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I am writing from Ireland where I have just attended the 2019 Agtech Nexus Europe conference. I was joined by Vic Crone, CEO of Callaghan Innovation and Sprout Accelerator’s Dean Tilyard.  We have been exploring opportunities for increased collaboration between our respective agritech sectors.  Read more about my time here in A Letter from Dublin.

Our visit has been part of a much more significant journey; the development of a national agritech strategy which will help drive the growth of our sector.  Following several meetings with Government Ministers in recent months, an ‘all of government’ taskforce has been established to work with industry to build this strategy. While many Kiwis will be spending the holidays on the beach, Agritech New Zealand will be working closely with this taskforce to help accelerate its work. Agritech New Zealand’s diverse membership allows us to ensure this strategy will have a very strong commercial focus.  Building New Zealand agritech to support New Zealand’s own primary industries adopt more home-grown tech to provide more efficient and sustainable farming practice, as well as helping scale our members’ businesses offshore, are two of the key metrics driving our position.

As we approach the final days of 2018, I am tempted to conduct a review of some of our agritech sector’s great achievements of the year.  There are many, but the scale of opportunity makes focusing on 2019 a far more productive use of time and space. Three significant events have been identified for the year ahead and we are working with Government agencies to support New Zealand agritech delegates attendance.  These key diary dates include:

  • EvokeAG 2019 conference, 19–20 February in Melbourne, Australia
  • Forbes Live Agtech event, 26–28 June in Salinas, California, USA
  • Irish Ploughing Championships 17–19 September in County Carlow, Ireland.

Additionally, our strategic global partnerships with both Farm2050 and Western Growers will provide a number of exciting opportunities for New Zealand agritech companies looking to scale offshore through 2019.

At home, the first six months will see significant Agritech New Zealand input into the development of the New Zealand Agritech Story.  We are working with the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) and New Zealand Story project team to ready this for launch at National Fieldays in June.  By curating a coherent and compelling New Zealand agritech story, we will be more effective when talking to international partners about the New Zealand agritech ‘advantage’.  Agritech New Zealand would like to publicly recognise the funding commitment made by Government to help develop this story.

Early next year, we will announce our first working groups and national workshops.  These will allow members to participate and engage in key forums on critical issues such as the development of disruptive technologies for nutrients, the future of digital farming and the opportunities for accessing global capital.  Agritech New Zealand has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to ensure the outcome of these working group discussions lead to recommendations for amending related policy and regulation settings.

2018 has been quite a year! In the six months since Agritech New Zealand was formally established, we have focused on creating necessary building blocks to support and scale the country’s agritech sector.  With many of the building blocks now in place, 2019 promises to be an incredibly exciting place to be. We hope you will join us on this journey.

The team at Agritech New Zealand would like to wish everyone a very happy Christmas and a very prosperous and safe New Year.

Ngā mihi
Peter Wren-Hilton
Executive Director
Agritech New Zealand

Welcome to our new members this month

  •  Advanced Biotech NZ (ABNZ)
  • AerotekFan
  • Agrisea
  • Be Amorgos
  • Cawthron Institute
  • Ento Solutions
  • Foundation for Arable Research (FAR)
  • Haunui Technology Group
  • Jade Software Corporation
  • KPMG
  • Mount Albert Grammar School
  • Plant & Food Research
  • Precision Hawk
  • Solcor
  • Think Technology
  • University of Auckland
  • Verify Union
  • Zeddy


Join the large New Zealand delegation attending, evokeAG, 19-20 February, 2019 in Melbourne.  Here’s five reasons to put evokeAG on your ‘to do’ list! Tickets are available here.

Super early bird rates close on Friday for MobileTECH 2019.  Check out the keynote speakers for the annual event which showcases tech transforming the primary sector.

Have your say and share your views on policy!  Final submissions for the R&D Tax Incentive close 14 December.  MFAT submissions for a post-Brexit free trade agreement close 11 February, 2019.

Join the New Zealand pavilion at BIO 2019, celebrating globally important innovations in biotech.  Please register your interest with MBIE by 14 December.  

What does the future of New Zealand’s public sector look like?  Register to attend the Future Government Summit, 26-27 February, 2019 and help create a roadmap for the future.  Includes GovTech, tech trends, innovation and more.

Would you like to be involved in Techweek19?  Plan an event to inspire New Zealanders and build capability.   If you would like to be involved in the programme highlights, submissions close this week.

A new local report suggests that nearly one in five farmers is struggling to keep up with the pace of technological change and 80% of them are underestimating its effects.  Read more about emerging tech and the adoption lag here.  

In other news, “a trusted, secure digital identity is crucial for all New Zealanders,” said Minister Woods at the official launch of Digital Identity NZ last week.  Join the digital identity conversation here.    

Join the AI Forum at the 31st Australasian Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence this week in Wellington.  Applications for the AI Impact Challenge, helping solve some of the world’s biggest challenges close on 22 January.

Entries for the 2019 Hi-Tech Awards are now open!  Check out the categories and consider a nomination.  Save the date for the 2019 Gala Dinner on 24 May in Auckland, during Techweek19.

Agritech New Zealand is a membership funded organisation.  If you are not already a member, please consider joining us.  Have you been forwarded this newsletter?  Receive your own copy each month, simply subscribe here.  

Save these 2019 event dates; Tech Marketers conference on 28 February, AI-Day on 28 March and Techweek 20-26 May.