Friday evening of Techweek19 saw New Zealand's tech community gather at Spark Arena for the glitziest event on the industry's annual calendar, the Hi-Tech Awards. They opened with a stunning animation from Flying Kiwi Ian Taylor's company, Animation Research, a powerful pōwhiri from Ngati Whatua, and a request from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for some tech help with her daunting to-do list: climate change, the digital divide and the future of work. The PM also set the tone for the night and echoed the mantra of Techweek19 with the words, "ultimately we don't have to be the best place in the world, but we can be the best country for the world, and I do see your industry as being very much a part of that."
The 2019 awards were an inspirational celebration of the country's most innovative companies, many of which were interviewed this week on Techweek TV. If you missed them live, check out their interviews below.
The Cacophony Project
Winner: Best Hi-Tech Solution for the Public Good
Menno Finlay-Smits joined the Good for the World Showcase session in Christchurch to talk about The Cacophony Project
Winner: Most Inspiring Individual of the Year
Founder of Rocket Lab, Peter Beck, finished the Techweek TV programme on a high on Friday afternoon with a session about making space accessible.
Winner: Hi-Tech Kamupene Māori o te Tau — Māori Company of the Year
Robotics Plus Co-Founder Steve Saunders joined a panel celebration Māori innovation.
Winner: Most Innovative Hi-Tech Software Solution, Most Innovative Hi-Tech Service, Hi-Tech Emerging Company of the Year
Co-founder and CTO of Predict HQ, Rob Kern, joined Techweek19 strategic partner, AWS, on a panel discussing the future of tech in New Zealand.
Winner: Most Innovative Hi-Tech Agritech Solution
Co-founder and CTO of Robotics Plus, Dr Alistair Scarfe, joined a panel discussion the future of automation in Agritech.