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Compac tops the hi-tech tables

Compac tops the hi-tech tables

Its technology helps sort the best of our product for export, and with a massive new deal in California, the night belonged to Compac Sorting Equipment at Friday's NZ Hi-Tech Awards. 

Described by judges as "the Rolls Royce of its industry" with a "laser-focused priority on market-driven R&D", Compac took the evening's top award, the PwC NZ Hi-Tech Company of the Year – plus the NZMEA Hi-Tech Exporter prize.

The night kicked off with MC Brett Rutledge urging us to get our phones out and tweet the night away (and of course, we obliged. You can see our tweets and follow @idealogmag here).

Super minister Steven Joyce also made a quick speech singing the praises of the $20 billion tech sector and the importance of innovation to the largest crowd the awards has ever drawn.

Diversity was a recurring theme across the awards, the winners including Car Parking Technologies from Cambridge, Palmerston North-based agritech company Grasslanz Technology and Christchurch's wall climbing robot manufacturer Invert Robotics.

Auckland company Booktrack, which produces soundtracks for e-books, won two tightly contested categories: the Innovative Software Product and Most Innovative Mobile Technology Awards.

NZ Hi-Tech Trust chair Wayne Norrie said that despite a low public profile, the local and international success of the Hi-Tech Awards continues to grow.

"This year we have had no problem attracting sponsors, entrants or high-profile judges," he said.

"Our 11-strong international judging panel included original Facebook investor and Paypal founder Peter Thiel; the director of engineering for Google in New York, Craig Nevill-Manning; and Cisco's senior vice president, Howard Charney. It is a credit to the high standard of the technology we produce in New Zealand that we can attract such a prestigious judging line-up year after year."

Winners:

Company of the Year - Compac Sorting Equipment

Emerging Company - Biomatters

Startup Award - Invert Robotics

Most Innovative Emerging Agritech - Grasslanz Technology

Most Innovative Mobile Technology - Booktrack

Hi-Tech Services Product Award - Car Parking Technologies

Most Innovative Hi-Tech Hardware Product - Enatel Motive Power (Highly Commended - Vesper Marine)

Most Innovative Hi-Tech Software Product - Booktrack

Hi-Tech Exporter of the Year - Compac Sorting Equipment (over $5m) and Xero (under $5m)

Best Contribution by a Multinational - IBM

Young Achiever of the Year - Robert Bell, KlickEx