Massey University plans innovation district for Auckland's North

Rebecca Gill has researched other efforts to replicate Silicon Valley and says the North Shore has the right mindset.

Rebecca Gill has researched other efforts to replicate Silicon Valley and says the North Shore has the right mindset.

Massey University hopes to create a "nationally preeminent' innovation district on Auckland's North Shore.

The university saw itself playing a similar role to that played by Stanford University in Silicon Valley, newly-appointed entrepreneurship researcher, Rebecca Gill said.

The scope of the ambition may fan flames as the country's main centres compete to attract high-growth businesses.

The chairman of Wellington City Council's economic growth and arts committee, Jo Coughlan, disputed earlier on Friday that Auckland was the "logical tech centre" for New Zealand.

She said the capital was ahead of the game though its lead was "there to lose".

READ MORE: Wellington must fight to retain its tech sector

Gill said technology businesses in Takapuna, and Auckland University of Technology's Millennium sports centre, were helping attract a "critical mass" of technology businesses to the North Shore.

The university saw the innovation district supporting innovation in education, sports and medicine, rather than just focusing on information technology, she said.  

"We are trying to cast a wider net."

Gill said Wellington was doing "amazing things" with design and Christchurch had an excellent emerging innovation district.

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"We wouldn't say these places don't exist or shouldn't exist but we do hope the Auckland North could become nationally preeminent, but also globally preeminent. We think there are a lot of opportunities to connect outside of the country."

Massey did not yet have a site in mind for the innovation district, she said.

Recommendations on a "road map" for the way forward are due to be finalised by November 30. That research is being funded by the university and Auckland, Tourism, Events and Economic Development.  

 - Stuff

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