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Hamilton turns on the charm to lure Auckland tech firms further south
Thu, 24th Oct 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Hey Auckland tech firms, consider a move south, because Hamilton is where New Zealand's fastest-growing tech sector is booming.

That's the underlying message from Waikato Innovation Park CEO Stuart Gordon, after Waikato Innovation Park announced this week that it has gained consent to make its facilities even larger.

The Waikato Innovation Park aims to extend its size by more than a third, which will add 2900 square metres by next spring. Campus expansion is set to start next month.

“Our region has already produced globally successful companies working in high-tech space especially in Agritech. There is a big opportunity here for Auckland tech businesses wanting to be part of that,” says Gordon.

But it's not just agritech under the spotlight – there are plenty of tenants at the Park who show that the wider tech industry believes the Waikato is a great place to do business.

Prime examples include software developer More4Apps, while hardware, software and professional services developers Torutek, Rezare and Layerx have all chosen the Park as their New Zealand headquarters.

Multinational firm Tetra Pak moved its base from Auckland to The Park because the environment suited both staff and work as well as close to other technology companies working in the Food high tech space.

Gordon says that these companies and more like them see the benefits of working in a hub with similar companies.

“They have access to good transport links, with the development of the Waikato Expressway on our doorstep, easy access to Hamilton and Auckland International Airport and they don't have the daily hassles of Auckland's transport or the hefty costs of living,” Gordon continues.

“When you look at the population base here in Hamilton compared to North Auckland and Northland, or South Auckland, we're well outperforming these regions with our growth in the tech sector.

“We want these companies to know the Waikato is open for business and we're creating a hub here at Waikato Innovation Park that will support and create a sense of community around the work they are doing.

The Park, which sits on 17 hectares of land in Hamilton near Ruakura Research Centre and University of Waikato, opened in 2004 with the aim of clustering businesses to help drive economic growth.

Hamilton City Council originally owned Innovation Park, before realising that it wasn't the right investor for the job. The Council then sold the Park to private investor Neil Foster in 2017.

“This development demonstrates the sale of Waikato Innovation Park was the right move by Hamilton City Council and private investment for the purpose of growth and economic development in our region is happening,” Gordon says.

 Now the Park has over 10,000 square metres of tenanted space, plus a spray dryer.

According to the Park, it is home to more than 60 tenants who have more than 1600 staff between them, including 562 working onsite and 1049 offsite.

A second spray dryer is currently under construction and will open in April 2020.