Archive for the ‘News’ Category

SALT District brings home the silverware

Monday, December 2nd, 2019


From Left to Right: David Snyder (Town Team Movement), Ethan Kent (Project for Public Spaces, PlacemakingX), Mike Percasky (SALT Collective Charitable Trust), Charles Landry (Creative Cities Index).

The team behind the beating heart of Christchurch’s most innovative and edgy District has been recognised at a major international awards. Ōtākaro and SALT District were last night awarded best Major Place Project at the Asia Pacific Place Leaders awards in Canberra, Australia.

Investor Mike Percasky, who is a trustee of SALT Collective, travelled to Canberra for the Place Leaders Symposium yesterday. He says, “It’s great to receive this award on behalf of SALT District. So many people have put in so much time and effort over the past few years and it’s fantastic to be recognised internationally for all that hard work. This award belongs to our SALT community”.

This win recognises best-practice placemaking over AUD$200k, by demonstrating excellence across five key criteria including sensitivity to the authenticity and local narrative of place, taking a systemic approach, showing agility and innovation and demonstrating clear value for people and communities.

According to Laura Taylor, placemaking advisor at Ōtākaro Ltd, the roots of the initiative were in late 2017, when organisations in the area chose to co-create a community housewarming party as a unique way to celebrate the opening of a new plaza. However, locals also recognised that the success of any great centre of innovation requires many elements including hospitality, retail, education and residents to truly spark. Those involved recognised that the future for this area would either be everyone remaining separate entities or making the choice to become a cohesive neighbourhood.

Local designer and branding expert, Josh Thompson, was called in to help explore an inclusive identity for the area as an alternative to Innovation Precinct. Josh created the concept SALT District based on shared values which were emerging for the area. In his proposal, SALT was not only an acronym for Southern Alternative and the locality around St Asaph-Lichfield-Tuam. It referenced many meaningful layers, such as the creative, effective and down-to-earth attitude of locals, the preservation of built heritage, and celebrating the connection between people and nature. This concept was shaped with the help of many and gained local buy-in.

City agencies including Ōtākaro, ChristchurchNZ, Development Christchurch Ltd, Christchurch City Council and the Central City Business Association have also got in behind the local initiative.

Bree Loverich of ChristchurchNZ says “placemaking is bottom up. The community, multiple city agencies, local businesses, developers and the Council have been coming together to collaborate under a shared purpose and shared values.” Stephen Hughes of DCL says “we were initially involved in what was originally a lighting project, and to see it evolve into the SALT District collaboration with projected street art and the successful collaboration with all the public sector agencies plus the private sector is a big tick for successful urban regeneration. The award is the icing on the cake.”

In another win for the area, SALT Collective Trust has just today received charitable status. The Collective has been established to enable collaboration between those in the area in ways that benefit both the area and the city. The project involved a boundary-pushing approach to community benefit under Charity law with support provided by Steven Moe at Parry Field Lawyers. “This project has been really exciting to be part of for the last few years and the passion of the people involved and the real potential it represents is exciting”, said Mr Moe.

SALT Collective trustee Stuart Charters, of Signal ICT Graduate School, says “it is fantastic to see the work of Ōtākaro and the SALT District community recognised for the placemaking that has happened and the vibrancy that has been built in the District. Building on this work, the formation of the charitable trust gives a great platform to facilitate future events and activities.”

SALT Collective’s seven volunteer trustees come from across the district and have diverse cross-sector experience, including student radio, non-profits, hospitality, co-working, education, innovation and investment.

The Collective characterises the neighbourhood as ‘the boss’, with the trust itself as an ‘under-arching’ entity to support collaboration. The trust will support the neighbourhood to regularly come together and keep learning about placemaking, connect locals with artists and young people, and will grease the wheels for collaborative action in various ways such as holding public liability insurance which local collaborations can call on.

Trustee James Meharry, Director of non-profit student radio station RDU98.5fm, says “RDU is peachy with pride for being part of SALT District. Massive congratulations to all those involved in building the story that gained such accolade – ka rawe!” The sentiments are echoed by trustee Leon Mooney of BizDojo co-working, who says “extremely proud of the efforts of the individuals behind the SALT District. A true example of the results being greater than the sum of its parts. Watch this space!”

Trustee Katy Clook from Friday Creative says, “We moved our studio to the SALT District for its vibe, energy and compelling cool. This award is an amazing acknowledgement of the work that’s gone into bringing SALT to life.

Locals are now forming subgroups around the passions and interests of locals to help the area succeed as a destination. These include groups focused on community activation, events, an urban festival, place experience, and ‘layers of fabulousness’. Subgroups welcome anyone who loves the area to get involved.

“The SALT project provides clear evidence that public-private partnership is the best way to deliver on the bold vision for our new city. We are all very proud of the community collaboration that brought this idea to life”, says Tim Loftus, General Manager Marketing, Brand and Communication at ChristchurchNZ.

“SALT District is a great example of how public and private entities, and a local community can work together to create a very special new part of our city. We’re proud to have played our part,” says Laura Taylor.

Other award winners included Town Team Movement, which took out the Place Governance category. Town Teams are model for how diverse locals and stakeholders can work together in a positive and proactive way to make great places for people. SALT Collective joined the movement recognising that it provided an excellent framework for how locals could lead and create impact. The Collective is New Zealand’s first Town Team, and the 36th of 44 neighbourhoods across Australasia to take the initiative.

The award comes on the back of some impressive collaborations earlier this year, when the District gained attention for the eye-popping SALT Ōtautahi mural, facing SALT Square by Little High and Alice in Videoland. Every night from 8pm the mural is animated with a spectacular laser projection that was launched in October at the District’s Highlight Street Art Party. Development Christchurch Limited made this possible by supplying the projector, which is available for other organisers to use to activate the city.

Highlight demonstrated the scale of collaboration, being co-created by Oi YOU!, street art collectives across the South Island, RDU98.5fm, MAINZ, local businesses and investors, with additional support from city agencies ChristchurchNZ, DCL, Ōtākaro and Christchurch City Council.

Owner of Not Without You wine bar, Phillip Sunderland, said “it was so great to be a part of the event. The laneways and square were bustling with people, despite the weather and everyone seemed very happy to be there. The new projection on the wall is sensational. SALT District proved itself to be an amazingly creative space.” Retropolitan owner, Danny Valentine, said “there was a great feel about the square and a very diverse group of people. We were very pleased to be part of it, what a great night”.

Next on the local agenda is Dux Central’s initiative to activate neighbouring Vanguard Square with table tennis, RDU’s popup music project, and work to complete the neighbourhood’s latest mural. The innovative artwork is being led by George Shaw of Oi YOU! and renowned local street artist Guy Ellis, known as Dcypher, of the DTR crew. Shaw says, “it’s fantastic that the place is being recognised. And it’s not stopping there. As we speak, we’re making even more progress with another mural, this one celebrates the area’s innovative history.”

To see the new mural being installed, visit Cotters Lane off 245 St Asaph Street near Little High.



The new projection in SALT Square, running nightly over the summer. Image: ChristchurchNZ.

Live street art-making by the DTR crew at Highlight Street Art Party, featuring Dycpher, Wongi, Icarus and Yikes. Image: ChristchurchNZ.

The eye-popping SALT Ōtautahi mural near Little High and C1 Espresso. Image: Simon Makker.


Lift off in Christchurch: city’s plan to be New Zealand’s aerospace testbed by 2025

Wednesday, November 27th, 2019


Christchurch aims to be at the centre of New Zealand’s burgeoning aerospace sector by 2025, according to the city’s aerospace strategic plan.

Read the sector plan here.

Read the summary here.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) commissioned Deloitte Access Economics to develop the plan which sets out goals and actions for how the city will become a world recognised aerospace hub.

MBIE’s general manager of science innovation and international Dr Peter Crabtree says New Zealand is fast becoming a hub for aerospace innovation and the plan was commissioned to provide Christchurch’s aerospace sector with a solid basis for industry development.

“Christchurch is making a significant contribution to the growth of New Zealand’s aerospace sector.

“MBIE is proactively supporting this growth because of the high value jobs it creates, the international investment it attracts, and the many ways in which advancements in aerospace technology have the potential to improve peoples lives,” he said.

The five-year plan sets out nine goals and associated actions for the city’s aerospace sector, based around four themes:

  • Knowledge sharing
  • Innovation and test-bed capabilities
  • Pathways to attract and expand businesses
  • Education and training

Actions under each of these themes include working with the University of Canterbury to extend the use of existing testing facilities, identifying locations in Canterbury for further test facilities, creating a prospectus for aerospace start-ups to enable efficient uptake of the city’s resources, regulatory pre-approval of flight zones, financial incentives for aerospace businesses and scholarship and education programmes.

“Aerospace is a future ‘supernode’ for Christchurch – one of our existing strategic growth areas where we are building more talent, attracting and importantly retaining, high-value industry.”

Richard Sandford ChristchurchNZ General Manager Innovation & Business Growth

Richard Sandford, General Manager Innovation & Business Growth at ChristchurchNZ said growing Christchurch’s aerospace sector is a natural fit and an important economic driver for the city.

“Aerospace is a future ‘supernode’ for Christchurch – one of our existing strategic growth areas where we are building more talent, attracting and importantly retaining, high-value industry.

“Our recently completed New Zealand Aerospace Challenge, powered by global giant Airbus, showcased the world-leading innovation that is being developed here and attracting attention across the globe,” said Sandford.

The plan acknowledges the already strong and well-connected sector, brought together by the Christchurch Aerospace Centre. The Centre sees 200+ industry members meeting regularly to network and share the latest innovations in the sector.

“The city contains the essential elements for success in the aerospace industry, we have a well-connected sector that spans the breadth of the production process from development and design, testing, prototyping and assembly through to launch and data analytics.”

Mark Rocket, Chair of the Christchurch Aerospace Centre

Mark Rocket, Chair of the Christchurch Aerospace Centre has been involved in the instigation of the plan and believes Christchurch is well-placed to deliver on the ambitious goals for 2025.

“The city contains the essential elements for success in the aerospace industry, we have a well-connected sector that spans the breadth of the production process from development and design, testing, prototyping and assembly through to launch and data analytics.  Christchurch is currently a major international gateway to the Antarctic and there’s an exciting future pathway ahead where Christchurch could also be a gateway to space,” said Rocket.

Delivery of the plan will take an ‘all of city’ approach says Sandford.

“We are already connecting with our aerospace businesses, stakeholders and industry partners to work alongside us to make this plan a reality. Together we all have a vested interest in creating jobs, boosting productivity and fostering innovation to help raise economic well being of the city ” Sandford said.

NZ Hi-Tech Awards Launch Event

Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

Interesting in finding out more about the awards and how you can be involved?  This event will kick off with a “fireside” chat with two Flying Kiwis and one of our young achievers. This will be followed by a quick run-through on the 2020 Awards, with tips and tricks on writing that killer entry.

WHEN  4 December 2019

WHERE Duncan Cotterill, 148 Victoria St, Christchurch

TIME  4:30 pm — 6:30 pm

Register here.For other enquiries please email

Vodafone xone Startup Accelerator 2019 – Applications now open!!

Tuesday, November 12th, 2019

Kia Ora!!

I hope things are going well for you and your teams as we get closer towards the end of 2019 – It’s been a big year for us at Vodafone xone, and I wanted to share some details about our new xone accelerator programme of which we have just opened applications! J

The least important part of this message – some brief info about me for those who I am yet to meet.

I’m Chris. A north Island boy at heart, for the past couple years I’ve been braving the cold here in Christchurch working alongside Lauren Merritt and the rest of the xone team to deliver our Vodafone xone start up Accelerator programme.

 If you want to learn more about xone (or need a quick refresh) about our previous cohorts and programme- click here.

As of recently, I’ve taken over the reins for xone – and have also launched a new model for the way xone will be working with and supporting kiwi start-ups in the future!


You may have seen this video floating around Social media:

The actual important part of this message – Our new Accelerator Programme or “xone Partner Series”

What is it?

Just over a week ago we launched applications for our new xone Accelerator (VF Xone Partner Series)

  • We are transitioning from our previous 6-month accelerator model which focused on founders and increasing the business performance and capability of each year’s (10 start up) cohort;  to
  • a series of 3-month“product and partnership-focused” programme for (up to 5) start-ups, driven heavily in product development, customer testing and validation with the key desired outcome in the form of a partnership or reseller agreement with Vodafone and some of our Key corporate customers (Industry Partners.)

For each iteration we’re bringing along one of our large corporate customers to join us as industry partners allowing start-ups to access expertise and resources from both VFNZ and the industry partner to add value to their business and product offering. The first VFNZ Customer to join us for the new Partner Series programme is the BNZ;

Together with BNZ we’re looking for kiwi start-ups who:

  • Have a digital solution and global aspirations
  • Have a product that digitally improves the way SME’s do business
  • Have a validated product, No required minimum for revenue generation – but at the least; defined customer validation and market fit
  • Ready to scale through corporate partnerships and add value to our SME business customers.

If you are working with any companies that you think could be a good fit for the programme;  Please send them our way!!!!!!!!  If you know anyone else working with start-ups that you think should see this as well –please forward this on.

 Interested start-ups can apply directly/ or find more info here: Vodafone xone Partner series with BNZ

Alternatively – feel free to pass them my details so we can get them lined up! 🙂

Please note: APPLICATIONS CLOSE NOVEMBER 29th at 4pm.

The Quantum Industrial Revolution – Christchurch

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

Whilst quantum computing, and quantum cryptography gain headlines in the popular press, there is a quiet revolution underway in the industry.

What are 50 of the world’s largest companies planning in the light of this next big revolution? This question will be answered in this next event at Te Ōhaka.
The Dodd-Walls Centre is hosting a discussion with Jose Prozo – the CTO of European Photonic Industry Consortium at Te Ōhaka – the Centre for Growth and Innovation.

He will share what 50 of the world’s largest companies are doing in preparation for the acceleration of quantum technologies in 3, 5 and 10 years. And explain how it may transform the manufacturing, biomedical and sensing sectors.

Come and learn more about this revolution that will undoubtedly impact how your company or competition operates in the future!

Bring your colleagues, friends; and also, your teenagers who are interested in science – their generation will undoubtfully involve lots of applications created by quantum tech.

Get tickets for FREE now:

Startup Breakfast Club: Building a Successful Team

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

Ministry of Awesome’s Startup Breakfast Club – powered by MYOB and sponsored by DHL – is your monthly morning caffeine hit where you’ll find valuable social networks, gain business insight, and find the critical support you need to power your venture forward.

This month, we’ll be looking at how to build your startup dream team.  What key attributes do you need to have on your team? Should you worry about organisational structure? How do you kick off with a winning team culture?  What must you never do? How do you keep the vision true, engaging, and powerful as you scale?

Successful solo-founder startups are extremely rare so come along to the next Startup Breakfast Club and learn how to build your dream team!

There’ll be free flowing coffee and breakfast as usual, so secure your spot to this FREE event today.

The Startup Breakfast Club is always sold out in advance, so register early to make sure you don’t miss out. Register by Wednesday 30th of October.


PS. While this event will always be free, we only distribute a select number of tickets. So, if you think you might not make it, please do NOT book.

See you there!

C-Prize 2019 – Information Evening – Empowering New Zealand’s next generation of environmental innovators

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2019

22nd October 5.30 -7.30 pm, at Te Ōhaka – Centre for Growth & Innovation

This year’s C-Prize competition is challenging entrants to develop innovative tech-based solutions with the power to change environmental outcomes.

At this information evening at Te Ōhaka, you’ll hear from leading New Zealand environmental innovators, learn more about the challenge, hear how to complete a compelling entry and have the chance to network with other forward-thinking founders and entrepreneurs, scientists and engineers from New Zealand’s innovation ecosystem.

To register and find out more about the C-Prize competition CLICK HERE!



Thursday, October 17th, 2019

The finalists are:

  • Christ’s College
  • Drones Technologies NZ Ltd
  • Kea Aerospace
  • Landpro
  • Lincoln University
  • NIWA
  • Samplair
  • Seequent
New Zealand Aerospace Challenge 2019 Pitchfest

About this Event

Finalist Pitchfest-Book Here

Watch up to 10 finalists pitch their technology to the judging panel

The top three finalists will be decided and announced by the judging panel.

Tea and coffee provided on arrival and a light morning tea will be served.

New Zealand Aerospace Challenge 2019 Awards

About this Event

See the top three finalists present their solution.Book here

Airbus Director of Sales Pacific Marie-Frederique Romain and Hon Dr Megan Woods, Minister of Research, Science and Innovation will announce the Grand Prize Winner of the New Zealand Aerospace Challenge 2019.

Light refreshments will be served at the conclusion of the event.

Date And Time

Fri, 18 October 2019

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM


Vodafone Innov8 Christchurch

213-220 Tuam Street

Christchurch, Canterbury 8011

‘The Ministry of Awesome’ reflects the exciting new era of Christchurch startups

Thursday, October 17th, 2019

Written by Steven Moe Guest writer for The Spinoff

There’s an innovation renaissance brewing in post-earthquake Christchurch as multicultural entrepreneurship replaces the old boys’ network. This required a new name, writes Steven Moe.

An unusual name that evokes images from Harry Potter is fine by the Ministry of Awesome, because it immediately sets it apart. Founded in the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes, the business incubator has grown and evolved into Christchurch’s go-to destination for high growth startups and entrepreneurs.

Leading the charge is ‘chief awesome officer’ Marian Johnson. When she started at the end of 2017 she had her reservations about the title and wondered if it needed to better match the expectations of more conservative stakeholders. But she soon realised it fits the bill.

“The Ministry of Awesome stands for anything but business as usual. Now, when people remark on my title I might smile and do a bit of jazz hands, but our organisation represents around 8,000 individuals all doing ‘awesome’ in their own ways.”

MoA focuses on early stage ventures when they are at their most vulnerable. It guides them through the process of validating a market, defining their customers and securing funding, and offers support through the inevitable failures (better known as ‘learning experiences’) and pivots.

It is well known in Christchurch through the 100 or so events it runs each year focused on developing the startup ecosystem. Around 70 to 100 people attend the weekly Coffee & Jam meetup at EPIC Innovation Campus (a unique post-earthquake success story in itself) to hear speakers from two startups each time that are at different stages in their cycle.  There is a startup activation programme to triage and assist fledgling ventures; a startup breakfast club; and monthly founder events exclusive to the 17 startups who are the first cohort at Christchurch’s Te Ōhaka Centre for Growth and Innovation.

That’s a lot of activity, but what does it mean for New Zealand’s second largest city and its earthquake recovery? I’ve previously commented that the vibe in Christchurch is different these days – it is old boys out, entrepreneurs in, and anyone who attended the recent sold-out Canterbury Tech summit will have noticed that.

The Ministry of Awesome is one of the essential parts of this growing ecosystem, and Johnson has her own views on what makes Christchurch unique.

“Eight years ago we had to re-imagine and reinvent our city.  Anyone who wanted the ‘normal’ left. At the same time, there was a massive influx of individuals in search of opportunity. Also playing out in the background are these major global shifts creating uncertainty. So, not only is New Zealand becoming a destination for progressive thinkers and risk takers, Christchurch represents the highest potential for opportunity.

“Add in the sheer number of tertiary institutions, crown research institutes, the excellence of our tech and manufacturing sectors, and a sprinkle of affordability and extreme natural beauty, and you get an unusually rich and diverse startup ecosystem.”


An example is The Brothers Green. Last year MoA and Foodstuffs South Island set up the Foodstarter competition to find New Zealand’s most innovative food and beverage startup. The hemp food venture was the winner, and today it is supplying 98,000 Hempy bars (a hemp-based snackbar targeted at kids) to New World supermarkets across the South Island.

Another is the creation of Te Ōhaka, where MoA is based. In English it means “the nest” and it is a place where high growth startups can incubate in a collaborative environment. Located within the Ara Institute of Canterbury campus, it is now home to 23 startups ranging from airport fog dispersal systems venture Limpidity, athlete performance monitoring company Komodo Monitr, and location-specific mindfulness initiative Wanderble. Opening Te Ōhaka in May this year is one of the local innovation community’s proudest achievements, Johnson says.

People outside of Christchurch who still see the southern city as being white and conservative can lay those old perceptions aside as well, she says. Every member of the MoA team has moved to Canterbury from overseas – a diverse mix of folk from France, Argentina, India and the United States.

“I think one of the reasons our team is so international is that MoA represents startup culture, which in itself represents risk taking and self-agency,” Johnson says. “There’s no better profile of that than in a person who shifts from one country to another to follow their dreams and ambitions.”

Johnson hopes in 10 years’ time Christchurch will be a centre of excellence for technology-enabled future industry sectors that allow the world to survive climate extinction and improve the lives of people. “Future food, fibre, transport, medtech, and healthtech are all sectors we are focusing on now.  I’d love to see that we’ve had a few home runs in one or all of those sectors because of all the awesome work we are doing now.”

Steven Moe is a Partner at Parry Field Lawyers in Christchurch and committed to telling good stories through the weekly seeds podcast. He has spoken at many events organised by The Ministry of Awesome.

EISENHOWER FELLOWSHIP Indonesia – New Zealand – Australia Regional Conference Wellington, 26 October 2019 “PARTNERS IN HUMANITY: Managing Harmony & Diversity”

Monday, October 7th, 2019

EPIC is proud to be supporting the Eisenhower Fellowship (EF) Regional conference in Wellington this year. Eisenhower Fellows from Indonesia are initiating a collaborative conference with New Zealand and Australia Fellows to commemorate the Eisenhower Day of Fellowship highlighting the critical issues of social harmony and diversity.

The objective of this collaboration is to strengthen multilateral relations between Indonesia, New Zealand, and Australia to address the challenges of achieving and maintaining social harmony and diversity, an issue relevant to  all three countries, by drawing upon the expertise of  EF Fellows in the region and in doing so also sparks rapid economic growth. This conference will bring together multi-stakeholders, including leaders from government, business/private, academia, media and not-for-profit organisations from the three countries.

Register for the event here:

Event Background:

Lately, we see in the region and beyond, societies torn apart by narrow-mindedness and primordial emotions. The Christchurch terrorist attacks shook its citizens and the world admired the way the government and the people of New Zealand managed the tragedy. The openness of the people of NZ and the solidarity shown to the minority Muslim community who were devastated by the attacks, displayed the nation’s resilience and commitment to inclusivity. The New Zealand response has been praised as setting a new standard for other countries in dealing with social tensions.

Indonesia, with its predominantly Muslim society, is the world’s third largest democracy, strives to uphold its ideology of Pancasila which guarantees the respect for and equality of all religious and ethnic groups. Australia is no less remarkable. A multi-ethnic melting pot, it has to manage a diverse nation and ensure harmony by upholding the rule of law without bias and prejudice.

How these countries falter or succeed in addressing the challenges of social harmony and diversity in a post-truth world are the key concerns of this Eisenhower Fellowship Day 2019 event. In addition, let’s not forget that being countries of diverse background, these three Pacific Countries are also rising economic power with their innovative and inclusive approach in financing activities. Thus, it will also be a challenge and opportunity how diversity can boost the nation’s economic growth instead of impeding it.


Google’s Maps adds augmented reality – for walking directions that might actually work

Thursday, August 29th, 2019

Google’s Maps app has got a new augmented reality or “Live View” feature, which should help solve a persistent annoyance: knowing which way to head when you’re following directions.

You know the drill: a blue dot appears on the map on your smartphone’s screen – but it’s often hard to tell which way you’re supposed to head.

In theory, your phone should be able to indicate the right direction, but in practice – especially when you’re in a CBD – the GPS signal bounces of buildings and constantly chops and changes your orientation.

And while most phones also have a built-in compass, in a downtown environment you have to constantly do the whirl-it-in-a-figure-8 thing to reset it – which is a pain, and makes you look silly.

Google says, Tall buildings can interfere with the accuracy of online maps.

“Live View solves these issues by overlaying your directions onto the world around you using your smartphone camera.

“The technology matches your camera’s real-time view with Google’s Street View imagery to determine your exact location, which way you’re facing and where you need to turn.

“Once your location is confirmed you’ll see virtual markers on your phone screen, indicating the street you’re on and where to turn next. Keep following them, and you’ll easily reach your destination.”

There are also onscreen prompts to remind you to keep your phone down, least you walk into real humans or lampposts as you navigate via augmented reality.

Live View is rolling out on Android and iOS devices now, following testing on Google’s own Pixel phones over the past few months.

To get started with AR navigation, update your Google Maps app, and after entering your destination you will see a new ‘start AR’ button in the walking tab which activates your camera.

A rep for Google says the roll out is happening progressively today, so it could be a spell before some people’s Maps app auto-updates with the new feature.

NZ video gaming billion-dollar export industry by 2024: report

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019

NZ Herald

New Zealand’s interactive media and games sector could create a billion-dollar export industry by 2024, a new report outlining the sector reveals.

Interactive Aotearoa, a report produced by the New Zealand Game Developers Association with support from NZTech, WeCreate and government agencies, identified interactive games as the greatest potential creator of new jobs and export earnings in coming years.

New Zealand’s video games industry generated over $143 million last year. The global market is worth $258 billion.

Interactive Aotearoa outlined that gaining just one per cent of the global video games market would generate $258m in new exports each year.

The sector in New Zealand has grown 39 per cent annually for the last six years – at this continued rate and with the support of Government the industry would be worth one billion dollars in 2024, it outlined.

New Zealand Game Developers Association chair Cassandra Gray said it was an “aspirational yet achievable” goal for the sector.

“Forty years ago our film industry partnered with the Government and we now have a multi-billion dollar screen industry. Twenty years ago our music industry did the same. Our interactive and games industry has reached the stage where it has the capability, skills and international opportunity to similarly contribute significant jobs, exports and social benefits,” Gray said.

“We’ve made a strong start, but our sector is still young and growing.

“Our aspirational, yet achievable, goal is to see New Zealand become a billion dollar exporter of interactive media, sitting alongside our successful film and software sectors.”

Interactive media, combining the tech sector and creative industries, currently slips through the cracks of Government culture, media and innovation policy.

The report calls for the establishment of the New Zealand Interactive Commission, modelled on existing creative industries agencies the music and film commissions, and an interactive innovation fund. It also recommends that Government screen and cultural programmes be modernised to include interactive media.

Several countries have introduced interactive industry programmes. Finland, with a population similar to New Zealand, has an interactive sector worth $3.8 billion annually – 25 times the size of ours – as the result of government support.

Recommendations for support from the Government outlined in the report will be discussed next month at the New Zealand Game Developers conference at Te Papa.

Smart Christchurch Innovation Expo 2019

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

The Smart Christchurch team is hosting the third annual Innovation Expo at the newly restored Christchurch Town Hall.  We are inviting exhibitors to showcase their innovative solutions to the Christchurch public, civic leaders, and other key people invited to attend.

The outcomes for the Smart Christchurch Innovation Expo include:

  • Demonstrate new approaches to solving persistent problems.
  • Showcase Smart Christchurch initiatives, partnerships & collaborations.
  • Showcase innovation happening within the city and beyond.
  • An opportunity to connect with other innovators and spark ideas.

Please apply to exhibit here: or to sponsor here:

Venue:  Christchurch Town Hall

Date:     09 September 2019, Monday

Time:    10am-5pm

Australian VCs in Chch

Wednesday, August 14th, 2019

Want to meet and hear from Australian venture capitalists who have backed incredible Kiwi and Australian startups, as they demystify their investment and speak on how they identify, invest and work with startups?

Join us for a special panel event – Australian VCs in New Zealand, on 3rd September in Christchurch.

Spaces are limited, register for your ticket today:

Lightning Lab Tourism Demo Day

Monday, August 5th, 2019

For the last three months ten early-stage businesses have been honing their concept, building their business proposition and are ready to showcase their sustainable tourism venture to the world.

Come and see their concepts!

When:    Tuesday 20 August, 5.30pm to 8pm

Venue:   Christchurch Town Hall, James Hay Theatre, 86 Kilmore Street

RSVP here

Read more about Lightning Lab Tourism and the participating ventures here.

Concentrate is the only agency in Australia and New Zealand to reach HubSpot Diamond Partner and HubSpot Master Trainer status

Monday, July 29th, 2019

Concentrate is the only agency in Australia and New Zealand to reach HubSpot Diamond Partner and HubSpot Master Trainer status.

Find out more here:

Diamonds are an agency’s best friend

Concentrate is the first company in Australia and New Zealand to reach Diamond Partner and Master Trainerstatus for international software company HubSpot.

That puts us in the top 2% of HubSpot’s almost 3500 agencies worldwide, and shows how competitive Kiwi marketing agencies can be on a world stage amongst much bigger firms with access to a much bigger market.

Martech is going off

This recognition is a reflection of two trends – firstly it’s the growth of New Zealand’s tech industry, the sector in which we specialise; and secondly, the rapid adoption of marketing technology by Kiwi companies.

According to our own Market Measures research, tech companies in New Zealand are starting to invest in solutions like CRM and marketing automation, and HubSpot is the platform of choice for over 60% of them.

HubSpot’s acknowledgement of Concentrate as a Diamond Partner and Master Trainer means the company is recognised as being world class when it comes to marketing technology. HubSpot is a global leader in this area, and Concentrate can bring this international best practice and technology to local firms.

We’d like to acknowledge the support from HubSpot that has enabled this success. As a tech marketing firm we work with a lot of software companies, small and large, and can safely say HubSpot’s partner support is outstanding, particularly form the team in their Sydney office.

A master of training

We’re particularly proud that Concentrate’s Managing Director Owen Scott has, after a contestable process, been appointed as a HubSpot Master Trainer, the first and only in New Zealand. For companies using HubSpot it means we are ideally placed to ensure you and your people can get the most out of the platform.

It also means Concentrate is the only agency across Australia and New Zealand that has reach Diamond Partner Agency level, and has a HubSpot Master Trainer.

Owen Scott-1-1


The anatomy of a tech marketing superstar

Friday, July 19th, 2019

Springfield in our home province of Canterbury used to be mostly famous for its giant donut (a homage to its cartoon namesake), but it has now hit the national consciousness as having the ‘’rudest café in New Zealand’. While the humble restaurant has generated a mountain of publicity, it’s not a marketing approach we would typically recommend. Here’s some other ideas.

What does a tech marketing superstar look like?

While most self-respecting tech companies would prefer to hire another coder than risk their cash on a marketer, the time does come for many to contemplate building an in-house resource. That resource needs to be focussed not on the fluffy promotional stuff, but on programmes that generate qualified leads for sales. But what skills and capabilities does this person need? In this blog, Greg identifies the key strengths your marketing superstar will need to succeed.

Left brain and right brain in perfect harmony

As technology has become more central to marketing, technologists and marketers have to work together more and more. Marketers don’t tend to have the necessary skills and disciplines to drive this martech effectively – hence the need for developers. We’ve certainly seen the results of marketers rushing to implement marketing technology, without clear requirements and good implementation processes. This fascinating article digs into this burgeoning relationship, and what the two groups have in common.

Ninja ballerinas achieve a 38% jump in web traffic

When a top 100 New Zealand company needed to redevelop their website on the HubSpot CMS, we were chuffed they chose Concentrate. They needed HubSpot ninjas with the agility of a ballerina to meet a tough deadline, and we delivered, achieving a 38% increase in traffic. Read the full story here.

How goes the paperless bathroom?

As the old joke goes, the much vaunted ‘paperless office’ is as likely as realising the vision of a paperless toilet. The same scepticism comes to mind when reading that the MarTech Conference in the US have adopted the tagline ‘’martech is marketing’’. And while the number of marketing technology vendors has exploded from a few hundred less than a decade ago, to over 7,000 now, to give marketing completely over to technology is paperless toilet territory. For more, read this thoughtful consideration of the topic by respected US martech advocate Scott Brinker.

Need some HubSpot training?

Concentrate’s Owen Scott has been appointed as New Zealand’s first and only HubSpot Master Trainer. See how Owen could help you get more out of your HubSpot investment.

Free B2B marketing knowledge

While our moral panic continues over the evils of social media, there are oases of great value on the internet. The huge array of quality courseware is one. For B2B marketers the resources available to self-educate are incredible. At Martech Advisor, they have done a great job of summarising some of the best sources for free marketing courses.


The EPIC Podcast – Canterbury Tech- EPIC Podcast episode 2 – Sarah Heal (Information Leadership) OUT NOW

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019


In episode 2 of the EPIC podcast series journalist Kris Herbert interviews Sarah Heal, Director & co-founder of Information Leadership. We talk about their journey so far, their team, how they became Microsoft’s exclusive partner for information management in NZ and some of the interesting hiring decisions they’ve made.

Following the interview, Andy Poulsen chats with Ministry of Awesome’s Chief Awesome Officer, Marian Johnson, about their new home and the Christchurch innovation ecosystem, and then with Canterbury Tech G.M. Neil Hamilton, about the kick off of the Canterbury Tech Mentor Scheme plus the upcoming Tech Summit and general new

About the EPIC Podcast 

The EPIC Podcast is a tech focused podcast being produced by Canterbury Tech.

Each episode will feature an interview with a tech leader, either discussing their or their company’s journey, lessons they’ve learnt along the way or delving into a particular area of speciality.  Along with the interview content, we will include a community focus section, news, highlights and discuss upcoming events.

The EPIC Podcast by Canterbury Tech can be found on iTunes and Spotify.
Not sure how to subscribe to a podcast?  – click here for article

You can find all current and past EPIC Podcast episodes on our website here or by bookmarking our page


The Canterbury Tech Cluster (Canterbury Software Inc.) is Canterbury’s leading professional association dedicated to advancing innovation, commercialisation and export.  It aims to develop globally successful technology companies through collaboration and education for businesses small and large. The non-profit organisation is run by a voluntary committee and has over 200 members.

Dave Sewell on Leadership in Business and beating Stress

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019

Dave has been studying leadership and the key elements that make up a good leader.  As well as that his focus is to understand stress and what that does to leaders, in both good and bad ways.  In this interview we talk about his origins in Scotland, what brought him to New Zealand, his entrepreneurial journey and his work today.  Dave has a new book coming out later this year so we get a bit of a previous of what sort of topics it is going to cover as well.


The book is being published in September 2019 Safe Leadership – Beating Stress to Drive Performance which is a culmination of his research, experience and observations in leadership over the last 20 years.  The link to find out more about the book is

Matariki: Bic Runga Live in the Great Hall

Friday, June 14th, 2019

Critically acclaimed Kiwi musician Bic Runga, the first resident in The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora’s newly restored Creative Residencies programme, is performing a special concert to raise funds for the centre’s ongoing post-quake restoration.

The globally renowned musician is recognised as one of New Zealand’s most loved and treasured artists. Her many accolades include being made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to music in 2006 and being inducted into the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame in 2016, as well as almost every musical honour in Aotearoa, including the prestigious APRA Silver Scroll song-writing award.

Tickets to this not-to-be-missed fundraiser concert are $100 to $125 each.

For an extra-special experience, tickets including entry into an exclusive post-concert Meet the Artist event with Bic, plus wine and canapés, are $225 (limited to 15 people). This special event is generously sponsored by Georges Road Wines.

This event is wheelchair accessible.

Buy tickets

Date: Friday 5 July 2019

Time: 7.00pm to 8.00pm

Venue: Great Hall, The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora, 2 Worcester Boulevard, Christchurch.

Concert general admission $100 and $125, concert + Meet the Artist event $225. Tickets go on sale on Friday 24 May 2019 at 10.00am.

Techweek19 event – Smart cities – What are they and how can we get there?

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019



 When – TUESDAY 21 MAY 1:00PM – 2:30PM

Free event

Hear from one of NZ’s leading Smart City Practitioners, who explores how data and new technologies can make our cities smarter, safer places for us to live, work & play.

What’s it all about?

Following on from last year’s popular Techweek event in Dunedin, SIGNAL ICT Grad School is pleased to bring to Christchurch an event featuring Wellington’s Tim Packer,  who explores how data and new technologies can make our cities smart, safe places for us to live, work & play.

This session will cover:

What is a Smart City?

Do we really need Smarter Cities and are they here yet?

What’s working and what’s not?

Tim Packer, co-founder of BucketLabs and former head of Smart City Solutions at NEC NZ Ltd will take you on a journey into an emerging toolkit of new technologies being applied for smart city purpose, give a critical assessment of the overall progress being made by the smart city movement, and the challenges and opportunities they face.

Tim will also offer an alternative view and practical approach that may facilitate the next major breakthroughs required to ‘move the meter’ on smart city ambitions.

This session includes plenty of time for questions from the audience, but seats are limited so book now to avoid disappointment.

Tech Marketers Group: Through the looking glass on Marketing Automation

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

Not your usual filtered view of marketing automation – our panel reflects on what they wouldn’t do, could they do it all over again.

What’s it all about?

We’re going through the ‘looking glass’ on marketing automation!

One of the biggest challenges facing marketers in technology companies is how to make budgets go further. Marketing Automation has become a big part of this but like all technology solutions there are any number of pitfalls and headaches in selecting, implementing, setting up and managing a marketing automation solution.

This “through the looking glass” panel session is an opportunity to learn from experienced digital marketers as to the mistakes they’ve made and successes they’ve had in their Marketing Automation journey. A highly practical session – focused on giving real-life learnings that attendees can directly apply to their organisation – note; no rabbit holes, Mad Hatters or fairy tales involved.


Date -MONDAY 20 MAY 4:00PM – 5:30PM


Techweek19-20-26 May

Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

Did you know?

The Canterbury tech sector employs 15,000 people within the region, contributing a massive $2.4 billion to our GDP.

New Zealand’s week-long festival of innovation, featuring diverse and exciting tech events, is fast approaching and new events are being added daily.

Techweek19 showcases cutting edge technology and amplifies brilliant local ideas that are solving the biggest global challenges – innovation that’s good for the world!

It’s a chance for everyone to explore a wide range of tech-related career opportunities in one of the fastest growing sectors internationally and in Christchurch.

We encourage you to explore. Be curious. Check out more than forty Techweek19 events from May 20th to May 26th.

Christchurch event highlights include:
Impact of Technology on Health Care
Designing Solutions for the 21st Century
Emerging Tech in Health 2019 – better healthcare through data analytics
Location Intelligence 2019
SouthMACH 2019

To learn more about Techweek19 events, click here.


Monday, May 6th, 2019


Pitch & Pizza is an event for start ups who are looking for investment in the next two
to six months.

The event is a relaxed “dragons den” format with panellists from the Canterbury
innovation ecosystem, providing Q&A on what is an investible pitch.

The primary objective is to provide start ups with the knowledge and direction
that is required to pitch to Investor groups
The events additional benefits are:
• Start ups have a “stepping stone” to investibility.
• Investors can preview future deal flows
• Begins to build investor groups around start ups
• Encourages mentors to reach out to start ups
• Encourages the stakeholders of the local ecosystem to collaborate
• Allows potential start ups to understand the process and expectations around
capital raising
• Helps build community and “buzz” around the ecosystem

Don’t miss out and register here.


Where can I contact the organiser with any questions?

If you have any questions, please contact Gabby Addington on

Startup Breakfast Club: Startup Accelerators

Monday, May 6th, 2019


Ministry of Awesome’s Startup Breakfast Club – powered by MYOB and sponsored by DHL – is your monthly morning caffeine hit where you’ll find valuable social networks, gain business insight, and find the critical support you need to power your venture forward. This month’s Breakfast Club’s theme is startup acceleration at all its stages.

Whether you join an accelerator, partner with others to gain speed and greater access to market or gain valuable insights from mentors who have been there and can help you navigate the quickest path to success, acceleration is a crucial phase of your venture’s cycle.

Come along to Startup Breakfast Club to hear from seasoned veterans who will share their best tips and experience for accelerating your startup.

There’ll be free flowing coffee and breakfast as usual, so secure your spot by registering for this FREE event today (click here)!

The Startup Breakfast Club is ALWAYS sold out in advance, so register early to make sure you don’t miss out. Register by Wednesday 22nd of May.

PS. While this event will always be free, we only distribute a select number of tickets. So if you think you might not make it, please do NOT book.

Concentrate Ltd presents-Growth Hacks for Tech Sales & Marketing Teams – Could you drive faster growth internationally?

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

We’ve crunched the numbers from our 2018 Market Measures survey so that your tech business can gain insight into how to grow through sales and marketing.

At the upcoming Techweek festival, Concentrate’s CEO Owen Scott will be presenting the 9 growth hacks we’ve identified from analysing data from 300+ Kiwi tech companies in a 60 minute webinarGrowth Hacks for Sales & Marketing Teams: Could your teams drive faster growth internationally? will focus on what we’ve uncovered from benchmarking high growth Kiwi firms against their US counterparts.


The growth hacks are specific recommendations to help your tech company grow, based on the data we’ve gathered.


You can register for the webinar here, and it’s free. If you have any questions about it, or about the Market Measures report, don’t hesitate to drop me a line.



Yours sincerely,


Greg Williamson

Limitless have a Part Time job vacancy

Monday, April 29th, 2019


Limitless is an organization with a mission to equip young New Zealanders to lead lives of passion and purpose. Founded in 2016, they run programs with an aspiration to empower young people for greater agency for their pathways to purposeful work – work that aligns with their strengths and values. They have developed and delivered several conferences and other programs for high school students throughout Canterbury, and have had 730 young people from 32 schools take part over the past three years. Limitless are currently calling for expressions of interest in a Co-Operations Lead role, 25 hours a week based in Central Christchurch. This role, focused around event management and other organizational skills – will be key in the operations team to deliver a portfolio of exciting programs in 2019! Find out more in the attached role description. Check out their work at and

Here is the role description

IT Support for The Canterbury Muslim Community Trust (CMCT)

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

We are all reeling from the Mosque tragedy on the 15th of March and many in the Canterbury tech community have been asking how they can help the Muslim families and community. CMCT reached out to Canterbury Tech asking for help to implement information systems for their fast evolving projects.

CMCT has identified 4 general projects that require IT expertise:

  1. DonationsWhatsApp  CMCT contact: Mazharuddin Syed Ahmed. CRM systems are being identified to track and distribute donations.   As these discussions progress, support for configuring, securing, and porting will become clearer. Likely skills needed: CRM, security, data migration, QA, API, IT system management.
  2. Social media and web siteWhatsApp CMCT contact: Mazharuddin Syed Ahmed. CMCT wants to upgrade its website and social media presence. They are looking for expertise to create and maintain a web page and to set up and configure social media tools. Ara Design school has already said they will contribute web design work. Likely skills needed: web design, testing,  implementation and support, social media skills,
  3. Database and Help deskWhatsApp  CMCT contact: Mazharuddin Syed Ahmed. Many people are offering assistance to the Christchurch Muslim community and they have many ongoing needs. These requests and needs are currently being tracked ad-hoc using spreadsheets.  A database of requests, needs and support already provided is needed. A bonus would be a help desk system so offers of help and requests for help can be reliably tracked and progressed. Likely skills needed: Help desk design and implementation, database expertise, security. This project may benefit from an interface to support requestors, support offerors and maybe “case workers” as we are likely to establish some liaison roles.
  4. General discussion around IT supportWhatsApp CMCT contact: Mazharuddin Syed Ahmed. This group is for non-project specific IT discussions among CMCT and the Canterbury IT helpers.

If you would like to know more or contribute, please join one of Whatsapp groups.  Please identify yourself and your organisation when you sign in.

Each project has a CMCT team and CMCT project manager.  These projects are in a state of flux and IT needs are urgent. If you would like to help and you have suitable skills and experience, the Whatsapp channels are a simple way to contact CMCT, in a way that does not overburden CMCT volunteers. CMCT is managing the projects and will use WhatsApp to manage the volunteers concerned and any follow on.


Wil McLellan on co founding EPIC

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019


Click here to listen to Podcast




Monday, April 1st, 2019


Join us at our upcoming monthly event on Tuesday 2nd April at Vodafone Xone. This will be a commemorative event for our Tech Community to remember the lives of the victims of the Christchurch Terrorist Attack, 15 March 2019.

We will come together to acknowledge those we have lost, connect with each other and share our thoughts on how we as a tech community can influence or bring about positive change.

When: Tuesday 2nd April 2019
Time: 5.30pm to 7:30pm
Cost: Free for members, $25 for non-members.
Venue: Vodafone – Xone

Outline of the evening:

5:30 pm Networking, drinks, nibbles & generate some initial ideas for areas of focus (unconference style).

6:00 pm Welcome, Canterbury Tech Chair (David Carter)

We will have special Canterbury Tech member Tributes for:


  Atta ElayyanLWA Solutions                             Syed Jahandad AliInterge


This will be followed by further discussions of areas of focus and attempting to coalesce around a few to follow-through on.

7:00 pm Networking, drinks and nibbles

7:30 pm Event closes

Cost: Free for Canterbury Tech members, $25 for non-members

If you wish to make a donation, Give-a-Little pages have been set up to help Atta Elayyan’s and Syed Jahandad Ali’s families directly.