Canterbury is one of New Zealand's strong up-and-coming tech hubs, according to Canterbury Tech, the industry body for Christchurch tech companies.
The NZTech Digital Nation report has fuelled the latest wave of encouragement and excitement in the industry, which says that Christchurch region is the country's second-largest manufacturing centre.
Canterbury Tech believes that the Christchurch rebuild, a clear strategy and a strong network, Canterbury has been positioned well to aid tech sector growth.
“The Canterbury tech sector contributes $2.4 billion worth of GDP and 14,837 jobs to the local economy and combines grassroots organisations with large technology companies to produce some of the best innovations in New Zealand," says Michael Trengrove, chair of Canterbury Tech.
Trengrove believes that now is the time for Canterbury to shine.
“We know our region’s growth slowed down after the earthquakes but that hasn’t meant the end of the tech sector in Canterbury. We have been forced to think differently and have built a stronger tech community that is committed to helping grow New Zealand’s economy.”
The Digital Nation report shows that even a 4% improvement in tech sector productivity will contribute $2.7 billion to New Zealand's economy, with Canterbury expected to account for $391 million, while Auckland will grow most at $1 billion.
Trengrove believes that the report shows that technology is important to economic growth, while a recommended digital strategy is a step in the right direction to nurture the tech industry.
“Technology impacts almost every aspect of our lives and is a very competitive global market. Growth of the Canterbury tech sector is important but it is equally as important for all regions to work together and share knowledge to help grow the nation’s economy," Trengrove says.
Trengrove believes that while Christchurch doesn't have the biggest tech sector, Canterbury's manufacturing history brings together some biggest multinationals, including Trimble New Zealand and Allied Telesis Labs.
Trengrove believes the upcoming Canterbury Tech summit will further establish national and international business partnerships, which plans to "bring together thought leaders and innovators to discuss what we can all do to prepare for the fourth industrial revolution – when emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics and nanotechnologies will impact every aspect of our lives.”
Canterbury Tech is a non-profit networking group, comprising more than 100 tech firms and 650 people. Members include ARANZ Medical, winner of the 2016 Hi-Tech Emerging Company of the Year and Orion Health, winner of the 2015 Hi-Tech Company of the Year.