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NZTech Update – Why regional tech is important

Kia Ora

Last week I found myself passing through several regional towns as I headed to Taupo to present at a conference.  Some like Matamata, Rotorua and Taupo were vibrant and busy with tourists.  Others, like Tokoroa, are showing the signs of tougher times with peeling paint and shops shut along the main road.  You have to visit regional New Zealand to really appreciate why the provincial growth fund is so important.

On the way back from Taupo, I stopped in Tokoroa.  It is a lovely town that serves a great coffee and only three minutes from town is a world class mountain bike park.  Meanwhile, you can still buy a three bedroom house for $152,000.  Given this, I can’t quite comprehend why the local council is struggling to fill a $90,000 role.  This story is being repeated all over the country, but the growth of tech has the potential to turn this around.

Initiatives like T3W (Te Tira Toi Whakangao) are examples of how tech can make a huge difference for regional New Zealand.  A M?ori community led, Government enabled project initiated with early support at NZTE, Callaghan Innovation and Te Puni K?kiri, T3W is working to help build 100 M?ori tech companies creating 2,500 jobs, operating from 30-40 regional tech hubs based in M?ori communities.

Another great example is Hack Tair?whiti which brought top tech talent, entrepreneurs and tech exporters to Gisborne to combine with local whanau for a 48 hour hackathon to solve some big challenges. The direct outcome of this event has included the relocation of some of the international staff of leading tech exporters to Gisborne.

Likewise, as organisations like global ecommerce giant Shopify, and local leaders like Spark and Vodafone, set up remote customer service jobs it is getting easier to work remotely or from regional New Zealand.  The importance of technology for regional New Zealand cannot be overplayed.

Ng? mihi
Graeme Muller

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This Friday!


Join the AI Forum’s next Connect event on 30 October in Dunedin.  If you’re not on the New Zealand AI ecosystem map, please email the AI Forum to be included in the next update.

Join FinTechNZ’s Spring Connect events on 31 October in Wellington and 1 November in Auckland.  Register for the New Zealand FinTech Summit on 29 November in Auckland.

Join Tech Marketers on 10 October in Auckland, 11 October in Christchurch and 12 October in Wellington.   Join NZSA tomorrow in Auckland for Garage to Global with Steve Corbett.


Join the 2018 Agritech New Zealand Roadshow starting this week!  Register to attend this free event series in Auckland,  Hamilton, Tauranga Palmerston North, Wellington, Nelson, Lincoln and Dunedin.

Join SIBA for The Diversity Agenda: why we need more women in male dominated professions on 24 October in Wellington.  Attend the Geospatial Careers Symposium on 17 November in Auckland.

Strengthen connections in digital health at the HiNZ Conference, 21-23 November in Wellington.

Join the AI Forum at the 31st Australasian Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence 11-14 December in Wellington.


The Marketplace, a new digital procurement channel for Government is now live.  Read the FAQs for agencies and suppliers, learn how to join or watch the video overview.

Register for the 2019 Sprout Accelerator.  Applications for NASA internships and New Zealand Space Agency scholarships close this week.  Entries for #TechRocketshipANZ close 23 November.

Attend the 2018 New Zealand Spatial Awards next week in Wellington.  Save these 2019 event dates; Tech Marketers conference on 28 February, AI-Day on 28 March and Techweek 20-26 May.

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