Sixth Tech Cluster Meeting and last in 2019

Our sixth and last Tech Cluster Meeting for 2019 happened on 13. November @ Whangarei Boys High – Library. The speaker line up was fantastic. This time we branched out into Biotech & Fish Farming, Toy Robotics and Science/ Tech Education.

Our Speakers were:

Dr Andrew Forsythe – Chief Scientist: Aquaculture & Biotechnology @ NIWA in Bream Bay


Did you know that to feed to world our food production has to grow dramatically? According to the Lancet EAT study eating fish and nuts is the healthiest and environmentally most sustainable method to feed the world.  The fast growing area of food production is ocean based food.  Andrew compared the economics of farming  vs aqua culture. On a 10 ha piece of land you can generate about 80,000 per year from running sheep, 800,000 if you grow Kiwifruit, 850,000 if you farm oysters and up to 225 million if you farm Kingfish. The opportunity lies in selling young fish and the recirculating aqua culture system (RAS) technology to the world. Producing feed stock for fish is another big industry. The Black Soldier Fly larvae is one of the most popular feed stocks at present. Norway, the biggest Salmon farmer in the world, export 120 times the Salmon than NZ (14t  in 2018). This is Norway’s second biggest export item after oil & gas. Aqua culture could be done on land close to where consumption is.  NIWA is commercialising their leading Kingfish RAS in 2020.

Brian Fordham – Industrial Designer/ Tech Developer

Brian discussed how to develop a fairly complex six robot system for gaming. He covered his experience of building the Robonica business in South Africa. Brian had two helpers from Technohackers who demonstrated the variety & flexibility of the robot game Robonii. He explained the pressure sensors, infrared, RFID sensor technology, CGI game development work, as well as the business challenges they faced in 2009 after the Global Financial Crisis. It was a stimulating and entertaining, interactive talk.

Dr Kevin Waugh – Questionable Research Labs 

Kevin reported on the recent Tech activity (GovHack, autonomous model cars, KiwiJam, servers, and other chaos) and the story of how to help grow fabulous youth talent. This was an inspirational presentation on how young people can compete with university students, professional game developers and hone their amazing skills – all hailing from Whangarei.  Kevin’s groups meet at the Whangarei Club near the Old Library every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. 

Our next Tech Cluster session will be February 2020 after a wonderful summer break.

In the meantime we hope to get lots of suggestions for future topics and speakers from you. Many thanks in advance.

See you with 2020 vision next year. Have a fantastic summer,

Martin & the Crew


Whangarei needs YOU to keep the Tech Cluster engaging and facilitating relevant networking.

And improve the WordPress website with a proper, searchable directory, ability to list projects/ events…

If you have time/ skills or know someone who has, please contact us.

Many thanks !!!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s