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Major Polytechnics Showcase Innovation Wares

Major Polytechnics Showcase Innovation Wares At Parliament

Wellington, 30 June 2004 - Leading polytechnics and institutes of technology (ITPs).from around the country are showcasing samples of their latest innovations at Parliament today as part of the New Zealand Innovation Festival 2004 ( ).

The innovations are being exhibited to business and government leaders and educationalists to highlight polytechnic/business partnerships and individual polytechnic innovations that impact on many areas of New Zealand's economic development.

Polytechnic innovations such as bio fuel cells that convert sugar to electricity (Christchurch Polytechnic), creative designs in furniture, glass making and art, earthquake proofing new and existing buildings (Open Polytechnic), and technologies that explore mobile-enabled electronically mediated education to make education for viable and attractive (Wintec), to fresh and funky contemporary jewellery (Whitireia Community Polytechnic, Porirua) will be on display.

The Wellington Institute of Technology's (WelTec) rapid prototyping technology uses a three-dimensional printing technology so it can "print" a physical model layer by layer using powder-binder technology. Rapid Prototyping New Zealand has been set up to operate as a key partner to manufacturers, science and technology practitioners and many of the 'creative' industries, to strengthen their endeavours in the international marketplace, and to provide enhanced learning opportunities for design students of Weltec (Wellington Institute of Technology) among others.

A major earthquake project managed by The Open Polytechnic of NZ recognises an international trend towards increased awareness of earthquake risk, development in the understanding of geological forces, earthquake building retrofit, and other mitigation preparedness measures. The Open Polytechnic has been awarded funding from NZ Trade & Enterprise to look not just at the earthquake studies but also the optics industry. The optics project recognises the significant contribution that optics play as an "enabler" in industry, from grading fruit for export, to providing high speed telephone and data communication links, to delivering extremely precise sector navigation capability, and to offering precise surgery options such as retina reattachment. Optics provides enormous economic growth potential, as it is key to so many industry operations.

Another innovative example of a polytechnic working in collaboration with its region is the Eastern Institute of Technology's Food and Wine Centre of Innovation which is a testimony to the strategic importance of the food and wine industries to the Hawkes Bay region and the Institute's policy of alignment with these industries.

As a partner to Food Hawkes Bay it set up as a world class centre of excellence and innovation in food production, processing, marketing and exporting, through closer alignment of industry, education and research groups to assist the export growth of food businesses.

The Food and Wine Centre of Innovation acts as a physical focus for this regional initiative and to make resources, equipment and intellectual capability available for use by Hawkes Bay food and wine producers and processors. The Centre is an ideal venue in which to hold food and wine industry forums, promote careers and pass on the results of research carried out at the Institute.

The polytechnic display at Parliament will feature many more innovative projects dealing with a host of different technologies. Areas such as increasing use of mobile technologies in society in general and education in particular challenge educationalists to explore, develop and implement appropriate strategies to deal with information and communication technology rich ways of teaching and learning.


About the Innovation Festival 2004

The New Zealand Innovation Festival 2004 ( ) is a tangible, unique way to celebrate the extent to which innovation is utilized by businesses and organisations to achieve success and competitiveness across a range of industries and sectors.

The inaugural Festival 2004 sees more than 70 events happening at centres and regions throughout the country which collectively showcase the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit that characterises the special New Zealand approach to providing innovative leading edge solutions regardless of whether it is in healthcare, forestry, science, applied research or the film industry.

The 70 Festival events and participants all represent the three stages in the process of innovation: invention, translation and commercialization. These three core aspects typify the pathbreaking nature of New Zealand innovation which is also characterized by originality, collaboration and a pioneering spirit. The Festival captures this spirit, and as an annual event will become a platform for taking the New Zealand innovation story to the world.


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