Join us on 2 May at the Southern AgriTech and Innovation Day 2024, hosted by Thriving Southland at the Southern Field Days site in Waimumu, Gore. This free event is dedicated to showcasing the latest advancements in farming technology and innovation, tailored specifically for the Southern farming community.

From keynote presentations to hands-on workshops, attendees will have the opportunity to connect with industry experts, explore cutting-edge solutions, and gain valuable insights to enhance their farming practices. This never-before-seen event will showcase top speakers and emerging technologies. With the support of Gore/Waimumu Catchment Group, Southern AgriTech and Innovation Day 2024 promises to be a highlight of the agricultural calendar.

The Southern AgriTech and Innovation Day is designed to equip farmers with the tools and knowledge they need to thrive in an ever-evolving industry. With an impressive lineup of keynote speakers, breakout sessions and exhibitors, attendees can expect a day filled with inspiration and practical insights.

This is more than just an event – it's a celebration of innovation, collaboration and community. It's an opportunity for farmers to come together, share their experiences, and learn from each other. It's a chance for industry experts and innovators to showcase their latest advancements and engage directly with the farming community.

Throughout the day, attendees will have the opportunity to explore a wide range of topics, from sustainable farming practices to emerging technologies that are reshaping the future of farming and unlocking new opportunities for growth and efficiency.

2 May 2024
8:00am – 5:00pm

Southern Field Days site, Waimumu, Gore

Registrations from 8am. Please turn up early to sign in and grab a cuppa and a breakfast muffin.

Morning Innovation Stations

With limited spots in each Innovation Station, be sure to book your spot into the station you want as soon as you secure your ticket to the event. All Agritech day participants will attend one of the 3 stations in the morning and in the afternoon. Each Innovation Station will be 1 hour long, made up of some presenting, some workshopping and some Q&A time. 

Afternoon Innovation Stations

With limited spots in each Innovation Station, be sure to book your spot into the station you want as soon as you secure your ticket to the event. All Agritech day participants will attend one of the 3 stations in the morning and in the afternoon. Each Innovation Station will be 1 hour long, made up of some presenting, some workshopping and some Q&A time. 


Brendan O'Connell

Brendan is the Chief Executive of AgriTech New Zealand, an independent membership organisation connecting innovators, investors, regulators, researchers, enablers, and practitioners. The organisation promotes collaboration across the agritech ecosystem and seeks to advance conditions for growth and impact in and from Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Brendan has been involved in technical, commercial, and leadership aspects of product innovation at a senior executive level for several international businesses. He has worked in biomedical, telecoms, marine/consumer electronics, and agritech and led product development teams in NZ, Australia, the UK, Europe, and the US. 

Over the last 17 years of work in the agritech sector, Brendan has developed a strong affinity with the primary sector (its people and purpose) and the innovators who transform its capability and impact.

He likes to open doors, connect businesses with the right people, and provide them context and insights to identify opportunities they might have yet to consider themselves.

Presentation topic: The role of agritech in unlocking new value for New Zealand. Brendan will discuss the global and local effects of agritech solutions. He will provide examples illustrating potential future scenarios and examine New Zealand's potential to lead in these practices.

Insa Errey

Insa is the Sector Decarbonisation Programme Manager at EECA (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority) – a government agency which supports mobilising New Zealanders to be world leaders in clean and clever energy use. Insa aims to drive transformation change at a sectorial level through energy efficiency and transitioning to low emissions technology. Specialising in providing guidance and analysis on energy behaviour, jointly with innovation and technology changes, Insa’s career has seen her both in the public and private sectors leading change management within the energy, carbon and sustainability space. Insa holds a Chemical and Biomolecular BE (Hons) from Sydney University with a strong passion for humanitarian engineering and advocacy for bioenergy use.

Professor Alison Stewart

Professor Alison Stewart is the CEO of the Foundation for Arable Research. She is an applied plant scientist with a 38 year career focused on sustainable food production. Her research expertise includes: plant biosecurity, crop protection, soil biology and plant biotechnology. In particular, Alison is internationally recognised for her work on the development of biopesticides for the control of plant pests and diseases and she has successfully commercialised a number of products for the horticulture, arable and nursery sectors in New Zealand and the USA. Professor Stewart is a Fellow of the NZ Institute for Agricultural and Horticultural Science and the Australasian Plant Pathology Society and was elected a Companion of the NZ Order of Merit in 2009 in recognition of her services to plant biology.

Ruth Leary

With a diverse background spanning senior commercial roles in prominent agribusinesses, speciality ingredients, and export firms, Ruth now serves as the Head of Strategy & Engagement at AgriZeroNZ.  AgriZeroNZ is a public-private partnership between the New Zealand Government and agribusiness investing to accelerate tools and tech for farmers to help them reduce emissions.  Originally from a sheep, beef and deer farm in Opio, Southland, Ruth is committed to driving value in the agriculture sector. 

Ruth has worked as the NZ Sales Director at Archer Daniels Midland, a Regional Sales Manager for Lesaffre, and Director of Strategic Projects at Synlait. She’s also formerly helped write a recipe book for Fisher & Paykel and worked in the technical brewing team at Lion focused on yeast and fermentation.

Ruth holds a Bachelor's degree in Food Science & Nutrition, postgraduate qualifications in Food Science, and a Master of Business Administration from Otago University, as well as a Diploma of Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling.

William Rolleston

William is co-founder of biotech and vaccine manufacturing company South Pacific Sera Limited - a biotech industry pioneer which grew out of a diversification of his family’s farming business on Blue Cliffs Station.

William has advocated for science, industry and agriculture as the founding chair of New Zealand’s biotechnology industry association (now Biotech NZ) and the Life Sciences Network, as president of both New Zealand Federated Farmers and the World Farmers Organisation, and has advised local and central government on science strategy, economic development and biosecurity through the Science and Innovation Boards, Aoraki Development Trust and as external advisor including to the Governor of the Reserve Bank.

William chairs Genomics Aotearoa, has a degree in medicine, was awarded the Distinguished Biotechnologist of the Year for services to the biotechnology industry in 2009 and inducted into the Biotech Hall of Fame in 2023.  In 2019 he received a Special Commendation Award at the South Canterbury Business Excellence Awards for services to local business, was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2017 for services to farming and in 2024 made a Paul Harris Fellow for services to the community.


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