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IT growth could see suburb become 'Techapuna' says ATEED manager

SIMON MAUDE
Last updated 05:00 01/04/2014

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A seaside suburb on Auckland's North Shore could be one day be the country's answer to San Francisco's Silicon Valley, a spokesman for one of the city's council controlled organisations says.

Zane Taylor is area manager for Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) which was set up with the formation of an amalgamated "super city" council in 2010 to boost the region's economy and contribute to national prosperity.

He sees Takapuna, where the first season of hit TV show The Block was filmed, as a potential site for billion-dollar technology companies, known in the industry as "unicorns".

Building a mass of skilled workers will hasten change, drawing high calibre companies to the area and boosting the economy, Taylor says.

ATEED has worked to create a buzz in the area by setting up monthly 'Techapuna' get-togethers, where hundreds from the business technology fraternity gather to talk shop.

"We've had a couple of companies come to us and say 'we'd like to be in on that environment'," Taylor says.

Takapuna is a pivotal part of an "innovation corridor" that stretches across the greater Auckland region, drawing in information and communications technology firms, he says.

And its beachside location makes it an attractive place for highly skilled, highly paid internet and computer technology workers to work and live.

Taylor says technology companies can get a hand-up through programmes like the Callaghan Innovation R&D Investment fund for exporters and the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise business capability funding.

The possibility for business opportunities is exploding and Takapuna is "exporting" hundreds of highly-paid technology jobs because local firms can't find enough skilledlocal workers, he says.

ATEED, in conjunction with Massey University, wants to develop a curriculum and career guidance strategy for North Shore schools to help make the dream a reality.

Takapuna Beach Business Association general manager Peter White says Auckland needs to retain up-and-coming IT stars.
 
"For years we've bemoaned losing our talent overseas, we need to provide career-paths for school-leavers in their own backyards." 

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- North Shore Times

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