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CLIENT NEWS - Waikato Innovation Park targets Auckland tech companies to make the move south

Waikato Innovation Park targets Auckland tech companies to make the move south

Hamilton’s Waikato Innovation Park has received resource consent to extend its size by more than a third as it seeks to lure Auckland companies to the growing Waikato technology hub. 

Stuart Gordon, CEO of Waikato Innovation Park, said Innovation Park’s expansion provided immense opportunity for the Waikato region, Hamilton already home to New Zealand’s fastest growing tech sector. 

“Our region has already produced globally successful companies working in high-tech space especially in Agritech. There is a big opportunity here for Auckland tech businesses wanting to be part of that,” said Mr Gordon. 

Agritech had been the Waikato’s focus he said, but other key tenants at the Waikato Innovation Park show the wider tech industry views the Waikato as a good place to do business.  

Companies like desktop software developer More4Apps, hardware, software and professional services developers Torutek, Rezare and Layerx have chosen the Park as their New Zealand headquarters. Multinational Tetra Pak moved its base from Auckland to The Park because the environment suited both staff and work as well as close to other technology companies working in the Food high tech space.

“Companies like these have seen the benefit of being in a hub with similar companies. They have access to good transport links, with the development of the Waikato Expressway on our doorstep, easy access to Hamilton and Auckland International Airport and they don’t have the daily hassles of Auckland’s transport or the hefty costs of living,” said Mr Gordon. 

A recent Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment report said Hamilton’s tech sector experienced 16.3 per cent revenue growth last year. The nearest competitor was North Auckland and Northland, with combined growth of 16.1 per cent. South Auckland experienced 9.4 per cent. 

“When you look at the population base here in Hamilton compared to North Auckland and Northland, or South Auckland, we’re well outperforming these regions with our growth in the tech sector,” said Mr Gordon. 

“We want these companies to know the Waikato is open for business and we’re creating a hub here at Waikato Innovation Park that will support and create a sense of community around the work they are doing,” Mr Gordon said. 

With resource consent now granted for the new building, which will add 2900sq m by next Spring.  Tenders have already closed with the successful builder awarded in the next three weeks. Building is expected to start in November. 

Innovation Park was previously owned by Hamilton City Council and was sold to private investor Neil Foster in 2017, after the council determined it wasn’t the right investor to achieve The Park’s master plan. 

“This development demonstrates the sale of Waikato Innovation Park was the right move by Hamilton City Council and private investment for the purpose of growth and economic development in our region is happening,” Mr Gordon said. 

The Park, which sits on 17 hectares of land in Hamilton near Ruakura Research Centre and University of Waikato, opened in 2004 with the aim of clustering businesses to help drive economic growth.

It now has over 10,000 sqm of tenanted space plus the spray dryer. It is home to more than 60 tenants who have more than 1600 staff between them, including 562 working onsite and 1049 offsite.  A second spray dryer is currently under construction and will open in April next year.