Close

The big reveal: Rocket Lab takes out top prize at The New Zealand Innovation Awards

The very best of Kiwi innovation has been recognised again at the annual New Zealand Innovation Awards.

Over 700 people passionate about innovation came together to celebrate Aotearoa's most innovative organisations and individuals across all industries and specialities. The winners of the NZ Innovation Awards were announced at ANZ Viaduct Events Centre – 22 winners and 14 highly- commended awards across 12 industry categories and 8 business disciplines.

Rocket Lab was named the Bayer Supreme New Zealand Innovation for 2017. NZ Innovation Council interim CEO Craig Cotton said the win was just the latest example of a Kiwi company doing incredible things. "Each year we convene these awards to help recognise and celebrate the amazing stories of innovation, impact, and success from all over Aotearoa. We also aim for the awards to help join the dots within the innovation ecosystem to stimulate further connection, collaboration and creation of opportunities for our entrants, finalists and winners."

There;s more, too. “A record number of organisations and individuals entered this year, and the quality and standard was just incredible. We’ve unearthed some game-changing innovations, and we look forward to seeing them continue to win, grow and have fun, as they commercialise and succeed both locally and globally.”

Covering 12 industries, the winners show the diversity of NZ’s innovation and business ecosystem and range - from payroll and business administration solution, Simply Payroll to Māori cuisine pop-up dining experience, Hiakai. Social enterprises punched above their weight again this year – Organic Initiative (Oi) secured two awards – Excellence in Social Innovation and Innovation in Sustainability & Renewable Energy - for their safe, organic and sustainable feminine hygiene products. Oi’s co-founder Helen Robinson was also honoured as Most Inspiring Individual.

The Omega Lamb Project, winner of Innovation in Food & Beverage, highlighted the benefits of innovation through collaboration, as Te Mana Lamb was developed through a Primary Growth Partnership involving Alliance Group Limited, Headwaters and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Bayer New Zealand Managing Director Derek Bartlett was also wowed by the winners. “The future of New Zealand industries are in good hands with organisations like these leading their respective fields.”

Alongside Bayer, other foundation sponsors included us at Idealog, and the Innovation as a Service Fund powered by Westpac & All of Government.

Category sponsors include 3M, Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, Chorus, Equifax, Jade Software, James & Wells, KPMG, MOTAT, New Zealand Innovation Council, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, NZ Story, Plant & Food Research, RadioLIVE, Regus, Sovereign and Callaghan Innovation, alongside event sponsors including 90Seconds and DB Breweries.

Ok, enough from us. We know why you're reading this. Onto the winners.

*****

THE 2017 NEW ZEALAND INNOVATION AWARDS WINNERS ARE:

BAYER SUPREME NEW ZEALAND INNOVATION- Sponsored by Bayer New Zealand

WINNER: Rocket Lab - Auckland

The Rocket Lab has pioneered a kiwi space programme, with purpose-built rockets for regular commercial satellite launches.

Rocket Lab plans regular small satellite launches from Mahia Peninsula, opening access to space for many companies around the world. The Electron launch vehicle utilises 3D printing and ground-breaking technology to deliver satellites into orbit with high frequency. With its lightweight and advanced carbon composite construction and Rutherford engine, manufacture of the Electron is rapid and affordable. The Rutherford is also the world's first battery-powered rocket engine, using an entirely new electric propulsion cycle to drive its turbopumps.

Currently, small satellite companies wait years to get on orbit, often at the mercy and schedules of larger payloads in very expensive American launches. Rocket Lab can disrupt this small satellite market that can offers crop monitoring, natural disaster prediction, improved weather and maritime reporting, and search and rescue services from space.

*****

INNOVATION IN AGRIBUSINESS & ENVIRONMENT - Sponsored by Bayer New Zealand

WINNER: SPATnz – Next Generation Shellfish – Marlborough, Nelson and Tasman

SPATnz (Shellfish Production & Technology NZ) is developing commercial Greenshell mussel hatcheries with breeding programmes to increase the value of the product yield.

Greenshell mussel production is difficult and unreliable with its reliance on wild Greenshell mussel ‘spat’ which is notoriously sensitive to culturing. The challenge was to increase the survival odds when breeding and growing commercial quantities of mussels for market harvest. Wild spat was in short supply, but SPATnz’s hatchery now has guaranteed monthly spawning of around three billion mussel embryos. After nurturing they are transferred to the sea hatcheries. SPATnz’s sophisticated breeding programme allows for rapid gains in meat weight and in the development of specialised branded products, such as anti-inflammatory mussel oil for the bioactive market, with higher returns per kilo.

*****

INNOVATION IN DESIGN & ENGINEERING - Sponsored by James & Wells

WINNER: Rocket Lab - Auckland

The Rocket Lab has pioneered a kiwi space programme, with purpose-built rockets for regular commercial satellite launches.

Rocket Lab plans regular small satellite launches from Mahia Peninsula, opening access to space for many companies around the world. The Electron launch vehicle utilises 3D printing and ground-breaking technology to deliver satellites into orbit with high frequency. With its lightweight and advanced carbon composite construction and Rutherford engine, manufacture of the Electron is rapid and affordable. The Rutherford is also the world's first battery-powered rocket engine, using an entirely new electric propulsion cycle to drive its turbopumps.

Currently, small satellite companies wait years to get on orbit, often at the mercy and schedules of larger payloads in very expensive American launches. Rocket Lab can disrupt this small satellite market that can offers crop monitoring, natural disaster prediction, improved weather and maritime reporting, and search and rescue services from space.

*****

INNOVATION IN EDUCATION, TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT – Sponsored by Chartered Accountants Australia & New Zealand

WINNER: Linewize – Classwize – Canterbury

Linewize provides teachers with a dashboard that provides complete visibility and control over student internet usage in the classroom.

Linewize has developed an internet management service for schools that reduces the IT manager requirement and allows classroom teachers greater visibility and control over student usage. Linewize has rolled out in a number of New Zealand schools as well as schools in America and Botswana. Linewize allows teacher to monitor and control student web and app usage during class using a simple dashboard control. Linewize also allows teachers to view Chromebook screens, assist students who need help, reward students who are on-task and re- engage distracted students with immediate feedback on undesired behaviour. Linewize allows teachers to monitor all devices in a classroom including student mobile phones.

*****

INNOVATION IN FINANCIAL, PROFESSIONAL & PUBLIC SERVICES - Sponsored by Equifax

WINNER: Simply Payroll - Wellington

Simply Payroll aims to simplify Payroll processing via Smartphone app for the average small business.

Simply Payroll takes complicated payroll legislation and administration and simplifies it on a mobile app that allows payroll to be processed quickly and easily. Simply Payroll calculates wages, pays staff, sends payslips and reports, and files PAYE in just seconds. Payroll has traditionally been costly and time consuming for the small businessperson who has other things to do. Simply Payroll frees up time and reduces costs with their system. Data regarding tax returns and business management tools that improve staff planning are included in the user-friendly app.

*****

INNOVATION IN FOOD & BEVERAGE - Sponsored by Plant & Food Research

WINNER: The Omega Lamb Project – Alliance Group - Southland

The Omega Lamb Project has selectively bred the Te Mana Lamb, with micro-marbling of intramuscular fat for a superior flavour and cooking versatility.

Te Mana Lamb has been developed as part of The Omega Lamb Project, and is the result of transformational thinking about the end-product. Selective breeding, studies of types of pasture feed and grazing, and geographical environment have led to the development of a lamb with micro-marbling of Omega-3 fats through the lean muscle. The result is a flavoursome meat product with increased cooking versatility, improved texture and lower odour. Te Mana Lamb is reinvigorating the market for New Zealand lamb, both locally and internationally.

*****

INNOVATION IN HEALTH & SCIENCE – Sponsored by Chorus

WINNER: MARS Bioimaging - Canterbury

MARS Bioimaging has developed a spectral CT scanner that produces colour x-ray images with less radiation and lower costs than traditional CT scanning.

MARS Bioimaging has developed diagnostic imaging that quantifies molecular and anatomic elements and compounds and creates colour images at a fraction of the cost, time and radiation doses of traditional CT scanning. CT scans show structural information but the MARS Bioimaging provides 3-D molecular information about tissues. The preclinical scanner has produced outstanding results in molecular images of tumours, atherosclerosis, arthritic cartilage or drug delivery. Normal black and white CT scans cannot distinguish between different tissue densities, but the Medipix detector chip in the MARS scanner can make those distinctions, making it a better diagnostic tool. MARS Bioimaging can also assess levels of fat, water and inflammation, which aids in differentiating between cancer and normal fatty lumps.

*****

INNOVATION IN MAORI DEVELOPMENT – Sponsored by KPMG

WINNER: Hiakai - Wellington

Hiakai creates pop-up dining experiences that both educate and hero Māori cuisine and

cooking techniques.

Hiakai means to be hungry or having a craving for food. Hiakai explores Māori ingredients,

cooking techniques and traditional food combinations in new pop-up modern dining

experiences. Hiakai hosts intimate Māori dining experiences that allow guests to learn about the processes involved in Māori cooking techniques, and to learn more about the adaptive nature of Māori crop–growing and cuisine. Hiakai hopes to encourage an interest in Māori

cuisine and to generate a revival amongst young Māori chefs to utilise their cultural heritage in cooking.

*****

INNOVATION IN MEDIA, MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS – Sponsored by StopPress

WINNER: Escape my House – Fire and Emergency NZ - Wellington

Fire and Emergency NZ’s safety education, using interactive tools and videos, to motivate householders to plan escape routes in the event of a house fire.

Escape My House is an interactive 360 degree experience that takes place inside a real house fire. The Virtual Reality experience is accompanied with planning tools for making a fire escape plan for your own household. The Escape Planner Tool allows householders to walk around their homes with a phone that helps them identify barriers and safety hazards. The tool sends automated practice reminders to encourage people to hold fire drills at home. Fire safety is something many householders are complacent about, and Escape My House is doubling the numbers of people making a fire safety plan for their families. Escape My House is also receiving international interest from fire departments around the world.

*****

INNOVATION IN SUSTAINABILITY & RENEWABLE ENERGY – Sponsored by NZ Innovation Council

WINNER: Organic Initiative (Oi) - Auckland

The Organic Initiative (Oi) is creating organic and sustainable feminine hygiene products that are safer and more environmentally friendly.

The Organic Initiative (Oi) wants to revolutionise the hygiene market in order to remove plastic, chemicals and toxins from sanitary products. Existing products are often bad for women’s health and terrible for the environment. The goal is to create safer, organic products that are more sustainable and environmentally friendly for the billions of women around the world who regularly need these products. Oi products are biodegradable and recommended by doctors and midwives. The goal is to provide premium organic products at affordable prices.

*****

INNOVATION SYSTEMS & PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT – Sponsored by the Innovation as a Service Fund powered by Westpac & All of Government

WINNER: Halter - Auckland

Halter Ltd is a solar-powered cow collar that allows for virtual herding and stock management.

Halter Ltd has designed and produced a GPS-enabled, solar-powered cow collar that uses sound stimuli to manage cow health and movement. Halter links tablets and Smartphones allowing farmers to direct individual cow or whole herd movements. Controlling cattle location allows for controlled sustainable grazing and effortless herding for milking and paddock movement or drafting. The collar also monitors individual cow health, and alerts farmers to any concerns. A time-saving practical and analytic innovation that can support other agricultural technology and has the potential to transform grass-fed livestock industries.

*****

INNOVATION IN TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS – Sponsored by Jade Software

WINNER: Air New Zealand – Customer Innovation Programme - Auckland

Air New Zealand have introduced a range of technology innovations to improve customer service and satisfaction.

Air New Zealand have harnessed technology to create a range of customer care services. These include a personalised Inflight Entertainment system to allow customers to order beverages and food, to chat with other passengers or to purchase duty-free items. The system retains preferences for future journeys and queries can be answered by an AI chatbot. Lounge customers can automatically order coffee when they enter, reducing frustrating queues. The

Airband for child passengers has also enhanced security for unaccompanied minors. Air New Zealand is constantly innovating customer care and interaction to ensure their passengers feel valued.

*****

INNOVATION IN TOURISM & ENTERTAINMENT – Sponsored by Idealog

WINNER: GeoZone - Canterbury

GeoZone uses GPS data from a range of travel apps to analyse the movement and behaviour of independent tourists in NZ.

GeoZone collects data from a network of GPS-enabled travel apps with personalised branding from partner companies. The apps assist tourists in finding accommodation, activities, rental vehicles and route planning. By analysing the tourist GPS data, and data on credit card spending, GeoZone can identify trends, make recommendations, and better personalise the traveller experience as well as improving local marketing to independent tourists.

Understanding travel patterns in regional New Zealand helps central and local government to develop tourism destinations. GeoZone also provides safety and emergency assistance for tourists. During the Kaikoura earthquake, GeoZone delivered 3,000 notifications to tourists located within one kilometre of the coastline advising them of the tsunami warning.

*****

START-UP INNOVATION OF THE YEAR – Sponsored by NZ Story

WINNER: Burnsafe NZ – Disposal of Landmines and Unexploded Ordnance - Wellington

Burnsafe has created devices that safely neutralise unexploded landmines and ordnance without the use of explosives.

War zones have a humanitarian crisis in dealing with landmines and unexploded ordnance that often injure or kill civilians. Exploding them on site is damaging, and using armoured vehicles to relocate them safely is dangerous and costly. Burnsafe NZ have an alternative method, a non- explosive way of safely disposing of unexploded ordnance in situ. Repurposing century-old German welding technology, Burnsafe have created specially designed containers that burn and produce molten iron that melts the casing and burns out explosive content without exploding the device. The Burnsafe devices are safe, easy to use, can be transported by air, and do not contain hazardous materials.

*****

EMERGING INNOVATION OF THE YEAR – Sponsored by Regus

WINNER: MARS Bioimaging - Canterbury

MARS Bioimaging has developed a spectral CT scanner that produces colour x-ray images with less radiation and lower costs than traditional CT scanning.

MARS Bioimaging has developed diagnostic imaging that quantifies molecular and anatomic elements and compounds and creates colour images at a fraction of the cost, time and radiation doses of traditional CT scanning. CT scans show structural information but the MARS Bioimaging provides 3-D molecular information about tissues. The preclinical scanner has produced outstanding results in molecular images of tumours, atherosclerosis, arthritic cartilage or drug delivery. Normal black and white CT scans cannot distinguish between different tissue densities, but the Medipix detector chip in the MARS scanner can make those distinctions, making it a better diagnostic tool. MARS Bioimaging can also assess levels of fat, water and inflammation, which aids in differentiating between cancer and normal fatty lumps.

*****

EXPORT INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR – Sponsored by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE)

WINNER: ARANZ Geo – Leapfrog 3D Geological Modelling Software - Canterbury

ARANZ Geo’s Leapfrog software provides 3D geological modelling for geoengineering projects

around the world.

ARANZ Geo’s Leapfrog 3D geological modelling software for the mining, civil and environmental and renewable energy industries. The 3D models and visualisations improve geological understanding and enables critical time-sensitive decisions that reduce risk, cost and time. Tunnel construction, geothermal engineering, mining and other projects are all

benefitting from ARANZ Geo’s Leapfrog software, increasing safety and reducing costs for large scale projects. Complex data is underpinned with geological understanding to establish where to excavate, and to identify stable geology up to 400 metres underground, in a fraction of the

time that calculations used to take. ARANZ Geo’s Leapfrog software is being used in numerous countries, including Finland, where Leapfrog is helping determine safe locations for nuclear waste disposal.

*****

INNOVATION EXCELLENCE IN RESEARCH - Sponsored by Callaghan Innovation

WINNER: Avalia Immunotherapies – Synthetic Vaccines - Wellington

Avalia Immunotherapies develops vaccines that activate powerful immune cells in order to treat diseases.

Avalia Immunotherapies is an immuno-oncology company that develops vaccines that activate a family of immune cells called ‘Natural Killer T-Cells’ (NKT Cells) to trigger a powerful immune response to treat, and prevent, disease. Avalia focuses on therapeutic vaccines for the treatment of human papillomavirus (HPV), as the available prophylactic vaccines are ineffective against existing infections, and existing pre-cancer treatments are unsuitable for many individuals or lapse after a couple of years. Avalia triggers longer term anti-tumour immune responses in patients, making it more effective than other options. In many cases, HPV can be killed off by the body’s own natural immune response, and Avalia enhances that ability.

*****

EXCELLENCE IN SOCIAL INNOVATION – Sponsored by Sovereign WINNER: Organic Initiative (Oi) - Auckland

The Organic Initiative (Oi) is creating organic and sustainable feminine hygiene products that are safer and more environmentally friendly.

The Organic Initiative (Oi) wants to revolutionise the hygiene market in order to remove plastic, chemicals and toxins from sanitary products. Existing products are often bad for women’s health and terrible for the environment. The goal is to create safer, organic products that are more sustainable and environmentally friendly for the billions of women around the world who regularly need these products. Oi products are biodegradable and recommended by doctors and midwives. The goal is to provide premium organic products at affordable prices.

*****

DISRUPTIVE & BREAKTHROUGH INNOVATION – Sponsored by the Innovation as a Service Fund, powered by Westpac and All of Government

WINNER: Flick Electric Co. - Wellington

Flick Electric Co. has disrupted the electricity supply model by giving consumers the tools to switch their usage based on price and demand.

Flick Electric Co. has developed a disruptive retail model, through the use of proprietary technology and customer tools, that allows for the purchase of wholesale market electricity in real time. Flick Electric Co breaks down customer bills and allows consumers to track their usage and spending while saving the average household hundreds of dollars per annum. The app, CHOICE, also gives consumers information about the carbon impact of the electricity they are sourcing so that they can make environmentally conscious decisions about their consumption and usage.

*****

YOUNG NEW ZEALAND INNOVATOR – Sponsored by MOTAT

WINNER: Samantha Jones – Little Yellow Bird - Wellington

Samantha Jones is the founder and CEO of Little Yellow Bird, a manufacturer of ethical uniforms and corporate workwear. Samantha gained degrees in Commerce and International Security, and worked as a Logistics Officer with the Air Force, before starting Little Yellow Bird. Samantha was an expert in supply chains who had a goal to assist people in developing countries with Fair Trade business. As a company, Little Yellow Bird focuses on conscious consumption and ensures that everything is sourced ethically and at a fair price. The company repurposes and recycles everything to ensure a low carbon footprint. Little Yellow Bird has a focus on sustainability and transparency through the supply chain and manufacturing process that reassures customers. Samantha has been a guest motivational speaker at many seminars throughout the year and inspires with her focus on sustainability and ethical design, manufacture and distribution.

*****

MOST INSPIRING INDIVIDUAL – Sponsored by 3M

WINNER: Helen Robinson – Organic Initiative (Oi) - Auckland

The Organic Initiative (Oi) is creating organic and sustainable feminine hygiene products that

are safer and more environmentally friendly.

The Organic Initiative (Oi) wants to revolutionise the hygiene market in order to remove plastic, chemicals and toxins from sanitary products. Existing products are often bad for women’s health and terrible for the environment. The goal is to create safer, organic products that are more sustainable and environmentally friendly for the billions of women around the world who regularly need these products. Oi products are biodegradable and recommended by doctors and midwives. The goals is to provide premium organic products at affordable prices.

*****

PEOPLE’S CHOICE – Sponsored by RadioLIVE

WINNER: Punarau Media – Pipi Mā – Bay of Plenty

Pipi Mā has produced a range of Te Reo Māori speaking and singing plush dolls for New

Zealand children.

Pipi Mā have created four plush dolls that speak and sing in Te Reo Māori. The dolls come with

bilingual language learning cards and cover pre-schooler basics like colours and learning to

count. The packaging of the Pipi Mā range of dolls reflects Māori heritage with a wharenui box design and Te Reo Māori instructions. New Zealand children deserve an authentic

representation of themselves in toy form, and it is hoped that the Pipi Mā dolls will help to normalise Te Reo Māori, outside of classroom settings, for all kiwi children. The Pipi Mā characters will also become an animated, full immersion cartoon for pre-schoolers this year.