New directory will assist women and girls with STEM activities

A directory that identifies opportunities for girls to get exposure to science, technology and engineering is now available on the Ministry for Women website.

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People with science, technology and engineering qualifications are in demand, yet in New Zealand, women make up just 23 percent of people employed in IT and about 13 percent of people employed as engineers.

The directory identifies initiatives, programmes and associations through which young girls and women can Learn, Discover and Connect about science, technology and engineering.

safe_imageEncouraging more women into science, technology and engineering-related careers meets demand for skilled workers and provides opportunity for women to secure sustainable, well paid employment.

The Ministry hopes this list of initiatives will help women and girls to learn more about what is available in New Zealand.

The list is by no means comprehensive and the Ministry is encouraging others to add their initiative to the directory.

The directory can be found at



Angela Davis | Senior Policy Analyst | | Tel 04 916 5850 |

Ministry for Women | Level 9 | 22 The Terrace | PO Box 10049 | Wellington 6143 |

New Zealand VR/AR Association Christchurch Launch

You are invited to a special event to celebrate the newly incorporated New Zealand VR/AR Association who will showcase of some of their Christchurch members working in virtual and augmented reality.

hitlabDate: Wednesday 23rd November


Venue: The HIT Lab NZ, John Britten Building Cnr of Creyke & Enrgineering Rd

Cost: Free



Jessica Manins, Executive Director NZVRARA

The New Zealand VR/AR Association Incorporated has been formed to represent and promote the national interests of the virtual, augmented and mixed reality sector and related sectors.

Come along and hear about the goals for NZVRARA and join us for a celebration of this emerging sector.

Henry Lane, Managing Director Corvecto

Henry is the Founder of Global VRAR Development Studio ‘Corvecto’, which specializes in delivering professional VR and AR solutions for large-scale organisations around the world for all manner of industry sectors from aviation and construction through to medical and education.


The HIT Lab NZ

The HIT Lab NZ / Hangarau Tangata, Tangata Hangarau is a dynamic, international, multidisciplinary applied research environment, and has been active in the fields of VR and AR since 2002. Professor Rob Lindeman, Research Leader at the Lab, has been working in VR since 1993. We will be showing several interactive demos of work we are doing in VR and AR.


Trimble is a leading provider of advanced location-based solutions that maximize productivity and enhance profitability. The Company integrates its positioning expertise in GPS, laser, optical and inertial technologies with application software, wireless communications, and services to provide complete commercial solutions. Trimble serves a variety of industries including agriculture, forestry, geospatial, engineering, construction, buildings, transportation and wireless communications infrastructure.

Trimble has a large presence and investment in personnel in New Zealand, with R&D offices in Christchurch, Rotorua and Auckland. New Zealand is seen to be one of the major innovation hubs for Trimble. Trimble also recognizes the convergence of technologies has happened over the last few years, that now enables production-caliber Mixed Reality solutions to really work for our customers. Trimble believes Mixed Reality is the next step to visualize complex 3D problems that our customers face and allows them to make better decisions for their businesses. Research into Mixed Reality started with the HIT Lab NZ in 2003 with the success of the first outdoor Augmented Reality project. We would like to extend this relationship with the new NZVRARA and strive to achieve commercial success through partnership with companies and research labs in the association; allowing more of our kiwi ingenuity to be pursued and distributed worldwide with the help of Trimble’s distribution channel.


This is a unique opportunity to experience cutting edge technology and content from NZVRARA members. We look forward to you joining us.


Please note that due to the special nature of this event it is likely that there will be photo’s and video’s taken and they may be used for promotional purposes.

Special thanks to Trimble and The HIT Lab NZ for sponsorship of the event and The VR Room for making it happen!

DIA Marketplace Briefing

You are invited to this  free lunchtime session to learn about the new DIA Marketplace

Speaker: Ron Stuart, Manager Government ICT Supply Strategy, DIA.

When: 17 Nov

Time: 12.15 – 1.30pm

Where: Epic

Cost: Free


The NZ Government ICT Strategy refresh 2015 observed several ‘game-changing’ trends including the accelerated pace of disruptive change. Key initiatives identified in the ICT Strategy included the establishment of an “ICT Marketplace” that will enable government agencies to access a wider range of public cloud services under a common commercial construct while also improving the efficiency of typical procurement practices where security and commercial risk is managed in accordance with government and procurement security standards.

The ICT Marketplace has the potential to radically improve the way agencies procure capability that is aligned with the Government ICT Strategy and expose innovation.

The ICT Marketplace will enable:

  • Agencies to access innovative ICT services quickly
  • Greater competition and choice from innovative suppliers
  • Government to be treated as a single customer
  • Reduction in time and cost to procure, security accredit and deploy cloud services
  • Reduction in cost and duplication of effort and investment in the risk assessment of public cloud services

Two Proof of Concept Agile projects are currently being undertaken, engaging with a significant number of government agencies. At the conclusion of these Proof of Concepts we will engage with the market to procure the ICT Marketplace technology/capability

Presentation starts at 12:30pm. Note that lunch is not provided, however please feel free to bring your own.
This is a collaborative event from NZRise, NZTech, Canterbury Tech and ITP:




Canterbury Angels flying with new partnership

The New Zealand Venture Investment Fund is partnering with the newly formed Canterbury Angels to invest into start-up companies.

Screen-Shot-2016-10-26-at-11.38.24-AM (1)The Christchurch-based angel investor group was formed in 2015 and now has 35 members, most of whom are experienced investors or have been involved in establishing businesses previously.  Its leadership includes chair Ben Reid, who chaired the Canterbury Software Cluster, Shane Wakelin, Joan McSweeney, Ria Chapman, Mark Cathro, Raphael Nolden, Ian Douthwaite, and SLI Systems co-founder Geoff Brash.

Canterbury Angels chair Ben Reid said the partnership will bring more investment into innovative companies in the Canterbury region and around New Zealand.

The new investment partnership with NZVIF means that when Canterbury Angels invests into a new company, NZVIF will match investments dollar-for-dollar giving both investors and entrepreneurs confidence that the investment round will be successfully completed.

Our focus will be on new companies emerging in Christchurch and nearby.  But our members will also invest in syndicated opportunities throughout New Zealand to ensure we have a broad portfolio of companies.

“Based on our experience to date, we expect to see a healthy deal flow.  There are a lot of innovative ideas in Christchurch that are seeking capital.  We have two universities which produce high quality research.  We work closely with other parts of the innovation ecosystem in Christchurch, such as EPIC, Lightning Lab, Greenhouse and the newly-opened Vodafone Xone.  As new startups emerge from the ecosystem, this partnership will help to provide some of the early stage capital to meet their needs.

“Our expectation is that the partnership will run for around four to five years, investing into around 10 to 15 young companies during the first 12 to 18 months. With NZVIF committing on a matching 1:1 basis with Canterbury Angels investors, it doubles the capital available to a company than would be the case if we did not have the partnership.”

This is the sixteenth partnership NZVIF has entered into through its Seed Co-Investment Fund and the second in Christchurch, having previously partnered with Powerhouse Ventures.  To date, NZVIF and its angel partners have co-invested around $142 million into over 150 companies.

NZVIF investment director Bridget Unsworth said that the new partnership is needed to keep up the momentum in the angel investment sector.

“The past year has seen continued healthy investment activity across New Zealand with over $60 million invested by angel funds and groups.  Christchurch sees around 10 percent of angel investment activity.  With Canterbury Angels now actively investing alongside other early stage investors, it provides another source of capital for entrepreneurs in Canterbury.

“There is a healthy level of syndication of investments between different angel groups meaning they are likely to invest in opportunities throughout New Zealand.  This allows groups like Canterbury Angels to diversify their portfolios beyond just the local opportunities.  Early stage investing is a high risk investment class and so diversification is important.

“Current investment activity is healthy and there is a good pipeline of young technology companies needing investment capital to develop.  Since NZVIF began collecting the data in 2006, angel groups have invested over $400 million into young technology companies.”


Canterbury Angels
Canterbury Angels is a new angel network and was established in 2015.  It aims to be a broad-based network drawing in investors from throughout Canterbury.  It currently has 35 members and has made four investments in its first year.

NZVIF’s Seed Co-investment Fund
NZVIF is involved with angel investors through its Seed Co-investment Fund (known as SCIF).  SCIF was established in 2005 to catalyse the growth of angel investment and has now invested into over 150 companies.  Its portfolio includes Christchurch companies like Hydroworks, Crop Logic and Invert Robotics.

Media contacts
NZVIF: David Lewis, m: 021 976 119, 

Canterbury Angels: Gabby Addington,

Christchurch will host NZ’s first trial of a fully driverless electric vehicle in 2017

driversless carHMI Technologies and Christchurch International Airport have agreed on the New Zealand based and funded trial, which is focused on finding answers to key questions about how these vehicles could operate in New Zealand.

The trials will largely be conducted on the Christchurch Airport campus, starting on private roads with no public present, with the long-term aim of moving to public roads once the safety case has been made and all regulatory approvals are in place.

HMI Technologies has bought a French Navya 15-person shuttle for the trial.  The vehicle is fully autonomous, has no steering wheel and is electric powered. The vehicle is expected to arrive in Christchurch before Christmas, with the trial scheduled to begin early in 2017.

The trial partners will work with University of Canterbury researchers and developers, who will help design and undertake the trials. Christchurch City Council will also use the trials to raise awareness of how these vehicles and other technology may alter the way cities work in the future. The Ministry of Transport and New Zealand Transport Agency will also be involved in the trials.

Read more and see a video of the vehicle on the Christchurch Airport website.

Author: CDC,October 4, 2016
Source: Canterbury Development Corporation
Link to original Article:

NZ Hi-Tech 2017 Awards – Launch Event

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The 2017 Hi-Tech Awards will open for entry at the end of November, and they’re marking the occasion with special launch events for prospective entrants.  This year there is a launch event in Christchurch!

Hear from previous winners: a great line-up of past Hi-Tech Award winners who will be speaking about what entering and winning a Hi-Tech Award has meant for their business: Bruce Davey of ARANZ Medical and Doug Willems of Delta Strike

Learn from the judges: There will also be an opportunity to hear directly from a panel of our judges on what they look out for when judging the Awards. They’ll be providing some great advice on how you can improve your chances of impressing them.

The art of the entry form: We’ll be running a session on tips and tricks on writing a great entry – learn why many companies fail at the first hurdle with a poorly written entry.

When: 5pm – 6.30pm, Wednesday 24th November
Where: PwC, Level 4, 56 – 64 Cashel Street, Christchurch

Register here.  Registrations close Friday 28 October.

Why should you attend?

Come along and find out:

  • What the 2017 categories are
  • Why you should enter
  • The positive impact of being a finalist and a winner
  • The benefits you will get just by entering
  • The biggest mistake that entrants make
  • How to write that killer entry
  • Important deadlines for entering

Attend and win TWO tickets to the Gala Dinner worth over $500!

Numbers are strictly limited to these special events so register early to ensure your place. By attending you will go in the draw to win two free tickets to the Hi-Tech Awards Gala Dinner at the ANZ Viaduct Events Centre, Auckland on the 12th May, 2017.

We’re all about supporting what’s happening in tech up and down the country – so come along and find out more about entering. It’s also a great opportunity to network with your colleagues in the industry.

For more information on this event or the 2017 NZ Hi-Tech Awards email or call 09 984 4140.

UC researchers awarded $5 million for smart ideas

University of Canterbury researchers have been the most successful of all the New Zealand research institutes and universities in the MBIE Smart Ideas investment process, with five new scientific research projects awarded $5 million in funding.

The UC-led initiatives span a range of areas, from developing a battery to directly capture and store solar energy on a large scale at low cost, to developing a genomics approach to select the best individuals to improve conservation efforts via captive breeding programmes.

UC Smart Ideas initiatives 2016:

Solar energy capture and store, project leader Aaron Marshall, Chemical and Process Engineering, College of Engineering:

The capture, storage and recovery of renewable solar energy are major global challenges. This research will develop a solar redox flow battery that could meet these challenges, by directly capturing and storing solar energy on a large scale at low cost.

Autonomous Forest Pruning and Data Collection, project leader Richard Green, Computer Science and Software Engineering, College of Engineering:

Over 50% of New Zealand forests are too rugged for a land vehicle-based automatic pruning solution. The goal of this research is to develop a drone capable of autonomously pruning plantation forests.

High temperature electrolytic titanium extraction from waste slag, project leader Matthew Watson Chemical and Process Engineering, College of Engineering:

The waste slag produced by NZ Steel is rich in titanium (Ti). If this Ti could be extracted from the slag, about 37,000 tonnes/year of titanium (Ti) metal could be produced, generating in excess of $700 million in annual revenue.  The goal of this research is to explore ultra-high-temperature electrolytic separation of Ti from NZ Steel waste slag.

A neuromorphic computer chip: computational hardware that works like the brain, project leader Simon Brown, Physics and Astronomy, College of Science:

Neuromorphic devices mimic the behaviour of the networks of neurons in the brain, using nanoscale switches that emulate synapses. These devices learn from their inputs, providing functionality that is difficult to implement even in software implementations of neural networks. Computers built from neuromorphic devices are expected to be far superior to standard computers in some tasks e.g. image recognition. Having discovered neuromorphic behaviour in simple devices composed of randomly deposited nanoparticles, this research aims to demonstrate the commercial potential of this technology by building and optimising a next generation of more sophisticated devices.

Maximising genetic diversity in endangered species, project leader Tammy Steeves, School of Biological Sciences, College of Science:

For the recovery programmes of the 400+ species captive bred for release to the wild, including more than 20 such programmes in New Zealand, the most common question asked is: How can we choose the ‘best’ individuals for captive pairing to ensure species have sufficient genetic diversity to adapt to environmental change? This research will develop a forward-thinking, cost-effective and rapid conservation genomics approach that will help conservation managers of poorly-pedigreed populations to make captive pairing decisions.

UC researchers are also involved in a number of bids led by other organisations for new scientific research programmes, part of the MBIE’s Research Programme investment process.

Funding of over $26 million will be invested in idea-driven research through the Smart Ideas investment process. Smart Ideas initiatives catalyse and rapidly test promising, innovative research ideas, and contracts are awarded for two to three years.

For further information please contact:
Margaret Agnew, Senior External Relations Advisor, University of Canterbury
Phone: +64 3 369 3631 | Mobile: +64 275 030 168 |
Tweet UC @UCNZ and follow UC on Facebook


ARANZ Medical receives Global ICT Excellence Award from WITSA

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand and BRASILIA, Brasil, October 5, 2016

ARANZ Medical, a specialist in 3D scanning and informatics solutions for the healthcare sector, has been named the Private Sector Excellence Award winner at the World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) Global ICT Excellence Awards 2016.  The award was presented by WITSA, the recognized leading voice of the global ICT industry, at the World Congress Gala Dinner in Brasilia, part of the 2016 World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT).
ARANZ Medical’s key innovations transform a number of crucial clinical assessment practices, improve quality of care, and make delivery of care more cost-effective. The innovations include: Silhouette, an FDA-approved advanced wound surveillance system; and FastSCAN which enables the custom-fit of orthotics and prosthetics.

Dr Bruce Davey, CEO of ARANZ Medical says, “We’re very proud to have our achievement in using ICT to transform healthcare and impact peoples’ lives recognised in this way.  We have an incredibly talented and dedicated team who live and breathe our mission to help people heal people.  We do this by developing highly sophisticated, yet easy to use technology that transforms some of the most primitive processes in healthcare.”

WITSA Chairman Santiago Gutierrez was impressed by the candidates from around the world for the 2016 WITSA Global ICT Excellence Awards and congratulated ARANZ Medical CEO Bruce Davey for the company being the top pick in the Private Sector IT Excellence category.

The WITSA Global ICT Excellence Award Ceremony is held once every two years in conjunction with the World Congress on Information Technology to recognize select organizations whose use of IT has exhibited exceptional achievement in using ICT to benefit societies, governments, organizations and individuals.

ARANZ Medical’s solutions are making a difference in over 35 countries across the globe in a range of clinical practice and research settings: from Africa, where the World Health Organization is using Silhouette in rural Africa as part of an important study of Buruli ulcer, one of the world’s most neglected tropical diseases; to some of the biggest healthcare providers in the United States and United Kingdom.

Dr Davey says, “Our technology equips researchers and clinicians with important new knowledge which empowers them to improve the lives of millions of people worldwide, including high risk groups such as diabetes sufferers and the elderly.”

Demand for ARANZ Medical’s solutions is growing rapidly due to the increased prevalence of diseases like diabetes, an ageing population, more accountable healthcare and the emerging telehealth trend.

Over 40 million people around the world suffer from chronic wounds such as pressure ulcers, venous ulcers and diabetic ulcers and this number is expected to grow to more than 60 million by 2017.  Wounds can lead to significant pain, sepsis, re-admissions, social isolation, amputations, and death.  Amputation rates are also increasing, with some experts estimating that every 30 seconds a lower limb is lost to diabetes somewhere in the world.

WITSA award categories include: Private Sector Excellence, Public Sector Excellence, Mobile Excellence, Digital Opportunity and Sustainable Growth. In addition, a special Chairman’s Award is presented to a nominee from the entire pool of candidates from all five categories.

Nominations for the awards are made by WITSA’s member organisations from over 80 countries who represent more than 90 percent of the world ICT market.  ARANZ Medical was nominated for the Private Sector Excellence Award by NZTech.

Dr Davey says, “We’d also like to acknowledge the work of WITSA as well as the outstanding support we’ve received from key organisations including New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, Callaghan Innovation and NZTech as we’ve worked to become a recognised global ICT innovator in the healthcare industry.”

Kiwibank Fintech Accelerator to scale up Kiwi startups

New Zealand’s first FinTech Accelerator has been set up to turn great ideas into fledgling businesses, and could help New Zealand grow its share of a burgeoning global $1 trillion (NZD) industry.

Kiwibank, Xero, Callaghan Innovation and Creative HQ have today unveiled plans to launch the Kiwibank Fintech Accelerator. Based in Wellington, it will initially fund and support eight Kiwi FinTech startups to build, launch and expand products in global markets.

Kiwibank chief executive Paul Brock said the effective combination of financial services and technology could be a boon for the New Zealand economy.

“The global FinTech industry is taking off and New Zealand is ideally placed to take a leading role in the FinTech revolution. New Zealand has shown its ability to grow true digital-era disruptors that can foot it with the world’s best so the challenge is to build on that success so others can break into global markets.

The key is to give innovative Kiwi startups the support they need to take new financial products and services to the global stage and grow the New Zealand economy. The Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator will stimulate FinTech innovation in New Zealand by helping new ventures prove, build and launch their ideas. It will do this through providing funding, expert mentoring and connecting them with investors.”

A March 2016 PWC report into global FinTech found that the landscape for financial services was being redrawn as FinTech altered how, when and where financial services and products were provided. 83% of financial services companies surveyed believed their business was at risk of disruption from FinTech companies.

Global investment in FinTech ventures reached $5.3 billion in the first quarter of 2016, an increase of 67% over the same period last year. In Australia, the FinTech sector is forecast to grow to more than $4 billion by 2020, of which $1 billion will be new added value to the Australian economy.

“Because we’re a major bank uniquely focused on the New Zealand market, it’s important to us that New Zealand has a strong, local FinTech community, ensuring our financial services sector continues to evolve and grow,” Mr Brock said.

“For Kiwibank, supporting a FinTech accelerator will help drive our own internal innovation agenda, both with Kiwibank teams taking part, and also the chance for our culture to be influenced by what our people see in the accelerator programme.

“We’re very ambitious for Kiwi FinTech. With enough guidance and perseverance, Wellington could establish itself globally as a place where great FinTech ventures are born, joining other cities such as Singapore, San Francisco and London. This will attract the best and brightest talent to New Zealand, along with new investment,” he said.

Co-funded by Callaghan Innovation and Xero, the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator will support startups using Creative HQ’s Lightning Lab acceleration programme.

Lightning Lab will take in eight digital startups and provide them with structure, startup methodologies, business skills and focused support to help them successfully prove, build and launch ideas to market. The 14-week mentor-intensive programme is based on the best of breed accelerator model developed by TechStars in the United States.

Xero CEO Rod Drury said New Zealand was ideally placed to capitalise on FinTech’s growth internationally and domestically.

“The growth of the financial technology sector is a boon for the local economy. We see this as a great opportunity to develop our local small businesses, technology leaders and professional workforce by helping to propel the country’s pace of innovation.

“Financial technology is reshaping the way small businesses around the world run their operations – giving them a deeper insight into their true financial position and enabling them to make better-informed business decisions.

“Together with Kiwibank, Xero is keen to leverage our global relationships with businesses, accounting professionals and financial providers to foster New Zealand’s next high-growth companies,” he said.

The accelerator programme commences in February next year 2017. Applications are now open to interested entrepreneurs throughout New Zealand. To view the criteria and apply, visit:

Tech summit an outstanding showcase of Canterbury’s strength

The 14th Canterbury Tech Summit held at New Zealand’s Air Force Museum on September 15th was an outstanding showcase of how Canterbury’s tech sector is heading from strength to strength.

The sell-out event attracted more than 650 people from across New Zealand’s tech sector which thoroughly impressed Prime Minister John Key who attended as a surprise guest.

John Key told Make Lemonade that aside from being one of the only people there wearing a tie, the summit was a lot bigger than he expected and shows the region and its technology is in good heart.


“The summit was a lot bigger than I thought. It just shows you how strong Christchurch and Canterbury are and how committed we are to the region by coming along to something like this. “We knew technology was an important part of the Christchurch rebuild because it was already an important part of the economy and it is attracting more people here as a result of that,” Key said.

It was Canterbury Tech’s biggest summit yet and the Prime Minister was correct to reference the region’s strength, as this event was a perfect demonstration of the massive array of people that are keen to work together to help grow Christchurch, Canterbury and New Zealand’s tech sector.

The balance between corporate and community at the summit was bang on. Flick Electric Co. sponsored the community zone allowing 11 community organisations to have a presence at the event, watch the thought provoking presentations and mingle with future mentors. It was satisfying to witness the enthusiasm of the Ara Tech Girls who were bubbling with excitement and so appreciative of the opportunity to be part of it all.

Standing proud among the 26 exhibitors and alongside major successful tech companies like Jade, Assurity and Trimble were two of the youngest in attendance; 12-year-old Kaleb O’Donnell a frontend developer and his 14-year-old colleague Asher Foster a backend developer. They took the chance to hang out at the Sourced exhibit for the afternoon and told us it was a great opportunity for them to listen, network and talk about their own tech startup Developster which helps kick start the journeys of teen entrepreneurs.

Keynote speaker Sir Ray Avery is a loveable Kiwi character who always has a story to tell and never fails to make you chuckle. He kept the audience enthralled with his charming and humorous anecdotes and said that everyone in the room was a born innovator. Sir Ray warned however, that the current education system was designed for industrial revolutions of the past.

Sir Ray has lived in New Zealand since 1973 and told the audience this is one of those countries in the world where you can be anything you want to be.


New Zealanders are the masters of disruptive innovation. There are three unique characteristics that enable us to dream big: we’re not fond of rules, we have no respect for the status quo and we invent cool stuff that fundamentally changes the world. We just don’t tell the world how clever we are,” Avery said.

Sir Ray who is well respected for his entrepreneurial and philanthropy efforts, expressed the importance of customer centric design. This got a huge thumbs up from the crowd, especially the user experience experts like Atta Elayyan chief of LWA Solutions who had an exhibition at the summit and was really pleased that to hear the importance of the user experience being recognised. LWA Solutions is a Christchurch app startup that takes great pride in their user-centred solutions.

Take a look at for an example of the amazing work Sir Ray Avery does to help save lives.

The presentations

There were 12 presentations offered throughout the afternoon, split into three different streams to appeal to the tech-minded, business-savvy or those who were keen for some interactive learning in a workshop or tutorial.

Of course it’s tricky to be everywhere and listen to every great talk so the below written account reflects a bold effort to capture as much as possible so that you can get a taster for why this event is so popular…

The hot topic of security

Laura Bell, founder of application security company SafeStack told us she loved the mix of people at the summit and the sense of innovation coming from the South Island and Canterbury region.

Bell gave an energy-packed and animated presentation explaining that security is everyone’s responsibility and technologies have advanced so quickly, security has struggled to keep up.

“Security isn’t something you have to wait to do once you are mature. It is a combination of hundreds of tiny little steps and changes we all need to do every day to keep our applications safe online. This all starts from when you have your idea and has to happen every day from then on.

“I want my job to be redundant because you guys are doing things differently,”Bell told her audience.

Atlassian head of security Craig Davies received a standing ovation at the end of his presentation due to impressing the audience with the company’s fresh approach to security. The amount of server instances Atlassian is responsible for is in the hundreds of thousands, so what Davies had to say definitely had credibility and held people’s attention.

This company believes that behind every great innovation is a great team and you get the feeling this is a pretty cool office environment to work in. Staying true to tech-fashion these folks have Formal Fridays each week (perhaps someone should have reminded the Prime Minister that it was only Thursday).

Innovation is embedded into their approach to everything at Atlassian whether technology is involved or not. New staff inductions can be a drag for anyone but newbies at this company attend a rocket fuel recruitment programme. New recruits are given a personalised boarding pass (with QR code) that gives them access to everything they need to get started – a unique and fun approach that also reduces the security risk of old-school techniques that still hand usernames and passwords around by way of manager emails or scraps of paper.

Davies was even offering up job interviews during his presentation, stating he needs security people in Sydney and would conduct interviews that day (now there’s an opportunity!).

Tools for success

There are so many people and organisations out there that want to see New Zealand businesses succeed and an advantage to attending this summit is that there are so many experts available and willing to talk things through and offer help.

Callaghan Innovation is one of those organisations that every small business should approach, whether you’re just at the ideas stage or are an established business breaking new ground. They are a Crown entity that helps promote excellence in innovation and wants to make the road to success easier, faster and less risky for businesses of all sizes.

Simon Brown from Callaghan Innovation presented about helping digital tech companies succeed and said New Zealand businesses had the right chemistry for tech success and the market was right for Kiwi tech exploitation.

Also present for the afternoon and keen to help businesses succeed was Parry Field Lawyers. Okay, so law firms aren’t the traditional type of companies you’d expect to see presenting to tech crowds but no doubt we’ll see more of this as startups are being encouraged to be smart about their legal structures right from the get go. Young businesses are also expecting more from their service providers and Parry Field agrees they should.

Kris Morrison, partner at Parry Field Lawyers, said they are willing to think creatively about the services they offer and embrace innovations in the way they do things. Kris was impressed with the number of people who attended the summit and the willingness of Canterbury tech businesses to work together and share ideas in trying to reach global markets.

Working together to share ideas is something that many people are impressed with about Canterbury which is no doubt why the region’s tech sector is growing from strength to strength.

Last year’s summit keynote speaker, NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller, attended the event and told us he could see Canterbury’s technology industry growing with every visit to Christchurch.

“The Canterbury tech sector contributes $2.4 billion worth of GDP and 14,837 jobs to the local economy and combines grassroots organisations with large technology companies to produce some of the best innovations in New Zealand,” Muller said.

If you haven’t seen the Digital Nation report yet, you should check it out as it contains great facts about the impact that tech has on NZ’s economy (facts that John Key referenced in his address at the summit). It’s on the Digital Nation site:

Kiwi inspiration

Chris Morrison director of Karma Cola presented his inspirational story of how you can make the shift from the backyard shed to international markets and still find a way to give back to people in need.

Karma Cola has hit on a brand that is changing the ethical soft drinks market. They get their coco beans from Sierra Leone and a portion of the profit goes back to villagers who grow the Cola nuts. This year they have given $100,000 back to a community in Sierra Leone which has helped allow girls in that village go to school. Karma Cola received a world ethical award in 2014 for their approach and are really making New Zealanders proud.

A fellow speaker with Morrison was Dave Tinkler, a director of Howard and Co, an investment company that has provided equity for Karma Cola. Tinkler shared how Karma Cola knew they wanted to go global from the very start.


“They took steps to prepare right from the beginning. They did the simple things correctly and got a good board. They secured their IP and organised their distribution channels. In raising capital last year, they were fully prepared. There were no surprises in due diligence. They did not disrupt their business while going through this process. It was an easy transition for them. There were no last minute hitches. Technology plays a big part in their marketing as they do a lot on social media. Karma Cola do everything very well. Companies can learn from Karma Cola,” said Tinkler.

Sian Simpson, the Silicon Valley, San Francisco based global community manager for Kiwi Landing Pad, expressed her passion about New Zealand and technology. She says she lives and breathes technology.

“I want technology to be New Zealand’s No.1 export,” Simpson said.

Kiwi Landing Pad (KLP) was established in 2011 to help selected high growth New Zealand technology companies establish and grow their business in the USA. Supported by prominent New Zealand technology investors and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, KLP offers New Zealand technology companies residence at their office in San Francisco. Tenants gain access to a wealth of experience and are able to create invaluable networks in the US technology, business and investment community.

What about innovation and 4.0?

George Wills from Media Suite demonstrated some brilliant, award-winning innovations that have helped with the Christchurch recovery. Their creative use of OpenStreetMap to communicate with road work crews has helped to get up to date information pushed to car navigation systems to help better direct transport. Take a look at their case studies to find out more about Transport for Christchurch and another great system Forward Works Viewer which has proven how effective collaboration between public and private sector can be.

Vodafone had Scott Pollard share some of his ideas on what we can expect with the future of sensor technologies. One cool possibility is a safety jacket for cyclists that connects with an app. The cyclist uploads their destination to their phone which connects to the jacket. The jacket then knows the route the cyclist is taking and is able to display large, bright directional signals on the back of the jacket. So if the cyclist is about to head right, a massive right arrow appears on the jacket to warn traffic. Just an idea at this stage but enough to get the audience thinking about the possibilities.

So what did the panel have to say about the fourth industrial revolution?



John Ascroft from Jade gave sound and sensible advice stating the best way we can move forward is to have an alliance between education, the private sector and government and more job rotation between the sectors.

Rob Lindeman from HITLabNZ wasn’t convinced we need to panic as he’s seen technologies like virtual reality on the scene since 1992 without much growth. Lindeman said we need to educate the next generation to be problem solvers, communicators and cross disciplinary.

Gabe Rijpma from Microsoft doesn’t believe we’re in the fourth industrial revolution just yet but said these are exciting times because the technologies will help to amplify our human abilities.

Kaila Colbin from SungularityU is adamant that we’re totally unprepared for what is about to hit us and warned that we’ve reached a stage where all technologies are starting to converge.

Jordan Carter chief of Internet NZ closed things off for the day remarking on the diversity of people in Canterbury who are at the reconstruction frontier.

Carter finished with a simple statement that fully captured the sentiment of the day:

“From here we can do anything if we work together”

Watch this video about the wonderful sponsors that helped make this event happen because we think they deserve a plug!