Meet the high tech engineers who are building a better place. Join the conversation in Christchurch on 25 May.
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Techweek NZ Headline Event

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As our lives become increasingly digital, our reliance on smart machines grows. But who's making those machines and how can those manufacturers ensure the production of new technologies has minimal negative impact on the world? New Zealand's high tech manufacturing sector is thriving, with innovators finding brilliant ways to turn unlikely materials into high value items, and to construct technology that is used in coveted products globally. Join us in Christchurch, the city of opportunity, and meet the New Zealand innovators who are building a better place.

  • Advanced Materials
  • Manufacturing
  • Nanotechnology
Techweek NZ Headline Event


New Zealand’s newest jewellery start-up is challenging the status quo, in more ways than one. Human Interface Jewellery’s ethos is to design products in a more environmentally and socially responsible way. Making only what is needed, by using the latest and most sustainable manufacturing technology in the world - 3D printing. Designs are user tested and voted on by an engaged community, to ensure people get the products they want and love. The first range is dedicated to women in tech, with software inspired minimal designs in titanium, silver and gold, giving a new spin to “wearable tech”.
Andrea has worked at Pegasus Engineering Limited for the last 8 years and is responsible for overseeing human resources for some 100 staff members. She is passionate about people and creating a champion team as opposed to a team of champions.
Brent is the person charged with leading AuCom Electronics to become the strategic partner of choice for significant global industrial brands. Known for their flexibility and engineering skill, AuCom is recognised as the world’s leading specialist in soft starters. With distributors in 46 different countries, they supply to112 countries globally. AuCom is a company dedicated to innovation and research.

Brett Cottle is CEO and Co-founder of Startup Manufacturing Tech company Vertigo
Technologies. He is passionate about creating manufacturing tech solutions that are accessibleto everyone. Brett’s studies in mechatronics led him to discover a niche market in affordable CNC desktop solutions. The first Vertigo CNC was manufactured in 2016 and has seen the company grow into a 400sqm workshop. Having sold 145+ Vertigo CNCs New Zealand wide the Vertigo team has grown to 10 employees. Brett’s passion for the provinces is why he started Vertigo Technologies in Westport. He believes Industry 4.0 and micro-factories can make a difference for those areas who have been impacted by a downturn in employment. Brett sees the Vertigo CNC as the beginning of a range
of tools that could be offered from the Vertigo Technologies workshop. Vertigo Technologies is currently gearing up to export to Australia and Canada and are looking for investment to move to that next stage.
Charlotte has recently joined Jade Software Corporation as CEO. Prior to joining Jade she has led global businesses in Health Technology, and Packaging & Print. Charlotte is an experienced company director, including current roles on the Board of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, and the Dodd Wall Centre for Quantum and Photonic Technologies. Outside of work she has three children and is an avid fan of new technologies and Jeeps.
David Chuter is CEO and managing director at the Innovative Manufacturing CRC (IMCRC) (, based in Melbourne. David is an experienced senior executive with a strong industry record in leading strategic business growth, operational management and change in the manufacturing sector. He is passionate about local industry and creating a stronger platform for the wider Australian manufacturing sector through catalysing investment in technology, innovation, collaboration and competitiveness. David has more than twenty-five years of international manufacturing experience, with much of this experience gained in the global automotive industry.
David joined the IMCRC in June 2016. Prior to this, he was CEO of MHG Asia Pacific from 2014, and a member of Futuris Automotive’s executive leadership team from 2001.
David holds a first-class Honours Degree in Manufacturing Engineering and Management from the University of Bath (UK), and is a Chartered Engineer with the Institution of Engineering and Technology.
David is a Director of the CRC Association ( and a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

David Downs is a General Manager at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), working with the Technology sector to help fast growing tech companies grow internationally. David has held various roles at NZTE, in the Services, Customer and Corporate Services teams.
David spent 13 years at Microsoft, in New Zealand and as regional director for South East Asia, and has set up and run successful businesses of his own. David is a published author on New Zealand Innovation, with two highly successful books – No.8 Re-wired, and No.8 Recharged. He’s a ex-comedian, TV and Radio actor, and a recent cancer conqueror.
Dieter has worked with a large number of New Zealand’s leading food and beverage exporters, as well as manufacturers in the agritech sector, helping them grow their export businesses.
Dr. Gareth Beckermann has a PhD in materials and process engineering from the University of Waikato, and is the Technical Manager at Revolution Fibres. He has experience with fibrous materials, nano-materials, advanced composites and polymers, and brings to the R&D team expertise in materials development, fabrication and testing. Dr. Beckermann’s experience in business development, project management, prediction modelling and performance evaluation of composites for use commercial aircraft provides the team with the skills necessary to develop materials for high end applications. Dr. Beckermann also provides technical support to customers, manages internal and customer specific product development projects as well as managing external collaborations.
Garry Diack's specialisations include strategic growth, performance improvement and effective governance. Prior to this role, he has assisted companies whose businesses include printing and media, primary industry, manufacturing and supply, and banking and finance.

Garry joined Tait as CEO in 2014. He also sits on the company board as Executive Director and earlier worked as a consultant to company founder Sir Angus Tait. It's now just a few months short of 50 years since Angus Tait shook off an earlier business failure and began again by registering the current Tait business. Sir Angus was our first ever recipient of the Flying Kiwi lifetime achievement award and one of the things he hoped to achieve through business was to encourage other technology enterprises to start and grow alongside Tait.
Henry has spent over half a decade leading the design and delivery of digital engagement for the world's top tier entertainment companies such as Disney, DreamWorks and Sony Pictures.

This background enabled Henry to found the global VRAR Studio 'Corvecto', specialized in delivering professional Virtual and Augmented Reality solutions from small to multi-billion dollar organisations around the world in all manner of industry sectors from aviation and construction through to medical and agriculture.

Henry is also a founding executive of New Zealand's 'EPIC Innovation', a collaborative eco-system business-housing model with two Innovation Campuses in New Zealand and involving partnership with Google, Cisco and multiple large NZ organisations.

Henry is frequently engaged by TVNZ (New Zealand's primary broadcast network) as their Go-To expert for speaking on subjects involving Innovation and Technology for national television, and is one of New Zealand's 7 faculty members of Singularity University.
Iain Hosie is CEO and co-founder of Revolution Fibres Ltd, a global leader in nanofibre production. He leads the innovation team, business development, sales and marketing activities of the business. Iain has a BSc (biochemistry) from Massey University, and has a working background in environmental health, government policy, product development and sales. Iain is a passionate advocate for nanofibre and its possibilities in many sectors; and is equally passionate about NZ Science and Innovation being commercialized in both domestic and international markets.
Jack Phillips is a trainee engineer working with Sutton Tools in Kaiapoi. After completing engineering intermediate at the University of Canterbury, Jack sought out a more practical form of education to give context to the knowledge he gained while at school and university. Jack is now learning from a skilled team of engineers who design and build cutting edge CNC machines from the bottom up.
After graduating with an undergraduate degree in food technology, Jim went on to work with a number of high profile multinational companies including Nestle, Amcor and more recently ASSA ABLOY. He has extensive experience across a wide range industries. Passionate about the future of manufacturing in NZ, he and his team are at the forefront of integrating new technologies in the manufacturing sector, particularly in the area of robotics. In 2012 Jim joined ASSA ABLOY and has helped develop a value proposition of mass customisation with lead times which are the best in industry. In his spare time he is unlikely to be reached on his mobile as he will either be 20 miles off the coast chasing big tuna and marlin or up a remote river flyfishing.
Biochemical engineer Lu Croft moved to New Zealand from Brazil to work in the food manufacturing industry. She discovered her passion in people and process management while improving the systems and training employees. In the last five years she got married, became a mother of two, completed her Masters in management and became a food manufacturing plant manager.
Having 25 years of operational excellence management and consulting experience across the globe, Nigel has worked with CEOs and senior leadership teams to develop and sustain a high-performing business culture. LMAC's consultants know the industry benchmarks and are experts in delivering sustainable, high performance business within a framework of change management and people engagement. Together we have developed unique approaches and engagement models for sustainability. LMAC is growing in reputation, and is now working in Europe, Australasia and Asia.
Olaf is an educator and a practitioner of product development with an excellent track record of developing innovative solutions to engineering problems. Over the past 30 years he has developed over 100 commercialised new products. He is a passionate follower of 3D printing (additive manufacturing).
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.
Rick Smith is the operations manager at Sutton Tools (NZ) Ltd and president of the Manufacturers Network. Sutton is a high-volume manufacturer of drill bits located in Kaiapoi North Canterbury. The company has 100 staff working over three shifts, five days per week, and producing tools from 1mm diameter to 32mm.
Richard grew up in Melbourne and was educated at Scotch College and Swinburne University where he completed a degree in Manufacturing Engineering. He started working for Sutton tools in Melbourne in 1984 and held the positions of production engineer and drill plant supervisor before transferring to NZ to take on the role of operations manager. The main focus of his work has been on smoothing workflow, reducing work in progress and shortening lead times. This is being achieved with a combination of lean practices and the introduction of automation.
Rick has been on the council of the New Zealand Manufacturers and Exporters Association (The Manufacturers Network) since 2003 and has been president since September 2016. He was part of the Manufacturers Network tour to Germany and the Industry 4.0 themed Hannover fair in April of 2017. Sutton Tools is currently in the process of introducing data gathering systems and collaborative robots in its New Zealand factory.
Robyn is the managing director of Alec Farrar Ltd, a family business established in 1931. Alec Farrar is a general engineering company with a foundry. Robyn's background is in business administration, sales and management. She's passionate about building a team that provides high quality products and service to the end user.
Roland is a passionate champion for electronics manufacturing in New Zealand. Working in the electronics industry in Christchurch since 1989, Roland is currently Plant Manager for TE Connectivity in Heathcote. He is a council member of The Manufacturers Network and is involved in a number of groups promoting high tech manufacturing as a career choice in schools. Roland holds an HND in Electronics, a PMP, and an MBA from Canterbury University. Outside of work Roland has a wife, 2 daughters and is a keen sailor.
Digital Marketing pioneer and founder of Plattar, dyslexic Rupert Deans grew up relying on visualisation to learn, understand and engage with the world.

This led him to create NZ’s first digital agency One Fat Sheep (OFS) based in Christchurch. The defining moment was when OFS created the world's first 3D Zombies Shooter on a pizza box for Hell Pizza, utilising augmented reality. It was the most downloaded app in NZ - over Facebook and Trademe - for a number of weeks in the app store.

Off the back of this, Rupert recognised the enormous potential of Augmented Reality (AR) to solve practical problems and set out to create a tool that would enable anyone to build their own AR experiences with ease. This led to the formation of Plattar. In April 2016 he successfully raised A$1.1 million in a seed funding round led by News Corp.
Since being founded in 2014, Plattar has established a blue chip client base in Australia, New Zealand and the US including Fortune 500 and ASX 100 companies.
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.

Dr Dowey is both the Technology Manager at Sutton Tools and a Senior Research Fellow at RMIT University, and works closely with the Australian Defence Materials Technology Centre. After serving in the Royal Air Force he gained a BEng and PhD from Hull University and worked with SCADA, PVD coating and associated equipment development for cutting tool and semi-conductor applications.

His current projects include ‘Additive Manufactured Tooling’, ‘Tooling for Robotic Applications’ and applied ‘Industry IoT’ (Factory-in-a-Box Project) in collaboration with DMTC.

Dr Dowey’s Industry 4.0 focus is on the ‘The Smart Enough Factory’, where the issues of legacy systems (cost), security and STEM skills are addressed to ensure the benefits of Industry 4.0 can reach SMEs, no matter where they are located.
Sue is a mechanical engineer, project manager and operations manager working in food and beverage manufacturing for over 20 years. She has led a number of capital projects to increase manufacturing capacity, as well as helping companies improve operational productivity, for example via simulation and modelling. She has been a key player in Beca’s journey in using virtual reality and augmented reality to bring about business benefits via better design outcomes, ease of construction and improved operability. Sue is currently leading Beca's Industrial Advisory brand, of which Industry 4.0 solutions are a significant part and will play an ever-increasing role going forward into the future.
Techweek NZ Headline Event


10.45am - 11.00am
Morning Tea
12.00pm - 1.30pm
12.45pm - 1.30pm
Start-up showcase
3.00pm - 3.15pm
Afternoon Tea
5.00pm - 6.30pm
Networking reception

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