A technology hub created in a bid to keep and create jobs in Northland is already seeing benefits.
Martin Knoche, chief executive of Northland Innovation Centre which develops technology to help trucks travel safer, created the Northland Tech Cluster with Dave Bennett from the Inventors Club and Kevin Waugh from Technohackers. His aim was to bring together people working in the technology space with the hope of creating and keeping jobs in the region.
"To a certain degree I'm a little bit selfish. I have a tech company here and I need talent and I'd rather not have to drive to Auckland every week to work with people.
"I'd rather help to create a talent pool up here in Northland.
"The idea is people get to know who is doing what and maybe collaborate together and maybe create some job opportunities for local people," he said.
The first Northland Tech Cluster meeting was held on February 8 and although it is still in its early days, Knoche is already seeing the benefits of bringing technology lovers in to one space.
For example, at that first meeting Knoche met a Whangārei software developer who has now helped Knoche solve a technology problem.
Since October last year Knoche had been trying to figure out how to automatically upload data collected by technology in trucks online. His team in Auckland couldn't figure it out but within a couple of days the Whangārei software developer he'd just met had solved it.
"It's just one story but we hope to tell more of those. We think we have really talented people up here but they don't know about each other.
"So the idea of the technology cluster is to address that by providing a monthly or regular opportunity to mix and mingle and hear some cool speakers."
Knoche said the cluster was already starting to not only connect people, but pave the way to some business collaborations.
"On the first meeting I got invited to the Inventors Club which is 15 people who meet up once a month and talk about cool mechanical engineering projects they do.
"We may be able to help one idea which now the club, with help from other people, want to commercialise."
The second Tech Cluster event is being held at Whangārei Boys High School on Monday, March 18, starting with a tour of the school's labs at 5pm and finishing about 7pm.
For more information and a list of speakers visit northlandtechnz.wordpress.com