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Fieldays Innovation Awards winners announced

Guests at last night’s Fieldays Innovation Awards were treated to a celebration of creative problem-solvers when the winners of the 2022 competition were announced in an exclusive awards ceremony, with four well-deserving winners selected by the panel of 15 industry expert judges.

More than 60 finalists were in the running to be considered for one of four Awards. The Fieldays Innovation awards clearly represent the innovation lifecycle in three award categories: Prototype, Early-Stage, and Growth & Scale. Special recognition is also given to younger innovators, with an award for the Fieldays Young Innovator of the year.

New Zealand entrepreneur and businessman Nick Mowbray spoke at the ceremony, partaking in a Q&A with host and Fieldays regular Te Radar to inspire the innovators in the room. Mowbray shared his story of creating the toy and consumer products manufacturer ZURU from humble beginnings with his brother and imparted his words of innovation wisdom for the entrants.

Entries in the Innovation Awards have been praised for their cross section of talent, with Peter Nation, CEO of New Zealand National Fieldays Society, saying that the event showed the breadth of creativity across the primary industries.

‘Fieldays is the home of innovation and the best platform to launch new ideas in the agricultural sector. Fieldays Innovation Awards is a programme that I, along with the wider Fieldays team, am immensely proud of.’ 

The 2022 Young Innovator of the Year Award winner was Delta Waterways, a student start-up from the University of Auckland and Auckland University of Technology. Delta Waterways, uses the latest in satellite data and data analysis techniques to revolutionise the way waterways are monitored. The Judges commented on the potential Delta Waterways has and the benefits it could provide in a variety of situations including potentially closing the loop in waterway pollution control.

The judges also commended St. Paul’s Collegiate School and their Sterineedle project, especially for the product development process that they followed in getting to what looks like an effective and well thought out solution. 

The 2022 Prototype Award winner was The University of Waikato for their Kiwifruit Human Assisted Harvesting (e-BIN) which was developed with the goal of making fruit picking easier and eventually opening up roles to a wider range of people.

The Award judges appreciated the intentional decisions which led to a system that uses humans to do things like location and tricky picking while the e-BIN does its job with just the right amount of automation.

The judges commended another Finalist Donald Cornwall, for the way he took an intentionally low-tech approach to solving the problem of optimizing the use of a feed paddock: Donald’s Automated Moving Fence is simple, low-cost and effective.

The 2022 Early-Stage Award winner was SNPshot, a company that’s designed to make DNA sampling of livestock seamless and simple, which has resulted in a simple yet effective system for farmers to use and have processed in the lab.

The Judges commented on its extremely well-executed and thought-out design while also focusing on useability on a farm. They mentioned its clever structure and efficiency and were impressed with its overall business model.

The Judges also made special mention of newcomer Bovonic, a company that aims to identify mastitis early in cows, saving time, money and pain in livestock. Judges cited that this invention had a lot of potential and that its creators had made impressively quick progress in such a short period of time.

The 2022 Growth & Scale Award winner was previous Fieldays Innovation award winner RiverWatch whose hardware and software solutions work together with the end goal of creating swimmable oceans, rivers and streams by providing a network of real-time water quality information.

The judges were impressed with the practicability and scalability of this software from the science behind it to its easy installation. Judges also acknowledged its flexibility which meant it could be used in situations globally.

Steve Chappell, Fieldays Programme Manager, says that the Fieldays Innovation Awards are an amazing showcase of the innovation that can be found in all four corners of New Zealand and around the world.

‘The standard of entries was very high again this year, and I know the judges had to make some tough decisions. I’m happy for those that won and know that the prize packages for each category are going to make a world of difference on their innovation journey. I can’t wait to see how the next 12 months will go for the winners and finalists – I hope to see them all again next year in the next stages of their innovation journey.’

He said to those who didn’t win, he hoped that they will still reap the benefits of featuring in the Fieldays Innovations Awards and networking with industry professionals, primary industry leaders and other entrepreneurs.

Fieldays Innovation Awards are supported by sponsors Massey University, Vodafone, Amazon Web Services, Gait International, King St. Advertising, NZME, Sprout Agritech, Blender Design, and Soda Inc., who all contribute to a prize package valued at over $60,000. Full details of the prizes for each category can be viewed on the Fieldays website.

Fieldays is proud to be the home of innovation and appreciates the time and effort put into the innovations presented to judges for the Fieldays Innovation Awards. The calibre of entrants was exceptionally high this year and Fieldays acknowledges the hard work of both the judges and the participants in this year’s competitions.

Fieldays Innovation Awards entries for 2023 are open, and Fieldays looks forward to seeing what inventions will be on show and how these will continue to change and advance this sector. You can apply for the Fieldays 2023 Innovation Awards here.

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