Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Digital Confectioners Epic Success

Tuesday, May 17th, 2022

Electrify Aotearoa

Wednesday, May 4th, 2022

Calling all aspiring and early-stage startup founders to register! The Ministry of Awesome together with Blackbird Ventures is hosting an in-person women founders conference on 26 May 2022. NZ’s fastest-growing venture-backed startups along with key investors and leaders will be there to meet and inspire you, and to help you take your idea to the next level!

Limited tickets left so make sure you save your seat now!

Visit to find out more about speakers, masterclasses and event itinerary.

26 May 2022 | Isaac Theatre Royal Register now!

Onside named as a finalist in the 2022 NZ Hi-Tech Awards

Friday, April 1st, 2022

EPIC Innovation are thrilled to advise that one of our tenants Onside has been named as a finalist in the 2022 NZ Hi-Tech Awards for the Punakaiki Fund Hi-Tech Startup Company of the Year. Congratulations!

NZ Hi-Tech Trust had a record number of entries this year and as always, the bar continues to rise – you should be incredibly proud of making it through the first round of judging. The judges had their work cut out for them so to be named a finalist is a great achievement and something to be celebrated!

Read more here.

E Tipu 2022: The Boma Agri Summit

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2022

E Tipu 2022: The Boma Agri Summit is set to catalyse the future of Aotearoa’s primary industries.

Set for 21-22 June in Ōtautahi Christchurch, E Tipu 2022 features two days of talks from global and local leaders in food and fibre, plus interactive workshops, expert panels and special Q&As, innovative exhibits, valuable cross-sector networking and more.

Designed for changemakers from across the sector, the summit tackles major questions around how we can be more innovative, collaborative, sustainable and profitable — now and into the future.

E Tipu 2022 is a truly hybrid event — offering an in-person summit at Christchurch Town Hall and a virtual experience for attendees from around the world.

In Person and Virtual Super Early Bird tickets are on sale at, with special rates available for farmers, not-for-profits, startups, groups and youth.

UPCOMING EVENT – EPIC Director Wil McLellan coaches the Energy Academy through what it means to be a rebel where it counts

Monday, January 24th, 2022

When: Thursday 27th January 2022, 4-4.30pm NZT
Where: Zoom
Hosted by Energy Academy

Tune in to hear from EPIC Director Wil McLellan on his experience taking risks to bring big ideas to life.

Since arriving in New Zealand Wil has spent over 20 years in the technology industry where he developed an unconventional approach to leading growth, sales and development.

Following the Christchurch Earthquakes, Wil was determined to keep the doors of Canterbury businesses open and co-founded EPIC (Enterprise Precinct and Innovation Campus) with business partner Colin Andersen. The project was mammoth with many risks and obstacles in the way, but it paid off – EPIC has since become a core part of Christchurch’s innovation culture.


About the Energy Rebels Series

As the Energy Academy navigates what it means to bring new ideas and ways of doing things to what has been a very stable sector, the team has the privilege of connecting with people who have taken risks and pushed boundaries for good reason.

We’re inviting our community to listen in on some intimate conversations with our chosen rebels where we will all get a better understanding of what it means to be a rebel where it counts.

Click here for the Zoom link.

EPIC sponsors the 2021 Special Childrens Christmas Party

Wednesday, November 17th, 2021

Epic is proud to sponsor the 2021 Special Children Christmas Party.

The Christmas parties are for special children who live with life threatening illness, physical or intellectual impairment, domestic violence, or in underprivileged circumstances.

We want to see children happy and beaming with smiles for a day, regardless of the challenges they’re experiencing in life. It’s a day to help them forget everything else that’s going on.

Read more or make a sponsorship yourself here.

Electrify Aotearoa

Tuesday, November 9th, 2021

Spearheaded by Ministry of Awesome and Blackbird Ventures, this all-day conference is the rallying call for Aotearoa’s founders, aspiring entrepreneurs and early-stage startups to take part and celebrate our homegrown diversity.

Globally, women only represent 1 in every 5 startup founders, despite research showing women-led startups are more capital-efficient, achieve 35% higher return on investment, and, when venture-backed, bring in 12% higher revenue than their male counterparts.

Women will start, shape, and build the future of Aotearoa industry, but change needs to come faster.

You’ll hear stories of grit and Kiwi ingenuity from those who have gone before you and learn from exclusive masterclasses with top practitioners and investors to level up your startup experience.

Brooke Roberts from Sharesies, Alliv Samson from Kami, and Yabble ’s Kathryn Topp are amongst the list of keynote speakers alongside the movers and shakers of Aotearoa’s startup scene.

Whether you’ve got startup ambition, are just getting started, or are already going global – come and meet your home team, get connected, and get growing!

Register now

Kea Connect – How to guide

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021

Welcome to Kea Connect. This guide will help you understand how the Kea Connect process works, and what this free service can do for your business.


Is Kea Connect right for you?

Kea Connect is for any New Zealand business that wants to or is already exporting offshore. It does not matter where you want to export, what industry your business is in, or the size of your business.

We have helped small businesses that are taking their first steps offshore, through to larger enterprises looking to scale in existing markets. These businesses span all industries, many different export markets, and all have benefited from connections to our global community.

How Kea Connect can help

Deciding to take your business to the world is a big step. It’s exciting, and a little daunting. We get that, and so does our community of global Kiwi.

Introducing your business to our extensive, international community will allow you access to market intelligence and exclusive insights to grow your business offshore.

Our members include thousands of industry experts, thought leaders, and fellow peers who have personal insights from their own journeys. They share a passion for seeing Kiwi businesses succeed, and through Kea Connect, will help make the process a lot less daunting. These exclusive connections at this scale are unique to the Kea Connect service.


Kea Connect FAQ’s

There are no limits to the types of questions we can help you answer, but here are a few examples. For specific case studies, take a look here.

  • What distribution channels are available in the UK for my product?
  • What are the consumer trends in my industry in Singapore?
  • Who are my key competitors in Germany, and how can we make our brand stand-out ?
  • What does a good pitch look like for prospective USA investors?


Kea Connect process

Step one: Become a member and fill out the Kea Connect request form

Your journey with Kea Connect starts with our online request form. Here we ask you to answer basic questions that will help us get a baseline understanding of your business, where you are looking to export, and the kind of support you need.

Step two: Meet with the Kea team

Within 5 working days, you will hear from a member of our team to set up a 30 – 60 minute call/meeting. The purpose of this is to dive more deeply into your business needs, ensure we are clear on your goals, so we can find the right people to introduce you to.

For this, we ask that you come prepared with key questions, an idea of the type of person or business you would like to be connected to and what areas you need advice on.

Step three: We find connections for you

Once we are confident we have the information we need to find the right people, we explore our community and identify individuals we believe are best suited to help.

Once identified, we will approach these individuals on your behalf, provide a brief on your business and the kind of support you need, ask if they can help and are happy to be introduced.

Step four: Get connected

As and when we hear back from our community and have their confirmation they can help, we will make an email introduction. We’ll then hand it over to you for further discussion.

We often get asked how long the introduction will take. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this. Introductions can take as little as 2 hours from the time we approach these individuals, to a couple weeks or more. You will receive updates from us throughout the process no matter how long it takes, and our team is always available for any questions you have along the way.


Welcome to the Kea community

Your journey with Kea doesn’t stop once you are connected. Once you engage with us, you join a global community of Kiwis who are passionate about New Zealand and the success of its people and businesses. As part of the Kea Connect service, we offer ongoing support through our Kea Connect newsletter, interactive events, first-hand stories and essential resources that will help in your export journey. We also love to follow up with Kea Connect businesses to showcase the incredible efforts of our business community.

We hope this provides you with a good understanding of Kea Connect.

CerebralFix’s Virtual Forest

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

Technology leaders at the EPIC Innovation Campus in Christchurch enjoyed drinks and a catch up in a virtual forest on the 12th of October, courtesy of CerebralFix. The regular tenants drinks, where companies meet to share lessons learnt in business, was hosted by gaming company CerebralFix, which occupies 600+ sqm of the 4000 sqm technology campus in the heart of the city.

The image included in this post shows a 30m2 Virtual Production LED volume that has been setup inside of the CerebralFix office at EPIC Innovation Campus, and is being used for developing skills and technology as part of Canterbury’s screen infrastructure. The technology is well known for playing a big part in hit series such as The Mandalorian by Disney where actors benefit from seeing environments, creatures and special effects while they act – rather than studios adding them after filming. The added benefit is that once in the virtual world, producers can control everything from special effects and digital assets, to weather and the time of day – providing truly dynamic, real time virtual environments at the complete control of the director.

CerebralFix has partnered with local companies Resonate and Pixel, and collectively have been in R&D for just over a year. Their next stage will be a culmination of everything they’ve learned and applied to a proof-of-concept short film, with support from The Screen Canterbury NZ Production Grant and University of Canterbury.

French Embassy Call for “French Related Research Projects 2021” (F2RP 2021)

Friday, May 28th, 2021

The F2RP 2021 call for applications is now open until 30 July 2021 to support the attendance or the development of a France-related scientific project or event by a New Zealand-based researcher, student, institution, or association. Grants up to $10 000 will be awarded to support expenses.


■     The proposal must be submitted by a New Zealand based researcher, student, institution or association, in either French or English

■     The proposal is open to all academic fields (Natural sciences, Humanities and social sciences, Arts …).

■     The project must focus on a France-related scientific project or event (Conference, Summer school, research mission, research campaign…).

■     If the application concerns a research project. The project must start before 2022.

■     If the application concerns a conference the applicant must be accepted for an oral or poster presentation at the conference. The conference/summer school must be taking place before 2023.

■     France related project means that either the project is carried out in France, or that a French based researcher or institution participates to the project.

■     Everything can be budgeted for, except for work time (researchers’ salaries).

Scientific excellence will be a key selection criterion.

Submit an application :

To apply, go to:

All applications must include:

■     The budget form (please download template)

■     Bank account details

■     A one page CV of the applicant

For applications concerning a research mission/campaign:

■     Description of the project (no template provided, two pages maximum)

For applications concerning participation to a conference:

■     The abstract submitted to the conference

■     Letter of acceptance for an oral or poster presentation at the conference.

For applications concerning a summer school

■     Letter of acceptance from the summer school comity

Applications must be submitted online at :

Call timeline

Opening date: 15 May 2021        

Closing date: the 30 July 2021 (midnight NZ time)

Conditions :

A short report (Two pages Max) must be provided to the Embassy of France in New Zealand by the successful applicant by the end of 2022. The awarded applicant agrees to give an interview (written or filmed) to the press service of the Embassy of France in New Zealand.

During the mission, any (oral or written) presentation must include the logo of the Embassy of France in New Zealand and a verbal acknowledgment to Embassy of France in New Zealand in the form of a short depiction of our mission and organisation.

How Kawatiri Westport’s innovation hub is balancing the old world with the new

Wednesday, April 21st, 2021

It’s a region known for its breathtaking natural beauty and vilified primary industries. So where does Buller’s acclaimed innovation hub fit into it all? Michael Andrew went to find out.

In May 2018, a Japanese businessman named Hiroki Koga stepped off a plane at Westport airport and blinked in the West Coast gloom. He’d left Tokyo three days earlier, but his plane had been delayed and diverted several times due to a typhoon over the North Pacific. Finally arriving in Westport after 60 hours of travel, he was collected by local man Ben Dellaca, who drove him across the Buller River Bridge and into Westport, population 4660. As they cruised along the deserted main street, past the twin rows of closed and quiet shops with the air smelling faintly of coal, Dellaca noticed Koga looking around in astonishment, before he quietly whispered under his breath: “Where the fuck are we?”



Introducing E Tipu 2021

Friday, April 16th, 2021

Following the success of 2019’s Boma NZ Grow summit, Boma New Zealand presents E Tipu 2021, the food and fibre event of the year.

Set to be Aotearoa’s ultimate agricultural forum, E Tipu brings together leaders who understand the primary sector from top to bottom, including guest speakers, exhibitors, and like-minded attendees with a focus on four themes: innovation, disruption, transformation and inspiration.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s how important it is to collaborate, communicate, and work collectively across sectors to become better together, keeping us at the forefront of the agricultural sector.

Held at Christchurch Town Hall on May 11-12, E Tipu addresses a series of critical questions we’re facing in a rapidly changing world…READ MORE

Click HERE to read about the four fundamental themes for E Tipu 2021

Orion Energy Accelerator competition calls for big ideas

Wednesday, March 24th, 2021

The Ministry of Awesome and Canterbury electricity lines company, Orion, today launched a
national competition calling for new ideas to reduce New Zealand’s carbon emissions.

The Orion Energy Accelerator offers two Start-up Grants worth a combined $25,000 for people
and start-up companies with ground-breaking energy innovations to be guided through a
programme to validate and commercialise their idea.

Orion General Manager, Customer and Stakeholder, Paul Deavoll said, “The energy sector has a
big role to play in addressing the climate crisis.

“It’s vital we explore how we can do things smarter and innovate faster.

“This country has a history of innovation in technology, and this is a call to action for our
innovators to lend their thinking to solve the biggest issue threatening the future of the planet.

“We’re looking for leading-edge energy solutions that will help us move urgently towards a
low-emission future.”

Marian Johnson of Ministry of Awesome said, “We’re delighted to work with Orion on this
programme, to tap into their broad energy sector knowledge and experience.

“The accelerator will be a game-changer for all participants as they’ll be surrounded with support
and guidance from some of the brightest minds in energy, technology and start-ups.

“Our goal is to ensure these teams step out of the programme having made progress with their
start-up and ready to commercialise their solutions.”

The Orion Energy Accelerator competition is open to individuals and start-up companies with
innovations across a range of energy sectors, including smart grids, e mobility, EV charging and
energy storage, and affordable energy solutions.

Applications open today and close 30 April 2021. Eleven start-ups will be selected for the
accelerator programme on 31 May, all will get the opportunity to pitch at a Demo Evening on 5
August. Applications are open now at


Media contacts:

Ministry of Awesome: Tri Phung, Marketing Manager, 021 686 584
Orion: Linda McGregor, External Engagement Lead, 0800 222 301

Christchurch Press Article

Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

What became of the transitional project movement in Christchurch’s rebuild?

Wednesday, February 24th, 2021

The transitional movement – Gap Filler, Greening the Rubble and so forth – made Christchurch globally famous. Will Harvie looks back at how it emerged.

It’s hard to believe now that for a time the most famous building in Christchurch was made from 3000 blue shipping pallets, open to the sky. It lasted just 16 months.



New World and Ministry of Awesome have started the search for New Zealand’s food and beverage product superstars!

Wednesday, November 25th, 2020

FoodStarter competition supersizes providing boost to supplier community in 2021

New World and Ministry of Awesome have started the search for New Zealand’s food and beverage product superstars, this year with an additional category for small suppliers and a supersized prize package which includes the priceless opportunity for the winners to range their products in every single New World throughout New Zealand.

Returning for its third year, the arrival of COVID-19 sparked the expansion of FoodStarter to a national competition.    Ministry of Awesome chief executive, Marian Johnson, says “it’s been a very tough year for food and beverage start-ups and small suppliers alike, the lockdowns made it challenging to trade for some, and for others, it’s been hard to focus on growing their business.  When we were planning FoodStarter 2021, all the partners wanted to take positive action, giving more members of the awesome food and beverage producer community the opportunity of a much-needed boost after such a challenging year.”

The result was an exciting plan to rapidly expand the FoodStarter competition, adding a brand new category to encompass New World’s existing small suppliers who are currently locally ranged and looking to grow, plus supersizing the prize to include ranging at New World nationwide.

Supporting the scale up to a national competition, FoodStarter is welcoming two new partners, Foodstuffs North Island and Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED) adding their weight to founders Foodstuffs South Island and Ministry of Awesome and existing partners New Zealand Food Innovation Network with two of their hubs: Food South in Christchurch and The FoodBowl in Auckland, economic development agency ChristchurchNZ, and advertising agency, Strategy Creative.

The decision to scale up FoodStarter was an easy decision says Steve Anderson, Managing Director Foodstuffs New Zealand. “One of our four social promises is supporting communities to thrive and grow.  Taking FoodStarter to this next level will support the creation of new jobs and enable the growth of some very exciting food and beverage businesses.  It’s fantastic to be behind such an exciting initiative, the sky really is the limit and we can’t wait to see the entries start to flood in.”

Last year’s FoodStarter winner Ananda Vegan Goodness are about to feel the full effect of winning the competition with their Italian style Vegan Sausage hitting New World South Island shelves this week.  Co-owner Fernando Gutierrez says, “winning FoodStarter has been absolutely incredible. The support and direction from all the partners has helped me realise my dream of taking my product from farmers market to the supermarket shelf, something I’d always dreamed of achieving.  If you’re thinking of entering you need to know that – even with the support of the FoodStarter team  – it’s a lot of hard work and you can expect to meet plenty of challenges along the way, but it’s absolutely worth it. There’s nothing like seeing your product on the shelf at New World!”

Entries for FoodStarter are now open, go to and complete the simple application form. 

Foodstarter categories are:

  • Food & Beverage Startup – for businesses who aren’t currently ranged with New World 
  • Small Suppliers With New World – for businesses who are ranged with New World

Entries close on 7 February 2021, shortlisted candidates will be advised in March 2021.

For more information and to meet all the partners involved in FoodStarter go to


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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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.