WEDS key focus digital/technology

One of the WEDS key focus areas is digital/technology in the region. While there has been steady improvement, development in the Wairarapa has always been a bit behind the cities and still sub-standard in some rural areas.

WEDS recognises that the Wairarapa needs to be future proofed to fully utilise emerging technologies. This means the Wairarapa becoming more digitally sophisticated with local businesses developing their digital capability in both infrastructure and human resource.

Anecdotal evidence of deficits in digital infrastructure are a plenty but definitive analysis of the current situation and future digital needs has not been taken which has prevented any action historically from happening.

This clearly identified a need for a locally based group of digital/technology representatives to come together to help establish the needs and potential for increasing the digital/technology infrastructure of the Wairarapa and drive that change.

Therefore, Grow Waitech was formed.

Who is Grow Waitech and the Waitech Trust

Grow Waitech was established in November 2021, a group of Wairarapa local technology business leaders joined together to identify the technology/digital needs of the region and to implement change to help encourage skills, training, and access to technology for the region.
In September 2022, the extra step of setting up the Waitech Trust as a registered charity occurred with four trustees stepping up to lead Wairarapa’s changes and growth in the technology area.

Simon Fuller
Andrew Kerr
Phillippa Roil-Glendenning (Chair)
Vernette Shapland

Photo by Jet Productions

What has Waitech Trust been doing?

In early-2022 the Trust ran a tech event for local people to hear about digital technology development in gaming, E-Sports and payments at the Carterton Events Centre which identified an interest for local young people in getting into E-Sports.

Following the event, the Trust helped some local colleges participate in the National Secondary School E-Sports League with Kuranui College being successful, getting into the regional playoffs. Most of the teams have continued to enter teams into this competition in the 2023 season, with some impressive results into the finals.

In late-2022, the Trust was granted some funding to purchase full high-specification workstations for the community to have better access training and E-Sport opportunities which have been getting great use by local school and community groups.

The Trust sponsored two regional cyber safety events, one held for primary and intermediate students and their parents at the Carterton Event Centre with over 200 attendees and another, to be held in October 2023 for secondary school students.

There is also a collaboration in the planning with Wings over Wairarapa organisers to hold an event with a range of people in the technology industry to talk about their professions with local students to help encourage more local young people into the industry.

What are the future plans?

The Trust developed a formal strategy in January 2023 to help roll out the greater plans for increasing the digital and technological infrastructure of the region.

Being co-located with Wellington which has a strong digital and technology industry and sees itself as a leader in growth of technologies in New Zealand, the Wairarapa has the potential to share in that development.

The Trust will look at the possibilities of expanding digital training and digital offerings in schools and community within the Wairarapa as well as work closely with businesses to establish their needs to continue to grow and thrive within the region in relation. To keep up with the Trust’s projects, contact us below:

Sector Groups

Coming soon; sector group connections.

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Photo by Larissa Wiegman-Peeterse