AgTech Hackathon attracts nationwide talent to Manawatū

The third annual Agtech Hackathon, delivered in conjunction with New Zealand AgriFood Week, is about to kick off in Manawatū.

The Agtech Hackathon connects tech talent with the primary industries in Aotearoa, and for the first time in its three-year history, the hackathon has opened registrations to hackers from across New Zealand, with participants coming from as far north as Auckland to as far south as Christchurch.

“We have attracted hardware and software engineers, mechatronics, computer science and tertiary talent, this year” says Agtech Hackathon Manager, Johnelle Hosking.

The Factory, which delivers the hackathon, also worked with Talent Central, an organisation that connects students and the business community via programmes and pathways to employment, to include 18 high school students, who will be exposed to the career opportunities available in the agtech and primary sectors.

“It is so exciting to be raising participants’ awareness and help them to consider careers in these fields, and we know that the hackathon acts as a pathway to employment, by connecting future talent with employers,” Hosking says.

For example, one of last year’s Agtech Hackathon winners, Mitchell Coleman, took part in a team who was solving a problem for a local company, Levno, which offers farmers digital monitoring services for water, milk and fuel. Mitchell, who was an intern at Levno at the time, has since been employed full time by the company to continue developing the solution his team came up with during last year’s hackathon.

“That’s the ultimate measure of success for us and our event partners.”

The Central Economic Development Agency (CEDA) manages New Zealand AgriFood Week and is a proud supporter of the Agtech Hackathon and partner of The Factory and Talent Central. CEDA, with expert support from key industry members sets the strategic direction and manages the partnerships, several events and content for New Zealand AgriFood Week as part of its agriculture sector development.

“The Agtech Hackathon sits at the centre of CEDA’s work in developing and growing the region’s talent pool, connecting businesses with the skilled employees they need to meet labour shortages and highlighting the innovative agtech career opportunities in the region,” says CEDA’s Economic Development Manager, Sarah Gauthier.

“From the world’s largest marketer of kiwifruit, Zespri, to global dairy company Fonterra, Microsoft and Amazon Web Services, we applaud the connections, businesses, partners and nation-wide participation that the Agtech Hackathon has made this year.”

Hackers will be supported by leading technology experts from Microsoft and Amazon Web Services, as well as mentors from the agriculture, horticulture and forestry industries.

This year, hackers will focus on five real world problems, which have been supplied by five of our Hackathon partners; Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC), PF Olsen, Fonterra, Gallagher and Zespri.

The hack event will take place on the March 15 and 16, with 30 hours of hacking culminating at an expo and awards ceremony at the Central Districts Field Days. Five judges will be assessing the team’s volume of hacking, their ability to articulate and solve the problem, and the team’s dynamic.

This expo and awards ceremony are open to the public and we invite you to attend.

Location: Star Tent (by the food courts), Central Districts Field Days, Manfeild.

Date: Saturday 16 March

Time: 1 – 2pm – Expo; 2.30pm – Awards Ceremony

For more on the Hackathon visit

The AgTech Hackathon is supported by the Central Economic Development Agency (CEDA), AgMARDT, Massey University, Zespri, Gallagher, LIC, Fonterra, PF Olsen, Microsoft, Ballance Agri-Nutrients, Amazon Web Services, Accelerate25, Pamu, Horizons Regional Council, Seenbros, Talent Central, Summer of Tech, Beef+Lamb NZ, and is support delivered/managed by The Factory.

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