Bishop welcomes Hutt STEMM Festival and Technology Awards

Hutt Valley news
Friday, April 10, 2015

National List MP based in the Hutt Valley, Chris Bishop, has welcomed the inaugural Hutt STEMM Festival, to be held from 2 to 7 June. The festival will showcase the Hutt’s science, technology, engineering, maths and manufacturing sectors.

“We have a fantastic opportunity to build on our existing strengths in the Hutt and develop the Valley into ‘Technology Valley’ – where science, technology and high value manufacturing drive economic growth, new jobs and higher wages for Hutt residents,” says Mr Bishop.

“To realise that opportunity, it’s really important that we lift the Hutt’s profile as a high-tech hub. Few people in the Wellington region, let alone the rest of New Zealand, would know for example that over 3,900 people across more than 825 Lower Hutt businesses are employed full-time in the high-tech sector, that the sector generates $473 million in GDP already, and Lower Hutt has the fourth largest number of people in NZ employed in medium high-tech manufacturing.

“With two Crown Research Institutes, two tertiary institutions, as well as the government’s new high-tech HQ, Callaghan Innovation, all based in the Hutt, our potential is huge.

“I’m also pleased to see the development of the “Technology Valley” awards – a special ceremony to honour and reward our most innovative and successful companies. It’s appropriate we have a dedicated ceremony for this vital part of the Hutt’s business sector.

Through the Business Growth Agenda, the National-led government is backing the Hutt’s science and technology focus, through programmes such as:

  • Callaghan Innovation and its various R and D grant programmes, including student internships, and support for Creative HQ’s new “Lightning Lab” digital accelerator
  • Record investments in science and innovation
  • New tax rules to encourage research and development
  • The “Unlocking Curious Minds” fund which aims to get young students thinking and talking about science (launched at Boulcott School last year)
  • Increased investment in engineering places, and promotion of engineering through the Education to Employment initiative
  • Supporting the new engineering school at the WelTec Campus
  • Funding a new ICT Graduate School in Wellington

“This week I visited the MindLab, which recently expanded from Auckland into Petone. The MindLab is an interactive lab where kids and adults can learn in a hands-on way about new digital technology. It’s great to see this initiative opening in the Hutt and I encourage teachers and students to visit.

“I’m greatly looking forward to the STEMM festival and I encourage Hutt residents to get involved in what will no doubt be an exciting week of events’, says Mr Bishop.