Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Seeds Podcast Reaches 200th Episode

Tuesday, August 18th, 2020

Almost 3 years ago in September of 2017, Michelle Sharp, CEO of Kilmarnock Enterprises, was the first interviewee on a locally produced podcast that has since gained over 75,000 listeners. Last Monday, Seeds released its 200th episode. 

Seeds is hosted by Steven Moe from Parry Field Lawyers. At its heart, the series is about telling the kinds of stories that inspire growth. 

From epidemiology to life lessons from a 6-year-old. From the House of Lords half a world away to inner-city rabbits; across 200 episodes, Steven’s podcast has covered a lot. To mark this milestone, he’s thrown together highlights from 30 different conversations, covering 30 impactful subjects. In short, there’s no better time than now to jump in. 

You can listen to the 200th episode here. Or, if chronological order is your thing, you can listen to Michelle’s interview here. Even the EPIC story features – check out Will’s interview here. 

Seeds is available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and wherever else you get your podcasts fix.

Congratulations Steven!


Survivor City: How space flights could reinvigorate the Christchurch economy

Friday, July 31st, 2020

Future strategist and business consultant Roger Dennis welcomes the supernodes.

“There’s little point in trying to spin up something entirely new in a crisis, it’s much more logical to look for existing strengths and capabilities that you can support.” 

Read more here

Additional funding available for business advice and support

Monday, July 20th, 2020

Information from ChristchurchNZ

More Canterbury businesses will be able to access specialist support following the government’s announcement of an additional $40 million in advisory funding.

Read the full article and find out more, including how to apply, here.

The funding means small to medium businesses can access specialist advice and support across a number of areas including:

  • HR & employee relations
  • Health and wellness
  • Business continuity planning
  • Finance and cashflow management
  • Marketing, business and digital strategy

The funding is delivered as part of the Regional Business Partner (RBP) Network.

Boyd Warren General Manager of Innovation and Business Growth ChristchurchNZ says it is important businesses can access specialist advice as they adapt and put into practice new ways of thinking and doing – the business environment is continually changing.

‘‘This is about saving businesses and jobs – and creating a new future. As we move from recovery to repositioning in our economic recovery framework, we all need to think creatively and strategically about future ways of operating. Getting expert advice at the right time can make all the difference.’’

Businesses must be registered with the RBP Network, register online here.

Challenge aims to position Christchurch as NZ’s centre of health innovation

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

HealthTechChallenge_Email Banner_1200x400_FA2 (no enter now)


Ōtautahi Christchurch aims to become the home of health tech innovation in New Zealand with the HealthTech Supernode Challenge, opening Monday 29 June.

With a total prize pool across multiple categories valued at over $340,000, there are plenty of reasons to enter the HealthTech Supernode Challenge. This includes entry into a virtual pre-accelerator programme, the potential for startup investment, a Canterbury District Health Board validation contract, and an exclusive invitation to a further startup incubator programme. 

Most importantly, all Challenge finalists will receive extensive profile, new networks and exposure to one of NZ’s most prolific health innovation ecosystems. 

The nationwide challenge, sponsored by ChristchurchNZ, is open to anyone with a healthtech innovation or idea – from students and startups to researchers, and healthcare professionals. 

The aim of the Challenge is to identify and generate commercially viable solutions that address real healthcare problems focusing on the Aged Care sector and Rural New Zealand. There is also an Open category to ensure no innovation is left uncovered.

Applications open 29 June 2020, with finalists announced 19 August. Anyone in New Zealand can apply.  The url is (this link will go live on Monday 29th).

Up to 20 finalists will embark on an intensive, six-week virtual pre-accelerator programme to support teams through a market validation process that will rigorously test their idea.

The top finalists emerging from the pre-accelerator will present to a panel of experts at a Demo Night, to be held on 22 October at Manawa, in the heart of Te Papa Hauora Christchurch Health Precinct. Judges include Microbiologist and Media Commentator, Dr. Siouxsie Wiles and Ian Town, New Zealand’s Chief Science Advisor at the Ministry of Health.

The HealthTech Supernode Challenge is delivered by the Ministry of Awesome and the University of Canterbury’s Centre for Entrepreneurship with support from ChristchurchNZ, KiwiNet, and Ryman Healthcare.

Healthtech is a growth sector for Christchurch and an area of existing strength, with the city looking for opportunities to continue to attract and grow talent, business and innovation.

Joanna Norris CEO ChristchurchNZ said there is no city better placed than Christchurch to host the Challenge.

“Ōtautahi Christchurch is home to Te Papa Hauora, a world-class Health Precinct which integrates research and innovation with education and community wellbeing, pair this with the talent coming out of the tertiaries and a thriving tech ecosystem and we’ve got the perfect testbed to challenge the status quo and find new ways to address the biggest health issues facing the globe.

I have no doubt we’ll see some very competitive submissions coming through with the potential to drive the city’s economic recovery and create new high-value jobs.’’

Quote from KiwiNet.

“Now more than ever is the time for us to be investing in and accelerating new and innovative ideas. Which is why it’s so important that we step up and support our local and emerging researchers, who are developing new technologies with the potential to change New Zealanders’ lives, for the better. The Supernode Challenge will provide an amazing opportunity and platform for these innovators, and we can’t wait to see what incredible ideas are put forward.” Alexandra Stuthridge, Commercialisation Manager at KiwiNet.

Quote from Ryman.

“We jumped at the chance to be able to support the HealthTech Supernode Challenge because we think it couldn’t come at a better time. New Zealand’s population of older people is growing, and this growth is set to speed up rapidly as the Baby Boomers retire, placing extra demand on our health system. We’d like to support our best and brightest minds in developing new technologies to help us cope with this demand, and which will improve the quality of life for older people.’’ Rick Davies, Head of Technology and Innovation at Ryman Healthcare.

The Garden City battled back after a series of massive localised disasters. Now NZ faces a national one.

Monday, June 15th, 2020

Extract from article published by Stuff on 13/06/2020.

“One that comes to mind is a somewhat infamous meeting that the then minister Stephen Joyce gate-crashed back in 2012. Christchurch’s Central Development Unit had been given 100 days to prepare a “blueprint for action”.

This saw a high-powered congregation of Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Christchurch City Council, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, and architects creating a top down rebuild plan. While there was theoretically an ability to “share an idea” channel operated by the city council for community groups to have input, I’m not sure these ideas got a lot of airtime during the process.

The folklore is that Joyce attended a blueprint meeting close to the end of the process where the draft was shared and snorted “this is all big boy crap, you need an innovation precinct where the little guys can flourish”.

Out of this came the Innovation Precinct (now known as the SALT district). Their first project was the EPIC Centre, an eco-friendly building that went up blindingly fast and quickly housed 20 high tech Christchurch early stage companies and around 250 workers.

I’ve worked with many of the companies that kicked off life in the EPIC Centre and can confirm it’s been a rich source of value for the region; and a handy use source of export dollars. And what made it work in my eyes was the combination of top down and bottom up approaches being joined up; thanks in part to a bolshie minister.

Recently the prime minister’s Business Advisory Council was wound up (as was always planned) in the lead up to the 2020 election. In his final note to the PM, chairman Fraser Whineray made the point that the way out of disaster is a joined-up approach.

This leads me back to what Dennis has noted about the context for the current disaster – New Zealand is facing a crisis that dwarfs the Christchurch earthquakes. With this in mind there’s one critical question that springs to mind – what’s the equivalent of the EPIC Centre, but on a national scale?”

Read the whole article here

Grow Ō Tautahi Christchurch Garden Festival – Garden Festival dates set for 2021

Monday, May 11th, 2020

Grow Ō Tautahi, Christchurch’s very own Garden Festival, will return in 2021 – with dates locked-in for the free, three-day festival celebrating gardening, homegrown food, sustainability and education. 

Organisers confirmed today the Festival will be held 12-14 March 2021 in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens. The 2020 event was cancelled just days before it was due to launch due to pandemic restrictions. 

Festival Director Sandi MacRae says the cancellation of what would have been the first-ever Grow Ō Tautahi was a huge disappointment to everyone involved, but it was unavoidable. 

“We believe Christchurch needs this Festival. We want to come back strong in 2021 with a Festival that reflects the Garden City’s love of gardening, our interest in sustainability and environmental awareness and our emphasis on homegrown food for the whole family.

“Everyone involved in the 2020 event went above and beyond, giving their time, resources and financial support to bring the concept to life. We’re incredibly disappointed for all of our sponsors and partners that the event wasn’t able to go ahead, so we’re working extra hard now to make 2021 a huge success.” 

Grow Ō Tautahi is run by the Christchurch Garden Festival Trust and is not-for-profit. Entry will be free to the public and any returns in future events will be used to create scholarships through local education providers. The 2020 event was to be the first-ever Grow festival. 

“We are so grateful to all our sponsors – in particular presenting partner Lincoln University – and to all our partners and supporters who gave their time to make the concept a reality. 

“I’d also like to acknowledge all of the local schools who were a part of the Festival – many of whom kept working to create their gardens and realise their efforts, even when we knew the 2020 event would not go ahead. Thanks also to our exhibition garden designers Bayley Luu Tomes and Billygoat Landscape Architecture who completed their designs so we could glimpse what a future festival would look like. 

“We can’t wait for 2021 when we’ll bring an exciting, innovative garden festival to the Garden City.” 

Grow Ō Tautahi, 12-14 March 2021

Free entry in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens


FACEBOOK @growotautahi

INSTAGRAM @growotautahi 

For more information contact:

Amanda Healy | | +64 21 2388 938

Starlifter.Dev Show featuring Jamie from Meta Digital

Thursday, February 27th, 2020
“EPIC Innovation features in the latest episode of the Starlifter.Dev Show! Benet Hitchcock chats with Jamie Hamilton, Creative Director at Meta Digital about making CD-ROMs, what’s changed in the Christchurch web scene over the years and how 2020 is shaping up.”

Benet ‘Dr’ Hitchcock
Internet | Audio
Mobile | Signal ::  +64 (0)27 326 7676


Grow Ō Tautahi with Christchurch!

Thursday, February 27th, 2020

There’s something for everyone at Christchurch’s FREE, three day garden festival – Grow Ō Tautahi. Celebrity chefs, how-to workshops, garden exhibits, science and sustainability talks, a kids’ zone, plants, flowers, entertainment and much more! 
Christchurch Botanic Gardens, 20-22 March 2020 – see you there!

Grow Ō Tautahi, Christchurch Garden Festival, will showcase creativity, innovation and the region’s love of gardens and outdoor living.

GROW will stimulate discussion about food resilience, water and healthy eating. GROW will inspire and connect communities through sharing knowledge and exploring cultural associations with design, landscape, plants and food.

GROW will include exhibit gardens, a schools’ garden competition, botanical displays, a community garden, panel discussions, cooking demonstrations, entertainment, family activities with workshops and masterclasses providing hands-on expert advice.

Whether you are new to gardening or an expert in growing, this free event will have something for you to engage with, learn from or react to.

Click here for the awesome programme details

Ambassadors / Ngā Pou Whakarae

Jax Hamilton.jpg


Jax Hamilton

Jax is a cook who inspires and loves to mix it up, blending a pinch of cockney cheek with a cup of Jamaican personality, all served up on a home-grown kiwi plate. Along with resident food maestro Jonny Schwass, Jax will convene cooking demonstrations with guest chefs from around the nation, using freshly harvested goodies from gardens around Ō Tautahi Christchurch.

Photo 3-06-19, 4 04 15 PM.jpg


Julia Atkinson-Dunn

Julia joins as a passionate NEW gardener. With a background in design and writing, she has created a new platform to help bridge the void of information for New Zealanders confronted with bare backyards and zero knowledge on growing. Studio Home Gardening offers fellow beginners regular articles that address the absolute basics in creating outdoor spaces to be enjoyed – mixing these with inspirational filmed episodes visiting local gardens and opening a door on the creativity and scope available to everyone with a patch, no matter the size. Julia will be mediating a series of panel discussions with experts over the festival, aimed at new home owners and those curious to take a step into gardening.



Dan Rutherford

As well as working as a garden designer, Dan leads a team of professional landscapers. He is the winner of several consecutive gold medals at the Ellerslie International Flower Show, along with the People’s Choice at the Singapore Garden Festival and a recent silver at the New Zealand Flower and Garden Show. Dan has extensive landscaping knowledge, and is happy to share it with other enthusiastic gardeners. Creative garden designs, exceptional workmanship, excellent problem solving skills and a passion for gardens, has earned Dan an enviable reputation in Canterbury.

Trevor Stuthridge AgR photo.jpg

Science Ambassador

Dr. Trevor Stuthridge

Dr. Trevor Stuthridge joined AgResearch as Research Director in May 2019. He has extensive NZ and international executive and governance experience in R&D, innovation and technology commercialisation in the primary industries, bioeconomy and clean technologies sectors.

Trade Me New Zealand Innovator of the Year Award

Wednesday, February 19th, 2020

The Award recognises inspiring Kiwis whose game-changing discoveries, research or inventions are driving our country forward.

The three finalists for the first Trade Me New Zealand Innovator of the Year Award have been announced, and they’re all awesome!

From developing world-leading wireless charging technology, to designing a machine that treats cancer, to using virtual reality with children in hospitals – their work is making a huge difference.

We asked them what inspires them and what advice they have to offer.


Aliesha Staples
Staples VR

CT2234_NZOTY_3x _Finalists _FA_3_1007x 500_Newsroom _Aliesha

Aliesha is highly sought after, both locally and abroad, as a producer of AR/VR and emerging technology content, and has worked on projects for Warner Brothers, Paramount Pictures, Disney, and TVNZ.

She has a particular passion for using emerging technology, not only for entertainment, but also for healthcare. She recently produced VRemedies, a Virtual Reality exposure therapy software for children to lower the need for drug use for non-invasive procedures in hospitals.

What does innovation mean to you?

It’s about having an idea and testing the idea to the point of validation or failure. Failure of an idea is just as important as the success of one.

Who inspired you when you were younger?

My mum was a key driver for me. When I look back on some of the ideas I had she always supported them. When you suggest an idea to someone you consider wiser than you and they don’t push back, it gives you the confidence to take it further. If you are questioned you doubt yourself.

What inspires you to continue to push boundaries? 

How far everyone else is pushing things, if you look at the other people both in New Zealand and the world and hear about their goals for this decade, things colonise Mars, it makes you look at your own goals and think bigger.

What advice would you offer to the younger generation?

It’s not enough to just do what everyone else is doing, to be successful you need to work harder and push things further than the person next to you. Do what you love and sometimes that can be the opposite of what everyone around you is telling you to do.

Bill Buckley
Buckley Systems Ltd

CT2234_NZOTY_3x _Finalists _FA_1_1007x 500_Newsroom _Bill

Buckley Systems Ltd is the world’s leading supplier of precision electromagnets – used in the manufacture of silicon chips, flat-panel screens, high-end medical machinery and particle accelerators.

Now, Bill and his company, Neutron Therapeutics, have designed and built a Boron Neutron Capture Therapy machine which treats cancer.

It is considered a significant breakthrough in cancer treatment – drastically reducing the amount of radiation and physical side effects for patients while treating much more accurately.

What does innovation mean to you?

The idea of an innovator is to keep ahead of the rest of the world in what you’re doing.

Who inspired you when you were younger?

My father was a great innovator and I learned quite young that innovation would help you get your job done faster.

What inspires you to continue to push boundaries? 

I have always found pushing the boundaries was the only way to make sure you keep up with the constant changes in technology

What advice would you offer to the younger generation?

Try and make clear decisions on your future, and don’t look for a “quick buck”.  It’s a long, hard grind but stick with it, and you will get there.

Fady Mishriki

CT2234_NZOTY_3x _Finalists _FA_2_1007x 500_Newsroom _Fady

Fady Mishriki is the founder and former CEO of PowerbyProxi. The company was established in 2007, with a mission to design and develop safe, high-efficiency and high-density wireless power. PowerbyProxi technology enables the charging of everyday devices such as smartphones and cars without having to plug them in.

The company quickly grew to become a world leader, with over 500 patents to its name. In 2017 Apple acquired the company.

Fady is also committed to fostering the next generation of Kiwi innovators and is involved in a number of initiatives.

What does innovation mean to you?

One of our values at PowerbyProxi was ‘we are innovators, not just inventors’. Innovation flows from invention, it adds a dimension of commercialisation. It’s about things like what we do with the invention and how we get it out there.

Who inspired you when you were younger?

My father and mother. They were always encouraging of my business endeavours and aspirations in technology. They also inspired me to work hard, make sacrifices and strive for the best education possible.

What inspires you to continue to push boundaries?

Working with strong teams of people that have aligned values and a clear goal.

What advice would you offer to the younger generation?

Persistence in innovation is really important, but you need to figure out the right things to focus on first. Persistence directed at the right things is very powerful. Take some time up front to figure out what those right things are.

Seven simple tips to keep hackers at bay

Monday, February 17th, 2020

source NZ Herald 13/2/20


Seven easy ways to keep safer online:

1. Use a different password for every service.

2. If you have trouble remembering dozens of different logons, InternetNZ’s inhouse security expert recommends investing in password manager software, like LastPass, which will auto-generate and auto-fill passwords for multiple websites.

3. The longer and more complicated the password, the better. Vodafone security expert Colin James says if you have trouble remembering different passwords, consider using “pass phrases” which could be lines from one of your favourite songs.

4. Consider two-factor authentification or “2FA” if it’s on offer. That’s when, for example, a site will txt a code to your cellphone as well as requiring your user-name and password online. 2FA can be annoying if you use if for every logon, but most services have an option to only enable it, say, if a logon occurs from a new device.

5. Setup a webmail address that you only use for sites you’re uncertain about, and consider a second credit card with a low limit for online shopping.

6. Use mobile data rather than wi-fi when you’re travelling. Many hotels wireless broadband security, and hackers love simple tricks like setting up a wi-fi hotspot, then giving it a name similar to the hotel whose guests they’re preying on. If you’re worried about the cost of mobile data when roaming, buy a local sim card.

7. Assume that one day you will get hit by hacker – which means taking backup copies of important information – offsite, or at least two different services in the cloud. Make good old-fashioned printouts of important information.

Rocket Lab chosen by NASA to launch Pathfinder Mission to the Moon

Monday, February 17th, 2020

source NZ Herald 15/2/20

Rocket Lab was selected by NASA for the mission. Photo / Peter Beck

Rocket Lab has been selected by NASA as the provider for a small satellite mission to the same lunar orbit targeted for Gateway.

Gateway is an orbiting outpost that astronauts would visit before descending to the surface of the Moon in a landing system as part of NASA’s Artemis program.

The firm-fixed-price launch contract was valued at $15.4 million (US$9.95m), according to a NASA press release.

The Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment – or CAPSTONE – was expected to be the first spacecraft to operate in a near rectilinear halo orbit around the Moon.

In other words, it would rotate with the Moon as it orbited Earth and pass as close as 1600km or 70,006km from the lunar surface.

It was hoped CAPSTONE would demonstrate how to enter into and operate in the orbit, as well as test new navigation capacity.

Rocket Lab was proud to bring the Moon within reach to enable further research and exploration, founder and chief executive Peter Beck said.

“Small satellites like CAPSTONE will play a crucial role in supporting the return of human missions to the Moon and we’re proud to be supporting NASA in this unique and pivotal mission,” he said.

As a dedicated mission on Electron, we’re able to provide NASA with complete control over every aspect of launch and mission design for CAPSTONE, something typically only available to much larger spacecraft on larger launch vehicles.

“In the same way we opened access to low Earth orbit for small satellites, we’re proud to be bringing the Moon within reach to enable research and exploration.”

he satellite would be launched from Rocket Lab’s Electron launch vehicle from Launch Complex 2, located at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, USA.

CAPSTONE would be delivered on a ballistic lunar transfer by Rocket Lab’s high-performance satellite bus platform Photon after launch.

It would take CAPSTONE around three months to enter its target orbit before starting a six-month primary demonstration phase to understand operation in its orbit.

The target for launch is in early 2021.


Salt District presents The SALTY Buskers Club

Monday, February 10th, 2020


READY YOUR LAUGH-HOLE cos stuff just got way more buskery, frens!

Mark 20-23 Feb in your everythings for Salty Buskers Club – an exciting day & night SALT District takeover with cheeky choices to choose from. It’s all here and at TELL EVERYONE!


The event is three days with daytime Buskers in SALT Square and the Busker’s  comedy club at night in our very own Dux Central.  

SALT Square – by Little High
•Thur 20 Feb – 7.30pm-10pm
•Fri 21 Feb – 12pm-2pm & 7.30pm-10pm
•Sat 22 Feb – 12pm-2pm & Sat 22 Feb – 7.30pm-10pm
•Sun 23 Feb – 12pm-2pm


Grow Ō Tautahi Christchurch Garden Festival

Monday, February 10th, 2020

Quirky science will help broach tough issues at Grow Ō Tautahi- March 20-22-FREE ENTRY-Christchurch Botanic Gardens

 “Ever wanted to know if a cow is smiling? Or how you can make your car run on food waste from the rubbish dump?” Grow Ō Tautahi Science Ambassador Trevor Stuthridge is keen to share cool science alongside research that makes a real difference to people’s lives.

 “I think scientists often forget how amazing our job is and how excited our research can make people,” the AgResearch Research Director says.

 Trevor will lead the Science of Food Hub during Christchurch’s free, three-day Garden Festival Grow Ō Tautahi. Challenged by the ideas and questions of local secondary students, environmental experts from AgResearch, Lincoln University and Environment Canterbury will explore the topics that matter to our region right now and into the future.

 “It is a great chance to make science real by engaging audiences in environmental and sustainability issues that really mean something to their lives,” he says.

 A self-professed “Uber Geek”, Trevor is thrilled to have the opportunity to share cutting-edge science at the Festival and demonstrate how local research can have a real benefit to our personal and community wellbeing. “We’re all becoming more aware that what we consume has a direct impact on both our health and our environment. A future where we tailor food to our individual genetics and track its source according to consumer preferences is now on the horizon.”

 Science of Food Hub presentations will address some of the approaches being taken to balance agricultural, land management and food production in a more sustainable manner. On behalf of the three organisations, Trevor will lead three daily interactive discussions at Grow Ō Tautahi on environmental science issues that relate to our everyday lives. He is inviting secondary school students – our future innovators and thought leaders – to take part in the discussions, ask the tough questions and help generate new, forward-thinking ideas.

 “As well as sharing some fun and quirky ideas, I see Grow Ō Tautahi as an opportunity to explore some of the perceived issues that sometimes divide New Zealand’s urban and rural communities.

 “Canterbury is a critical food bowl for the country and there’s no question that we have some challenges of our own. For example, demands for better land and water management make this a region with an imperative to transform and be innovative in the agricultural space. Indeed, local research organisations and universities view the region as a strong, living laboratory for how science can make a difference for New Zealand.”

 Trevor says he wants to use real examples of how science is changing our everyday lives to engage visitors attending Grow Ō Tautahi. “I want visitors to be surprised, excited and inspired by what they see.

For many city people, agriculture has sometimes become a dirty word; but we and the sector are working together to actively improve these perceptions and practices. I don’t think there’s any farmer out there who isn’t fully connected to the land and doesn’t love it and doesn’t want land to be sustainable for generations.

 “Grow Ō Tautahi is a platform to describe how aware science is of the issues we’re all facing. Visitors to Grow will learn that it is all inter-related – food, social license, the environment, Te Ao Māori and what we need to do to sort it all out.”

 Grow Ō Tautahi, 20-22 March 2020


Christchurch Botanic Gardens


FACEBOOK @growotautahi

INSTAGRAM @growotautahi

West Coast tech firms and iwi get Provincial Growth Fund cash boost

Friday, February 7th, 2020

The Government has pledged almost $2.2 million for pounamu and technology industries on the West Coast.

Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau made the funding announcement at Waitangi Day commemorations in Hokitika on Thursday

He said the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) would be giving $800,000 to Development West Coast for a Grey District Regional Digital Hub and an Outreach Hub in Westland. The fund would also be giving $400,000 to Epic Westport for a Buller District Regional Digital Hub.

A further $995,500 would be going to Ngāti Waewae from the fund’s $100,000 Whenua Māori allocation.

Epic Westport was set up in 2016, as an off-shoot of Epic Christchurch by Ben Dellaca and his partner, Natasha Barnes-Dellaca, as a centre where technology companies can share office space.

“PGF support for these hubs will connect Westport, Greymouth and the Westland district to online services to benefit business owners and entrepreneurs. Westland’s hub will be mobile, and can be moved to different locations through the year,” Tabuteau said.

It has already funded $100m for getting communities online, including $32m for ultra-fast broadband and to fix mobile blackspots on the West Coast.

The $995,500 allocation to Ngāti Waewae would allow the iwi to source and manage pounamu on their land and grow their carving and tourism ventures, Tabuteau said.

“While Māori own pounamu, it is currently sourced as a by-product from gold and coal mining, and iwi pay a significant fee to recover it. This PGF-funded project will assist in purchasing equipment to secure a direct supply, as these products are in huge demand.”

Projects on the West Coast worth more than $150m had been funded by the PGF in the past two years, he said, “and this is not the end of it”.

In November, thousands turned out at a protest in Greymouth over the Government’s treatment of the West Coast.

Grey mayor Tania Gibson said the freshwater action plan, the potential ban on new mining on conservation land, the Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill, the rejection of windblown timber legislation, and an upcoming review of significant natural areas by district councils all had potential to do “irrevocable harm” to the West Coast economy.

The Government was “pushing people to the edge, not knowing what their future holds”, she said.

Rural Communities Minister and West Coast MP Damien O’Connor said this announcement was the continuation of the hundreds of millions invested in education, tourism and infrastructure projects on the Coast.

“This Government believes in the Coast and we’re backing it to succeed,” he said.

Brush Technology Develop Surflocker- a fully automated surfboard and wet suit hire

Monday, February 3rd, 2020

Brush Technology have been working with Aaron Lock (@SurfcoachNZ) to develop Surflocker – a fully automated surfboard and wetsuit hire kiosk. Comprising a web app booking and payment service with solar-powered embedded hardware to control electronic locks, Surflocker is like Lime scooters for surfboards!

Click on here for more info.

  1. Simply pre book your board and wetsuit online at
  2. The board and wetsuit will be waiting in your locker once you arrive at the beach.
  3. We’ll send you your personal locker combination.
  4. Go surfing !!
  5. Afterwards secure the board and wetsuit back in the locker and you’re done.

Goto SURFLOCKER.CO.NZ to book.

Startup Weekend Christchurch is back!

Thursday, January 30th, 2020
Startup Weekend Christchurch is back!

Friday 22nd – Sunday 24th of May, 2020 at EPIC


Calling all budding entrepreneurs!  Come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, launch startups, and have an absolute blast at this high-energy 54-hour weekend for designers, developers, and business-focused (non-technical) participants.

Don’t miss this chance to meet your future co-founders and the opportunity to get one-on-one mentoring from investors, founders, and some of the most recognised startup leaders in the New Zealand ecosystem.

Early-bird tickets are available now!  Get yours HERE to secure your spot at the most exciting startup event in the annual Christchurch calendar.

Robot start-up Radius Robotics seeks to solve world’s soil depletion

Wednesday, January 29th, 2020

Farming by robot is no longer a fantasy, and it also could be a breakthrough for preserving our soil quality, a group of Kiwi entrepreneurs say.

Christchurch’s Radius Robotics is developing a wheel-based robotic system which would direct drill seeds with a minimal footprint, irrigate, weed and collect data.

Reducing the amount of land having to be tilled was one of its key aims, co-founder Henry Bersani said.

Soil was a carbon sink and so the less it was disturbed, the less carbon was released, and less water was lost.

“The more you pull up the soil, the more you expose it to the elements, you lose nutrients and the looser the soil is, the more prone it is to run-off.”

With climate change, water security was becoming a big issue. “In the United States, the Middle East and parts of Africa, it’s really critical that we find new ways of using water in agriculture.”

Soil degradation has become a major agricultural talking point, and although it’s a contested theory, there is a school of thought that there are only a finite number of seasons before the world’s topsoil is exhausted.

Bersani said there were some synergies between this thinking and technologies like theirs.

“The ultimate goal of what we’re trying to achieve is the large-scale automation of polyculture farming as opposed to monoculture, the idea that you plant multiple different species instead of hectares on hectares one single crop.

“By doing that, you’re able to restore that organic carbon content, the nutrient content, you’re deterring pests naturally through the mimicry of the natural systems.”

Automation could also reduce a farm’s reliance on labour. However, Bersani rejected the notion that robotics was just about taking jobs. In some parts of the world, farming labour was scarce.

“Quite often you’ve got enormous amounts of crops which are just going to waste because they’ve got no one to come in and tend to them.”

“There are some places that are really screaming out for that lower semi-skilled labour which just doesn’t exist because realistically mass migration into the cities.”

Radius was being careful how it described its system because it was still working on its patent, but the key was to cut the cost of production, Bersani said.

“What we’re trying to do is take the perspective of, what if we re-imagined arable cultivation from the ground up and took a really radical approach to it?

“Instead of saying, how do we strap a piece of technology onto a tractor and essentially do what we’ve always done, which is essentially another iteration on the beast of burden – how do we try and achieve a multitude of goals within a single system?”

“So while there’s some really amazing technologies out there, most of them are confined to one particular task. They’re either planting or they’re weeding, or they’re irrigating or they’re harvesting, and each of them have their benefits.

“But as far as we understand, we are one of the only companies that’s trying to address conventional farming on a number of different fronts.”

Robotics have been creeping into farming in various ways. Automated milking sheds have started appearing in New Zealand, and recently Japanese company Yamaha invested in Hawkes Bay company Robotics Plus, which has devised robotic apple packers and is working on a fruit harvesting robot.

Radius’ team of three includes Bersani; mechanical engineer Daniel Morris and chief executive Rob Swatton, who has worked in robotics and virtual reality (VR), and has an interest in permaculture.

The start-up is shortlisted for a Palmerston North agricultural accelerator programme and is a finalist in one of the country’s richest start-up competitions, Callaghan Innovation’s C-Prize.

C-Prize’s focus this year is on technology with the potential to improve the environment on a global scale.

Selected from 140 entries, the 10 finalists will each receive $10,000 to support their project and business mentoring over the next six months.

The winner, which will be announced in June, will receive $100,000 cash but also the institute’s help and connections to help them commercialise their product.

Episode 8 with Lauren Peate (Multitudes)

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020
Episode 8 with Lauren Peate (Multitudes)


This episode we wrap up our interviews from the Canterbury Tech Summit with Kris Herbert and Andy Poulsen chatting with Lauren Peate, CEO and co-founder of Multitudes, about her career to date and how to build an excellent culture inside organisations.

Then Andy is joined in the studio by Neil Hamilton, GM of Canterbury Tech, to review the year that was and discuss some upcoming plans for 2020.

Listen Now
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. or your other favourite platform.  The best way to find it is by searching Canterbury Tech.

We’d appreciated your feedback so please take the time to review us!

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

Salt District Artwork for sale

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020

Image may contain: 1 person



Look who’s hanging out with Markus at Espresso245. This beauty (the one that isn’t Markus) is for sale. Want it? Course you do, you pirate. Three more stonking big artworks also up for grabs. Exciting.


You need this artwork like the morning needs a coffee. Both available from Espresso245. The beautiful soul sister here is by Wongi Wilson, and one of four BIG street artworks up for sale by the SALT Collective Trust, with proceeds to good stuff happening in the #SALTDistrict. Check out our feed for all of them. Want? Ask us. Ask us now. And see Markus here about that fix.

Lunch Time Concerts at Little High

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020

There will be a series of Friday Lunch Time Music in the Little High Courtyard 🎶 The Ara Music Arts students, SALT district neighbours, will be performing between 12-2pm 🎷 It’s the perfect excuse to gather up right here

What is SALT District?

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020
We think the area around St Asaph, Lichfield and Tuam Streets is the best urban neighbourhood in Christchurch. We are a friendly, creative and well connected community in a gritty, lively part of town including the Innovation Precinct, awesome hospitality and retail, with the South Frame and Rauora Park right on our door step.
Apart from being an acronym, SALT also stands for South Alternative.
As a community, we want to be a catalyst for positive change, making SALT District an even more awesome place to live, work, study and socialise for future generations.
The vision and action of SALT District locals is supported by an under-arching entity, SALT Collective Charitable Trust (est. 2019).
And after weeks of slog by the talented artists of Oi You street art collective (George Shaw , Dcypher DTR CBS, Ikarus, Wongi, Yikes), painting hard out up comes-off scissor lifts in the sun, a brilliant new artwork comes to life! This one tells a story about some of this area’s history of innovation. It has some tricks to play with too, so you’ll want your smartphone handy. Discover it along Cotter’s Lane, between SALT Square (Evolution Square) and St Asaph Street.
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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.