Compac Sorting Equipment Takes Top Award
The night belonged to hi-tech produce sorter Compac Sorting Equipment at the 2012 NZ Hi-Tech Awards. Described by judges as "the Rolls Royce of its industry", Compac Sorting Equipment took the evening's top award, the PwC NZ Hi-Tech Company of the Year. And proving that having a great company and a great product are essential ingredients for export success, it also won the NZMEA Hi-Tech Exporter of the Year - Over $5 million category.
The judges highlighted Compac's "laser-focused priority on market-driven R&D" as a key reason for its global success, describing it as "a world class innovator, delivering 21st century technology that makes its agricultural customers, including those in New Zealand, more competitive".
Diversity was a recurring theme across the awards, the winners including Car Parking Technologies from Cambridge, Palmerston North-based agritech company Grasslanz Technology and Christchurch's wall climbing robot manufacturer Invert Robotics. Auckland company Booktrack, which produces soundtracks for e-books, won two tightly contested categories: the Duncan Cotterill Innovative Software Product and Vodafone Most Innovative Mobile Technology Award. The judges were impressed by Booktrack's innovative thinking, supported by great technology and intellectual property practices, and believe Booktrack has real potential for rapid, global growth.
The industry took time tonight to reflect on how under-rated the $20 billion technology sector is. It's reputedly New Zealand's third largest export earner (surpassed only by dairy and tourism) and its fastest growing industry. NZ Hi-Tech Trust Chair Wayne Norrie said that despite a low public profile, the local and international success of the Hi-Tech Awards programme continues to grow.
"This year we have had no problem attracting sponsors, entrants or high-profile judges," he said. "Our eleven-strong international judging panel included original Facebook investor and Paypal founder Peter Thiel; the director of engineering for Google in New York, Craig Nevill-Manning; and Cisco's senior vice president, Howard Charney. It is a credit to the high standard of the technology we produce in New Zealand that we can attract such a prestigious judging line-up year after year."