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NZTech Update: Digital disruption, exponential tech and education

Hi Readers

Last Monday, during the opening presentation at the Singularity Summit in Christchurch, Kaila Colbin hardly missed a beat as an aftershock rumbled through the arena, shaking up the 1500 guests.  It was the first of many shake ups.  We heard from global experts about the latest in artificial intelligence, digital biology, energy, autonomous vehicles, healthcare, education, space, crime and the future of work.  The message is very clear.  Each of these domains is undergoing a massive disruption and our future prosperity as a nation depends on our ability to understand and adapt fast.  Every presentation was mind expanding, but my personal highlight was a hard hitting look at the future of education from one of New Zealand’s own leaders, Sue Suckling.  As Chair of both NZQA and Callaghan Innovation, the last thing I expected from her were quotes like, “the day of the qualification is over” and “my day will be made when we have the Bunsen burner on the NZQA butt to drive change”.  Encouraging to know one of our leaders in this space understands the urgency and is working within the system to drive much needed change.

However on Thursday, while attending #GrowingEntrepreneurs arranged by Minister Steven Joyce with TEC, universities and entrepreneurs I started to feel disillusioned again.  While we absolutely need to develop our education system to include entrepreneurial competencies, I could see little change coming from the “system”.  A serious wake-up call was delivered by Frances Valintine with a detailed look at how quickly education is evolving around the world.

My education surprises continued when I spent time with the Minister of Education, Hekia Parata last Friday, along with Paul Matthews from IT Professionals.  Following our meeting, I am confident that the Minister understands the urgency and importance of digital tech teaching.  It appears that the Minister would ideally like to drive change faster, but many in the system rally against change. Using Communities of Learning, the Minister hopes to work closely with the tech sector to help rapidly increase digital tech and entrepreneurial competencies throughout the system.  All going well, we should see more focus on the new digitech curricula through 2017.

Today I am in Wellington, developing Techweek.  Please spread the word that TechWeek’17 is now open for event submissions.  Submit your event here.  Let’s connect hundreds of events and activities throughout New Zealand to show the world and fellow kiwi’s how great we are at tech!

Enjoy your week, only five until Christmas!

All the best
Graeme Muller

Government & Tech Summit




Join NZTech at the SIBA Talk Geospatial Auckland event  on 30 November.  Hear about innovative uses of spatial information and connect with colleagues.

Join the Fantail Network for the Mindmatter Symposium on 25 November in Auckland. The R9Acclerator kickoff event was postponed, watch this space for updates.

Join NZTech at the India Trade Alliance end of year cocktail event in Auckland on 12 December.  Canterbury Tech holds its Christmas Quiz Night  on 6 December in Christchurch.


Meet kiwi technology visionary, Ian Taylor at the NZSA’s networking dinner in Auckland on 13 December and hear his story from humble beginnings to celebrated tech entrepreneur.

The Wellington ICT Graduate School hosts the 2016 Blockchain Technology Symposium on 28 November with an opening address by Minister Joyce and featuring NZTech director Mandy Simpson.

Tech Futures Lab and Unitec has launched a one year specialisation, Master of Applied Practice (Technological Futures).  Read more here or attend an information session in Auckland during December.


The Royal Society of New Zealand’s panel on considering the implications of gene editing technologies has launched resources to raise awareness of the opportunities, challenges and risks.

Last week, NZTech Chair, Mitchell Pham met Mayor of Ho Chi Minh City, Mr Le Hoang Quan.  Mitchell was in Vietnam connecting kiwi tech entrepreneurs with the market and exploring opportunities in the region. Read more here.

Proudly presented by NZTech, event submissions are now being accepted for Techweek ’17.  Techweek showcases the diversity of New Zealand’s vibrant technology, innovation and design industries.

Want to know more?  Sign up for the NZTech weekly update, it’s free and will take less than a minute!

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