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Artificial intelligence and robots draw hundreds of Kiwi entrepreneurs to innovation event

Hundreds of smart, ambitious and innovative Māori entrepreneurs spent this weekend focusing on how technology can help realise their business dreams.

The annual Matariki XPonential event, hosted by Callaghan Innovation featured a stellar line-up of established and emerging innovators.

The government innovation agency’s purpose is to help businesses succeed through technology by preparing Kiwi businesses for the future, thereby helping to make New Zealand more confident and successful as a country.

Vinnie Campbell, Callaghan Innovation group manager says, “In a world of increasingly fast-paced technological change, we need to embrace the future by encouraging more marriages between Māori and technology.”

The world is facing unprecedented technological change, with possibilities offered by artificial intelligence, robots, digitisation, bioengineering and other innovations.

Campbell continues, “We know that there are some highly successful Māori-hi-tech marriages, proving how Māori can not only survive but thrive into the future while maintaining their authenticity.

“We want to showcase some of these success stories, encourage others, prompt thinking and discussion about the possibilities, and work with many more Kiwi entrepreneurs.” 

“We want Kiwis front-footing this change.”

Five hundred attendees registered for the event in Rotorua which featured a line-up of some of New Zealand’s best-known innovators and entrepreneurs.

The event featured Cliff Curtis of Whenua Films, Ian Taylor of Animation Research and Rachel Taulelei of Kono NZ.

The speakers lead the way for innovation, in part by creating a mindset shift toward the role of technology.

Campbell saying, “Matariki XPonential is about providing opportunities to meet like-minded entrepreneurs, learn from one another, build connections, and offer attendees practical pathways to help them achieve business innovation success.

“We want to motivate and inspire business leaders to become more ambitious about their innovation, and provoke discussion about what exponential technology can do for Māori businesses and all Kiwi entrepreneurs.”

Māori business is a large and growing proportion of NZ’s economy, with a recent report estimating its worth at $50 billion.

Campbell said the potential to increase that through innovation and technology was clearly recognised by partners the Māori Women’s Development Incorporation and GHA.

“They are fantastic supporters and enablers of Māori business innovation, we’re delighted to have them alongside us.”

Callaghan Innovation is committed to helping grow the economy through services that nurture and challenge businesses, connect like-minds, help navigate innovation and open up funding channels.

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