Tech Week NZ in Christchurch starts Monday 20th May


Tech Week NZ kicks off Monday 20th May and we have some great events, workshops & seminars to attend in your local city in which many of them are FREE.

So what are some of the great events to go along to in Christchurch?

Check out the programme for Christchurch here:

Here are a few events that caught my eye….

***Monday 20th 5.30pm-7.30pm at Otago Uni, near Christchurch Hospital, 2 Riccarton Ave. PAID or FREE for Canterbury Tech members

Impact of Technology on Health Care Today

Instead of the monthly Canterbury Tech networking event this is the one they’re running with for Tech Week…

Particularly interesting will be Dr Tim Woodfield’s (an old friend of mine) talk about how you 3D print human body parts….now that’s pretty amazing.

Topic: 'Bio Inks & 3D Bioprinting Living Tissues for Regenerative Medicine' The development of novel bio-inks and 3D bio-printing technology to deliver cell therapy solutions for Regenerative Medicine of cartilage and bone, and the R&D taking this technology to commercial and clinical application.

More info here:

***Tuesday 21st 10am - 12pm at Parry Field Lawyers, Riccarton

Tech for Good: What business models work best?

With a bunch of interesting speakers including John Ascroft (Jade), Menno Finlay-Smits (Cacophony Project), Dave Lane (Open Source guru), Steven Moe (Local Podcast innovator & lawyer), Georgia Robertson (Humanitix) & Tim Jones (GM of Growing Good) this will be an interesting discussion.

More info here:

***Tuesday 21st May 3pm-5pm at Signal ICT, 181 High St (in front of Little High)

Delivering world class results by combining innovation and product management frameworks

Product Management workshop introducing the concepts of Doblin's Ten Types of Innovation, a leading innovation methodology and framework.

A bunch of amazing speakers including:

Tas Gould, Xero, Delphine Ducurage, OnSite, Andrei Link, Multiplier, Pat McLarin, Seequent, Mathias Roehring, Trimble, Nigel Sharpling, Infact, Tim Trewinnard, Jade

More info here:

***Tuesday 21st May 6pm-8pm BizDojo, Christchurch

Blockchain & Business: Where programmable finance will take us

Topics will include:

Programmable value - How smart contracts will shift the way we exchange value.

Blockchain in New Zealand - Hear about what's happening here in NZ from Business & Thought leaders. 

Decentralized Finance: How DeFi is bringing 2.5 billion unbanked individuals into the global economy.

More info here:

***Wednesday 22nd May 4pm-6pm at Signal ICT, 181 High St (in front of Little High)

How to SLAY in Tech without getting technical - Women in Tech

Tas, a product owner from Xero will talk about how to build a successful and rewarding career in Technology without sacrificing your lifestyle – or writing a single line of code!

More info here:

***Wednesday 22nd May 8.30am-5pm PAID $30

Location Intelligence 2019

The Orbica crew have organised one awesome event here with key notes from

Miles McConway (Environment Canterbury), Kurt Janssen (Orbica), Kris Herbert (Placecasting), Pip Gilbert (EROAD), Hirini Tane (Maori Maps)

More info here:

***Wednesday 22nd May

UC Connect: Inspired by Nature: Engineering as an Art Form

Beauty in design goes well beyond architecture and ornamentation. It is found in all fields of engineering and has even launched an entirely new field of biologically inspired design called biomimicry.

Biomimicry studies how nature solves problems, such as flight and low-drag swimming, and applies those principles to engineered solutions. This field of study has brought about incredible breakthroughs – microscopic cameras that can “swarm” into a larger image, swimsuits that have the texture of shark skin, and robots that can climb windows or fly like butterflies.

More info here:

***Thursday 23rd May 10.30am - 3pm Catalyst, 284 Kilmore St, Christchurch.

Git Training with Catalyst

Communicate, collaborate and document your work with this free training session in using Git from Senior Developer Chris Burgess.

More info here:

***Thursday 23rd May 5pm-8pm, Tait technology center, 245 Woolridge Rd

The Future of Work: The 4th Industrial Revolution

Ben Reid, Executive director of AI, New Zealand will blow our minds on how AI & Machine Learning is impacting our world.

Major themes are the growing focus on and importance of:

- Keeping up with AI, automation, robotics and the impact of tech
- Beating the machines - how creativity, design and critical thinking will compete against tech
- Adapting and staying relevant in your role with exponential change in tech 

More info here:

This is only a snap shot of some of the great events - how do I get to them all I hear you say?

Have a great Tech Week - get out & learn new stuff, meet new friends (& old) and celebrate our fantastic Tech Industry in Christchurch and across New Zealand.

I'm Paul, I love coffee, Founder & Principal Consultant of Sunstone, an IT Recruitment & HR company specialising in recruiting IT roles within software, web, mobile, blockchain, big data, cloud infrastructure, security & networks in Christchurch & South Island of New Zealand.



What are the trade offs with Open Source software from an IT staffing perspective?


Open Source software has seen mass popularity with sharing of great ideas eventuating in collaboration between software engineers creating amazing tooling for everybody to use - for free.

But does it come with a hidden cost & a potential risk of difficult resourcing?

Something that I’ve noticed over the years is that companies need to consider the trade off between using exciting open source tooling and readily available skills / experience in the market.

Open source software or new tooling might solve a problem & be free (open to the community) but will you be able to hire that skill set? Especially if that technology or tool sets are very new or leading edge it might be difficult to get an expert within that open source software whereas sometimes it can be easier to go for something mainstream (that has an upfront cost & vendor support) but not a down stream cost. Not great if every time you need to recruit you have to hire an obscure expert from overseas to work on your specialist software (which is also fine but can take time).

If you do have a couple of experts in say that particular technology, functional or new languages….how replaceable are they? And can you get some colleagues or other engineers around them to have some knowledge sharing & transfer? Think long-term planning or dare I say the ‘Red bus’ scenario in which ‘what happens if that person won’t be here tomorrow’? Food for thought….and it really can be scary…

Another take is that a good software engineer can learn any language. Object oriented languages are similar to each other as are functional languages and a good senior software engineer should be able to pick up new languages, but of course all languages have different nuances & it depends on how deep you need that knowledge… Deep I hear you say ;-)

We often will keep an eye on the market for the clients we partner with, alerting them of rare skill sets that may arrive overseas or return home to Christchurch, sometimes it’s not the best timing but’s always good to be thinking ahead with your IT resourcing so as not to put unwanted pressure on your people, teams & inevitably your customers & get into a tight spot.

So my advice is to be proactive, especially if you have a niche skill set, and look at knowledge sharing & skills transfer between people in your teams. It can also be useful to be active in local user groups, to get teams or individuals to give presentations, and to get involved and be known to the community in that particular skill set. It’s fun & enriching for devs etc too.

And while we’re on ‘Community’ that’s where the global community within Open Source really kicks in where ideas & information are shared and this can become your first port of call for enticing new staff that are known to your devs & people active in that Open Source community.

‘Grow your own’ - bring in graduates that you can train up on your own tech stack (yes easier said than done, as it takes time), the way you want them to work & they can bring fresh ideas, passion & new energy. It also gives an opportunity for Senior Devs to mentor & lead by example. It can be a great idea to have a couple of interns in to do sand pit projects & they can turn into your next grad hires & eventual rock stars.

If it does get too much, sometimes it’s a good move to bring in an IT contractor, or consider remote working to help out in busy times to bridge the gap. 

The key takeaway here is plan ahead for rare skill sets within Open Source, be proactive in all these different areas and that should see you right for future growth.

We currently have a number of exciting roles in the Open Source space in Christchurch please check out:

Lead Full Stack Web Developer, Christchurch

Senior Software Engineer (Python), Christchurch

Python Software Engineer, Christchurch

Exploratory Software Tester, Christchurch

Web Apps Developer, Christchurch

UI/UX Designer / Front-End Developer, Christchurch

I'm Paul, I love coffee, Founder & Principal Consultant of Sunstone, an IT Recruitment & HR company specialising in recruiting IT roles within software, web, mobile, blockchain, big data, cloud infrastructure, security & networks in Christchurch & South Island of New Zealand.



Why has FinTech exploded in the last few years?


Like many industries financial services, banking & share / stock trading, and payments have been good targets for disruption with a profusion of new, faster solutions coming to the fore.

So why is this?

With large distributed systems giving huge computing power, software can automate processes that eliminate human error and large banks and financial organisations can gain major wins in efficiencies & competitive advantage….

Software companies can provide real-time trading systems that allow for high availability data with low latency that can eliminate human error on the more manual tasks & provide quicker decision making.

So what exactly does High Availability mean?

High availability is when your apps remain available and accessible without any interruption and serve their intended function seamlessly. HA is achieved when your database cluster continues to operate even if one or more servers go down.

What is Low Latency?

Low Latency describes a computer network that is optimised to process a very high volume of data with minimal delay (latency). These networks are designed to support operations that require near real-time access to rapidly changing data.

One of our clients uses a cutting edge data-orientated architecture that enables seamless integration of software systems, super clear visibility and control over enterprise data, and a wide range of large integrated business applications that enables scaleable high performance trading applications for some of the largest financial organisations on earth.

It’s an exciting industry as you have the opportunity to work with super fast software on super fast networks using cutting edge techniques with the excitement that millions of dollars are traded every day. It’s not for everyone but if you want to work with the best in the business and raise your game get in touch with Paul

We currently have a number of roles we’re looking to recruit for an exciting growing Christchurch office:

Trading Systems Support Engineer 

Applications Support Engineer

Technical Implementation Software Consultant (Trading Systems)

Technical Implementation Software Consultant

Senior Network Engineer 

Get in touch with Paul now to find out more on

I'm Paul, I love coffee, Founder & Principal Consultant of Sunstone, an IT Recruitment & HR company specialising in recruiting IT roles within software, web, mobile, blockchain, big data, cloud infrastructure, security & networks in Christchurch & South Island of New Zealand.



2 Minute silence today to mark respect for Christchurch victims

Christchurch memorial.jpg

Our thoughts & feelings are with the families & people of Christchurch with the unusual, abhorrent terrorist act that occurred on Friday 15th in our peaceful city. Kia Kaha - we will stay strong!

We are proud at the brave response the people of New Zealand have shown in this sad time.

The IT community of Christchurch is grieving and we wanted to especially acknowledge the extremely sad loss of Atta Elayyan who was a talented entrepreneur in the Christchurch tech community.

My heart is broken for Atta and his wife & baby daughter. He was a rare talent - motivated, inspiring, big thinker, friendly & passionate - an all round great guy - you’ll be deeply missed my friend...Rest in peace.

If you would like to give to Atta’s family you can help - please click here.

Or for the Kia Kaha memorial t-shirt to help Atta’s family (last orders Sunday) - please click here:

From Prime Minister of New Zealand - Jacinda Ardern

We, New Zealand, we were not a target because we are a safe harbour for those who hate.
We were not chosen for this act of violence because we condone racism, because we are an enclave for extremism.
We were chosen for the very fact that we are none of those things.
Because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion. A home for those who share our values. Refuge for those who needs it. And those values will not and cannot be shaken by this attack.
We are a proud nation of more than 200 ethnicities, 160 languages. And amongst that diversity we share common values. And the one that we place the currency on right now is our compassion and support for the community of those directly affected by this tragedy.
And secondly, the strongest possible condemnation of the ideology of the people who did this.
You may have chosen us – we utterly reject and condemn you.

It is a very sad time but we are extremely proud of the response & actions New Zealanders are taking to create awareness & make positive changes - we’re all in this together.

There will be a 2 minute silence held today (Friday 22nd) at 1.32pm in memorial to the people of Christchurch who lost their lives. What you need to know please click here.



Is going travelling good for your career?

Paul crossing the Thorong La Pass at 5,416m the climax point of the Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal, the Himalayas

Paul crossing the Thorong La Pass at 5,416m the climax point of the Annapurna Circuit Trek in Nepal, the Himalayas

Time and time again people mention travelling as one of the best things you can do to learn about life, yourself, what makes you happy & how to get there.

But do hiring managers, IT recruiters or potential employers view travelling as a positive?

I think it gives you perspective, especially after travelling in developing countries, learning how little people need to have an honest living, with smiles & taking joy from the small things, and sharing a meal with their family & friends.

How do you know what good looks like? I found it gave me a great perspective, allowing me to realise how good we have it here in New Zealand.

Paul arriving home after a long stint working in IT recruitment in the UK

Paul arriving home after a long stint working in IT recruitment in the UK

Understanding the cool things about how different cultures do things, taking some of their neat ideas, experiencing weird & wonderful food, learning about their history opens your mind to possibilities.

Working in different companies in new countries & cultures across the world also breaks down some of the key fundamentals & requirements to be a great professional & add value. Turning up, putting in an honest days work, being genuine, communicating well, admitting when you screwed up & owning it, working together, to achieve a common goal and enjoying / sharing success together. Learning what ‘good’ and ‘bad’ looks like.

We put it out on Facebook to see what some other professionals thought:

‘Expands the mind through education, opportunities and experiences’. - Nick (Head of Engineering)

‘Travel and working elsewhere has given me a great deal of perspective and insight I would never have gained by staying here (NZ). It’s probably a win for my employers as well, but they certainly don’t value it’. - Sharyn (Programme Manager)

‘All round the world yes opens everyones eyes.’ - Charles (Manager)

‘Personal travel for broadening my mind? Yes critical for business / career.’ - Andrew (Patent Attorney)

‘As someone who went overseas and came back, I'm always looking for other boomerangs as I can see the benefit of my time overseas’. - Ruth (Management Consultant)

I think for me it’s all the amazing people you meet, the opening of your mind to try & do things differently, take on peoples different opinions & perspectives - look at things differently, be dynamic & open to change…and come up with creative solutions to solve problems, sometimes in sticky situations…It also gives you confidence, meeting new people, especially solo backpacking is great for this & so much fun!

For IT professionals, Aussie, London, Europe and the US have been great places to go and work, experiencing a range of different IT projects, domains, companies & cultures. The only problem is sometimes it’s hard to extract yourself and make it back to New Zealand, and now there’s increasing global uncertainty which will have an impact, although to what extent, we’ll have to see.

Both myself & my partner Steph were both in the UK wondering if there were jobs challenging enough back in little old NZ!?!? We were pleasantly surprised with a number of interesting organisations & companies, some exporting interesting products or savvy tech, and that coupled with the kiwi, no hassle lifestyle is so refreshing than the hustle & bustle of some overseas living and to be home close to family & friends is just golden for us.

Not only this but to go back to the original question…do hiring managers, IT recruiters or potential employers view travelling as a positive? Well, it depends! But from my experiences, it can help people to be more open to trying different things and being resourceful, creative & solution orientated and can often be more resilient to roll with the ups & downs. Will it actually improve your career opportunities? Hard to say but you’ll certainly have a great time & learn a lot about yourself which is extremely valuable.

So get out into this amazing world do your OE (Overseas Experience) for a few years and learn stuff, meet life long friends and when you’ve returned and you’re at home in NZ, those travelling memories will be extremely fond (especially for those of us who have wee people in their lives!)

I'd be very interested to know your opinion so please make a comment below :-)

I'm Paul, I love coffee, Founder & Principal Consultant of Sunstone, an IT Recruitment & HR company specialising in recruiting IT roles within software, web, mobile, blockchain, big data, cloud infrastructure, security & networks in Christchurch & South Island of New Zealand.