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A new approach to innovation infrastructure

The late Sir Paul Callaghan’s vision for New Zealand was a place where talent wants to live.

Callaghan Innovation, named after the esteemed scientist, was established with the challenge to fire up the imagination and to support a step-change in the commercialisation of science, engineering and technology.

The Gracefield Innovation Quarter located in Lower Hutt is adding to that vision.

The redevelopment of the site, announced last year, is of advantage to both the Technology Valley region and the rest of New Zealand, says Programme Manager Hayley Ellison.

“While it will be some time before the long-term vision and plans for the site begin development, we have a unique opportunity now to think about how we can contribute to a better New Zealand,” says Hayley.

Planning for the Gracefield Innovation Quarter is underpinned by a breadth of thinking around New Zealand’s future.

While acknowledging that no one can know what the future looks like, particularly during these uncertain times, Callaghan Innovation has the opportunity and obligation to think about the development in terms broader than just economic development.

“We want to ensure that we have the infrastructure, services and expertise at Gracefield to support both the economic growth and social wellbeing of New Zealand,” says Hayley.

“As an example, manufacturing makes a significant contribution to New Zealand and there is huge opportunity for the Gracefield Innovation Quarter to support the sector to grow through innovation.

“We like to think that with our Gracefield site we can turn a decade of underinvestment in infrastructure into a golden opportunity,” says Hayley.

“Top of mind for us is how do we create a site which is a tangible reflection of Sir Paul’s wish to make New Zealand a place where talent wants to live?”

“This is not just a property play we’re involved in. It has to be about community, it is more than just Callaghan Innovation.”

Over the next 12 months the innovation agency will be talking to other organisations and partners and help them imagine what the future could look like.

Callaghan Innovation is New Zealand’s innovation agency. Find out more about how it supports hi-tech businesses in New Zealand here: