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Junge Frau mit einer virtual reality Brille auf der re:publica 2015 am 05.05.2015 in Berlin.Copyright: re:publica/Jan Zappner
Junge Frau mit einer virtual reality Brille auf der re:publica 2015 am 05.05.2015 in Berlin.Copyright: re:publica/Jan Zappner

TechWeek17May 5, 2017

The Spinoff’s Guide to Techweek’17 – Christchurch Edition

Junge Frau mit einer virtual reality Brille auf der re:publica 2015 am 05.05.2015 in Berlin.Copyright: re:publica/Jan Zappner
Junge Frau mit einer virtual reality Brille auf der re:publica 2015 am 05.05.2015 in Berlin.Copyright: re:publica/Jan Zappner

Contrary to what many people in the city of sails might assume, there is in fact an entire country outside of Auckland. Here our Christchurch correspondent curates the best of Techweek’17 in the south. 

Let’s all say it together: New Zealand should become a digital economy. We get it already. Cow poo is poisoning the rivers and it would be much better if we were a plucky innovation hub at the bottom of the Pacific. But that’s surely easier said than done, right? Just how does one go about doing such a thing?

How about an annual event designed purely for the sake of building New Zealand’s technology cred? Because that’s exactly what’s happening in Christchurch and around the country from the 6th to the 14th of May.

Charging itself with ‘tackling global issues using local ingenuity’, this year’s event is set to be the biggest ever with more than 100 events.

And they’re not messing around. The event covers a lot of literal and figurative ground with shows from Whangarei to Greymouth, with a ton of great stuff happening in the Garden City in particular. Most importantly though, Techweek’17 features a stellar round-up of speakers, including both local rabble rousers and international speakers with cred to burn, promising something more than the usual collective spit-balling/back-patting/PR-stunting event that these things sometimes devolve into.

So what’s on? All the usual boxes are definitely checked, so expect plenty of deep-dive experiential things (read: Lots of VR), boot-up-the-bum speeches from local investors urging us to lift our collective game, sincere but noncommittal encouragement from international investors, and plenty of quintessentially Kiwi non-confrontational debates.

Why Christchurch?

In the wake of the devastating 2010/201 earthquakes, Christchurch is emerging as New Zealand’s unlikely new innovation centre. With several busy collaborative business hubs springing up, a rapidly developing hi-tech infrastructure and with the place being, by all accounts, one of the most most livable cities in the world, Christchurch just might be New Zealand’s most exciting new tech ecosystem.

Convinced? Well come along to ‘Why Christchurch?’ to become even moreso, and find out why living and working in Christchurch just makes so much damn sense.

Global Innovation

Throw a rock in downtown Christchurch and there’s a high chance you’ll scone one of the city’s many steely-eyed entrepreneurs. Throw that same rock near the Enterprise Precinct and Innovation Centre (EPIC) next week, and your chances improve tenfold.

Companies such as SLI Systems, CerebralFix, Digital Confectioners, Brush Technology, Redseed and Skilitic will be sharing their stories and explaining how they are taking their ideas and turning them into real McCoy viable global products and services.

More than a monologue, you’ll also get the chance to ask your own questions in the “Ask Me Anything” panel interview at the end.

Disrupting Climate Change

Disrupting Climate Change is a two part event aiming to foster conversation around just what NZ’s response to the challenge of climate change.

Expert speakers will be presenting on the tech available to combat climate change as well as the opportunities/barriers within each sector, and a small group session will be held where participants explore approaches to make it all happen.

Mother earth thanks you in advance.

Kea Inspire the Future Series

Members of the Kea World Class New Zealand Network come together to discuss the big ideas facing New Zealand including the delicious and tech-relevant Future of Food.

What is the potential value of the New Zealand food sector? Where are the opportunities around technology and R&D, and what is the global impact our food technology sector can create?

Find out on Friday 12.

The Spinoff’s quick-and-easy nationwide Techweek’17 recommendations 

For the consumer tech geek: AR/VR Garage – Demos, meetups and workshops featuring some of NZ’s most promising AR/VR businesses.

For the artsy types: ArtsTech Speed Dating – NZ’s artistic, science and tech sectors come together and innovate.

For the unabashed capitalist: Show Me The Money – An investment focused day to help connect startups and investors.

For the tech dilettante: 1st Assembly – A day-long event of playing with Arduino micro controllers.

For the culturally inclined: Waihiko – Digitising Māori Stories – Utilising digitech to tell traditional stories in a modern way.

For the underagers: 3D Kids – Workshops where you get to print your own 3D object to take home.

For the woke crowd: Inequality and Exponential Technology Panel – Experts discuss how is inequality impacted by technology and how technology can be used to create a better future.

For the would-be investor: Mainland Angel Investor Showcase – A large-scale Pitch Breakfast featuring up-and-coming companies from the South Island.

For the foodies: Food & the Internet – A look at how technology is changing the way we eat.

Techweek’17: a week of events bringing together New Zealand’s brightest technology and innovation talent to tackle global issues with local ingenuity. May 6-14, Nationwide.

Keep going!