Shining a light on regional tech innovation

/ Blog + Insights / 10 May 2021

NZ innovation hero image2

From Waikato to Dunedin - and everywhere in between - Aotearoa is the land of tech and innovation.   

By Hursh Shah


By most standards, New Zealand is a small country, but when it comes to technology and innovation, we sure know how to pack a mega punch. These days, technology is our third largest export – with Kiwi-founded tech companies thriving on the world stage.

Despite the impact of Covid-19, Technology Investment Network’s (TIN) annual report, Tech Pulse 2020, found that export revenue for the TIN200 companies reached $9.4 billion – an increase of 10.6% on the last year. That number is set to grow by $1 billion a year, every year over the next ten years.

Recently, Christchurch-based Seequent - a global leader in software for geological and geophysical modelling – sold for $1.05 billion to NASDAQ-listed Bentley Systems – a prime example of not only the innovation but also commercial success that’s coming out of our little island in the Pacific.

And there’s plenty more where that came from.

Fostering innovation across New Zealand

It’s not just the big players in our largest cities that are taking New Zealand tech to the world – there are success stories from almost every region.

Bay of Plenty

  • BlueLab have developed industry-leading measurement devices for controlled agriculture.
  • LawVu is a productivity and collaboration tool used by in-house legal teams all over the world.
  • UBCo has built smart and tough e-bikes that are being rolled out to the last mile delivery sector.


  • Quantec specialises in extracting high-value bioactives with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties from milk proteins.

Palmerston North

  • BioLumic has developed the world’s first clean, green and GM-free technology to stimulate plant growth using ultraviolet light.

Hawke’s Bay

  • Rockit Global is the exclusive global supplier for the world’s first miniature apple that has taken 20 years to fully produce and test.


  • Zincovery is aiming to make the galvanised steel industry waste-free by recycling waste acid.
  • Partly is building software to seamlessly manage and sell auto parts online anywhere in the world.
  • Onside is revolutionising the way that vast rural sites are managed.


  • InsituGen has developed a novel approach to anabolic drug testing in horse racing and athletes.
  • Winely’s award-winning tech provide winemakers real-time fermentation analysis in order to save time, maintain quality and help with Health and Safety requirements.

Opportunities for regional entrepreneurs & investors

In 2020, at least $158 million was invested in pioneering start-ups, a sure-fire sign that no matter where you are in Aotearoa, there is support for innovation to flourish.

Here’s where to find resources to support your tech start-up journey within New Zealand’s regions:


Venture Taranaki exists to support the country’s target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Hiringa Energy and Ballance Agri-Nutrients are jointly developing a project that will use wind turbines to produce hydrogen, which will then be used to create urea - the main ingredient in fertilisers.

This process will displace the need for imported fossil fuels and enable Ballance to start the transition away from using non-renewable hydrogen sources such as natural gas.


Kokiri is a 12-week, kaupapa-based start-up accelerator that supports early stage Maori-led enterprises.

Palmerston North

Sprout has become one of Callaghan Innovation’s technology incubators.

Its investors include global venture capital firm Finistere Ventures, which is setting up a dedicated agri-tech fund for New Zealand - with funding secured from our Elevate Fund.


Te Ohaka is a home for early-stage, high-growth start-ups with an Incubation Programme supported by the partnership between Ministry of Awesome, Ara Institute of Canterbury, and Christchurch NZ.


Booster Investments has partnered with Otago Innovation to provide funding to commercialise innovations and research coming out of the University of Otago.

The MacDiarmid Institute is also running DiscoveryCamp in Dunedin and Palmerston North, a week-long science camp for year 12 and 13 Māori and Pasifika students with a genuine passion for the sciences.


Investors in big ideas & bold dreams ...

NZGCP support Kiwi start-ups become world-class companies.

If you’re a Kiwi tech start-up seeking funding, check out how our Aspire fund can help kick-start your journey of innovation.

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