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Innovation Nation

Innovation Nation is proud to be part of Global Entrepreneurship Week.


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Follow us here – Friday 12 November 2021

Celebrating innovation and entrepreneurship across New Zealand

Join us online right here from 9am to 5pm, Friday 12 November, to follow along as we celebrate stories of innovation and entrepreneurship from around New Zealand.

Celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week, you’ll read about and hear from some of the many entrepreneurs and organisations helping drive New Zealand forward across the country 2021.

Brave-hearted business owners, sizzling startups, and inspiring innovators – be inspired right here with stories, interviews and entrepreneur insights from the Innovation Nation 2021 Showcase!

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From the Editor

A welcome from Richard Liew

Richard Liew

Once again this year, entrepreneurs in Aotearoa have been faced with the continuing disruption and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. But as you’ll see below, innovation never sleeps.

And once again it has been an absolute pleasure for our team, working with so many entrepreneurs across a whole range of industries, to bring you the stories captured in Innovation Nation 2021. We have a wealth of entrepreneurial talent here in Aotearoa and know that these stories are just the tip of the iceberg!

A big thanks to my team, our supporters at MYOB, Chorus and GEN NZ, and obviously to all the awesome entrepreneurs and partner organisations in our innovation community who took part.

As you will also hear, our collective efforts at Innovation Nation really are helping support the next generation of Kiwi entrepreneurs with our Startup NZ scholarship programme well on track to help at least 100 New Zealanders begin their own entrepreneurial journeys in 2022. Kia kaha New Zealand!

Interview Schedule

Watch our interviews on the day and learn about entrepreneurship around New Zealand

9:00am Welcome and introduction from Richard Liew – Editor, NZ Entrepreneur Magazine
9:30am Marwan Jamal – Managing Director, Global Entrepreneurship Network NZ
10:20am Justine Gilliland – Chief Executive, Venture Taranaki
11:10am Heath Milne – Chief Executive, Development West Coast
12:00pm Sarah Fitchett – Innovation Programmes Lead, NRDA (Nelson Regional Development Agency)
12:50pm Nats Subramanian – Business Development Manager, CEDA (Central Economic Development Agency)
1:40pm Dorien Vermaas – Economic Development Portfolio Manager, Marlborough District Council
2:30pm Erin Wansbrough – Chief Executive, SODA
3:20pm Olivia Wensley – Chief Executive, Startup Queenstown Lakes
4:10pm James Pinner – Acting Chief Executive and Director Elevate Fund, NZ Growth Capital Partners

Innovation Nation 2021 Interview: James Pinner

INTERVIEW: JAMES PINNER ROLE: CHIEF EXECUTIVE ORGANISATION: NZ GROWTH CAPITAL PARTNERS WEB: WWW.NZGCP.CO.NZ Innovation Nation is a series celebrating stories of innovation and entrepreneurship from around New Zealand. Innovation Nation proudly supported by: Supporter Spotlight: Offers and services from NZ Entrepreneur supporters!

Innovation Nation 2021 Interview: Olivia Wensley

INTERVIEW: OLIVIA WENSLEY ROLE: CHIEF EXECUTIVE ORGANISATION: STARTUP QUEENSTOWN-LAKES WEB: WWW.STARTUPQUEENSTOWNLAKES.COM Innovation Nation is a series celebrating stories of innovation and entrepreneurship from around New Zealand. Innovation Nation proudly supported by: Supporter Spotlight: Offers and services from NZ Entrepreneur supporters!

Innovation Nation 2021 Interview: Erin Wansbrough

INTERVIEW: ERIN WANSBROUGH ROLE: CHIEF EXECUTIVE ORGANISATION: SODA INC WEB: WWW.SODAINC.COM Who is Your Organisation?  Soda is a Hamilton based business growth ecosystem that provides support, programmes and connections for ambitious Kiwi founders, startups and businesses. We help businesses grow through applied rigour, structure and processes. Soda offers a range of tried and tested programmes […]

Innovation Nation 2021 Interview: Dorien Vermaas

INTERVIEW: DORIEN VERMAAS ROLE: ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PORTFOLIO MANAGER ORGANISATION: MARLBOROUGH DISTRICT COUNCIL WEB: WWW.MARLBOROUGH.GOVT.NZ Innovation Nation is a series celebrating stories of innovation and entrepreneurship from around New Zealand. Innovation Nation proudly supported by: Supporter Spotlight: Offers and services from NZ Entrepreneur supporters!

Innovation Nation 2021 Interview: Nats Subramanian

INTERVIEW: NATS SUBRAMANIAN ROLE: BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER ORGANISATION: CENTRAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AGENCY WEB: WWW.CEDA.NZ Who is Your Organisation? We are CEDA, the Central Economic Development Agency representing Palmerston North and Manawatu. We exist to drive and facilitate the creation of growth and economic wealth in Manawatu and beyond. With expertise in marketing, communications, business support […]

Innovation Nation 2021 Interview: Sarah Fitchett

INTERVIEW: SARAH FITCHETT ROLE: INNOVATION PROGRAMMES LEAD ORGANISATION: NELSON REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT AGENCY WEB: WWW.NELSONTASMAN.NZ Who is Your Organisation? Nelson Regional Development Agency and Mahitahi Colab.  What are the high level goals of your organisation in relation to supporting entrepreneurship and innovation? Intergenerational strategy; Tupuna Pono – to be good ancestors. In 2019, the Wakatu Incorporation […]

Innovation Nation 2021 Interview: Heath Milne

INTERVIEW: HEATH MILNE ROLE: CHIEF EXECUTIVE ORGANISATION: DEVELOPMENT WEST COAST WEB: WWW.WESTCOAST.CO.NZ Who is Your Organisation? Development West Coast What are the high level goals of your organisation in relation to supporting entrepreneurship and innovation? Our overall mission is to grow business to grow the Coast. What were some of the key programmes or initiatives […]

Innovation Nation 2021 Interview: Justine Gilliland

INTERVIEW: JUSTINE GILLILAND ROLE: CHIEF EXECUTIVE ORGANISATION: VENTURE TARANAKI WEB: WWW.VENTURE.ORG.NZ Who is Your Organisation? Venture Taranaki is the regional development agency for Taranaki, responsible for enterprise and entrepreneurship ecosystem support, sector development, and regional promotion. We aim to enable resilient enterprises creating meaningful, well-paid jobs. Our work supports the wellbeing of the people of […]

Innovation Nation 2021 Interview: Marwan Jamal

INTERVIEW: MARWAN JAMAL ROLE: MANAGING DIRECTOR ORGANISATION: GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP NETWORK NEW ZEALAND WEB: WWW.GENGLOBAL.ORG/NEW-ZEALAND Innovation Nation is a series celebrating stories of innovation and entrepreneurship from around New Zealand. Innovation Nation proudly supported by: Supporter Spotlight: Offers and services from NZ Entrepreneur supporters!

Innovation Nation 2021: Introduction by Richard Liew

INTRODUCTION: RICHARD LIEW ROLE: EDITOR ORGANISATION: NZ ENTREPRENEUR MAGAZINE Welcome to Innovation Nation 2021, celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week! Innovation Nation is a series celebrating stories of innovation and entrepreneurship from around New Zealand. Innovation Nation proudly supported by: Supporter Spotlight: Offers and services from NZ Entrepreneur supporters!

Innovation Nation 2021 Interview: Gerard Quinn

INTERVIEW: GERARD QUINN ROLE: OPERATIONS DIRECTOR ORGANISATION: THINCLAB CANTERBURY WEB: WWW.THINCLAB.NZ Who is Your Organisation? ThincLab Canterbury, a founder incubator hosted within the University of Canterbury and alongside the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship (“UCE”).  What are the high level goals of your organisation in relation to supporting entrepreneurship and innovation? ThincLab Canterbury helps build and […]

Editor’s Picks 2021

A selection of favourite innovation stories from 2021 as chosen by the Editor.

Find out which stories made our Editor’s Picks for 2021 right here.

Thanks to our partners

Innovation Nation is made with help of the following organisations. Click to learn about their services for entrepreneurs.

View all the stories here


Medsalv projected to save hospitals $100m each year


A medical technology company says it could save New Zealand’s health system $100 million each year by stopping 1700 tonnes of medical waste going to landfills. Christchurch-based startup Medsalv has come up with processes for remanufacturing single-use medical devices so they can be safely reused. Single-use device remanufacturing is the practice of taking medical devices […]

Start Now

Queenstown’s Start Now creating meaningful careers for people around the world


A Queenstown businesswoman has designed and launched an online programme, available globally, to help people self-design their career pathway. Start Now started small in 2015, but has now drawn interest from people in several countries. Its purpose is to help people and businesses create more meaningful and sustainable work. Founder Melissa Jenner says Start Now’s […]

Race Ranger

Race Ranger to minimise unfairness in triathlons with draft detector


A former New Zealand triathlon representative has developed an electronic system to address the sport’s biggest problem, drafting. Drafting occurs during the cycling portion of a triathlon when a rider moves into an area of low pressure behind another participant, reducing the wind resistance and the amount of energy required to pedal. The problem was […]


Trinder Engages Postgraduates in Product Development and Commercialisation


One of the country’s leading-edge engineering firms is working with university students to enable graduate engineers to complete Masters’ degrees while undertaking projects in a real-world environment. Nelson-based Trinder Engineering was formerly an engineering business set up in 1958 by local blacksmith Allan (Jock) Trinder. It has since grown to a company of more than […]


Top of the South filmmakers set to release first full-feature film Northspur


Nelson and Marlborough-based film producers are about to release their first feature film next year and look set to have a world-wide distribution deal with a world premiere set to happen in Marlborough and Nelson in 2022. In 2019 Justin Eade and Aaron Falvey founded Northspur Films Limited as a holding company for the film, […]


Surfing social worker uses West Coast waves as therapy


A social worker who moved from Germany to Westport in 2015 is combining her love of surfing with her career in social work through a social enterprise called Wavewise, which supports community wellbeing. Pana Leontiadu founded the charitable trust in 2018 to provide surf therapy, which is a structured approach to surfing that can achieve […]


Berkano is about to level up its vegan meat venture


Christchurch vegan food company Berkano Foods is about to roll out a new and distinctive range of alternative meat proteins, making the most of hard-won distribution deals with New Zealand’s top supermarket chains. It was a difficult battle for the first few years of the startup though, as the millennial founders of Berkano invested $30,000 […]

Chia Sisters

Marketing lessons abound with Chia Sisters rebrand


Nelson company Chia Sisters is a leader in sustainable practices in New Zealand. Now, a rebrand shows just what makes their drinks ‘functional beverages’. When Chloe van Dyke, who has a background in neuroscience, began creating a nutritious drink that could fuel her athletic family members, she might have never thought the result would turn […]


Complicated website coding is no longer a barrier with SquareKicker


Without Covid-19 interrupting the typical workflow of Hannah and Nick Ippolito’s web design business at the start of 2020, the two may never have had the opportunity to create SquareKicker – and life would certainly look very different right now for the Nelson-based couple. As one of the world’s largest online website building platforms, Squarespace […]

Core Transport Technologies CTT

Core Transport Technologies has set the bar for air cargo tracking capabilities


In 2019, a multinational company worth hundreds of millions of dollars came knocking in Nelson. Descartes Systems Group was looking for Core Transport Technologies (CTT) – whose reputation had preceded them when it came to cargo tracking technology – and made them an offer they couldn’t refuse. Now this team of 12 is working alongside […]


Loaded helping hospitality businesses drive profit and growth


When Richard McLeod dropped out of University in 2004 and purchased the infamous Captain Cook pub in Dunedin with his childhood ski-racing friend James Arnott, he never imagined that one day he would have co-founded a software-as-a-service company. Now, 17 years later, he believes it’s the right time to take his company, Loaded, to the […]

Little Beauties

Little Beauties takes large steps with nutritious fruit snacks


At just three years old, a Nelson family-owned business that makes snacks from unique New Zealand fruit has doubled its turnover each year, and now employs more than 20 staff across its operations. Dried fruit may sound somewhat boring, but Little Beauties is making it exciting. The startup makes specialty dried snacks from unique New […]

Check In

Check In forging a new path for tourism


If you’re looking for a different way to experience Queenstown, you’ll find people, places and hospitality on the Check In platform that you would never find from a Google search. Sisters Karmela and Maria Rapata have over 27 years of shared tourism and hospitality experience. In 2012, Maria started a business helping people manage their […]

Koru Diagnostics

Improving dairy herd health and farmers’ bottom line – with Koru Diagnostics


Educated guesswork isn’t foolproof when it comes to diagnosing a dairy cow with contagious and difficult-to-treat Staphylococcus aureus mastitis – and missing the infection can put the rest of the herd at risk. Thankfully, it was a bit of serendipity that led to founding the company that would develop a novel solution to help combat […]

Snap IT

SnapIT making an impact with innovative AI-equipped cameras


Facing a lack of satisfaction in his previous role as a teacher, Chris Rodley decided he wanted to build something of his own. So, he sat down with his brother, his dad and a piece of paper. After discarding many ideas, he is now running Snap Information Technologies (SnapIT) which makes cameras and AI hardware […]


Phytrac using plants including cannabis to decontaminate land


After 15 years working in energy sector support, followed by a two-year venture into starting a medicinal cannabis company, Queenstown entrepreneur Owen Darby created Phytrac, a company using cannabis, sunflowers, wood chips, compost, microbes and various plants to restore contaminated land and manage waste streams. Michael Botur reports. In New Zealand, contaminated land is commonly […]

Revolutionaries of Wellbeing ROW

The uprise of the Revolutionaries of Wellbeing


It was a late night ‘what am I doing with my life’ moment that set Sarah McGuinness on a path to lead a group of revolutionaries out into the business world. Their mission? To be the champions of change when it comes to embracing all aspects of wellbeing in the workforce. But it wasn’t quite […]

Hopaholics Brewery

Greymouth’s Hopaholics Brewery – beer, yarns and community


In the two years since Sarah and Jason Johnson started their entrepreneurial journey, they’ve been on a steep learning curve. With a pandemic, a pivot and a back injury in the mix, the couple have proven that remaining agile is key to business success. Husband and wife team Sarah and Jason are crazy about craft […]


Get your mind and body in shape – anywhere, anytime – with matchfit


“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” – which is exactly what Simon Leckey and Jess Bardsley-Hulme did last year when the global pandemic came knocking. Instead of letting it get in the way of their active lifestyle, they saw an opportunity for a business venture, and now matchfit, nearing launch, aims to help personal […]

Gatherer wholefoods and bar

Gatherer Wholefoods bringing plant-based food to the West Coast


Starting a food truck in 2012 off the West Coast region of the South Island in a dairy farming town of approximately 200 people is “pretty tricky,” says Alisha McIntosh, owner of Gatherer Wholefoods & Bar. But being adaptable to a changing market has seen their little food truck grow into a coffeehouse in Hari […]

The Kiwi Kit

The Kiwi Kit to ‘kit up’ those keen to move to New Zealand


Kelsey Powell came to New Zealand from New York on a working visa six years ago, and now wants to introduce the country to others who may be thinking of living here. Powell, residing now in Queenstown with New Zealand residency, founded her startup The Kiwi Kit in September after she received many enquiries last […]


MyIQ hopes Australian hospitality boom will be big for its business tool


Christchurch software company MyIQ is set to expand into Australia with a unified digital reporting solution for businesses which integrates point of sale, inventory, rostering and accounting systems, so that a range of connected businesses – especially franchises – can collect and report the same retail data. MyIQ’s parent company 2IQ was founded by Christchurch […]

Little Rock

Little Rock to showcase big flavors of sweet chilli sauce


A versatile condiment that can be used as a spread on burgers, pizza or as a dip is the focus of a new startup based in Westport. Little Rock markets multiple recipes of flavour punching sweet chilli sauce. Director and founder Tania Reynolds, along with her husband Josh, cooked up their first batch on a […]

Voice activated assistant helps business owners understand their finances


Raised by a solo mother in state housing in New Plymouth, Donnamaree Ryder was in and out of social welfare due to her mum’s lack of confidence and money. She never imagined that one day she would be the chief executive of her own company, helping others better understand their finances. Ryder has created […]

Onside agri-app

Agri-app Onside aims for America after Australian achievements


After making strong traction in the South Australian viticulture industry, Christchurch agritech scaleup Onside is now eyeing up an entry into the huge markets of California and Europe. Onside’s digital check-in software was developed in 2016 to connect rural contractors and property managers to improve operations, communications, compliance and biosecurity, and to streamline the flow […]


ARCUBED’s educational OneBin to automatically sort rubbish and recycling


A new  way of eliminating the chance of getting recyclable materials into landfills is about to be launched in New Zealand that will substantially help our environment while educating people on how to recycle. Hamilton-based startup ARCUBED has created a unique product called OneBin that detects and separates waste from recyclables at the point of […]

OnBoard directors

OnBoard creating diverse pipeline of new directors for startups


Cassie McAdams was working with dozens of companies raising capital and saw a gap between the small pool of independent directors in Aotearoa New Zealand and the growing need for board members in tech startups. So, she set up a non-profit organisation, OnBoard , and got to work developing a programme to support razor-sharp individuals […]


QDot leads the way with digital transformation in NZ quality compliance


While working as an engineer, Quintin Prinsloo was stuck on site late one evening trying to hand over a project with little to no documents. He decided there had to be an easier way to manage documentation and compliance in construction. He shared his story with Katherine Blaney. After eight years of seeing the same […]

Wood Training

Wood Training to launch National Emergency Response Hub


Wood Training, a provider of world class high-risk health and safety industry training, is launching a national Emergency Response Training Centre (ERTC) on a two-hectare site in New Plymouth which will provide industry training across a diverse range of industries. While pressurised fuel firefighting and emergency response training are promoted, the training centre, to be […]

Southern Water Engineering

Southern Water Engineering optimising performance in the Kiwi wine capital


Marlborough business Southern Water Engineering (SWE) aims to optimise primary industry performance by improving water and wastewater systems – all by monitoring and analysing data and putting in fixes before the problems pile up. Founded fourteen years ago and officially launched in 2011, the sixteen-person team at SWE balloons to at least 25 during the […]

Westlock Concrete

Westlock Concrete’s interlocking blocks set to address coastal erosion


A unique interlocking concrete block system designed by Westlock Concrete Solutions Ltd will soon provide a long-term solution to the devastating effects of coastal erosion. Westlock, based in Buller in the West Coast of the South Island, has teamed with Whangarei-based Busck Prestressed Concrete Limited, to make the interlocking concrete blocks that will be placed […]


Pivots and new pursuits for MyApiary beehive management service


In 2018 there was a surge in thefts of beehives in New Zealand. A few bad actors were stealing significant quantities of beehives, affecting the $330m manuka honey export industry. NZ beehive management software MyApiary at the time was offering ‘HiveTracker’ devices which could be embedded in a beehive to track it if it was […]

New Zealand Growth Capital Partners

New Zealand Growth Capital Partners catalysing early-stage investment through Aspire and Elevate funds


Early-stage founders and fund managers looking to raise capital may find what they need through New Zealand Growth Capital Partners (NZGCP). It was established by the New Zealand Government in 2002 — originally called the NZ Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF) — and was designed to stimulate private investment to build a vibrant early-stage technology investment […]


Monitoring service RemoteHQ educates forest owners, saves ratepayers money


Councils in parts of the country which have significant pine plantations on steep, erosion-prone land have been given a tool to enhance their ability to collaborate with forestry owners and improve communication with industry. The tool is RemoteHQ, developed by ‘top of the South’-based GeoInsight, and is a map-first software-as-a-service designed to let local government […]

Ruby Play Network

Ruby Play Network: making cryptocurrency and computer games from the remote West Coast


A career pivot by a descendant of the Postie Plus family has led to gaming company Ruby Play Network reaching international success – all from a South Island town of just 4000 folks. Michael Botur shares their story. Westport-based Ruby Play Network is the second software venture from Ben Dellaca, who wanted to find a […]

Eat a Rainbow Foundation

Eat A Rainbow Foundation borne out of lockdown generosity


Momo Martin and Michelle Hartley, with the support of fellow charity trustees, have launched the Eat a Rainbow Foundation off the back of two other food-based businesses they run. In addition to providing high-quality catering through Theory Food, and making nutritious frozen ready-made meals through Eat a Rainbow, the Eat a Rainbow Foundation is set […]


Keeping Taranaki connected with Primo broadband and wireless internet


Back in the day, Matthew Harrison and his mates loved online gaming, except dialup internet just wasn’t cutting the mustard. So using fireworks from the roof (to confirm line of sight) and a bit of ‘know-how’, Harrison managed to get everyone in his inner circle hooked up to wireless for a better gaming experience. Then, […]

Mussel Farm App

The Mussel Farm App helping harvest data – and dinner


The Kiwi mussel farming industry could grow from $1bn a year to $3bn without hurting the environment – though it may require the Mussel Farm App, which recommends solutions for ideal crop yields which benefit everyone. Ralf Klis admits that one year ago, he knew only one thing about Kiwi mussels: they tasted good. It […]

Learner Me

Learner Me to provide technology trainees with formal qualifications


A Taranaki technology trainer that has put many graduates into work is looking to give learners formal qualifications. Just after the 2020 lockdown, Learner Me was registered with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, and has grown its campus capacity for training 50 learners at one time, all at dual-monitor workstations. The New Plymouth private training […]


Kry10 is building a new computer operating system to power the Internet of Things


As our crowded world comes close to hitting eight billion people, we expect the Internet of Things (IoT) to keep up. Wellington-centred software startup Kry10 hopes to find a market for a completely new – and far more secure – operating system, designed for companies using IoT. Michael Botur spoke to the founder. IoT is […]


Yonder creating a new level of customer experience for tourism operators


If you’ve taken a Hobbiton tour, rolled down a hill in a Zorb or relaxed at the Polynesian Spa, it’s likely you have interacted with Yonder’s customer experience tools. Created in 2018 after trying to set up a tourism-focused platform borne of a Startup Weekend, Letitia Stevenson and James Donald saw an opportunity to bring […]


Wisp is reinventing how we do hairdressing


It’s hard enough to get two different hairdressers to cut your hair the same – and even harder when lockdowns keep people away from their barber. The answer could be Wisp (formerly Hairsense), an AI device that will give you your favourite salon-quality haircut with robotic precision. Michael Botur investigates. When Michael Woffindin’s startup received […]


Blacklock by Security Simplified aims to simplify IT penetration testing industry


Wellington cybersecurity consulting company Security Simplified aims to bring significant savings for SMEs who need security penetration tests on their internet-facing assets – and the company’s first product Blacklock has been nominated for awards after just four months in business. Michael Botur spoke to the founder Nilesh Kapoor. Penetration testing is a technique to identify […]


It’s The WAN for connecting flexible workers with accommodation


When Carmen Blackler looks back on her journey of creating The WAN, it seems that many elements were at play to ensure this is where she would always end up. And now that the accommodation ‘match-maker’ service has all its bases covered, it’s time to see the business grow exponentially over the next twelve to […]

Vanishing Point Studio

Vanishing Point Studio pushes the boundaries of digital storytelling


It can be difficult to explain what it is that you do for a job when you’re continually breaking new ground in a digital landscape, but for Charles Anderson and Allan Walker it’s all in a day’s work. Using emerging technologies, like interactive data visualisation, augmented reality, and immersive digital design, they use their office […]

Paul Rangiwahia

Paul Rangiwahia’s vision for wellbeing


With people under unprecedented stress due to the Covid-19 pandemic, entrepreneur and artist Paul Rangiwahia has developed “The Spring Clean” – a mental health resource designed to help people take charge of their own wellbeing and happiness. Renee Murphy explains. In 2014 Paul Rangiwahia was bankrupt, both financially and emotionally. Fast forward seven years and […]


Puro seeks to become Australasia’s largest medical cannabis supplier


A Marlborough company is aiming to become one of the world’s largest producers of organic medical cannabis, and aiming to become the largest grower in Australasia. Michael Botur spoke to Managing Director Tim Aldridge. Puro was launched in 2018 and immediately caught the attention of the market. Puro’s PledgeMe crowdfunding campaign raised $4m in just […]

Sounds Air

The sky’s the limit for Sounds Air zero emission flights


It’s been more than 30 years since Sounds Air began offering low cost domestic air travel from its airport in Picton. Now the company is on track to become the first in Australasia to fly a zero emission electric airplane flight with passengers, and it seems everyone is on cloud nine about it. Erin Harrison […]


Woodspan growth revolutionises local construction industry


A New Plymouth startup supplying engineered timber for new construction builds has doubled its multi-million turnover in each of the past two years, despite two nationwide lockdowns that turned the construction industry on its head. Dave Crampton spoke to cofounder and CEO Tom Boon. Woodspan is an expansion of the laminated timber business of its […]


Growing a given for horticulture businesses using Tātou


Even in our technology-dependent world, pen and paper are still a common sight out in the field of orchards and vineyards across New Zealand and the world. That’s because there has never been a tool which had quite ironed out all the challenges faced and unique requirements of the industry – until now. Erin Harrison […]

Ozone Coffee Roasters

Brew to you – Ozone Coffee Roasters bring hospitality to homes


Receiving a bag of specialty coffee in the mail each week is a welcome way to give your week a boost. That is one thing Ozone Coffee Roasters is doing as part of a focus on its core business since Covid-19 turned hospitality on its head. Dave Crampton spoke to company director Karla Gichard. Based […]


Agrivolve developing regenerative solutions to revolutionise farming


Charlie Barnes is not one to wait for a solution to come around – when he sees a problem he gets straight onto solving it. He’s worked in the primary sector for his whole life and, as a teenager, he saw the problems associated with some of the current farming practises. This got him thinking […]


InsituGen aims to defeat doping in horses and humans


A scientist who was part of the testing technology to break down a notorious sports doping ring has turned her steroid detection method into a Kiwi company which gives faster, more-incisive results. Now the inventor hopes her test, which reveals previously undetectable designer steroids in racehorses and racing camels – will be used to test […]

Central Environmental

How Central Environmental is turning waste into roads


For years Central Environmental founder, Ian Butcher, had been increasingly frustrated by all the construction waste going to landfill, so he decided it was time to do something about it – and now it’s paving roads in the Manawatu. Since 2002, Central Environmental’s sister business, Central Demolition (which Butcher also founded), has been removing asbestos […]

Marlborough District Council

Marlborough District Council funding entrepreneurial ecosystem growth for next ten years


For a region with only 1% of Aotearoa New Zealand’s population, Marlborough packs a punch, producing 80% of our wine exports each year and driving innovation across a number of sectors. This includes developing AI for mussel farming, being the base for the first electric-powered flight and having an active and supportive angel investment group […]


Cutly’s natural shaving cream aims to revolutionise grooming for men and women


Five young entrepreneurs have accelerated through the R & D process and are gearing up to take their multi-purpose shaving product to the market. Renee Murphy spoke to the founders. Palmerston North-based company Cutly Limited has developed a shaving product that is made of 100 percent natural ingredients. Suitable for use as a moisturiser, shaving […]

Polished spheres

Global Stainless shapes the art world with high-end polished spheres


It all started because Lincoln Raikes loves a challenge, and now the stainless steel polished spheres turned out by his company Global Stainless Ltd are sought after by artists globally. He shared his story with Katherine Blaney. Lincoln Raikes started his career as a fitter turner/machinist but found he liked the stainless steel fabrication more. […]


PowerON hopes its sensitive robots will take care of dangerous jobs


PowerON has a vision of touchy-feely robots – and this will be their strength. There is so much faith in taking PowerON’s sensitive robotic technology to market that the company, which operates between Auckland and Germany, has just oversubscribed and closed its seed round of capital raising, bringing in $3.1m to pay for further R&D […]


Bringing veterinarian tools into the 21st century with SoleTech


When David Sole’s University lecturer challenged him to invent something that would replace 100 years of standard veterinarian practice, he got straight to work, with 2020’s COVID-19 lockdown proving to be a blessing in disguise for the thirty one year old. He spoke to Erin Harrison about his business Soletech. David Sole remembers the exact […]

Drone Ranger

Cancer drives Altitude Conservation founder to persist with wildlife tracking tech


In the same month Chris Muller won an innovation award for co-developing drone-based VHF radio-tracking equipment for monitoring endangered species, he was challenged with cancer. Instead of throwing him off, Muller doubled down on the goal of revolutionising wildlife tracking and now has customers ready and waiting. Michael Botur tells his story. For three years […]


VizLink’s maps and plans minimising farm mistakes


A Taranaki company offering printed and digital farm management products is minimising inefficiencies for farmers, with the inventor still getting up each morning to rear calves herself. Michael Botur spoke to the founder. Farmers have cultivated our land pretty successfully for hundreds of years, though it wasn’t until the 2010s that Taranaki entrepreneur Gemma Adams […]

The Peach Builder Co.

The Peach Builder Co. Growing booties across Australasia


Palmerston North business duo Jessica Wong and Micah Hatch founded their ecommerce business The Peach Builder Co. in 2018. Since then, they’ve served over 20,000 customers and have plans for further growth. Renee Murphy spoke to the pair to learn more. When Jessica, a keen gym-goer suffered back pain after lifting heavy weights, she did […]

Sprout Argitech

Sprout Agritech supporting “Soil to Stomach” companies for over six years


From plant-based ‘tuna’, to technology that uses insect odorant receptors to make a device that can smell and taste, Sprout Agritech is boosting agtech and foodtech companies around Aotearoa. Starting as an accelerator based out of The Factory in Palmerston North in 2015, they created their own company in 2019 and now run two cohorts […]


Arcanum: The tech team convincing Kiwis artificial intelligence is essential


To put together the Wellington software company’s latest artificial intelligence business solution, Arcanum drew upon experienced staff whose expertise brings Silicon Valley to Welly. Michael Botur chatted to CEO Asa Cox. Around the time of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, the team working with Wellington business software developer Asa Cox were called upon […]


Lithium-ion battery boom big opportunity for CarbonScape


Chemical engineer Ivan Williams believes the worldwide ‘megatrend’ of electrification could mean big business for CarbonScape, the company he runs which is headquartered in Blenheim and which aims to supply a key ingredient in lithium-ion batteries: graphite. Michael Botur found out more. A relatively new invention with impressive power, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries first came about […]


Durafeed gives dinner feeding freedom to dog owners


For many dog owners, a night or two away without their four-legged friend in tow requires a bit of pre planning, someone’s got to feed them their evening tucker. But what if it didn’t have to be an actual human that gave the dog a bone? It’s definitely food for thought, and as explained to […]

City Slicker Honey

Tasting the Manawatu with City Slicker Honey


Tim Coulson was just eleven years old when he was given his first bee hive. Seven years later he has 50 hives located throughout the Manawatu, and his business, City Slicker Honey, is buzzing. Erin Harrison spoke to the young entrepreneur. There’s no doubt Tim has already achieved an incredible amount at a young age, […]


EC8 saves time and waste for construction industry


Christopher Staal’s startup EC8 has developed technology to supply pre-cut plasterboard to building sites, reducing the overall build time of a residential house by two days and decreasing waste by up to 30 per cent. With 34,000 houses built annually in New Zealand and more than one million built each year in the United States, […]

Smart Machine

Why Smart Machine is building robotic vineyard vehicles


As the wine industry booms and humans are needed for winery management roles, a trio of inventors have created robotic vehicles to do labour-intensive tasks in vineyards – and the vehicles are made entirely in New Zealand. Mike Botur explains.    Smart Machine currently has just one product, and just four copies of it, but […]


Founder Interview: Mitchell Pham, CodeHQ


One of NZ’s longest serving private technology companies is soon to celebrate 30 years in business – a milestone in any industry let alone in such a competitive and rapidly developing industry. We caught up with CodeHQ (previously Augen Software) cofounder Mitchell Pham and asked him about how his experiences as a child refugee from […]


AgLoco on a mission to take the diesel out of food


For the last one hundred years diesel tractors have faithfully met the needs of heavy agricultural work, helping to grow food to feed the world. We depend on diesel tractors to survive, but now science is telling us that to avoid the worst effects of climate change, we urgently need to stop burning fossil fuel. […]

Komodo co-founders (L-R) Chris Bacon, Jack Wood and Matt Goodson

Meet Komodo, the startup tackling school wellbeing


When you think about some of the groups most affected and industries most disrupted by COVID, students and education come quickly to mind. It’s been an incredibly difficult time for young people to achieve a sense of community through multiple lockdowns and schools going remote. Komodo founders, Chris Bacon, Jack Wood, and Matt Goodson realised […]


NZ prop-tech out to make a global difference


New Zealand augmented reality app homeAR has raised $750k from local and international private equity to take its market-leading real estate tech global. As the world continues to battle with the social and economic effects of Covid-19 and Auckland recently sat in its fourth “Level 3” lockdown in the last twelve months, New Zealand technology […]

Super Humanics Tinker Cart

Ed-tech startup out to make STEAM more accessible in classrooms


A Warkworth inventor is reaching out to schools so teachers don’t have to reach far – for tech resources, that is. Michael Botur explains. On a mission to introduce more students to the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) hardware and software they’ll need to bring ideas to life, Super Humanics has developed a […]

relab property

Auckland startup ‘Relab’ aims to change property data game


Auckland property data company Relab has launched the freshest version of its software-as-a-service, as version 4.0 of the platform aims to make property data more accessible than ever for mum and dad buyers and sellers, investors, developers, and real estate professionals. The update comes after the January announcement that Relab has secured $1m of post-seed […]


Innovation Nation is an NZ Entrepreneur Magazine and Startup NZ initiative.

Editorial Team

Michael Botur, Journalist
Erin Harrison, Journalist
Dave Crampton, Journalist
Katherine Blaney, Journalist
Renee Murphy, Journalist
Erin Westover, Subeditor
Richard Liew, Editor

Contact details

Richard Liew, Editor, NZ Entrepreneur Magazine Ltd

Key Partners

Global Entrepreneurship Network NZ

Ecosystem Partners

NZ Growth Capital Partners
WNT Ventures
Startup Queenstown Lakes
Mahitahi Colab
Ministry of Awesome
Central Economic Development Agency
Development West Coast
Venture Taranaki
Marlborough District Council
Sprout Agritech

The Editor would like to acknowledge the following individuals

Emma McMulkin, Hannah Short, Luke Henshall, Erin Wansbrough, Natalie McKeany, James Pinner, Katie Hickmer, Carl Jones, Sophie Kelly, Michelle Jordan, Justine Gilliland, Natacha Dunn, Olivia Wensley, Dorien Vermaas, Heath Milne, Sarah Fitchett, Rebecca Day, Jorja Bramley, Nats Subramanian, Andrea Innes, Ian Johnson, Fiona Hill, Aaron Rees, Marian Johnson, Dave Moskovitz, Marwan Jamal, Katherine Blaney.