All speakers will be on the stage in the Access Granted Big Top, check out the full schedule including comedy, music, and WTAF.

Please welcome your Big Top MC's for the evening ...

Kylie Reiri - 4pm-5pm

Christie Davis - 5pm-6pm

Moana Roberts - 6pm-6:30pm

Hon James Shaw MP

Green Party Co-leader James Shaw strongly believes that New Zealand can lead the world in transitioning to a high-value, clean-tech, post-carbon economy that works for everyone.

He knows it’s a hugely ambitious, probably decades-long task, but it’s the reason he’s committed to a life in politics and one of the many reasons joined the Green Party in 1990.

His diverse business experience and expertise, from working for multinational corporates through to local start-ups and community organisations, will enable him to lead New Zealand as Minister for Climate Change and Co-leader of the Green Party, towards a high-tech post-carbon economy and society.

It might be the biggest challenge of a generation, but James also sees it as the greatest opportunity: he wants New Zealand to lead the way and show the world how it’s done.

When he’s not living and breathing sustainable economics, James enjoys spending time in his local community, Aro Valley, with his wife Annabel.

4:30 pm : Event opening

Mayor Justin Lester

Justin was elected Mayor in 2016. He joined Wellington City Council as a Northern Ward Councillor in 2010 and then served as Deputy Mayor from 2013 until 2016.

Justin’s priorities as Mayor include kick-starting the economy, making housing affordable, improving Wellington’s transport, replacing outdated bylaws and prioritising arts funding. He also wants to establish the country’s first wet house, provide a rates rebate for first-home builders and create the world’s first predator-free capital

4:30 pm : Event opening

Jessica Manins

One of New Zealand’s leading entrepreneurs in the VR/AR space, Jessica is an award-winning producer and creative. She is involved in a number of initiatives and events to support entrepreneurs and is passionate about bringing together the tech and creative sector. She led the establishment of The New Zealand VR/AR Association and was a 2017 finalist in the Wellingtonian of The Year science and technology category. She's currently involved in a bunch of interesting things involving blockchain, VR and location-based entertainment.

'What the inaugural WTAF awards mean to me'

"Celebrating ace people and the good stuff they do to initiate change, challenge our thinking or support our community is important. These people are key to growing a successful, diverse and vibrant ecosystem. I hope that with these awards we can celebrate those that normally go under the radar and it encourages others to keep pushing to ensure Wellytech becomes a bigger dot on the global map."

6:30 pm : WellyTech Awards Finale opening

Partner talks

Each of our four amazing partners who have been on this journey from the beginning will let you know how they're year has gone and, most intriguingly, what they're looking forward to in 2019 ... check out the stage schedule for details.

Liz MacPherson, CEO of Stats NZ and Government Statistician

Liz joined the public sector with a strong appetite to make a difference. Despite being a self-confessed geek, she is very much a people person with a strong pragmatic side. She enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, and sharing good food with friends and family. In her (rare) spare time, Liz coaches netball, and as a trained opera singer has been known to shine during organisational Christmas carol performances.


Colin Brown, Tribe Lead Network Evolution at Spark

As Tribe Lead for Network Evolution, Colin is responsible for ensuring Spark has the capability to evolve our network and enable New Zealanders to win big in a digital world. This means managing the strategy, architecture, design and delivery of Spark’s Mobile, Fixed, IP Voice and Legacy Networks service.

In this role Colin draws on his 22 years’ experience in ICT and business change, 16 of these within Spark. Over the course of his career with Spark, Colin has played integral roles in some of our most significant technical projects, including the launch of the 4/4.5G Mobile Network, Optical Transport Network, Business Data, Consumer Broadband and IP Voice.

Colin has also lead Spark through significant transformational change including the regulated Operational Separation, Structural Separation between Telecom and Chorus, Rebrand for Spark, Turnaround and the recent move to Agile.

Colin’s current areas of focus include building capacity in our wireless broadband network, retiring the PSTN, transitioning Spark’s voice future to an all IP Voice Core and planning for 5G mobile networks.

Colin is a Director of the Rural Connectivity Group and is on the Board of Trustees for Marram and was previously a Director of Connect8


Dorien Vermaas, Team Lead Sector Development & Business Attraction

Since 2013 I have been working in economic development in the screen, digital and creative industries in Wellington. It's a privilege to help build bridges and platforms for collaboration between businesses, investors, universities, government, markets, cities. The team’s focus is on innovation, helping businesses to grow, change, be ready for disruption. I engage with with the startup and business community - help create pipelines to capital. I work with CEO’s - incubators - innovation community - investors - universities - industry organisations stakeholders.


Justin Harrington, Red Hat Public Sector Lead

Justin helps public sector agencies adopt open source technologies and approaches to deliver value to New Zealanders.


Lightning talks

Both Thankyou Payroll and the Aotearoa Tech Union have something to say and we have opened the floor up to them in the hope it's going to be explosive!

Christina Bellis

Thankyou Payroll's CEO Christina Bellis will be introducing you to ways ANY business can disrupt traditional sectors using a social enterprise model. Thankyou Payroll is a social enterprise that provides online payroll and PAYE filing service for businesses and charities in Aotearoa New Zealand.


Catherine (Kate) Pearce

Aotearoa Tech Union (ATU) was formed in 2018 to support workers in technology-associated roles, and to advocate for their common benefit regardless of who they work for and whether they are contract, full time, part time, or a student. We believe that every worker deserves:

  • Fair and reasonable working conditions and hours
  • Someone on their side if things go wrong
  • Career support, and unbiased information on salary and pay, throughout their entire career
  • A voice to government and media that represents their interests without fear of upsetting employers

You may already know some people involved, and here's a photo from our formation signing. Kate will speak about why, and how, we want to make Aotearoa one of the best places to work in tech worldwide