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NZ’s Biggest-Ever Celebration of Innovation

NZ’s Biggest-Ever Celebration of Innovation Gets Underway

Urgent Call For Commercial Innovation Starts NZ Innovation Festival 2005

Wellington, 27 April 2005 – New Zealand’s biggest-ever celebration of Kiwi innovation and entrepreneurship, the 2005 NZ Innovation Festival, launched at Te Papa today. The two-week nationwide Festival will showcase more than 120 innovation events and exhibits, in sectors ranging from film, fashion and gaming, to environmental science, biocommerce and agri-technology.

Supporting the Festival theme “Building a Culture of Innovation”, innovation heavyweights sent a strong message to New Zealanders that commercial innovation is essential in achieving long-term sustainable growth necessary to improve New Zealanders' quality of life. Youth innovation is also a strong focus, given the Festival’s aim to encourage budding entrepreneurs.

Speaking at Te Papa, Tim Gibson, CEO NZT&E, said New Zealand’s pioneering past turned us into a nation of innovators and entrepreneurs who do things differently and are keen to break new ground, but we are only now coming to realise the economic value of creativity.

“We have always put a cultural value on our creative industries, but we’re now realising that creativity, design and innovation also have the potential to increase economic growth significantly.”

Mr Gibson said that together with creativity and innovation, design is key and gives a country a competitive advantage in the global marketplace.

“Businesses outside the creative industries should be encouraged to use design-based innovation to boost efficiency and competitiveness. No matter where you are in the world, design is increasingly the X-factor that takes a business from “also-ran” to “market-star”.

“Organizations that understand the relationship between creativity, innovation and performance, and actively promote creativity in their employees, will win in the marketplace.”

MC for the Festival launch Peter Biggs, NZ Innovation Advisor and Chair, Creative New Zealand, said it was time for New Zealanders to “wake-up” and catch up with rest of the world in its quest for “artistic urgency”.

“The NZ Innovation Festival is an annual reminder to us of not just how deeply innovation is part of New Zealand culture but also of the urgent need to fully embrace creativity as a driver of our future growth and prosperity as a nation.”

Also speaking at the launch, Ruth Harley, Chief Executive of the New Zealand Film Commission said innovation and entrepreneurship in New Zealand's film industry had repositioned the country from a beautiful, remote, empty landscape to a dynamic place that is home to talented, technically outstanding people who can take on the world’s strongest brands and win.

“The New Zealand film industry has been driven by a vibrant and unique local culture. Over the past few years this has been combined with innovative building of international networks, and astute structuring of government financial support.

“The result is the emergence of an industry which is rapidly gaining the capability for a permanent and self-sustaining position on the international film scene.”

NZ Innovation Festival 2005 aims to not only showcase Kiwi innovation nationally and to the world, but also provide a platform for sharing innovation knowledge and tools, and facilitating networking and collaboration between innovators, investors and the wider community.

The Festival has attracted the support of influential business leaders, such as Ralph Norris, CEO of Air New Zealand, and Hugh Burrett, CEO of ASB, as well as Government leaders.

Hon. Pete Hodgson, Minister of Commerce says New Zealand’s strong culture of innovation is central to our economic success.

“Harnessing this spirit in invention and entrepreneurship through the Growth and Innovation Framework is a centrepiece of government policy. I'm delighted to support the New Zealand Innovation Festival."

Rick Christie, Chair, Growth and Innovation Advisory Board says science, technology and innovation are the keys to improving New Zealand's productivity and economic performance.

“Working harder at doing the same things won't increase our competitiveness. We need to unlock the latent talents, creativity and knowledge in our population to find new products and smarter ways of doing things.

“I support the NZ Innovation Festival as a powerful tool for inspiring and encouraging New Zealanders, especially young people, in innovation,” Mr Christie said.

ENDS

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