Venture Taranaki's National New Energy Development establishment project was launched today by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Dr Megan Woods, Minister for Energy and Resources.

Prime Minister Ardern said she was pleased to be there to launch Ara Ake, the nation's future energy development company.

Dr Megan Woods introduced and welcomed Ara Ake's board of directors including chairman Rob Campbell, Elena Trout; Dr Will Edwards, Rick Shera and Lovina McMurchy.

In his address he said the board of directors was there to work with people.


"Ara Ake's board of directors are here to work with, assist and in due course, guide participants in the energy sector as our role evolves. We will be open and accountable and judged by our actions and their value."

Rob Campbell introduced Ara Ake's chief executive, Dr Cristiano Marantes.

"He is a highly experienced energy sector executive with an extensive engineering background and an informed worldview on the potential of technologies and business opportunities that will likely emerge in a low-emissions energy future."

Cristiano has moved from Vector, where he held several positions including general manager of technology and innovation, and head of engineering. He focused on the design and development of new technology and commercial low-emissions energy solutions.

Cristiano said he is looking forward to the new role.

"I have a life-long passion for enabling a low-emissions future, through strong leadership, innovation and knowledge of new energy solutions and I'm incredibly excited about this opportunity."

Also announced at the launch were Ara Ake's three initial shareholders, The MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, The Independent Electricity Generators Association (IEGA) and The Taranaki Chamber of Commerce.

Jamie Tuuta, Venture Taranaki Trust chair, acknowledged the work of the region's economic agency.


"Venture Taranaki's work started over a decade ago with its initial thinking and concepts feeding into the regional economic development strategy, Tapuae Roa, in 2017. The focus on the transition to a low emissions future and the co-creation of the Taranaki 2050 Roadmap then supported the business cases to achieve the much-needed government funding that enabled the vision for the centre to start to come to life.

"Venture Taranaki's journey establishing an entirely new organisation like Ara Ake has by no means been straightforward. Add a lockdown into the mix, and you might assume project milestones would slip. This is not the case, with the Venture Taranaki team successfully delivering this nationally significant project on time and to budget."

Justine Gilliland, CE Venture Taranaki, said Ara Ake had solid foundations.

"Moving forward Ara Ake has solid foundations to build on, strong relationships forged, and a pipeline of potential projects for consideration by the Ara Ake Board in due course. Venture Taranaki looks forward to continuing the foundation relationship we have with Ara Ake, and to seeing our vision turn into reality."