Gracefield Innovation Quarter creating opportunities for our children’s children
New Zealand has a unique opportunity to think beyond the short term in the development of the Gracefield Innovation Quarter.
Set on a 10 hectare site in Lower Hutt, the Gracefield Innovation Quarter provides state of the art facilities, workshops, labs and equipment to help businesses grow faster, for a better New Zealand.
It is home to some of New Zealand’s most innovative people.
Callaghan Innovation’s Gracefield site will be upgraded to develop a vibrant, supportive and connected innovation community. It is taking a long-term view of what the country could both be like and require in the future, says Callaghan Innovation Vision Storyteller, Julian Andrews.
“For a start, we’re the only country in the world which has a legislated partnership with its indigenous people,” he says.
“This brings an intergenerational wellbeing component to what we might do.
“This provides a connection to the land, and to kaitiakitanga and guardianship. We have an amazing environment here, great transport, and top education.
“It also means stopping thinking about nature in the short term, and discussing what our children’s children will require.”
As the master plan for the Gracefield Innovation Quarter’s new infrastructure is developed, the many participants in an innovator’s journey also need to be factored in, Julian says.
Callaghan Innovation can’t and shouldn’t provide all the support an innovator needs, but it needs to be close to and able to effortlessly point to partners who can help.
New Zealand should also be mindful of its ability to be relatively nimble and the status it has for being an incredibly progressive country he says.
“Don’t forget too that we have the opportunity to be a test place or ‘sandpit’ for others around the world,” says Julian.
“We have the advantage of being quite far away, but with a very similar infrastructure as Europe and America.
“People, companies and organisations can try something here. If it does well in New Zealand, it probably will do so elsewhere.”
And that’s exactly what the type of innovation the Gracefield Innovation Quarter wants to attract.
Callaghan Innovation is New Zealand’s innovation agency. Find out more about how it supports hi-tech businesses in New Zealand here: https://www.callaghaninnovation.govt.nz/