Techweek originally begun as part of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development's (ATEED) Innovation Programme in TechweekAKL in 2016. That first year, 55 events held in Auckland were attended by 10,000 people, proving the demand was there for a week dedicated to celebrating New Zealand’s tech prowess, as well as educating New Zealanders on new technologies.
In 2017, TechweekAKL became a nationwide annual festival called TechweekNZ, while events continued to spread across the country, with 287 events spread across 24 locations, and more than 20,000 New Zealanders getting involved.
And in 2018, the festival’s size is a testament to technology now underpinning all business sectors. In Auckland alone, the technology sector contributes almost $8 billion a year in GDP and supports more than 47,000 jobs.
With technology being a key driver in New Zealand's long-term economic growth, ATEED's goal is to help build on the strength of the tech sector, as the region works towards becoming a major innovation hub of the Asia-Pacific.
TechweekNZ 2018 is the largest year on record, with more than 470 events taking across the country in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Taranaki, Palmerston North, Tauranga, Gisborne and further afield.
“It just shows how people want to participate and collaborate and get involved in technology, which is wonderful,” ATEED’s Pam Ford says.
But more importantly, she says Techweek’s continued expansion has allowed for a more inclusive spread of events. This year, there is a key focus on underrepresented groups in tech, such as women in tech, children in tech and Māori and Pacific people.
This also plays into the festival’s overarching theme of ‘Innovation for the good of the world’.
Events catering to this include the DIGMYIDEA Ideation Weekend, TECHquality: Women at the forefront of technology and Southtechweek18-XLR8, which aims to increase the potential of young Māori and Pacific people in the digital innovation space through workshops and activations.
“All of those other events are happening anyway – people working and wanting to learn about bitcoin or blockchain or AR/VR, through corporate or industry-type entrepreneurial events – but being able to introduce a programme that includes those themes [women, kids and Māori and Pacific people in tech] is a testament to the maturity of Techweek,” Ford says.
“Also, from a big picture point-of-view, if you think of the future of work and how in 10 years’ time, 40 percent of the current jobs are going to be different jobs because of impact of technology. To me, it’s why we need things like these festivals – to get young people interested and playing with robots or learning about AI or participating in hackathons – because of the future.”
Another new addition to Techweek’s roster is an event called Govtech, which Ford says may sound boring, but is actually a fascinating look at how entrepreneurs can access council-held data and come up with technology-based solutions, such as how to make their commute to work better.
She says she hopes people come away from Techweek either inspired to do something in technology or with technology, or to learn more about technology.
“The key point is it’s so satisfying and encouraging to see how Techweek’s grown so rapidly in a very short space of time, it shows how tech orientated we are as a city and a national community,” she says.
“Every festival, we uncover amazing things people are doing. That’s the exciting part, being able to tell those stories during or after the event. Out of the very first Techweek, we opened the AR/VR Garage in Auckland for start-ups, so who knows what might come out of this one.”
Some of the highlights to check out at Techweek 2018:
Check back for stories on these events in the coming days.
Good for the World Open Days
The Good for the World Open Days are being held on Monday 21 and Tuesday 22 May, and feature New Zealand thought leaders and innovators discussing the importance of innovation that’s good for the world, and the role that New Zealand has to play in harnessing new technologies to create a better world for future generations and its driving force – solving global problems. T
KIWITECH – Creating New Zealand Tech Stories
As part of Auckland’s Good for the World Open Days, O’Halloran North Shore are hosting local and international guests with an opportunity to hear some of the best Kiwi tech stories on Tuesday 22 May. The founders of New Zealand’s high growth tech firms will speak about how they have managed to expand internationally and raise capital along the way, while maintaining a focus on building a Kiwi company.
TECHquality: Women at the forefront of Technology
TECHquality is a forum for notable women at the forefront of innovation to share their professional stories and personal insights about what it’s like being a woman in the technology industry.
Southtechweek18-XLR8 is an event organised by The Southern Institute (TSI) which aims to capture the potential of young Māori and Pasifika in the digital innovation space and provide an avenue for them to learn, participate and be inspired through a series of workshops and activations in South Auckland during Techweek 2018.
Sport Performance Innovation Forum 2018
From determining the optimum starting position for an 100-metre spring, to developing the fastest boats – innovation has always been at the head of sport. Auckland’s annual Sport Performance Innovation Forum held on Wednesday 23 May will be showcasing the latest cutting-edge sports performance businesses and leading research from around New Zealand.
Govtech: Auckland Council's data is open for business
This breakfast session is being hosted by ATEED on Thursday 24 May and will explain how entrepreneurs can access Council-held data to develop valuable technology-based solutions to better serve Auckland’s ratepayers. A series of speakers will discuss their various projects that are using Council data to build tech solutions for Aucklanders.
Techweek AKLgamedev Meetup – Games in Te Reo & Māori History
This meet-up focuses on how animation, gaming and AR/VR are contributing to educating audiences on subjects such as diversity, Māori culture and mental health hosted by Stephen Knightly from NZGDA.
The full Techweek 2018 line-up can be found here.
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