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Tauranga Tech Talks

A showcase of Tauranga's innovative and leading people in tech and the impact they're creating locally and beyond.


Thursday 27 May
5:00pm - 7:00pm

Tauranga Art Gallery,
8 Willow Street, Tauranga, New Zealand
Paid event
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What's it all about?

Come and join us for an evening of show casing our tech industry leaders who are making a local, national, and global impact from here in Tauranga. We have a line up of five speakers who you'll hear from for up to 15 minutes each, talking about what they do and how they do it, to show some of the big things that happen outside of the main city centres.

Who you'll hear from:

The evening will be hosted by Siân Simpson, an award winning global businesswoman, community builder and Founder of Public Rally. 

We have Sam Kidd, CEO at LawVu, who will be speaking about taking a Software as a Service startup global. Mark Begbie, CEO at PlantTech, will be sharing the amazing machine learning they're doing within the horticulture industry. Rachael Gemming, Associate Director at Ernst & Young, has insights on cryptocurrencies and what are the things you need to know now. Tia Lush, founder of STEMFest NZ and STEM Wana Trust, has a story of how they pivoted in-person events for kids in the COVID-era into greater things. And Jono Jones, Chief Product & Innovation Officer at Bluelab, will speak about making hardware here in the Bay for an international consumer.

Where to join us: 

This event will be at the Tauranga Art Gallery, with doors opening at 5pm and the talks will begin at 5:15pm. After the talks we'll stay for drinks and nibbles until 7pm, and then move into one of the bars under the new colourful lights on Wharf Street.

We have limited seating capacity at the venue, so a ticket is required to attend.


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Siân Simpson

Siân is an award winning global businesswoman, community builder and her new venture, Public Rally, has globally focused clients in the technology, music, AI, legal and education sectors, is dedicated to building world class communities and content strategies to support ambitious revenue, brand and engagement goals. Its footprint ranges from the United States to Australia and New Zealand.

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Sam Kidd

CEO, LawVu

Sam is the CEO and Co-founder at LawVu. Sam is a serial entrepreneur and board director. Before co-founding in-house legal software company, LawVu, Sam was a founding member of a global tech online project management company. Sam is passionate about transforming in-house legal operations and empowering legal counsel across many countries and industries with beautiful and intuitive software, that will see LawVu become another successful globally NZ tech company.

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Dr Mark Begbie

CEO, PlantTech

Mark’s career spans commercial and academic R&D in micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), optics and instrumentation. He has first-hand experience of new product introduction and the challenges of incorporating new technologies into the commercial environment.

Mark held senior roles in design and product engineering of new MEMS products and capabilities for the optical telecommunications sector. He then moved on to the Institute for System Level Integration, to deliver innovation support for the emerging UK MEMS sector. As ISLI CEO he drove the integration of wireless and MEMS streams, alongside electronic systems, to deliver new capabilities to companies using Scottish, UK and EU funding mechanisms.

Prior to joining PlantTech Research, Mark worked with the University of Glasgow to develop, and was then BDD for, an innovation centre in sensor and imaging systems [CENSIS] as part of part of £120M 10-year commitment by the Scottish Government to improve the coupling between the research base and economic benefit. While at CENSIS he championed the uptake of low-power wide-area IoT technologies, resulting in the announcement of a £6M [NZD 12M] public-private investment in a network to support IoT innovation across Scotland.

He completed his Bachelor of Science – Physics & Electronics at the University of St Andrews and then went on to do his PhD in Applied Optics at the University of Edinburgh.

Rachael Gemming

Associate Director, Ernst & Young

Rachael is a chartered accountant with 19 years’ experience in tax. She specialises in advising cryptocurrency and blockchain-based businesses and projects. Prior to joining EY, Rachael held Technical Specialist and Senior Investigator roles with Inland Revenue where she led the Crypto-Asset Emerging Risk Programme. Rachael first became interested in cryptocurrencies in 2010 and she enjoys helping clients apply existing laws to new technology.

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Tia Lush

Founder, STEM Wana Trust

Tia is a graphic designer from the UK, who brought her passion for STEM engagement and the compulsive need to organise things to create the award winning Tauranga STEM Festival. In the first year STEMFest welcomed 3,500 to Tauranga's CBD. This year, STEM Wana Trust is planning on doubling those numbers with a goal of making STEMFest the "Fieldays of STEM". Find out how this modest little charity was able to harness the power of technology and social media to bring such an ambitious event to life.

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Jono Jones

Chief Product & Innovation Officer, Bluelab

Jono Jones is the Chief Product & Innovation Officer at Bluelab where he leads the multidisciplinary product and engineering team. Driven by a passion for customer centricity and design-led approaches, Jono has revolutionized Bluelab’s approach to customer engagement and product development.

Jono holds several patents and has been awarded with numerous design and innovation awards, including a prestigious International RedDot Design Award, iF Design Award, Gold New Zealand Best Design Award, Australian Good Design Award and the NZ International Business Awards for Excellence in Innovation.

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