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Insights from 2018 Rural Connectivity Symposium published

21st August 2018

On the 26th June 2018, TUANZ hosted the fourth in this series of the Rural Connectivity Symposium. Over 160 participants from across the fields of Government, vendors, service providers, and individuals who live and work in rural NZ met for the day to hear and discuss the current state of play around rural connectivity.

The day was opened by previous CEO of TUANZ, Ernie Newman, looking back on the 15 years since the first such event was held, identified the successes over that time, but also the challenges that remain in ensuring that we take up the opportunities that a connected world offers. Participants heard from a range of speakers including Nathan Penny from ASB who set the scene for the current economic environment and the challenges ahead. A special section on the use of IoT (Internet of Things) tech as a case study for rural NZ was also part of the day.

The Minister for Communications, the Hon Clare Curran addressed the event prior to lunch and set out her goal of delivering improved services quicker and broader than previous plans.

In the afternoon the group heard from those parties who are working to provide services in rural New Zealand including the Rural Connectivity Group and a range of local providers, called WISPs. The final session covered presentations from rural NZ on the topic of Maori involvement, the impact of issues such as Mycoplasma Bovis, and a view from the farm with Andrew Hoggard, Deputy Chair of Federated Farmers finishing the day.

Each year, TUANZ publishes a summary of the event which is provided to participants and to key politicians. Attached to this release is the the paper titled “Connecting Rural New Zealand. Insights from the 2018 Rural Connectivity Symposium”.

This year the three key messages that came through from the presentation as well as the input of participants on that day were:

1. Everyone has a right to connectivity, regardless of geography or social status, how do we make it so?
3. Technology, such as IoT, is here to stay and innovation is happening all the time, how can it be used to improve your rural lifestyle?
5. Collaboration is key. Engage with Government and provide ideas and solutions for what rural NZ needs. To get connected they need to hear from you.

These messages, as well as the challenges issued during the day, will guide TUANZ advocacy and programmes in the area of Rural Connectivity over the next 12 months.


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TUANZ has over thirty years of bringing the users of ICT into the debate about the future of the digital economy. Much of what we take for granted today around choice of service comes from the work we, with our members, have done and continue to do.

We are a powerful channel to decision makers and developing leaders in this sector.

We have a highly engaged community of over 1,400 individuals working in our member organisations in roles that use or are responsible for digital technology.


We provide a forum to encourage New Zealanders to make the most of the opportunities available in the digital economy.


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