A NZ Hi-Tech Award is one of the technology sector’s most sought-after accolades. They have been awarded over the years to New Zealand’s most successful high-tech companies, and highest achieving individuals.

The VSI Electronics Excellence Awards were launched in 1994 to reward the success of New Zealand’s growing technology sector and help give the industry a voice. They have since evolved into the NZ Hi-Tech Awards, becoming a platform for all of our technology industries: ICT, electronics, software, biotechnology, creative, telecommunications and digital media.

The Awards programme, administered by the NZ Hi-Tech Trust, promotes the sector as a leading contributor to New Zealand’s economy and export success, and enjoys the support and input of our highly successful technology industries.


The Awards

The NZ Hi-Tech Awards celebrate New Zealand’s most successful high-tech companies and highest achieving individuals. Originally launched in 1994 as the VSI Electronics Excellence Awards, they have since evolved into a platform for recognising the best all of our technology industries: ICT, electronics, software, biotechnology, creative, telecommunications and digital media.

The year-long Awards calendar has several events that showcase and provide networking opportunities for New Zealand technology companies. We hope to put talented Kiwis well and truly in the spotlight, promote our high-tech successes, and extend our profile beyond the technology sector.

Winners include companies such as:

  • Pushpay
  • Vend
  • Timely
  • Latipay
  • RedShield Security
  • Biolytix
  • Orion Health/HealthOne
  • Shotover Camera Systems
  • Compac
  • Adherium
  • oDocs Eye Care
  • Endace
  • Xero
  • Rakon
  • 90 Seconds
  • Tait Electronics

and individuals such as:

  • Aliesha Staples
  • Sam Morgan
  • Sir Angus Tait
  • Rod Drury
  • Neville Jordan
  • Selwyn Pellett
  • Ian Taylor
  • Dennis Chapman
  • Sir Peter Maire
  • Sir Gil Simpson
  • Paul Hargreaves
  • Brent Robinson
  • Sir Ken Stevens
  • Bill Buckley

An industry snapshot

The New Zealand technology sector is the fastest growing sector in the country with almost 29,000 companies generating close to $9 billion in revenue.

The hi-tech industry is the third largest export earner in the country, generating over $6.3 billion in export revenue in the 2015-16 financial year.

It comprises of almost 29,000 New Zealand companies across the electronics, software, telecommunications, creative technology and biotechnology sectors.

The industry employs more than 57,000 people and the sector is growing at twice the rate of the economy as a whole. An increasing number of companies are listing on the stock exchange both locally and internationally.

The NZ Hi-Tech Trust

The NZ Hi-Tech Trust was established in 2009 to advance the growth and success of New Zealand's hi-tech industries through an awards and education programme.

All profits generated by the Awards programme are reinvested by Trust to ensure the continuance of the programme and to benefit the long-term development of the industries it supports.

The current NZ Hi-Tech Trust trustees are:


Erin has 20 year’s experience within leadership roles across a range of businesses.  She currently holds the position of Chief Executive at Soda Inc and holds a passion for the innovate start-up community. Prior to Soda she has worked in a range of leadership roles, across a variety of businesses such as Adherium NZ Ltd, Auckland UniServices Ltd, GSK, AstraZeneca, IMBcom and Life Technologies.  She also has experience working within Government organisations focused on economic and business growth initiatives.  


Vaughan is the founder of Vend, a New Zealand high-growth tech success story, and founder of OMGTech! a charitable initiative to help kids into careers with future technology.

 He was EY's Tech Entrepreneur of the Year in 2015 and is a sought after speaker on numerous topics from startups, culture, education and innovation. He now advises and helps young tech start-ups while driving product innovation at Vend.

 Vaughan believes in three big ideas. 1. To make it easier to start and to support young technology businesses. 2. To empower today's kids to be the next generation of technology innovators. 3. To celebrate all the amazing stories on the way. 

  • Ian Taylor (The Flying Kiwi representative to the Hi-Tech Trust)

Inspired by the changing world around him, Ian Taylor is well known for his huge impact on the technology sector in New Zealand and abroad. He founded Taylormade Media in 1989 and later established Animations Research Ltd - responsible for the international shift in 3D computer graphic technology. Later, Ian and his team partnered with Terrabyte to lead the revolutionary real-time Internet streaming of the America’s Cup, with Ian's 3D Graphics package model.

Ian took out the the Hi-Tech Flying Kiwi Award 2008, was named North and South Magazine’s New Zealander of the Year 2010 and Outstanding Maori Business Leader of the Year 2013. He has been awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the NZ Computer Society, appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit and won the Creative Sector of the World Class New Zealand Awards.

Audrey Cheng has been working in the NZ Tech industry for over 10 years and is currently the VP Product at Pushpay where she leads the product and design teams. Her experience in start ups and in building a product team under hyper growth has lead Audrey to become passionate about growing product management capability in NZ. This passion drives Audrey in her community work in the tech sector. She works along side other passionate product people as one of the co-organizers for Product Tank Auckland and can often be found sharing her experience and knowledge with founders and non-product people as a facilitator or speaker at community events. Audrey believes that education and the sharing of knowledge and experience is important for accelerating growth in the sector.

In his ‘day job’, David Downs is a General Manager at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE), working with the Technology sector to help fast growing tech companies grow internationally. David has held various roles at NZTE, in the Services, Customer and Corporate Services teams. David spent 13 years at Microsoft, in New Zealand and as regional director for South East Asia, and has set up and run successful businesses of his own.

David is a published author on New Zealand Innovation, with two highly successful books – No.8 Re-wired, and No.8 Recharged. He’s an ex-comedian, TV and Radio actor, and a genetically modified organism who documented his battle with cancer in the popular column ‘A Mild Touch of the Cancer’ on NZ’s Stuff. David regularly presents and gives talks on his cancer journey, and recently appeared with Phil Keoghan on his web series ‘BUCKiT’ on the power of positive thinking and optimism.

Rob is a passionate believer in technology as an enabler for bringing about positive change in the world. He has 20 years senior executive and governance experience in technology growth companies, especially in the areas of digital, mobile, media and fintech.  He has spent his career working in many different markets, including New Zealand, Australia and the UK/Europe leading successful pioneering technology growth companies - from start-ups to corporates.

Rob is presently Chief Executive of Belong and was recognised as a “World Class New Zealander” by KEA in 2013.

Sathya Mithra Ashok has over fourteen years of experience, spanning communications, management and strategy, covering media organisations, small businesses, technology firms, social enterprises and non-profits, across three countries and two continents. As part of multinational organisations, she has designed and executed on growth strategies, expanded revenue opportunities and been key in rolling out plans across diverse countries. 

Passionate about small businesses, micro-enterprises, social enterprises, community organisations, and the role of technology in supporting current and future generations of Kiwis, in her most recent roles she has worked to her passions by supporting community-focused organisations, providing critical input in strategy formation and implementation, and in understanding the unique nature of markets they address. With postgraduate qualifications in mass communications and business administration from AUT, she brings with her proven ability to develop and execute on strategies, build multi-stakeholder relationships, manage resources and finances, and deliver on goals. 

She took on her most recent role with RiskNZ in June 2018, prior to which she was Operations Manager at New Zealand Global Women. She is also current members of the boards at Dress For Success (Auckland) and AUTSA.]

Director, Innovative Partnerships, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Dr Kjesten Wiig, a scientist by training, has over 16 years of experience working in the competitive US drug development industry. She began her career by working for Sention, a company that was spun out of Brown University on the basis of her post-doctoral research. Kjesten was the company’s first employee and was responsible for company set-up and all aspects of pre-clinical efficacy. She was also involved in intellectual property, angel and venture capital fund raising. Kjesten then went on to Galenea, where she was Director of Pre-clinical Research, and was responsible for the development and progression of multiple drug candidates.

Kjesten also participated in intellectual property strategy and business development work, and managed major collaborations with universities, contract research organisations and pharmaceutical companies. Kjesten then bought her experience in creating value out of science to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment where she worked as the National Manager for Commercialisation, and acts as now Director of Innovative Partnerships. Innovative Partnerships works to enable international companies to connect, collaborate and invest in R&D in New Zealand through the creation of world-leading and enabling environments.

Dr Andrew West specialises in investing in and governing or managing high technology start-ups, mainly with a green or bio technology specialisation, including being Managing Director of Synthase Biotech (a life-extending recombinant enzyme), Chairman of Ligar Ltd (high value or polluting molecules and heavy metals extraction technology), Chairman of Aquafortus Technologies Ltd (extremely low energy water and alcohol extraction technology, and zero liquid discharge technology), Chairman of Lanaco Ltd (wool-based air-filtration technology), a director of Bioceta Ltd (anaerobic digestion) and a director of Humble Bee Ltd (natural polymers). He is also a founding General Partner of the Matū Fund that invests in NZ-based high tech start-ups at pre-seed and seed stage.

Andrew is a scientist who holds a PhD in microbial ecology with many international publications. Over 17 years he was Vice-Chancellor of Lincoln University, Chief Executive of AgResearch, founding Executive Chairman of the Tertiary Education Commission, Chief Executive of the NZ Qualifications Authority and Chief Executive of GNS Science. Previously he led the reform of New Zealand’s public science system and then its tertiary education system.

Neil currently wears a few different ‘hats’ in the NZ technology sector. His main role is as General Manager for Canterbury Tech, an active regional cluster of technology companies based in Christchurch. He also chairs some advisory boards, advises tech start-ups via various accelerator programmes, does a bit of angel investing and generally tries to make himself useful across the sector. 

His 30-year wiggly career path has so far traversed electronics, software development, IT, management and governance in the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand and South-East Asia. He has established a number of his own companies, worked with various founders to grow their companies, and has also carried-out major strategy & delivery engagements for some of NZ’s largest companies. 

He is keen to see NZ Inc more fully utilise R&D and technology as the keys to our future success as a country.  We also need to get better at telling our stories, acknowledging success, educating and inspiring our rangitahi, and bulldozing the digital divide.

Michelle is probably best known for her role as Chief Executive of Christchurch-based social enterprise Kilmarnock. Together with her incredible team, they have been on a journey of transformational change, transitioning Kilmarnock from a charity-based model, to one of New Zealand’s leading social enterprises. Prior to this she had spent over one and a half decades working in the Telecommunications sector, a sector she is passionate about and a sector she have now returned to. Driven by business excellence and social change, she was incredibly excited to embark on a new journey as Head of IOT and Head of South Island, with the team at Vodafone, bringing the best of the world’s digital innovation and inspiration to all New Zealanders and using digital innovation to drive positive impact for our communities.

Michelle has also had the privilege of holding multiple directorships including that of Kilmarnock, Nutrient Rescue and the Akina Foundation. She is a proud Edmund Hillary Fellow and Independent Chair of BNZ.