Creative New Zealanders are using artificial intelligence, blockchain and augmented and virtual reality to change the way we see the world. See through their eyes in Wellington on 24 May.
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Techweek NZ Headline Event

What's it all about?

Technology is rapidly changing the way we live and work, and New Zealand's creative industries are filled with innovative thinkers and tinkerers who are searching for ways to solve some of the world's biggest challenges using artificial intelligence, blockchain, augmented and virtual reality and the internet of things as creative tools. Join us in Wellington on 24 May and meet the innovators who are inventing a better future.

Hosted by comedian and actor Josh Thomson, Creative Realities is so much more than just a conference — featuring interactive displays, performances, workshops, thought-provoking panels and keynote presentations from industry-leading companies including Weta Digital, Soul Machines, IBM and so many more. See below for the full schedule.


  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Augmented Reality
  • Creative
  • Gaming
  • Virtual Reality
Techweek NZ Headline Event


Abhi is the CEO and founder of Titan Ideas Ltd. An award-winning lecturer and innovator, he is a multi-dimensional creative focused on re-imagining storytelling and education using the latest emerging technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality. With a passion for storytelling and design thinking, Abhi adores the myths and legends that accommodate differing cultures from all around the world and is currently telling these stories through Zippy’s Tales.

Zippy’s Tales is a multi-platform storytelling experience that spans multiple AR and VR apps and platforms developed at Titan Ideas Ltd. Zippy’s mission is to empower children with life lessons from cultural stories using storytelling, gamification, and new emerging technologies.
Ana grew up in Almaty, Kazakhstan and from a very young age she showed a flair for entrepreneurship by starting her first business with classmates while still in high school. Fast-forward a few years - and several university degrees - and her passion for all things digital, combined with her love of visual art, led her to co-found Excio, a mobile technology company. Her ‘eureka’ moment came when she realised how underused mobile home screens are and how they could be used to enrich people’s lives. Ana believes that the three "ds" – drive, determination and dreams – are key to determining how successful someone becomes and regardless of your background anything is possible.
Anders recently joined Weta Digital as a Visual Effects Supervisor, and has recently completed his first project at the company - the critically acclaimed CG blockbuster War for the Planet of the Apes.

Prior to joining Weta, Anders was a Visual Effects Supervisor for 13 years at MPC. He has 17 film credits to his name including X-Men: Apocalypse, Wrath of the Titans, and X-Men: Days of Future Past, which earned him a BAFTA nomination. In 2016, he was nominated for Best Visual Effects at the Academy Awards® for his work on The Martian.

Anders has an enduring interest in the science of visual effects, and is the creator of a complete, production orientated, physically plausible shader library for Arnold called alShaders. The alSurface has received a lot of attention and allows the user to recreate most surface qualities including, metallic, transparent, reflective, and even sub surface skin detail.

Anders has a degree in Computer Visualization and Animation from Bournemouth University. He is currently working as a Visual Effects Supervisor on Alita: Battle Angel.
Angela Littlejohn is head of production at Pukeko Pictures. Prior to returning to New Zealand in 2000, Angela spent 15 years in the UK working in the film and television industry. She acted for six years as Drama Co-Production Executive at Channel 4 and Film4. Films made during her tenure included Trainspotting, Secrets and Lies, Brassed Off, Welcome to Sarejevo and Ken Loach’s Carla’s Song. TV Drama included Queer as Folk, Anna Karenina, Sword of Honour, Longitude and Shackleton.
Since returning to New Zealand she has produced feature films Show of Hands, Apron Strings and Separation City. She co-produced Channel 4’s BAFTA winning Not Only But Always and NZ on Air Platinum Funds tele-features Tangiwai, Rage, Pirates of the Airways, Field Punishment and drama series Harry. Her latest film Slow West starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Ben Mendelsohn won the World Cinema Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015. Angela has been an active member of the screen industry in NZ and has served on the NZ SPADA board for a number of years and worked as a freelance consultant for the New Zealand Film Commission.

Ben Markby is a designer and art director, providing innovative user experience and design solutions for brands such as Disney, Microsoft, Samsung and Honda. His love for gaming saw him co-found gaming and alternate reality experience company, Oddboy, with Tom Bellamy. The team works to cultivate original IP and see this through to publication. Having launced Jrump and the AR game Catty Crush, the duo are now focused on two main titles for launch in 2018: multi-player, mobile battle arena game “Kabashians”; and VR time-travel adventure series, Wanderer.
Ben Dunn is CEO and co-founder of Swibo, an award-winning Wellington startup which exists to help people do the exercises that keep them healthy by turning them into fun and engaging games. Ben is an entrepreneur, engineer, and advocate for the benefit of video games in health and education.
Cathy Stinear is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Auckland. She’s a clinical neuroscientist, developing new tools for predicting and promoting recovery after stroke. She’s also part of the Creative Thinking Project, with an interest in the neurobiology of creativity. Where in the brain does the a-ha moment happen? Are the brains of highly creative people different from other people’s? Can you learn to be more creative? Can artificial intelligence be creative? These are some of the big questions that neuroscience is helping to answer.
Christine Losecaat is a results driven and internationally experienced senior business strategy, marketing and communications specialist. As CEO of specialist consultancy, Little Dipper, she effectively conceives and delivers well-received international strategies, initiatives, programmes and events for clients in the public and private sector. She is a seasoned speaker and event facilitator.

Her commercial background is firmly rooted in the creative industries with in-depth experience across many subsectors at senior executive level from advertising to music, children’s animation to design. Prior to founding Little Dipper, Christine worked as Managing Director of The British Design Initiative and as International Marketing Director Video at global entertainment giant BMG.

Christine is an Emmy® award winning producer, a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts, an Honorary Fellow of the British Institute of Interior Design and in 2016 was awarded Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to the creative industries in the UK.

Christine has a successful track record of translating policy into results and her work has contributed significantly to the UK’s soft power internationally. She spent a decade working with the UK government as creative industries adviser, where she drove the development and implementation of the international strategy for the sector. Other programmes she has been directly responsible for creating and delivering include the Prime Minister’s business programme at the London 2012 Olympics and the recent multi-award-winning UK participation at Milan Expo 2015 and Astana Expo 2017 which between them alone have delivered over £15bn economic value to the UK economy to date.

Christine is currently working on the new annual thought-leadership event, Createch2018, for the UK’s Creative Industries Council; as marketing and strategy consultant to London South Bank University and on the UK’s presence at the World Expo Dubai 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

In the voluntary sector she is Chair of Advance, a charity that supports women and their children who have experienced domestic violence. She is also on the board of Peace Child International who aim to improve the livelihoods of young people in the developed and developing world through employability and entrepreneurial training.
Cynthia is passionate about entrepreneurship, technology and the growth of the creative industries and has 20 years’ experience in Australia, New Zealand and the USA providing business support for early stage creative startups.

During TechweekNZ Cynthia is launching the Creative Business Cup for New Zealand startups, a pitching competition to find and celebrate New Zealand's best creative startups and connect them to investors and global markets.

As programs manager for University of Technology Sydney, she led a range of innovative multi-disciplined projects covering virtual reality, robotics, blockchain, artificial intelligence, journalism, and health-tech. While at QUT Creative Enterprise Australia she curated the Creative 3 Forum, established the Creative Business Cup for Australia, and worked closely with founders, investors, and governments, to deliver business development programs for entrepreneurs in fashion, entertainment, music, film and television, design and games.

A trained psychologist with more than 20 years of clinical practice and research in play theory, Denise Chapman Weston is a “Playologist”: an expert in the science of play and engagement.
Dil has been leading Operations at Parrot Analytics since the beginning of its journey. She comes from a science and technology commercialization background, and has helped grow the team and its operations to date. In 2015, she was named one of NZ’s Entrepreneurial Winning Women by EY and was more recently one of Idealog’s Most Creative People’s Choice Winner for Digital in 2017. During her tenure with Parrot Analytics, she also received a Diane Foreman Scholarship to attend the visiting faculty of Darden Business School’s (University of Virginia) executive programme in New Zealand in 2016. She also served as an intern on the Board of NZTech and is currently highly involved as a member of NZTech TechWomen executive council.
Dylan is an award-winning industrial designer with a talent for applying innovative 3D design processes to existing companies. At present he is a costume designer working in 3D/VR for Cirque Du Soleil. Previous clients have included Whittakers, Panhead, ANZ and Air New Zealand. This industry diversity means he can identify unique and alternative design workflows.
Frances Valintine (CNZM) is a thought-leader in emerging and disruptive technologies and has 20 years’ experience across business, technology and education. She is the founder of The Mind Lab and Tech Futures Lab.
G. Thomas Esmay is a New York-based filmmaker & educator. He has worked on a variety of documentaries, live broadcasts, and short films, including the Susan Sarandon-produced Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story; BBC Politics’ live coverage of the 2015 UK general election, and a sci-fi short shot entirely in an abandoned nuclear power plant. Prior to his career in entertainment, Esmay taught mathematics. Esmay most recently worked at a large talent agency, but left to join the blockchain revolution and bring the transparency and logic of mathematics to the entertainment industry. He presently serves as SingularDTV’s director of business development.
Giovanni is the Cloud Integration Leader for IBM New Zealand. He's been working as a software technical specialist for the last 18 years and has deep experience in DevOps and Cloud, Microservices architectures, and Docker technology. #NeverStopLearning is his motto. Giovanni is the go-to- guy for all things IBM Cloud, rapid prototyping, and application development.
Hon David Parker grew up and studied in Dunedin, graduating with a BCom/LLB from the University of Otago. He had a long career in business and law before being elected to Parliament as Labour Member of Parliament in the former electorate of Otago in 2002.
In his earlier years, David was a managing and litigation partner in South Island law firm Anderson Lloyd. He was also involved in many businesses, including innovative bio-tech export start-ups A2 Corporation, BLIS Technologies, Botryzen and Pharmazen, as well as in more traditional industries. He is an experienced CEO and company director.
David was appointed to Cabinet in 2005, and served as Minister of Energy, Climate Change, Transport, State Services, Attorney-General, and Land Information under Helen Clark’s Government. In Opposition, he served as Deputy Leader, Shadow Attorney General, and in Finance, Economic Development and various other roles. His focus has always been, and remains, on delivering prosperity and fairer economic outcomes for all New Zealanders.
David has three children, and spends time in his hometown of Dunedin, and in Auckland with his partner Barbara.
Isuru Fernando is the Analytics and Artificial Intelligence Leader for IBM New Zealand. Globally, Isuru has extensive experience working with leading organisations on technology and economic disruption.
Jeremy Hall is Pukeko Pictures' head of digital content and strategy. He is an award winning producer, with over 25 years executing and creating global animation content. Jeremy has international experience in USA, UK, Europe, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China. Jeremy was profiled at MIPCOM 2012 as a major producer from Singapore in original animated content. A technical pioneer, Jeremy began in the industry developing the first, Academy Award winning, digital film compositing system at Computer Film Company, heralding the beginning of digital CGI effects. Jeremy has always been at the forefront of film technology, aiding the development of digital intermediate, and helped to create and define the process to shoot full-length live action features in digital 3D stereo, leading to the advent of stereoscopic feature film production and paving the way for 3D cinema.

Jeremy has worked for Jim Hensons Creature Shop in the UK and was a founder of One Animation in Singapore where he developed and produced original animated television series and award winning ‘Rob The Robot’, ‘Oddbods’ and ‘The Insectibles’.

Jesse is extremely passionate about entrepreneurship and innovation. He is currently the CEO of Vaka Interactiv, a company focussed on developing innovative storytelling technology that aims to deliver deep impact across a broad range of audiences
Jessica Manins is CEO of interactive VR/AR studio Mixt, and cofounder of PROJECTR® New Zealand’s virtual and mixed reality centre. She led the establishment of The New Zealand VR/AR Association and was a 2017 finalist in the Wellingtonian of The Year science and technology category.

Previous regional director of BizDojo and chief customer officer at StarNow, Jessica is right at the vanguard of new delivery technology. She is the lead on a cutting edge research and development project on VR therapy, working with The Breast Cancer Foundation, and is passionate about the use of transformative technology in healthcare.

Jessica is involved in a number of initiates to support entrepreneurs and bring together the tech and creative sector. She partnered with Techweek to deliver Creative Realities.
Josh Thomson is a Timaru born actor and comedian from sturdy South Island and even sturdier Tongan Island Stock. He studied Theatre and Film at the University of Otago.

Josh arrived in Auckland to do stand-up comedy and appeared in a couple of Pulp Comedy episodes, but quickly took up acting.

He's graced the small screen in some iconic commercials and several TV series such as Terry Teo, Hounds, Coverband, is the voice of the tubby ginger kid in Barefoot Bandits and apeared larger than life on the big screen playing the titular role of Gary in Gary of the Pacific. Netflix show The New Legends of Monkey in which he plays core character Pigsy starts on our screens 20 April 2018.

After recently wrapping on THREE's The Project to pursue other opportnities Josh continues to work as an actor, MC and comedian. He's toured with NZ's best comedians from 7Days doing stand up as well as performing the 7Days:Live show the length of the country.
Liz MacPherson is a public servant with 24 years experience, including a decade working at senior leadership level in the public sector. The breadth and scope of Liz’s experience brings a new perspective to her role as the Government Statistician. Liz is passionate about evidence-driven decision-making and sees her role is to ensure New Zealand decision-makers at all levels have access to quality information.
Before joining Statistics NZ, Liz held several senior roles over a 20-year period at the Department of Labour, the Ministry of Economic Development (MED), and more recently the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).
Mahera, a year 9 student at Newlands College, became interested in becoming a developer via her intermediate digital design course. When given the opportunity to create her own learning brief, she chose to teach herself how to use Unity, a professional developer’s tool. She was undaunted by the complexity of the program. Her passion for this work won her an invitation to join the MiniDevs, a small group of Newlands Intermediate students working with developers from Theta’s Innovation Lab to create a sandbox platform for the HoloLens. Mahera’s contributions were both creative and invaluable in determining the direction of that project.

Mahera returns to Newlands Intermediate each week to continue her work with the MiniDevs as they expand their platform for Mixed Reality on headsets, tablets, phones and computers.

In her free time, Mahera enjoys exploring various aspects of tech design and development. She aspires to make it her professional path.
Mario Wynands is the managing director and co-founder of PikPok, a leading games publisher across mobile, tablet, and desktop. In his 21 years at the New Zealand based company, he has led the studio, built a successful game portfolio, and overseen the creation of many engaging console titles including Shatter®, GripShift®, and Speed Racer The Videogame, as well as multiple hits in the mobile space including the Flick Kick® series, the Into the Dead® franchise and the BAFTA nominated Super Monsters Ate My Condo. Wynands is a graduate of Victoria University in Wellington with degrees in business management and computer science, and has studied at MIT Sloan.
Michael has had CEO roles in Australia, New Zealand and India for the past 15 years, running divisions of international media companies.

In addition to CEO roles, Michael has moved through the corporate ranks holding sales and marketing positions and has had responsibility for multiple supply chain and distribution units. Michael has focussed on strategic development and building business capability to deliver growth domestically and internationally; organically as well as through acquisition. In his corporate life he is recognised as someone able to help change happen, and for his capacity to see opportunities outside accepted wisdom.

Michael is the chair of New Zealand Beachhead Advisors and has been a member of a number of industry and not for profit boards and advisory panels as well as executive boards both in Australia, India and New Zealand.
Peter has 30 years of experience in design thinking and design practice, working in NZ, the UK and in Luxembourg. He is a director of phd3, a design integration coach on the NZTE Better by Design programme, past Graphics Convenor of the Best Design Awards and a Fellow of the Designers’ Institute of NZ. He is also chair of the advisory committee for the AUT Communications Design program.
Sam specializes in building revenue pathways for Fortune 500 entertainment companies and their subsidiary tech, content and creative media divisions, as well as supporting tech media-related start-ups looking to move into the US. She has worked with and for NBC Universal, Lionsgate, Tribeca Enterprises, Viacom and Aardman Animation Studios in the US and in the UK. Sam launched one of the first streaming video on demand film services in the US, she is a board director, investor, a Beach Heads Advisor for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (US), an Associate of the BAFTA VR Council and a recipient of the Berlin School of Creative Leadership EMBA ‘Women in Media’ Scholarship.
StretchSense excels at designing and manufacturing custom soft and stretchy sensors. Sarah manages the team that not only does all custom design and integration work, but also the teams that develop the manufacturing lines and the team that protects the intellectual property created by such research. With a focus on the wearable technology market, an obvious future direction is the measurement of our animal companions.
Sarah’s role with NZ Story is to show how businesses can leverage their connection to New Zealand to create relationships with distributors & consumers alike. She brings with her a wealth of experience in B2B Marketing – both in Europe and New Zealand. She has worked with corporates and small start-up businesses and understands the importance of building positive relationships and providing great customer experiences. On weekends Sarah can be found on either a mountain bike, sail boat, horseback or tramping on her own two feet; basically anything that results in exploring the great outdoors.
Sarah’s role with NZ Story is to show how businesses can leverage their connection to New Zealand to create relationships with distributors and consumers alike. She brings with her a wealth of experience in B2B Marketing – both in Europe and New Zealand. She has worked with corporates and small start-up businesses and understands the importance of building positive relationships and providing great customer experiences. On weekends Sarah can be found on either a mountain bike, sail boat, horseback or tramping on her own two feet; basically anything that results in exploring the great outdoors.
A technology and media professional, with senior expertise in Licensing, Consumer Products, Marketing and Chief Executive roles across Music, Film and Television, and Technology industries in the UK and NZ.

In 2013 she was an award winner at the NZ Hi-Tech Awards and the NZ Innovation Awards. As well, named the 2014 New Zealand Women’s Entrepreneur Award Winner, for the Creative Industries. She is also an award winning Children’s book author, with copies of her series published in 4 different countries and 5 languages.

Shona has held the top advocacy position as the 'Executive Chair of the Auckland Screen and Digital Content Leadership group' and 'Executive Director of the NZ Screen Directors Guild'.

Her current role as Director of Licensing and Consumer Business Development at Soul Machines is an incredible opportunity to bring together all her experience and learnings from the Creative and Tech Industries. Pushing boundaries in ways which people engage with this fast emerging, mind-blowing technology.
As managing director of InGame, Stephen Knightly applies the power of interactive gaming to healthcare, education and corporate training projects. He is also Secretary of the NZ Game Developers Association, NZ's fastest-growing creative tech export, and on the WeCreate Steering Group.
Sue Suckling assists companies, organisations and individuals to clarify their purpose and strategy to deliver success, including how to respond to new technologies and disruption. This is both through her work as a professional director in commercial and government sectors, as well as independent consulting.
Sue has undertaken reviews for some of NZ's most significant departments and Ministries to best position them for effective future contribution to NZ citizens.
Sue is currently the Chair of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, Callaghan Innovation Research Limited, Jacobsen Holdings Limited, the Lincoln Hub Establishment Board, ECL Group Limited and Jade Software Corporation Limited. Previous governance roles include chairing NIWA, AgriQuality Limited, and as a director of Restaurant Brands Limited, Westpac Investments Limited and the New Zealand Dairy Board. She holds an OBE for her contribution to New Zealand business. Sue is an inaugural Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Directors and a Companion of the Royal Society of New Zealand.
Techweek NZ Headline Event


11.00am - 11.20am
Morning Tea
3.00pm - 3.15pm
Afternoon tea
5.00pm - 6.30pm
Networking function sponsored by WREDA

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