As recorded elsewhere on this website, Wharf42’s agritech journey began in Silicon Valley in the summer of 2015. Jacqui and I recognised that venture investment into the agritech space was increasing exponentially, but very little of this capital was finding its way to New Zealand.

Fast forward three years and we launched Agritech New Zealand in May 2018. Over the past two years, we have grown the organisation to 140+ members, representing a wide cross-section of stakeholders engaged in the sector. The launch of the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) in our home city of Tauranga, was a fitting fulfillment of our five years of work.

Agritech New Zealand now has the opportunity to engage its members with the delivery and implementation of the Plan. It has also been an opportunity for Jacqui and I to reassess our own longer term goals and ambition for the sector.

The world we live in today is very different to the one we enjoyed only six months ago. COVID-19 means that closed borders are likely to remain closed for some time. The impact on our export sector is significant and reaching out to our offshore networks has become our #1 priority.

Yesterday, we formally advised Graeme Muller, CEO of NZTech, of our decision to stand down as Agritech New Zealand’s Executive Director and Projects Director respectively. We will continue to fulfill these roles over the coming weeks as we secure a successful transition of leadership. We do not intend however to leave the ship!

We are working with Graeme and our Executive Council to create a new part-time role. We’ve yet to come up with a name for it but essentially, we will focus exclusively on developing Agritech New Zealand’s global footprint. This reflects our own view that now is the time for New Zealand, despite our closed borders, to step up and say to the world, ‘we are open for business’.

We are hugely excited by the potential opportunities that this career pivot will bring.

You can follow us on this journey via the updated posts we publish to this site. It’s an impact we are once again determined to deliver.

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