ANZLF 2022 – A significant trans-Tasman relationship reset

ANZLF 2022 – A significant trans-Tasman relationship reset

I have been privileged to attend the 2022 Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum (ANZLF) in Sydney. It has been an epic 2 days.

At the 2019 ANZLF meeting  in Auckland, Wharf42 co-founded the Australia New Zealand Agritech Council with nascent members of the Australian Agritech Association. Over the past two days, agritech has been a feature of the 2022 programme.  It reflects just how far the trans-Tasman agritech relationship has developed.

On reflection however, I feel that the most significant development witnessed this year was the very clear and close personal relationship between Prime Ministers Ardern and Albanese. This offers very real value to the longer term trans-Tasman opportunity to build new, strong business and people partnerships. I would classify this as a fundamental relationship reset.

For Wharf42, this maps our own direction over the past 3-4 years. It also reflects the strong Australian-based partnerships with the 2035 Oceania Summit through its deep engagement with Agrifutures Australia, evokeAG, growAG and ACIAR.

As the Summit’s programme builds, Australian input and engagement is key. This week’s ANZLF meeting provides some insight into how this can be captured. From the Oceania region’s perspective in these tumultuous and challenging times, this reset could not have happened at a better time.

Join the Adelaide pre-2035 Oceania Summit workshop – 3 May

Join the Adelaide pre-2035 Oceania Summit workshop – 3 May

The Adelaide pre-2035 Oceania Summit is designed to bring together South Australia’s scientific & research community, its industry leaders, agribusiness & agritech companies, farmers & growers, regulators and policy makers to meet and discuss how agrifood tech innovation and on-farm application can help address the existential threat posed by climate change.

The 2035 Oceania Summit would like to acknowledge the significant support provided by Oli Madgett, Michael Macolino, Ben Baghurst, Penny Schultz, Jen Barwick, Andy Lowe and the team at PIRSA AgTech in assisting develop the Workshop Programme.

The Draft Adelaide Workshop Programme

8.00am – 9.00am; Registration & Coffee on arrival

9.00am – 9.15am; Intro Peter Wren-Hilton (Convenor of 2035 Oceania Summit)

9.15am – 12.30pm;

Where does SA fit in

Quentin Roberts (Manager and Founder, SA-H2H Hydrogen Technology Cluster)

Ariella Helfgott (Director of Strategic Foresight, Dept Premier & Cabinet)

Martin Cole (CEO Wine Australia)

Greg Noonan (CEO RegenCo)

Andy Koronios (CEO SmartSat CRC)

Investment in Climate

Emma Jenkin (Kilara Capital)

Matthew Pryor (Tenacious Ventures)

Mick Liubinskas (Climate Salad)

The Blue Economy opportunity

Dr Adam Main (GM, CH4 South Australia)

12.30pm – 13.30pm Networking with light refreshments

You can learn more about the Adelaide workshop via the Eventbrite Registration page.

MEDIA RELEASE: New Zealand expertise serves up new agri-food-tech event

MEDIA RELEASE: New Zealand expertise serves up new agri-food-tech event

This media release is reproduced with the kind permission of Tourism New Zealand

New Zealand is embracing its role as a world leader in agri-food-tech with the launch of a new event, the 2035 Oceania Summit in Auckland.

The regional follow-up summit will draw on the experience of New Zealand-based global agri-food-tech consultancy Wharf42, which will co-host the AgriFoodTech Climate Summit at COP26 in Glasgow in November.

Wharf42 founder and Summit organiser Peter Wren-Hilton says: “New Zealand is seen as a key global agri-food-tech hub. One of the reasons we’ve been contracted to help other nations in this area is because the New Zealand model is seen as being the gold standard.

“New Zealand is so strong in agrifood because our agriculture and horticulture sector is the backbone of our economy. In addition, the government in New Zealand is very committed to effecting resolution in climate change. The combination of these factors makes New Zealand the perfect destination for an event of this sort.

“There is great science being done by our universities and Crown Research Institutes. The objective is to provide farmers and growers with the tools they need to clean up the environment, address climate issues and reach net zero emissions targets.

“By bringing together the region’s scientific and research community, agritech companies, farmers and growers, investors and policymakers, the 2035 Oceania Summit has been designed to showcase local solutions for global climate impact.”

The 2035 Oceania Summit event was launched during Fieldays 2021 in New Zealand, the Southern Hemisphere’s largest agricultural event.

Within 48 hours of the announcement, more than 250 people had registered their interest on the Summit’s landing page, a very positive indicator, Wren-Hilton says.

The event has the support of Tourism New Zealand’s Business Events team, Auckland Unlimited, AgriTech New Zealand, and the Australian AgriTech Association. Wren-Hilton is currently undertaking a roadshow around New Zealand to secure the involvement of other key players in the agrifood ecosystem.

Tourism New Zealand General Manager Domestic & Business Events, Bjoern Spreitzer says: “Hosting this event not only positions New Zealand as a global leader in agritech and agrifood expertise; it opens opportunities for further research and investment that will benefit our local farmers, local economy, and local environment in the longer term.”

The two-day Oceania Summit, which will take place in Auckland in April 2022 will feature regional and international keynote speakers, breakout panels, an exhibition showcasing current research being undertaken across the region, a startup hub with a pitch event to global investors, as well as extensive networking opportunities.

He says: “If the borders are open, we’re hoping to attract delegates from around the world to come and share what is happening in this important space.”

To learn more about the Summit visit:

 For further media comment please contact:

Peter Wren-Hilton

WEBINAR: Arama Kukutai & Ingrid Fung of Finistere Ventures discuss the 2020 Global Agritech Investment Landscape

WEBINAR: Arama Kukutai & Ingrid Fung of Finistere Ventures discuss the 2020 Global Agritech Investment Landscape

I’m delighted to advise that Arama Kukutai & Ingrid Fung of Finistere Ventures will be discussing the 2020 Global Agritech Investment Landscape via an exclusive webinar, jointly promoted by Agritech New Zealand, the Sprout Accelerator and the Australian Agritech Association.

Date: Wednesday 18 November: 11.30am-12.30pm (AEST): 1.30pm-2.30pm (NZT)

Registration (free) here: 

2020 has been the most challenging and disruptive year I can remember. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen global lockdowns, closed borders, deep recession as well as a painful health legacy. And the near to medium term looks like there is more of the same to come.

In both New Zealand & Australia, our agricultural industries have dug deep to continue to produce premium quality meat, dairy, vegetables, fruit and crops. During this time, the significant role of agritech has been recognised and supported by government. The launch of the New Zealand Agritech Industry Transformation Plan back in July is truly testament to that.

Globally, the increasingly important role of agritech has also been recognised. As Arama & Ingrid will reveal, against all the odds, the amount of investment into the sector has increased year on year. The total $ numbers however disguise some of the important investment trends WITHIN the sector. Not everything is equal. Some verticals within agritech have attracted more dollars than others.

Arama and Ingrid will discuss these trends and include investment figures up to Q3. As we look towards 2021 and begin to think about which sectors are likely to grow fastest, this exclusive webinar will provide fresh insights into new opportunities.

Whraf42 is delighted to have assisted facilitate this exclusive webinar with Agritech New Zealand, the Sprout Accelerator and the Australian Agritech Association.

You can register for your free ‘seat’ here:

Happy 1st birthday Australia New Zealand Agritech Council!

Happy 1st birthday Australia New Zealand Agritech Council!

12 months ago today, the Australia New Zealand Agritech Council was launched at the ANZLF conference in Auckland. Little did we know then what lay ahead.

However despite COVID-19; despite lockdown; despite closed borders; significant progress has been made on both sides of the Tasman. Whilst much of our time in New Zealand has been focused on securing the successful passage of the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan, across the Tasman, our colleagues on the Agritech Council have been equally hard at work.

The Australian Agritech Association

Without doubt, the major development in Australia’s agritech ecosystem has been the establishment of the Australian Agritech Association. It’s an open and inclusive membership-based association established to foster a world-class agritech ecosystem and help create a prosperous future for Australian agrifood innovation.

For New Zealand, the creation of a strong, collaborative agritech ecosystem in Australia is crucial. In a post COVID world, regional cooperation is going to play an increasingly important role as agrifood companies review every aspect of their global business. Promoting the trans-Tasman region as a significant hub for agritech research and commercialisation is top of Wharf42’s current focus.

The Bridge Hub Water Challenge

One of the key joint trans-Tasman agritech initiatives to have started during lockdown has been the Bridge Hub Water Challenge.

The Bridge Hub is a NSW-based innovation and investment ‘hub’ with a specific focus on agrifood. Co-founded by Craig Shapiro, a member of the Australia New Zealand Agritech Council, Wharf42 has worked with Callaghan Innovation to encourage New Zealand research organisations and startups working in this space to apply for the Challenge. Zespri are sponsoring the $25,000 prize for the most promising New Zealand research submission. Wharf42 is delighted to be sponsoring the $5,000 startup prize.

The response from the sector has been awesome. Applications to the Water Challenge closed two weeks ago and the judging process begins this week.

The Water Challenge is a great example of how Australia and New Zealand researchers and agritech businesses can work together. As the global landscape changes post COVID-19 with an increased emphasis on regional supply chains, this type of collaboration is going to be more important than ever.

The evokeAG Network

Back in February, over 100 kiwis made the trip to Melbourne to attend the 2020 evokeAG conference. For many of us, this was to be our last trip offshore. As a member of the evokeAG steering committee, I am well aware of just how close we were to having to pull the plug. If the event had been scheduled for just 3 or 4 weeks later etc. etc. The decision has already been taken to postpone the planned 2021 conference in Perth to 2022.

AgriFutures Australia has decided wisely however not to just mothball the evokeAG brand. Whilst a face to face conference might still be 18 months away, plans are well advanced to deliver digital content over the coming months. This will reflect the trans-Tasman face of evokeAG. I continue to work with the team at AgriFutures on this and some other exciting trans-Tasman initiatives. I’ll be sharing more news about this in the coming weeks.

Next Steps

Had circumstances allowed, I would have been cutting the proverbial birthday cake today in Sydney or Wagga. Instead, I will be popping a cork with Jacqui back home.

The good news is that the Agritech Industry Transformation Plan recognises the importance of the Australia New Zealand Agritech Council and the role it can play in developing stronger trans-Tasman agritech ties. This collaboration is likely to manifest itself in different ways.

  • I would expect increased cooperation between the new Australian Agritech Association and Agritech New Zealand.
  • I would expect to see more trans-Tasman initiatives launched, replicating the success of the current Bridge Hub Water Challenge.
  • Most importantly, I expect to see an increased level of cooperation at an inter-governmental level.

The Agritech New Zealand Agritech Council was launched at the ANZLF meeting one year ago today. This annual meeting was hosted by PM Jacinda Ardern and attended by senior Government Ministers from both sides of the Tasman. Agritech was the new kid on the block and has become a key part of the ANZLF Innovation workstream.

I cannot predict when the trans-Tasman bubble will become reality and travel between the two countries will begin once again. What I can confirm however is that increasing collaboration and opportunity in both Australia and New Zealand is now Wharf42’s major focus.

More on that over the coming weeks.