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The Hutt Valley primed to be NZ's next tech hub

At the beginning of May the Hutt Valley is holding a public meeting to talk about the opportunities that technology presents, and how to turn the region in to a ‘Technology Valley’.

Christ Bishop, National List MP based in Hutt Valley, will host the meeting, which is set to take place on May 15 at The Mind Lab by Unitec.   

Bishop says, “We have a fantastic opportunity in the Hutt to build on our strengths and turn our city into a place where science, technology and high value manufacturing drive economic growth, new jobs and higher wages for Hutt residents.”

He says, “I’m really keen to raise the profile of the technology sector in the Hutt. I suspect very few people in the Hutt, let alone Wellington and the rest of New Zealand, would know that over 3,900 people across more than 825 Lower Hutt businesses are employed full-time in the high-tech sector, that the sector generates $473 million in GDP already, and Lower Hutt has the fourth largest number of people in NZ employed in medium high-tech manufacturing.”

On top of this, he says the Hutt Valley is also the home of institutions like Callaghan Innovation (the government’s hi-tech HQ), the Open Polytechnic, and WelTec. According to Bishop, the area has an agile and skilled workforce, good transport links, and plenty of land for development and is therefore ripe with opportunity.

On the meeting itself, Bishop says, “The meeting will be held at the Mind Lab in Petone, a highly appropriate venue. The Mind Lab is a hub for innovation and digital technology for children and teachers alike. It is initiatives like the Mind Lab that we need more of in the Hutt to make Technology Valley a reality.

“At the meeting we’ll be talking about some of the brilliant technology businesses we have in the Hutt, such as TIN 200 companies Fraser Engineering, Pertronic Industries, and Wedgelock Equipment, but also smaller companies like ASPEQ, Kaynemaile, Layer3, Sanpro, Stansborough, Dry Homes NZ, and many more.”

He says this event ‘nicely complements’ the Hutt Council’s upcoming STEMM Festival, and Lower Hut Mayor Ray Wallace will be one of the speakers at the event, along with Technology Valley chair Cr Chris Milne.

He says, “I’m keen to hear from the community about we take the concept of ‘Technology Valley’ forward. I’m passionate about growing the Hutt economy, and I’ve got my own ideas - but I’m keen to hear from the community about how we can get people behind the concept (particularly young people), raise our profile nationally and internationally, and celebrate our success. What steps do we need to take to drive Technology Valley forward?”

“I see my role as being a very public champion for 'Technology Valley' and working with the Council and inside government to make the concept a reality,” Bishop says.