Ara Institute of Canterbury hosted the Hon. James Shaw yesterday in an open-forum discussion at Te Ōhaka with students, staff and a group of founders of associated ‘sustainable’ start-ups.

Mr Shaw was participating in an afternoon kōrero with Ara’s Master’s of Sustainability students and staff from the Sustainability & Outdoor Education programmes.

Also present were some of the founders of Te Ōhaka’s sustainability-focused start-ups, including Andy Nurse and Graeme Pile from Fertigation Systems, PhD candidate Ngārie Scartozzi of EClean, Brendon McIntosh from Brothers Green, Caroline Thalund from Sustainability 360 and Fernando Gutierrez from Ananda Simply Wholefoods.

After a welcome from Jacob Varghese, Ministry of Awesome’s resident start-up expert, Kaila Colbin, co-founder of MOA, spoke about Christchurch’s place in the innovation ecosystem and how MOA is an integral part of this. She stated that Christchurch should not seek to be another Silicon Valley; rather the opportunity exists for the city to set a new standard that the global innovation community could aspire towards.

A highlight was the attendance of Ngārie Scartozzi from Eclean. Ngārie is doing her PhD at UC, combining indigenous science with microbiology to clean up NZ water sources, and is using space at Ara to develop her technology.

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