Locus a 'fantastic fit' for tech precinct

By David Porter

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Locus Research's purpose-built new premises in the Newnham Park technology precinct at Te Puna. Photo/Locus
Locus Research's purpose-built new premises in the Newnham Park technology precinct at Te Puna. Photo/Locus

Locus Research is moving this week from its long-time Mount Maunganui base to join the Newnham Park technology precinct in Te Puna.

The company was started in 2002 by Timothy Allan and focuses on product design and development.

Newnham Park is co-owned by Rob Jeffrey, head of Jeffco International, and Steve Saunders, head of the Plus Group of agro-tech companies.

"When Timothy mentioned Locus were looking for new premises I immediately saw a fantastic fit for Newnham Park," said Mr Saunders.

"Locus is all about innovation and helping companies succeed, particularly on the export market. I could see that they would really fit with our vision for the park and add value to what we're doing there."

Mr Allen said Locus Research had been looking for premises that were better suited to its purposes for some years.

The company's work flow included working closely with start-up and established companies to develop new products to the point where they could be taken to market, and involved a lot of prototyping.

The new premises at Newnham Park had been purpose-built for Locus Research.

"Given the focus of our business, we've always thought that, in the longer term, it would be great to be based in an innovation precinct," he said.

"Locus Research has always had an ambition to set up an advanced research and innovation facility where people could come and collaborate with us."

Newnham Park was home to Jeffco International, which had been offering investment, livestock export/import, agrotech and consulting services for four decades, and its subsidiaries, including the Kiwifruit Processing Company (Kiwifruitz), which supplied a range of kiwifruit puree products for the food and beverage sectors. The Plus Group included GroPlus, RoboticsPlus and PollenPlus and was focused on hi-tech agro products and services.

The move resulted from a conversation between Mr Allen and Mr Saunders after an Enterprises Angels meeting, and developed as the companies got to know each other better and Mr Jeffreys also became part of the discussion.

"Rob Jeffrey and I had a vision of creating a business park to house a cluster of innovative companies with a focus on excellence in horticulture and food processing," said Mr Saunders.

"We've come a long way to achieving that vision with a high performing cluster of companies and a growing reputation for innovation and export excellence in the Bay.

The Locus Research Team will add another dimension to the park with their service offering and the work they do in support of the local business and innovation community.

"The Locus studio is a great new space and we were pleased to be able to accommodate their requirements. It's created another high value asset for the park."

Mr Allan said: "Steve's vision for Newnham Park was spot on for us, and being able to have input into the studio design means we've ended up with purpose-built space, perfect for what we need."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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