker blog series picks up on themes that were discussed at our Cluster networking events. This month Steven Moe shares his expertise in Social Enterprise. For your free copy of the Social Enterprise in New Zealand handbook, please contact Steven.

One of the interesting things about being involved in a relatively new sector like social enterprise is that there are often assumptions about what is being talked about. This article deconstructs one of the most commonly misunderstood points – what actually is a “social enterprise”?  In doing this there are a lot of concepts and ideas that will be thrown on to the table – some of them contradictory – but it is hoped that by doing this there will be a clearer understanding about the issues involved and that will foster better discussion and understanding.

The term “social enterprise” will likely have different meanings for different people, depending on the background and experience of the person hearing that term for the first time.  As one objective reference point outside of New Zealand, it is useful to see how the European Social Enterprise Law Association defined it in their paper, “Developing legal systems which support social enterprise growth”.  They said there were three key elements:

entrepreneurial dimension: engagement in continuous economic activity;
social dimension: primary and explicitly social purpose; and
governance dimension: mechanisms to ensure priority of social purpose.

They conclude that a good definition is: “an autonomous organisation that combines a social purpose with entrepreneurial activity“. It is interesting in this definition that there is no mention of the organisation being exclusively not for profit or for profit.

Canada has many similarities to New Zealand, so it is good to look at some of the thinking going on in that jurisdiction. The Canadian Community Economic Development Network includes a description on their website (  It gives a slightly different angle with more of an emphasis on the non-profit nature:  “The term “social enterprise” is used to refer to business ventures operated by non-profits, whether they are societies, charities, or co-operatives. These businesses sell goods or provide services in the market for the purpose of creating a blended return on investment, both financial and social. Their profits are returned to the business or to a social purpose, rather than maximizing profits to shareholders.”  It goes on to say: “Others use a broader definition that includes privately owned ventures that have a very strong blended financial and socially responsible return on investment.

Closer to home, Akina ( has been doing a great job and worked for years to promote social enterprises in New Zealand.  The definition they put forward on their website seems to focus more on a distinction between an entity which is “for profit” and one which is “for purpose”.  They summarise this down to: “Social enterprises are purpose-driven organisations that trade to deliver social and environmental impact”.

All these definitions are helpful and, focussing on the point of difference, it comes down to some part of the entity being involved in an aspect that is more than just the traditional goal of making money for shareholders. But there is clearly a spectrum ranging from “self focussed” to “other focussed” and it is worth asking at what point an organisation crosses over and can be given the label of a social enterprise.  For example, is there a certain percentage of “good” that they need to be involved in – and how is that defined?  How do you reconcile this focus on a “purpose” with the fact that simply providing employment for people is very important as that helps individuals provide for their families and communities to thrive.  Where is the cut-off point?

Turning to that idea of a spectrum on which different legal forms of entity sit, it can perhaps be described like this – with some overly broad characterisations thrown in as headings to make the point.

Really ‘good’
Not for profit – these are usually traditional charities and do not exist to create a profit but instead help disadvantaged or others.

Social enterprises – these have community purposes at their heart but operate as businesses and do make profits that support their purpose.

Pretty ‘good’
Businesses which donate – these are companies focus on profits but do set aside a proportion of their profits for some community purpose as well.

Not as ‘good’
Profit focussed companies – these have no charitable or community purpose (except perhaps a token gift to disaster relief from time to time).

Is such an analysis really fair? It seems to overly weight the “goodness” of some organisations over others.  There is a danger of going too far either way.  Obviously the above is a really crude analysis, but it has been done through certain lenses.  As mentioned above, the fact that an organisation offers employment to staff and contributes some product surely has immense positive value.  So the challenging point is perhaps to take these lenses off and not to think in these sorts of terms at all.  Instead, work out how to encourage all organisations to begin to take on board some of the concepts underlying social enterprise motivations.  Even a “for profit” company could switch its sourcing of products and services in order to help some social enterprises become economically viable.  How do you increase engagement with such companies, so it is not just left to “social enterprises” to be the ones who are seen to have some responsibility in this area?

One example of a label which some companies are applying for to show where they fit on the spectrum is “B Corporations”.  It is worth describing them in some detail as it is another dimension to consider.  The B stands for “Benefit” and it involves a certification system for companies which meet certain criteria that show they have a focus on more than just profits.  B Corporations are certified by B Lab which is a not for profit organisation. Probably the most famous example of a company which has done this is Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.  The B Corporation website says: “B Corps meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, and aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems”.  To learn more about this have a look here:

When I first became involved in this sector I was confused by the terms and concepts so I hope this article will help to explain some of the things to consider regarding what a “social enterprise” actually is. The great part is that this is a growing and evolving area so it is actually possible to be part of the debate and even shape what happens next.  In a New Zealand context it will be important to look at all the different definitions and discussions overseas and use that as a basis for constructive dialogue.  This article has provided an overview of some of the key issues with the purpose of enabling a more informed discussion.

Steven Moe is a Senior Associate at Parry Field and brings a different perspective having returned to NZ after 12 years overseas.  He loves working in the charitable sector as it can make a real impact for good for many people.  Steven studied at Canterbury University and spent more than a decade at international law firm Norton Rose Fulbright in Tokyo (4 years), London (3 years) and Sydney (4 years).  Before that he spent 3 years in Wellington at a national firm.  He recently spoke at the Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand annual conference in Melbourne about Social Enterprises. For more info visit:

Chch Tech Stories: Orbica

This blog post is brought to you by Mark Denholm from The Talent Hive. Specialists in connecting IT & Engineering professionals with the right career opportunities. Christchurch’s tech sector is proud to be world class, connected and creative. The Talent Hive has been working on a blog series with a number of Tech employers in the region and we’re delighted to share those with you over the next few weeks.

First up is Orbica, New Zealand’s premiere location data intelligence consultants. Orbica take raw geo-location data and transform it into an asset. Mark spoke to top Orbicans Santosh (geospatial architect) and Kurt (CEO) about the future of satellite data.

How excited are you about 5G and what will it mean for Orbica?

K: It gives us access to more data, and it’s with data that the magic happens. It comes down to turning big data into big information. So, the Internet of Things – how do you actually use that within a business to improve operational efficiency at the executive level and get visibility over the operation?

Here’s how: pretty much all data is linked somewhere. If a data set hasn’t got coordinates or an address, you can normally reference it with a data set that does have that information. So, very little data in today’s world has no value. There’s always value by putting it on a map and unlocking its potential with map-based analytics and visualisation.

S: I’ve been a maps specialist for a long time. I love maps. I love looking at maps. Increasingly, what we’re seeing now is a more mainstream application of maps. Almost every app that you see out there has a map associated with it somewhere or other. It’s in front of people’s eyes. That’s generating a lot more interest in viewing data in a spatial format. And so that, for me, is pretty eye opening and inspiring compared to where we were 10-15 years ago, before Google Maps or any of these other things came out.

Are consumers wary of the monumental power of geo-targeting and other data-harnessing technology?

K: I think that what consumers may not realise is that everyone is using GIS – they’re using geo-spatial tech – it’s just not framed in that way. Our job is to take that data and make it useful, to put the tools and the power of the data in people’s hands, which is where we see the opportunity.

For us, data drives our business and determines what we can achieve for people. That’s exciting. We’re on an exponential data curve, which unlocks the opportunities for us to impart what we know to other people’s businesses and organisations.

Given how quickly technology advances and moves, is the industry being held back a little bit by a lack of regulation or an understanding of how the technology can be utilised? Are you finding projects are being held back or people aren’t doing things specifically because of the risk?

K: The regulation, probably not so much. Actually, it’s education. So, it’s educating people at bigger organisations and government organisations and big utility owners, people who are custodians of large data sets. It’s about opening this up and creating a data commons, almost.

The technology is there. Some of it’s a bit immature but it’s coming along fast. We just need to get the education and value across. For instance, look at address databases. There is no single address database that serves the purpose of all people who require that data.

Look at sales information for houses – most of that is hard to get. It’s locked up in big organisations like CoreLogic and overseas in many countries where geospatial data is open. At the moment, you basically can’t get the data here unless you’ve got millions of dollars to spend.

S: Opening up the data also increases the frequency of usage. So, if it’s open, more people are going to use it and more and more eyes looking at the data are going to find more faults, which is good. Data is always going to have faults. But more eyes looking at it automatically creates a QA/QC process of fixing it in feedback. Let’s fix the data!

For the general good of the technology and the progress of technologies, data needs to be open.

Is Orbica made for these times?

K: We’re trying to become the trusted advisors for imparting geographic knowledge to businesses. As a team, we keep scaling up.

We brought on an AI specialist. He has been with us for about five months and it’s been amazing. He brings a different skill set than the rest of the team and the combination is where the magic happens. You know, we’re used to data in a table, and we go, well, here’s a terabyte of data sitting in GIS format, what can you do?

It’s fascinating, and it’s unlocking very interesting discussions in the business. Within a few months, hopefully we can start to let people know what we’re doing in AI, once we’ve prototyped. We’re going to be different than our competitors and I’m super excited by what we’re seeing and what we can unlock.

Those new skills enable you to start asking more questions, questions that you wouldn’t have even thought of asking before, and that creates opportunity doesn’t it?

K: Yeah. I mean, the other guy that started recently, Andy, he’s got a Masters in Geophysics, and that’s fascinating in our world. He’s a GI specialist, he’s been on the GIS tools for a while, but he’s got a geophysical degree, which means he understands acoustic signals very well and that translates into an understanding of GPS signal. Couple this with his understanding of field data collection and it’s just augmenting the team. It’s an exciting place to be. It’s fantastic.

S: Right now, we are more of an IT company doing geography, whereas we would like to seen as a geography company using IT.

K: We want to develop and inspire geo-spatial champions, and internally we want to have geo-spatial thought leaders. We want to be on that cutting edge and known for “Hey, you guys are the guys that do amazing geography things and map things using all this cool stuff.”

At the moment, our perfect client is someone with a lot of data and they want to do stuff with that data, whether it’s management, analytics, collection or visualisation.

We work with them in a very agile way. We hop in there, we workshop. They go, “Hey, we’ve got some paypoints around the business, we’ve got these pockets of information, we keep collecting this data and dumping it in a database – we don’t know what to do with it.” Come in, let’s build some interesting rapport, let’s build some trust, let’s build an agile framework in which we operate, let’s see what we can do together. Let’s really innovate and push boundaries.

That’s our perfect client, and where that’s happened already this year, the outcomes have been very successful.

S: And it’s also part of engaging the research community. A lot of researchers out there are doing great research work, but again, it sits on the shelf in a library. How do we get that out? How do we make that useful for the community, and how do you make the community better with all this awesome research?

K: Commercially, there’s value to be gained from that amazing piece of work that sits on a dusty shelf at a university. That is bleeding edge, and we love to be there making the technology applicable and accessible to businesses that can take an amazing piece of research and actually implement it in some kind of cloud-based software platform that can deliver a tonne of value every day.


The agile career of today

Our monthly speaker blog series picks up on themes that were discussed at our Cluster networking events. This month Shary Vargo from Vargo + Lewis shares her insight into agile career paths. 

In days gone by a career path was linear, there was a hierarchy to work your way up and a perceived sideways or backward step could be seen as a failure. Today careers are varied and ever moving, what we like to refer to as “agile”. The hierarchical ladder is less common; instead, we look at acquiring experiences for career growth and development.

So often we see technically brilliant people move into management or leadership positions because that’s the road most travelled, whether they have the desire or skills to fulfil that type of role or not. As we experience skill shortages in New Zealand smart leaders are addressing the need to challenge staff by matching their motivated skills with development opportunities that meet key business objectives as well as staff future aspirations.

An agile career path is about uncovering opportunities that will help you towards your goals in a less linear fashion. Ideally, these will also benefit the business you’re working in as opportunities are identified and proactively pursued.

When considering career steps, it is important to think widely about the options. Here are some options to reflect upon.

Current Role: remain in place

For now, your current role gives you enough growth opportunities to remain fit and challenged.

Realign: move down

Personal priorities, health and other work-life balance issues may require considering contributions to your organisation that demand less responsibility – short or long term.

Enhance: grow current role

This option involves growing your key skills and interest areas by taking on more of what positively challenges you and negotiating out of tasks that no longer motivate you.

Relocate: move business unit/area

Uncovering options in different business areas that will use or build upon your current skills and knowledge base. It may be this shift provides increased future career opportunities. This option may require a geographical shift.

Vertical: stepping up

Seeking roles or functions with more responsibility, directed towards your career path.

Redirect: uncover a new path

Changing career path with your current employer may involve utilising your industry knowledge base within a different field. This option is likely to involve re-training or seeking new qualifications.

Explore: look around

Involves seeking opportunities within your organisation to test out areas of interest that fit your profile. These may include project work or a secondment that give you the freedom to try without commitment.

Propose: create new horizons

After consultation with decision-makers, submit a business case for creating a new role or function that fits you and benefits your employer.

Lateral: step across

This option gives you an opportunity to extend your current skills and knowledge base within a new role that is at a similar level and responsibility.

External: move out

Seeking a better career fit outside the organisation or an entrepreneurial opportunity that fits your desired future.

As an individual considering the next step in your career, take time to reflect on what you really enjoy in your work and what you want to do less of. Look for options outside the traditional and be agile, creating connections to new experiences and growth opportunities that pave the way to that career designed for you, by you. The support of an objective career coach can be hugely useful in the pursuit of these plans.

Has your recent engagement survey revealed staff want more support with career development? Or maybe you’ve discovered the need for career development conversations in retrospect when a valued team member has already made a decision to leave your organisation?

Career planning and development conversations are critical, yet managers often avoid them due to a lack of expertise in facilitating such a conversation. Experienced leaders use career planning to help retain talented people who want to progress. Losing talent is costly to the business. Longer term, people may move on but the business has benefited in the meantime plus built a supportive and empowered culture. Such cultures are comprised of agile people who look for ways to achieve business objectives while developing their own careers.

This article was contributed by Shary Vargo of Vago + Lewis. Contact Vargo + Lewis to discuss how they can work with you to provide the essential tools and expertise managers need for taking the lead in those critical career conversations. As experienced career coaches, they provide objectivity, key resources and strategic thinking that benefits both individuals and organisations.

Emerging Tech in Health Symposium 2018


How will healthcare be provided in over 10+ years? What part will technology play in the transformations that will occur through to the year 2030?

This event will focus on models of care, and how they will change and be delivered. The presentations will have a clinical and patient outcome focus whilst highlighting how technology will be developed and used to support these outcomes.

The programme is under development and will be available for download by March 2018. Event updates will be announced on the HiNZ website or NZHIT website.

Presenters will be chosen for having hands-on experience in this topic, as well as those with national and global perspectives. Government agency speakers will cover areas of policy and regulation so the programme will provide an interesting blend of subject matter to keep everyone interested throughout the day. All presentations will be required to have a balance of clinical, consumer and technology content – particularly in relation to models of care, clinical outcomes as enabled by technology.

Event details
Sudima, Christchurch Airport
Tuesday 22 May
Registration 9am to 9.30am
Presentations 9.30am to 5pm
Networking 5pm to 6.30pm

REGISTER NOW – tickets for NZHIT members only $169 (non-members pay $369)

Networking event
At the end of the day’s programme there will be a networking event open to all delegates, which provides an opportunity for a relaxed period to mix and mingle, discuss areas of interest from speakers, and network with colleagues from the health sector and wider tech sector.

ETIH18 is part of NZ Tech Week’18. The following day (Wed 23 May) will be an on-site Health Tech Tour – details coming soon.

Ticket prices
Thanks for our sponsors, ticket prices are a low $169 for HiNZ & NZHIT members. The non-member rate is $369. Join HiNZ – it’s only $198 – to get the lower rate.

This event is a collaboration between HiNZ & NZHIT. If you have questions about NZHIT membership (or any other queries) please email Talie on If you have questions about HiNZ membership please email Gloria on

Monday 21st or Tuesday 22nd May 2018
Superior Room – $189.00 per room, per night
Executive – $235.00 per room, per night

***Special discounted rate of 10% off our best available rate. Subject to availability at time of booking. Please book early to avoid disappointment.***

Please book online at and enter the promo code HINZ18

Attendee comments about 2017 Emerging Tech in Health Symposium
The day was an insightful look at what is happening now in NZ and each speaker gave an interesting perspective on where healthcare is moving. The event gave me (as a novice in this area) motivation to continue to be courageous within my own organisation for technological solutions.” Sheryl Hunt | Nurse Consultant, Strategic Workforce | Director of Nursing & Midwifery Office Capital & Coast DHB

“Thanks for an enjoyable and enlightening day. My colleagues and I came away with a better understanding of the opportunities technology provides to improve the care of our patients , as well as a vision of how different healthcare could look if we set direction now to make best use of technology in the future. The benefits for Allied health and Nursing clinicians in attending an event like this, is the exposure to the incredibly exciting opportunities technology provides for them, the opportunity to network with people who are the innovators and early adopters, who can open our eyes to the amazing potential future of healthcare.” Andrew Harris, Service Manager- Allied and Community Services, Hutt Valley DHB

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Kind regards
Talie Schmidt-Geen

Blastoff: what do New Zealand’s new space laws mean for other emergent technologies?

A key characteristic of so-called ‘exponential technologies’ is that they change what is possible extremely quickly – and it can be fascinating to observe how fast or slowly governments react. Lawyer Steven Moe looks at the developing world of space law, and questions whether similar moves are needed for other exponential technologies on our immediate horizon.

It is hard to imagine that Captain Kirk worried too much about legislation governing space travel on the Enterprise (apart from the ‘Prime Directive’, which was broken most episodes). Yet here in New Zealand we have some new space laws which have just been introduced in a bid to provide a framework and regulation around this burgeoning industry.

Just a few days before Christmas The Outer Space and High-altitude Activities Act 2017 commenced. Passed earlier in the year, it supports the development of the New Zealand space industry and opens up the possibility for New Zealand to be seen as even more of a world leader in this area than it already is. Many will be familiar with Rocket Lab, founded by Peter Beck, and these new laws are directly related to (and a result of) the success of that company. One of the key purposes in the new Act states it is there to “facilitate the development of a space industry and provide for its safe and secure operation”. When announcing the changes the press release issued at the time said:

“The New Zealand Government supports the development of an internationally credible, competitive and well connected NZ-based space economy that can make a difference in our everyday lives. Our regulatory regime is the key to making this happen. It enables the growth of a safe, responsible and secure space industry that meets our international obligations and manages any liability arising from our obligations as a Launching State.”

The new Act focuses on introducing rules around space launches and covers a variety of topics that were not previously covered (or had even been thought about before) such as:

  • launches into outer space
  • requirements for launch facilities
  • payloads (eg satellites) and high altitude vehicles (HAVs).

It does this through six types of licences or permits (for now, Rocket Lab still operates under a separate agreement it has with the government and will have six months to apply for a licence). The licensing and permit process will be administered by the newly created “New Zealand Space Agency” that sits within MBIE. This legislation has to be among the first to deal with the need to have a mitigation plan in place for orbital debris.

The regulatory impact statement issued in August 2017 makes for interesting reading as it outlines the background, reasons for the legislation and likely activity. For example, how much detail should applicants need to provide when applying for a licence or permit? Requiring too much information might put applicants off, but too little might not lead to well informed decisions. In the end, a pragmatic approach seems to have been chosen after consultation with the industry. It will be a case of watching to see how many applicants come forward or whether there are barriers to their participation. It is clear that the government is looking beyond just being a launch site – the new space agency states: “We believe New Zealand can become a significant player in the global commercial space launch industry. However, the opportunities for New Zealand are much broader than launch activities.”

It is worth pointing out that New Zealand was party to much earlier treaties, such as The Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space from 1969. But it is certainly hard to imagine even a few years ago that we would now have legislation introduced dealing with “celestial bodies”, “space objects” and “high altitude vehicles”, yet here we are. If you had some space ambitions then it is best to read up on the requirements accessible here. There will be a review completed after three years.


Great, but what next? This is space we are talking about after all…

Of course, one of the next areas to consider will be the law surrounding space and planets – this is beyond just New Zealand of course. But how will the legal system in relation to planets develop? Will the powers that control resources here on Earth end up having more control than others on planets “up there”? After all, how do you legislate over the legal jurisdiction in outer space when it is off world territory – who owns asteroids, planets, the sun? The closest there is at present is the Outer Space Treaty, a multi-lateral international treaty which operates on the idea that space is for everyone. That’s a nice concept but what will it mean when we practically can go into orbit and start a mining operation on the Moon?

I recently interviewed Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom for a podcast I host about purpose and understanding what people have learned on their journeys. One of the first people to arrive in New Zealand on an Edmund Hillary Fellowship with a three year Global Impact Visa, Emeline is a co-founder of SpaceBase and co-wrote the 2013 book Realizing Tomorrow: The Path to Private Space Flight.

SpaceBase is aimed at “co-creating a global Space Ecosystem to serve entrepreneurs in emerging space industries – starting in New Zealand. Our goal is to provide access to training, networking, technical services, and investment opportunities where they are needed most.” I asked Emeline about the issue of who will own what up in space. Here’s what she told me:

“Really the reason why we are doing this is the democratisation of space, for everyone.  And when we say for “everyone” – today you can really see a bright future with all of the things that are happening in terms of the space technology that is being brought forward in the US and China and Russia – but I am still not quite sure if the rest of the world is actually going to be in the same playing field.  So when I mean a bright future I want everybody – and unfortunately today, you can see that gap widening, and so I don’t want to put that to chance.”

These are certainly challenging ideas to think through now in the relatively early days of space travel and exploration. As New Zealand leads the way and becomes a more widely known launch site it would be great if there could be a corresponding advocacy at an international level for a discussion of these other issues as well.

The full interview with Emeline on this and other space-related topics is accessible here.

How might this response impact other exponential technologies?

One real point of interest here is the extent to which commercial application of emerging and new technologies can lead to a quick reaction by government. Emerging technologies are coming out all the time now – to become exponential technologies they need to have the characteristic of rapid improvement in price/performance over time. The famous “Moore’s law” is that every 18 months the number of transistors per square inch on circuits will double. Many of these new exponential technologies were highlighted at the SingularityU conference held in Christchurch just over a year ago (some great resources and content including videos from that event are here).  They will be the subject of the next such Singularity conference in this region which is being held in Sydney in late February – for more on that one click here.

The example of the new space law shows that there can be a relatively quick legislative response to new developments – in this case a one month consultation in May with the Act commencing in December. Increasingly, the government will need to keep an eye on developments like Bitcoin which quickly become more than just talk and instead offer new challenges to the way things have been done in the past.

In areas where there are these new emerging technologies or exponential technologies, there is now some policy and legislative catch-up to be done:

  • Cryptocurrency: A time traveller from even a few months ago would be shocked at the amount of print devoted to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. The Financial Markets Authority has issued some guidance about Initial Coin Offerings and services related to cryptocurrencies. But what is still missing is more in depth analysis of how the government itself will react to a new way of trading that doesn’t really involve it in the way that traditional transactions have.
  • Blockchain: Sitting behind cryptocurrency is the real game changer: Blockchain technology. What are the policy and legal changes needed at a national level to deal with a decentralised network of data?
  • Artificial Intelligence: There are many examples but to pick one, the idea of financial advice being given by robots has resulted in consultation which started in June 2017; in October the FMA noted that it “has decided to grant an exemption to enable personalised robo-advice”. In what other fields might advice be given that will need similar changes? How about my own area, the legal industry? This is something I am watching closely as a co-founder of Active Associate, a legal-tech startup improving access to legal information through AI powered conversations.
  • Autonomous vehicles: These are coming, so if I am reading the newspaper (on a device of course), while my car drives me along the road when it swerves to avoid hitting a cat and kills a pedestrian, who is responsible? The Government provided the following comment in this release at the end of last year leaving the question open: “There are no obvious legal barriers to the deployment of autonomous vehicles for testing in New Zealand. Unlike some countries, NZ law has no explicit requirement for a driver to be present. However, autonomous vehicles could raise issues about who is at fault if they were to crash.”
  • Big Data and Privacy: Think about the last time you were asked to click “accept” on some terms and conditions – I would say the chances of actually reading the privacy provisions in those are extremely low.  We are collectively giving up our privacy in exchange for convenience that apps, software and new technology provides. Does the law need to respond – or are we kind of OK with that?

Such ideas demonstrate the importance of considering again where we are, and where we want to be. The new laws around space have been introduced fairly quickly which shows what is possible. Maybe it is time that some of the other technologies mentioned above were looked at again and a proactive and world leading approach was taken to ensure their full potential can be reached here in New Zealand.

This article has been written by Steven Moe –  guest writer for Kiwibank

View the full article

Hi Tech Awards

Entries are now open for the 2018 NZ Hi-Tech Awards

View all the categories on the Hi Tech website.

Entering the Hi-Tech Awards gives you:

  • Recognition
  • Publicity
  • Networking
  • Opportunity to refine your value proposition
  • Exposure to investors

Entries are securely reviewed by our panels of local and international judges; it’s a great opportunity to get your business in front of some of the biggest names in the business.

You can also nominate a company or individual who you think is worthy here. We will follow up with the nominee and give them a gentle nudge to complete the entry process online. We really want to make a strong push this year to celebrate and encourage diversity in our industry. We would love it if you could help us by nominating companies and individuals who you think are leading the way.

Want to know more?

Check out website to learn more about the different categories. Not sure of which category to enter? Get in touch with us to discuss which categories you’re best suited to. We’d also recommend joining our LinkedIn group and following us on Twitter to keep up to date with the 2018 Awards programme.

Make sure you also visit our website to learn more about:

  • Why you should enter
  • Nominating a company or individual
  • Critical entry and event dates
  • Entry categories & criteria
  • Tips on making the most out of being an entrant, finalist and winner.

Whatever type of hi-tech company you’ve got, you will find a suitable category to enter. We have updated some of the categories for 2018, so be sure to check the criteria.

Entering also gives you the opportunity to take part in three outstanding events:

  • The Entrants Cocktail Events (to announce finalists) held simultaneously in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch on Wednesday 28 March 2018.
  • The Gala Awards Dinner in Auckland at the Horncastle Arena in Christchurch on Friday 25 May 2018.
  • The exclusive NZ Hi-Tech Awards Alumni Event for entrants from 2017 and 2018 only. You have to enter to be invited to this complimentary event on Thursday 24 May, 2018.

Important dates:

  • Nominations of a third party close 5pm, Monday 19 Feb – this allows us enough time for us to follow up with nominees to ensure they have time to complete their entry
  • Entries close 5pm, Monday, 5 March 2018

If you have any further questions, get in touch via email or give Bob Pinchin or Liz Fox a call on 09 984 4140.

All the best,
Jennifer Rutherford
NZ Hi-Tech Trust

2017 Market Measures report now available

As a member of Canterbury Tech, you are being offered the 2017 Market Measures report for only $70* (worth $375)

Click here to download the 2017 Market Measures report for just $70 by clicking BUY NOW and entering the code growtech2 at the checkout.

In this report we uncover how New Zealand tech companies can sell more efficiently. To achieve this, we have looked at how Kiwi tech firms are selling their innovations, and how they compare to similar USA technology businesses.

What’s in the report?
• How to increase New Zealand technology company sales efficiency, with 2017 data,
discussion, and recommendations around three key areas:
o The art and science of selling
o Smarter sales and marketing spending
o Lead generation efficiency
• Sales and marketing benchmarks from 302 New Zealand technology companies (survey
completed in October 2017), and comparison data from their USA counterparts.


Productivity the barrier to tech being the top exporter

Kiwi tech companies urged to ‘eat more of their own dog food’ when it comes to selling

Kiwi technology needs to sell itself smarter to realise it’s potential to become the country’s largest export industry, according to the latest Market Measures report. “We don’t face the same environmental constraints of the other two major export sectors, agriculture and tourism, so the potential for tech is virtually limitless,” says Owen Scott, Managing Director of Concentrate Limited, who organise the study along with fellow tech marketing company Swaytech.

“Improving our ability sell efficiently is one way of unlocking more of this potential, and ultimately becoming New Zealand’s primary export industry.” In its ninth year, Market Measures gathers information about sales and marketing from over 300 New Zealand companies, and compares the results to similar data from the USA. “In this study we found Kiwi companies over reliant on company founders and high-value sales people to sell their product,” said Mr Scott. “46% of companies said a founder was still closely involved in sales, and the average sales person in an export market was paid a base salary almost 50% higher than a typical US sales person.”

“It’s not a scalable approach to generating export sales, and is reinforced by the fact 40% of companies said productivity was their main problem when it came to managing sales teams.”

Bob Pinchin, Managing Director of Swaytech, said the fact US companies used on average three times the number of digital sales tools (e.g. email automation, contact intelligence) than their New Zealand counterparts was evidence they were more focussed on efficiency. “In the tech industry we  Private and confidential © 2017 Concentrate Limited 7 call this ‘eating your own dog food’, but our firms are turning their nose up at these tools at the moment.”

“We have talented tech sales people who convert leads at an incredibly high rate, but it’s the volume of sales that is the issue – this productivity challenge is one we have to solve to overtake the other two big export industries,” he said.

“Our tech sales people are really ‘artists’, talented and creative and able to craft sales, but what we need more of is scientists – people operating within a rigorous system able to produce repeatable, predictable sales results at a lower cost,” said Mr Scott.

He said that more than ever before, our tech companies are willing to invest in sales and marketing, which has been a feature of Market Measures since it began in 2008. “That ranges from a stable 25% of annual revenue spent on sales and marketing (including salaries and costs) for established companies, through to an aggressive 127% for start-up tech businesses.”

“NZTE works with an increasing number of internationally successful tech companies but as the Market Measures study suggests, some of them – big and small – are forgetting to cover some of the basics that lead to export growth,” says Charles Haddrell, Customer Director at NZTE, the principal sponsors of Market Measures. “Getting your sales and marketing strategies right isn’t just a nice to have – it’s a must have. We’ve worked with hundreds of companies and know from experience that implementing robust sales processes, developing sales and execution skills, hiring well, and being aware of the technologies to support the sales and marketing functions are vital to being successful overseas.”

For further information, contact:
Owen Scott, Concentrate
021 221 2254 / 03 365 8774

Meet the 2018 Committee Nominees

At the end of this year we will be saying a sad farewell to the following committee members:

Geoff Brash Secretary
Andy Poulsen Deputy Chair
Mandeep Kaur Member
Simon Rees Associate Member
Kevin Alcock Associate Member
Paul Burke Ex-Officio Member

We are lucky to have the following committee members committed for 2018:

David Carter Stratos
Vaughan Luckman Vaughan Luckman Consulting
Ian Wells Venduco
Heidi Griffiths Crescent Consulting
Chris Clarke Stratigence
Sarah Kinley Modlar
Brent O’Meagher GPC Electronics
Helen Shorthouse CanterburyNZ
Ray Singer Student Representative

We will be utilising online voting to find our three new committee members. The main account contact for our individual and company members will be emailed on Thursday 30th November asking you to place your vote. One vote is allowed per individual member or company member. Voting will close at 7pm at the end of the AGM on the 5th December.

Nominees will still be accepted until voting opens but if you are keen to put yourself forward we urge you to submit your application by the 24th November in order to have your profile loaded.

Here are the 2018 nominees so far:

Greg Smith Business Technology Consultant Peritia Ltd
John Wang Software Development Tutor Computer Power Plus
Fiona Ambler SaaS Marketer | Information Systems Treshna Enterprises
Patrick Keo Marketing Consultant Concentrate Ltd
Tasneem Gould Product Manager & Digital Delivery Orion Health
Donald Harman SharePoint Administrator / DBA Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu
Tony Berggren Lead Hardware Architect & System Engineer Tait Communications Ltd
Jeremy Slade Development Manager Orion Health
Kevin Alcock Director/Principle Consultant Katipo Information Security
Chris Percy General Manager Assurity Consulting Ltd
Jamie Wilson Engineering Manager Cavotec MoorMaster Ltd
Nicolette Le Cren Senior Consultant Perception PR & Marketing
Luke Johnstone Principle Consultant Double-O Consultants (Gorilla Consulting)
Charlie Tomlinson Chief Executive Officer EDPotential
Marian Johnson Chief Awesome Officer Ministry of Awesome
Ed Wegner  Retired Ex Tait

Full Details:

Greg Smith
Company name: Peritia Ltd
Short bio or Link to your bio:
What specific expertise can you bring to the management committee: Wide industry and international experience in technology delivery and business consulting.
What do you see are the top three opportunities to advancing the tech sector in Canterbury:

1. Supporting the development of start-up businesses (not picking winners, but supporting participants)

2. Improving the business perspectives of the tech sector participants (standing in the shoes of the customer)

3. Providing a compelling forum to network and strengthen Christchurch as the tech-hub city of choice

What would be your first point of action/ suggestion on the committee if you were to be elected:

Introduce a meeting segment featuring well known (tech) business leaders sharing their perspectives on the future of New Zealand in the international marketplace and how Christchurch tech can support that. (15 minutes)

Learn something. Meet someone. Share something.


John Wang
Company name: Computer Power Plus
Short bio or Link to your bio: Software Development Tutor who is passionate about learning and sharing.
What specific expertise can you bring to the management committee: Connecting IT students to the industry
What do you see are the top three opportunities to advancing the tech sector in Canterbury:

1. Stronger connections between IT students and educators to the tech sector so we have more industry-ready students in Canterbury.

2. Promote and encourage more people to be interested in joining the tech sector from high school student to career changers

3. Canterbury tech to promote members to non-IT sectors

What would be your first point of action/ suggestion on the committee if you were to be elected: Meetup group for all current and prospective IT students


Fiona Ambler
Company name: Treshna Enterprises
Short bio or Link to your bio: Originally introduced to the tech scene in Christchurch as the office manager of Treshna Enterprises – one of the original tenants at EPIC – I have found myself jumping at opportunities to engulf myself into the local tech community. After a year abroad in Canada, I returned in 2016 to complete my degree (in Information Systems & Marketing) whilst managing the marketing efforts for GymMaster (a membership management system owned by Treshna). I took up casual work at Vodafone Xone helping with the program and startup’s marketing, which led to some independent marketing work with Linewize. Though UC I got heavily involved with the UCE, competed in MYOB’s IT challenge (to get 2nd Nationally) & the Entré 85K Startup challenge (winning the Sustainability Award). I also took up a 100 hour internship for course credit at Jade Logistics; as well as jumping on board with UC’s INFOSoc as the Vice President. I was excited to see over 20 of our members give their contact details to Ray after we collaborated on a student event (featuring Ray, Ian, Andy and Mandeep as speakers) to drum up interest in the Summit. Please also see
What specific expertise can you bring to the management committee:: Specifically, my expertise is in digital marketing, however I also have good ties with UC’s business school, centre for entrepreneurship, and student societies. In addition to a healthy dose of enthusiasm, I also have a seriously sunny outlook.
What do you see are the top three opportunities to advancing the tech sector in Canterbury::

#1 Encouraging more talented graduates to stay in Christchurch to contribute to the local economy

#2 New technologies = new platforms with huge potential for business

#3 Partnerships and collaboration between companies here and abroad to continue building NZ’s reputation as a producer of world class technologies

What would be your first point of action/ suggestion on the committee if you were to be elected:: I’d like to get involved in helping Christchurch retain student talent by way of linking students with internships and graduate positions. Having talked to Ray about possible future initiatives, he has indicated to me that my position as a recent graduate myself would place me in good stead to strengthen the relationship between graduates and their careers in the Christchurch tech community.


Patrick Keo
Company name: Concentrate Ltd
Short bio or Link to your bio:

I have been involved in the tech sector in New Zealand for the last seven years. Five of those years have been with Concentrate where I have helped grow kiwi tech companies increase their market share or reach within New Zealand and overseas.

A lot of the clients I work with are based in the Canterbury region, some have also gone on to become finalists and winners at the Champion Canterbury awards.

I am passionate about the sector and want to help it grow even more.

What specific expertise can you bring to the management committee: I can bring 10 years of marketing experience to the committee in a wide range of different marketing disciplines. Being involved with Canterbury tech companies everyday also gives me first hand knowledge and accounts of issues and challenges they are facing which could mean that solutions which work for them could also be applied to the wider sector in the region.
What do you see are the top three opportunities to advancing the tech sector in Canterbury:

Telling people about it.

The sector in Canterbury is a bit of a reflection of the sector as a whole really. Tech is the quiet achiever in this country, contributing billions of dollars to the economy yet the average person on the street would have no idea. The perception is that we are a country of agriculture and tourism, which is fair enough as they are our top two contributors to GDP but we need to talk ourselves up a bit more to get some more exposure.

Involving younger generations.

It’s a long term strategy but there’s a great opportunity to get more involvement from schools in the region. Children are already immersed in technology that it wouldn’t take much to leverage that and also the strong inter-school rivalry in the city and region. Promote or setup drone racing or robotics competitions or coding challenges. Help students take that extra step from just using technology to understanding how it works and creating something new.

Greater community/public involvement.

This is kind of related to the first two points but there’s an opportunity to show off what the Canterbury tech sector is doing to the general public. It doesn’t have to be an event, it could be a website, social media page or some other collaboration forum to involve the general public to work together with the tech sector to create something for the city or region and at the same time showcase what we’re doing or can do.

What would be your first point of action/ suggestion on the committee if you were to be elected: Setup a working group to see how we can incorporate more involvement from the public.


Tasneem Gould
Company name: Orion Health
Short bio or Link to your bio:


Product Management, Business Strategy, Product Ownership, Project Delivery, Agile,Design Thinking

I enjoy uncovering new ideas and strategies, designing solutions and delivering awesome outcomes. I have over 10 years of experience in Product Management, Business Analysis, Software Delivery and Client and Project Management across a variety of roles and industries.

What specific expertise can you bring to the management committee: Insight into development, marketing and leadership in technology. I can help support growing and managing the user base, and help to run events.
What do you see are the top three opportunities to advancing the tech sector in Canterbury:

– Evangalising technology careers more widely

– Growth through attracting top talent for family and lifestyle factors

– promoting our startup success and encouraging others to take the leap

What would be your first point of action/ suggestion on the committee if you were to be elected:

Work out what problems we want to solve and how we can leverage the success of the Tech Summit to achieve this.

Work with Tech meetups in other cities to promote Canterbury elsewhere


Donald Harman
Company name: Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu
Short bio or link to your profile:
What specific expertise can you bring to the management committee: I am interested in Governance, security, and the people side of the this industry. My role as a SharePoint admin has exposed me to many areas of business. I like being involved in the process and understanding of not just technical but practical things. I am very creative thinker and am not confined by much.
What do you see are the top three opportunities to advancing the tech sector in Canterbury:




What would be your first point of action/ suggestion on the committee if you were to be elected: Learning confidence and care of data amongst the older generation the non millenials


Tony Berggren
Company name: Tait Communications Ltd
Short bio or link to your profile:

Lead hardware architect and system engineer at Tait Communications. Also member of the University of Canterbury Industry Advisory Board for E&CE Engineering

What specific expertise can you bring to the management committee:

I have been in the industry for 30+ years as an R&D engineer working for Tait. Throughout that time I have developed many relationships within the electronics industry.

I have also been passionate about promoting and supporting technology education, especially locally. Thus I have many contacts in the tertiary sector.

I love to make things happen and have succeeded and failed many times. I want to use these experiences and learnings to help the Tech Cluster achieve it’s vision of promoting tech in Christchurch.

What do you see are the top three opportunities to advancing the tech sector in Canterbury:

I would like to promote better linkages between the University of Canterbury and the Tech Cluster

Find ways to promote the Tech Cluster and what it represents for Christchurch. Using contacts in the various tech supply chains to support competitions with cool (hardware based) prizes.

Linking people who have ideas with others who can help make them happen. And promote the successes

What would be your first point of action/ suggestion on the committee if you were to be elected:

Not sure which of the 2 would get traction so would like to promote both.

– Suggest a meeting in the New Year with the E&CE Industry Advisory board at Uni. And suggest that links into other parts of the Uni also be formed.

– Get a local component and tech supplier in to give a talk about how they see the industry in Christchurch and NZ. And what they can do to support the Tech Cluster.


  Jeremy Slade
Company name: Orion Health
Short bio or link to your profile:

I am a Software Development Manager for Orion Health in Christchurch, having previously held various Business Analysis and leadership roles in Christchurch based Software companies.

Prior to moving to New Zealand 12 years ago from the UK, I worked in IT in the Share Registration business of Lloyds TSB Registrars having graduated from the University of Brighton on the sunny south coast, with a BSc (Hons) in Computer Science.

Outside of work, I still (barely) play football for Halswell, ride motorbikes, have an active family life and try to stay involved in the local and national Technology scene.

What specific expertise can you bring to the management committee:

relate to people at all levels and take a pragmatic, pro-active approach to getting stuff done.

I am passionate about Organisational improvement and building an awareness for different ways of working to achieve positive outcomes.

I am well organised, and enjoy the opportunities that can be realised through approaching challenges in a positive way.

What do you see are the top three opportunities to advancing the tech sector in Canterbury:

I see the three top priorities in Canterbury to be:

Building stronger relationships with the education sector to ignite the passion for technology in future generations.

Promoting Christchurch as a technology hub in New Zealand and a home of choice for innovative, forward thinking employers to attract and retain the smartest employees and

Fostering a sense of collaboration between organisations so that we can learn from each other and grow Canterbury as a centre for Technology excellence.

What would be your first point of action/ suggestion on the committee if you were to be elected:

would like to increase the number of organisations that host cluster events and bring in new speakers. Schools and Universities for example, are using technology now that is helping to define the way we learn, work, socialise and interact and being able to offer the opportunity for the next generation would be amazing.



  Chris Percy
Company name: Assurity Consulting ltd
Short bio or link to your profile:
What specific expertise can you bring to the management committee: International business expertise across multiple industries. I have a proven record in leading people, transforming businesses and maximising performances to create world class organisations. Strong business acumen, ability to forge relationships at the C-Suite and able to create collaborative environments.
What do you see are the top three opportunities to advancing the tech sector in Canterbury:
  • Promoting that IT is not just about IT and it’s actually about the overall business success
  • Promoting new ways that the Tech sector in Canterbury can drive the successful implementation of new innovative products & services at speed
  • Improving how the tech sector is perceived in Canterbury and continuing engagements with Universities, Government and businesses
What would be your first point of action/ suggestion on the committee if you were to be elected:

Understanding the needs of the technical sector in Canterbury, what are they, where are the gaps and what as a committee will we do about addressing those.



  Jamie Wilson
Company name: Cavotec MoorMaster Ltd
Short bio or link to your profile: A dedicated Canterbury professional able to compliment technical and business expertise with an empowering and authentic leadership style. Extensive experience in building high performing teams through advocating collaboration and clarification of strategic objectives. Has held Senior Management roles in the NZ High Tech sector spanning a career of 22 yrs to date and 60+ product developements.
What specific expertise can you bring to the management committee:

*People Leadership

*Strategic planning

*Project Management

*Voice of the Customer (VoC)

*Lean thinking process improvement

What do you see are the top three opportunities to advancing the tech sector in Canterbury:




What would be your first point of action/ suggestion on the committee if you were to be elected:

Carry out a program of membership idea and feedback review. Validate and prioritise these against the Strategic Vision of Canterbury Tech. Generate an action plan for implementation of the top 10 ideas or initiatives for 2018.



  Kevin Alcock
Company name: Katipo Information Service Ltd
Short bio or link to your profile: Kevin is a Christchurch native that bleeds red and black plus ones and zeros. He started his career back in 1986 and has worked for and with many great Canterbury Tech companies. Having spent 30 years in software development and delivery, he has now turned his attention to the world of Cyber Security. Kevin is the co-organiser of the local Information Security Interest Group (ISIG) and Christchurch’s own Cyber Security Conference (CHCon). Also over the over the past year he has been an Associate Committee member of Canterbury Tech helping out with monthly meetings and the Tech Summit.
What specific expertise can you bring to the management committee: As someone that has been in and around the Canterbury Tech scene since the 80’s Kevin knows how far we have come as an industry, however its not about the past its about the future. Kevin sees the need to start to mentor those new to the industry to show them the potential we have together. He also has a great track record in running events and can continue to make Canterbury Tech events kick ass.
What do you see are the top three opportunities to advancing the tech sector in Canterbury:
  1. Greater collaboration among locals to enhance the global presence of everyone.
  2. Utilising the rebuild to show case or tech to the world
  3. Augmenting Canterburys tradition sectors such as Agriculture, Manufacturing and Tourism to deliver world class products and services.
What would be your first point of action/ suggestion on the committee if you were to be elected:

There are lots of tech meet ups and users groups around Canterbury I like to spread the word to them to let know that they aren’t alone.



  Nicolette Le Cren
Company name: Perception PR & Marketing
Short bio or link to your profile:

I have spent my career working in Christchurch technology organisations. From helping integrate technology into a child’s everyday learning at eTime, to helping revolutionise the way clinicians and researchers assess a patient’s wound healing progression at ARANZ Medical during its first five years, to helping rejuvenate the brand, Formthotics, whose name in its industry is synonymous with its product category, and is still proudly manufactured and produced here in Christchurch and exported around the globe.

Throughout my career I’ve worked as a leader primarily in marketing, communications and sales but also account management, technical product training and event management. I’ve worked on developing brands and taking them internationally in over 50 countries.

What specific expertise can you bring to the management committee:

I help organisations tell their stories in a strategic way. Today’s multi-media environment requires all sorts of expertise to help make this happen successfully – positioning, branding, communications, marketing, social media, public relations and technical know-how.

My tech export background means I can talk and relate to every level of staff. I enjoy talking and learning from the tech experts, engineers and factory floor staff as much as the business team.

I’ve got experience working in active committees and know what commitment it takes. I was a founding member and on the executive committee of Canterbury Young Professionals (CYP) for a number of years where I managed marketing, was a general committee member and helped drive the creation of a nationwide network.

What do you see are the top three opportunities to advancing the tech sector in Canterbury:
  • Continuing to become a respected, significant and essential sector in Canterbury.
  • Continued work on brand clarity around – what ‘Tech’ means as the brand continues to move from its software focused brand. Including profile raising of the Canterbury Tech sector in New Zealand.
  • Keep doing what is working well.
What would be your first point of action/ suggestion on the committee if you were to be elected: Listen and talk to the other committee members. There is already some really good work happening. If I’m to suggest anything it needs to fit into the whole committee’s goals and direction.


  Luke Johnstone
Company name: Gorilla Consulting Limited trading as Double-O Consultants
Short bio or link to your profile:

At work I’m an outcome focused, commercially astute leader with significant experience in leading teams and projects, business development, and organisation wide change management.

Outside work, I spend my time being a dad to my 8 year old daughter, a volunteer lifeguard and desperately trying to fight the aging process by keeping fit.

What specific expertise can you bring to the management committee:

I believe my abilities to build working relationships with a wide range of people, think critically and strategically, be innovative and make people laugh can be well utilised by the management committee.

I pride myself on being able to get things done and take a pragmatic, efficient approach to most things.

I have previously served on committee’s and been a director of Canterbury Rugby League.

What do you see are the top three opportunities to advancing the tech sector in Canterbury:
  1. 1 – Promoting and celebrating the breadth and depth of the tech sector in Canterbury. There are many great tech companies in Canterbury that we can showcase, however it is the number and collective capability that is equally impressive. This is important to promote as it positions the region as a tech hub, which will in turn attract more talent and buyer interest from outside the region and offshore.2 – More cross business partnerships to work together to create export opportunities.3 Creation of a centralised, ‘how to’ guide for the community that covers everything from securing funding to business admin to tech excellence
What would be your first point of action/ suggestion on the committee if you were to be elected: Being passionate about helping people achieve their potential, I’d encourage the Canterbury Tech to utilise its wide reach into the tech sector to establish a mentoring program that matches experienced tech practitioners and leaders with those wanting to change career, get a start or develop further.


  Charlie Tomlinson
Company name: EDPotential
Short bio or link to your profile:

I’m passionate about technology, aspire to constantly learn, and am committed to Christchurch. The tech industry in Canterbury is a crucial reason why I’m still in Christchurch after six years, having moved here for one 🙂

I currently run an education technology startup, EdPotential, that increases educational achievement of students by empowering teachers with the right information at the right time. Over the last six years in NZ I’ve been actively involved in the early stage startup and investment space, through operational roles with tech startup companies, working for a professional investment firm and managing a digital business accelerator programme.

Previously in the UK I’ve done IT related roles from technician through sales, studied Geography and Technology at Birmingham University and completed a PhD in the geospatial sector bridging academia, local authorities and industry.

I’m not prolific on social media, but my LinkedIn profile is here:

What specific expertise can you bring to the management committee: I’ve got a broad base of experience (“jack of all trades, master of none?”) but my time in the early stage tech and investment space in NZ has built my skills and experience across many fields, including leadership and governance alongside legal and financial. My academic PhD background taught me to constantly question and how to process things scientifically, and my work in early stage startups has helped with pragmatic implementation – testing ideas against hypothesis, iterating, being critical but making progress – all with the end user in mind. These are skills I would bring to the committee, but as a naturally curious person I hope to learn from others on the committee as well as contributing.
What do you see are the top three opportunities to advancing the tech sector in Canterbury:

In no particular order, and all inter-related:

– Building upon and making sure people know about the genuinely world class tech companies we have in Canterbury, but many of which operate below the radar. Not just knowing they exist – knowing what they do, why that is important or clever, and the exciting news stories. We’ve got local companies listed, we’ve had local companies sold, we’ve got smaller lifestyle businesses selling to massive global corporates – but we don’t tell people about it!

– Ensuring smart people (from students through to senior and experienced people) stay and move to the area by focusing on our many awesome points of difference. Not many places you can work for a tech company as well as ski and surf and mountain bike in the same weekend (or day) – and this is appealing to many.

– Collaborate not compete.

What would be your first point of action/ suggestion on the committee if you were to be elected: Working out how to ensure that “everyone” knows that Canterbury Tech exists, and that that the renaming from software to tech was indicative of a widening of the membership base to include the broader tech industry – and that it isn’t just for software companies and developers. Great work has been done in this area but there are still firms and people that should be members and aren’t!


  Ed Wegner
Company name: Retired
Short bio or link to your profile: am recently retired from a career in software engineering as part of product devlopment. In this profession I have worked for just two companies.

I started at Bell Laboratories in the US way back when it was still part of AT&T. I was a software developer who became adept at C and C++ programming, requirements analysis, and design for highly fault-tolerant embedded software. I worked there for nearly 8 years on the Class 5 5ESS telephone switch and moved into a software architectural and leadership role prior to leaving.

In 1992 my family and I moved to Christchurch, where I was fortunate enough to fill a technology leadership role at Tait Electronics (now Tait Communications). I worked there for nearly 25 years prior to retiring earlier this year.

As Software Technology Leader at Tait, I was responsible for developing or selecting and managing the tools, techniques, practices and processes for software development. I performed technical reviews with commentary and guidance to the senior executives on the software aspects of all development projects. Other responsibilities included: external liaison on technical matters, recrutiment, retention, appraisal and succession planning for technical staff, ISO-9000 certification.

I was an early signatory to the Agile Manifesto in 2001 after having met with one of the originators that year. I recommended to our technical executives that we accept the Manifesto and the underlying principles and Tait – over time – eventually adoping not only Agile practices in software development, but also Lead Product Development practices for all of our project work.

In my final few years at Tait, I moved to the Project Managment Office, where I was a key player in providing data on past, present and planned projects to our executive Proiduct Council (and the rest of the company) to order to inform robust decision-making regarding project.

What specific expertise can you bring to the management committee:

As I am no longer working full-time, I can bring time to the committee. I’m happy to do some of the leg work regarding monthly meetings and other admin duties.

As part of a governing committee, I bring clear thinking and clear communication, detail-oriented analysis skills, and an aptitude for strategic thinking. I’m comfortable with public speaking where I have an informal, relaxed style.


What do you see are the top three opportunities to advancing the tech sector in Canterbury:

Enabling more collaboration among Canterbury Tech corporate members.

Broadening the exposure of the tech sector to the general public

Exposing tech careers to young (i.e. school age) kiwi men and women

What would be your first point of action/ suggestion on the committee if you were to be elected: Proposing facilitation of C-suite groups among the membership companies – e.g. a meeting of all the interested company CEO’s (or CFO’s or CMO’s) on a topic of common interest.


  Marian Johnson
Company name: Ministry of Awesome
Short bio or link to your profile:
What specific expertise can you bring to the management committee: I have 20 years of experience in marketing, business development, branding, advertising, promotion, and sponsorship mostly gained overseas working for global media companies. In Christchurch, my experience working at tech start-ups has given me a deep understanding of the challenges faced by our local tech community from recruitment through to sales through to scaling to larger markets and overseas. And – as a result of that experience – I’m also able to apply potential solutions to those problems as well.
What do you see are the top three opportunities to advancing the tech sector in Canterbury:

The rebirth of our city is a major opportunity that can draw in tech talent, investment, and itself create a new story of a city in massive transition representing an opportunity for innovators, risk takers, and change makers.

The relatively low cost of living (compared to our larger cities of Australasia) represents an opportunity for tech innovators to establish hq’s here and hire our local tech talent at a substantial cost savings to their operations in Auckland, Wellington, or Australia.

The uncertainty, fear, and sheer competition in other major tech cities (e.g. SF) make Christchurch look like the ultimate haven for innovators seeking lifestyle over cash and this is a trend that is continuing upwards the more millenials hit the workforce.

What would be your first point of action/ suggestion on the committee if you were to be elected: Work closely with Christchurch NZ and all the other major players in the ecosystem to define the Canterbury Tech USP as the center of innovation for all risk takers, change makers, and rule breakers. Define the value propositions, the communication strategies, the key influencers, the channels, and activate. Drive that profile of the Canterbury tech scene until it becomes true. We do some insanely good work here but it’s a well kept secret for the general public. That shouldn’t be the case. It should be a point of pride and a major talking point every time people think of Canterbury and Christchurch.



Thursday 2 November 2017

ARANZ Geo announced today that the company is changing its name to Seequent. The name change and rebrand reflects the company’s expansion into a broader range of global industries and markets.

Seequent leads the world in visualisation of complex scientific data. It first introduced its Leapfrog® 3D geological modelling software to the mining and minerals industry over 10 years ago. The company has since developed solutions for a wide range of industries including geothermal and renewable energy, civil engineering, and environmental management.

Seequent chief executive Shaun Maloney says the new brand reflects the company’s evolving purpose and vision for the future.

“To help our customers succeed we enable better decisions about earth, environment and energy. This is the singular vision for Seequent and it stands above any product, solution or sector. As the world becomes more complex, there is an even greater need for clarity amongst the noise, to see and manage the challenges of today and tomorrow,” he says.

The announcement was made at the company’s Lyceum innovation event in London, the first in a global roadshow series also visiting Vancouver, Johannesburg, Toronto, Santiago and Perth.

Maloney says, “We’re building a brand that people can trust, that goes beyond geology and the tech industry. The business and industry issues we collectively face are broad and increasingly complex. Challenges include how we steward scarce resources, economic stability, securing a long term social license to operate, and the economic viability of individual businesses.

“The best way we can support our customers, irrespective of industry, is to continue to invest heavily in R&D, developing innovative solutions. These enable better decisions through confidence, integration and engagement.”

Seequent’s solutions turn complexity to clarity by transforming complex data into clear geological understanding. Stakeholders, including geologists and executives, use this understanding to confidently make critical time-sensitive investment and environmental decisions. These decisions bring meaning, extract value, and reduce risk, cost and time.

Maloney says, “Our solutions enable people to see stories within data. These stories help build up a whole picture for projects – for example to allow people to see sustainable ways of extracting value, or see greater opportunities for clean energy.”

Seequent is contributing to the modelling, understanding and management of geological risk for some of the biggest earth, environment and energy projects on the planet.

“Our customers use our technology in mining and minerals projects from Australia to South Africa to Canada; geothermal projects in countries as diverse as Chile, the Philippines, New Zealand and Brazil; hydro dam construction in Turkey; transport infrastructure in the UK, Austria and Slovenia; earthquake sequencing in Italy and the US; groundwater projects in Chad, Australia and the US. Our software is even being used in the construction of a final disposal facility for spent nuclear fuel in Finland,” says Maloney.

Seequent’s rapidly growing global footprint includes offices in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Peru, Russia, South Africa and the UK.

The company has just been named Export Innovator of the Year at the New Zealand Innovation Awards 2017, recognising the global impact of its innovation.