Cleantech conference to bring together New Zealand and the U.S. with an eye on the Pacific

The Blue & Green Technology Conference, a partnership between New Zealand and the United States, will be held in Tamaki Makaurau ӰAPPon 7-8 December 2022. It will explore and showcase how the uptake of blue and green technologies can prepare Pacific nations for future global challenges.

Image of outdoor wind turbines

Blue (water-focused) and green (land-focused) technology represents a diverse range of products, services and processes targeted at reducing our impact on the planet and improving the sustainable use of our resources. This can include renewable and clean energy, low emissions transport, water and wastewater management, air quality, carbon capture and circular approaches to our industries.

Developed in partnership by the U.S Department of State and UniServices, the conference is also supported by four other New Zealand agencies, Callaghan Innovation, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Tātaki ӰAPPUnlimited and Ara Ake.

Delegates will get around the table with others who are equally passionate about the kaupapa (principle): Accelerating our transition to a low carbon and climate resilient future, while ensuring positive economic, environmental and social outcomes.

It will include panel discussions, thematic interactive workshops and networking events where innovators and entrepreneurs will showcase and discuss their technologies. There will be the opportunity to build long-term networks and even invest.

As the first United States-New Zealand cleantech event, the conference will create a forum for exchange between leaders and companies in the cleantech ecosystem. The focus will be on the trends, opportunities and challenges within four key sectors: Energy futures; resource recovery and circular innovations; carbon capture; and low emissions transport.

UniServices’ role

UniServices, a not-for-profit company of Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of ӰAPPfocusing on the application and commercialisation of research, is leading the conference alongside the U.S Embassy New Zealand.

Analeise Murahidy, UniServices Director of Strategic Growth and conference lead, looks forward to cleantech innovators from the U.S. and New Zealand coming together. Her relationship with cleantech started four years ago when she held the environment industries business development portfolio. UniServices was contemplating the research and innovation needed to address the climate challenges ahead and had started talking to other groups across the system such as Callaghan Innovation and other local partners brought together by the . At the same time, serendipitously, the U.S. Department of State put a call out to host a cleantech conference.

“We already had the local cleantech partners alongside us and the conference was a great opportunity to showcase New Zealand’s innovation ecosystem while strengthening connections with the U.S.,” says Murahidy.

Indigenous innovation

Dion Peita
Dion Peita, UniServices

Dion Peita, UniServices Māori Business Development Director, will be hosting a session on community and Indigenous innovation and its relationship with the cleantech ecosystem.

Peita says an awareness of sustainability is already the default position in the Māori economy. A holistic approach still recognises the importance of people, planet and profit. However, a point of difference is
that the latter is not the key driving force.

“A Māori perspective places the greatest importance on tāngata (people) and the whenua (land),” he says.

The session will consider how we value and protect knowledge systems, how to create culturally safe pathways for innovation and commercialisation and highlight some exemplar Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs.

New Zealand is the perfect place for such activity to thrive. It has an excellent environmental reputation and much to offer internationally. As a small nation with a highly interconnected research and innovation community, collaboration is something we do wonderfully, says Peita.

“Having quality relationships at a geopolitical level is something we can contribute as part of the greater urgency around climate impact and the transformation and changes that we’re seeing globally.”

Recent central government policies have given prominence to taking care of land, accountability and continuous improvement, he says. It means more than just business success, but also social and cultural elements.

Women in blue and green tech

Christine Woods
Professor Christine Woods, Icehouse

Professor Christine Woods, Associate Dean at the University of ӰAPPFaculty of Business and
Economics and a programme facilitator at , a suite of business growth programmes, will be running the ‘Women in Blue & Green Tech’ lunchtime session on the first day of the conference.

Woods, the inaugural Theresa Gattung Chair for Women in Entrepreneurship, is also a director of , a navigational tool and information repository for the tribal marae of Aotearoa New Zealand.

During the session, Woods will invite participants to share the challenges they face as entrepreneurial women, particularly when commercialising new technologies. She’ll use this to inform the discussion and look at what can be done to help, as well as sharing networks and resources delegates may be unfamiliar with.

When it comes to New Zealand’s role in progressing blue and green technology, Woods says our unique environment provides a natural boost to research and uses the marine industry as an example.

“We’ve got such easy access to rivers and the ocean – if you test something across Cook Strait or the Tasman Sea it’s good to go really, almost anywhere in the world.”

Ideally, the lasting effects of the conference will be building networks. It also marks the beginning of a new chapter, where the world is physically more open again. Woods says that while virtual collaboration serves a purpose, it’s important to meet with people to create fertile ground for collaboration.

It’s about seeing connections and pulling the patterns together, she says. It’s a case of “our research may connect with your research; let’s explore this opportunity.”

Part of the excitement is not knowing what the product of that kind of discussion might look like, but knowing it is being fuelled by a group of smart and knowledgeable people, ready to explore different perspectives, says Woods.

“If we had all the answers that would be a little boring, wouldn’t it?“

Find out more

Visit the or contact Analeise Murahidy at: