Awards celebrate Kiwi tech diversity

Published on the 29/05/2024 | Written by Heather Wright

Awards celebrate Kiwi tech diversity

In space, wastewater, agritech, drones and AI…

Rocket Lab claimed top honours in this year’s Hi-Tech Awards – but plenty of other Kiwi companies made their presence felt in this year’s awards.

Rocket Lab rocketed into top spot in the Hi-Tech Company of the Year category, beating out Crimson Education, Eroad, Gentrack and Kami.

It was one of 13 companies and individuals taking out awards across 15 categories, with Palmerston North’s Novo Labs another big winner, claiming three awards for its ultraviolet water treatment technology. It took out the categories for most innovative sustainability, hardware and deep-tech.

“There is a place in tech for all New Zealanders.”

Also claiming multiple awards was Starboard Maritime, named Startup Company of the Year and Most Innovative Hi-Tech Software Solution for its software-as-a-service marine vessel tracking technology. The company recently closed a $5 million seed funding round with investors including Altered Capital, Icehouse Ventures and US-based SeaAhead.

Brand awareness company Tracksuit took out the Emerging Company of the Year award. The company, which has more than 400 companies using its offerings in Australia, New Zealand and the US, has been another big winner on the funding scene in recent months, securing $22 million in funding and gaining Altos Ventures and Foodwork as investors earlier this year.

Mt Maunganui conservation drone company Envico Technologies won Māori Company of the Year. The night was especially sweet for the company, which also scooped an award in the Philippines the same night, winning a Gold Stevie Award for the biodiversity Project of the Year.

The company has pioneered the use of specialised drones and automated systems for conservation and biosecurity, including the use of drone technology for seed distribution and pest control to protect native species.

On the agritech side, Marlborough’s The Smart Machine Company, which develops autonomous vehicles for vineyards and orchards was named the most innovative hi-tech agritech solution.

David Downs, Hi-Tech Trust chair, says the industry is continuing exceptional growth as well as innovation.

“The continued increase of diversity across the finalists is a reflection of the fact that there is a place in tech for all New Zealanders,” he says.

Murray Holdaway, founder of Vista Group, was named 2024 Flying Kiwi.

The full list of winners is:

ASX Hi-Tech Emerging Company of the Year

Winner: Tracksuit

Punakaiki Hi-Tech Start-up Company of the Year

Winner: Starboard Maritime Intelligence

Highly Commended: DataMasque

Duncan Cotterill Most Innovative Hi-Tech Software Solution

Winner: Starboard Maritime Intelligence

Highly Commended: Toku Eyes

Braemac Most Innovative Hi-Tech Hardware Product

Winner: NovoLabs

Kiwibank Most Innovative Hi-Tech Solution for a More Sustainable Future

Winner: NovoLabs

Callaghan Innovation/ Poutama Trust Hi-Tech Kamupene Māori o te Tau – Māori Company of the Year

Winner: Envico Technologies

Xero Hi-Tech Young Achiever

Joint Winner: Nu’uali’i Eteroa Lafaele

Joint Winner: Joshua Parsons

NZTE Most Innovative Hi-Tech Agritech Solution

Winner: The Smart Machine Company

Spark Best Hi-Tech Solution for the Public Good

Winner: Kara Technologies

NZX Most Innovative Hi-Tech Creative Technology Solution

Winner: Immortal Camera Systems

PwC Hi-Tech Company of the Year

Winner: Rocket Lab

Aware Group Most Innovative Deep Tech Solution

Winner: NovoLabs

Consult Recruitment Best Contribution to the NZ Tech Sector

Winner: Creative HQ

Datacom Hi-Tech Inspiring Individual

Winner: Elle Archer

Tait Communications Flying Kiwi

Recipient: Murray Holdaway

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