The most anticipated IT industry event of the year in Christchurch is the annual ‘Canterbury Tech Summit’ IT conference which sees a bunch of local, national, & international IT speakers talking on latest technology themes, trends, tools, methodologies and how they made it.


It SOLD OUT this year with 650 IT professionals attending which is not surprising as Christchurch's tech scene & IT industry gains momentum with the Christchurch re-build in full swing.


Connect, Grow & Inspire - Michael Trengrove, Chair of Canterbury Tech kicks off presidings photo by sunstone

Connect, Grow & Inspire - Michael Trengrove, Chair of Canterbury Tech kicks off presidings photo by sunstone


The thing I like the most about this event is that it has an inspiring entrepreneurial flavour to go out and push your own boundaries - kick off that IT start-up, take that chance to be great, try things differently - I certainly get pretty pumped with the fantastic, talented people you can rub shoulders with. It's a must for any IT professional but particularly those with a software orientated flavour & elements of broader IS & hardware related themes too.


The 'Canterbury Tech Summit' IT conference opened with Prime Minister John Key photo by sunstone

The 'Canterbury Tech Summit' IT conference opened with Prime Minister John Key photo by sunstone


The Prime Minister of New Zealand addressed the summit with an interesting back story about when he worked at Merrill Lynch, as Head of Global Foreign Currency.  He was sent to Harvard to study ‘disruptive technologies’ participating with other big players like Kodak who were facing major change from digital disruption at the time and they looked at how the internet would change broking & share trading. 


The Prime Minister also mentioned the economy: that they'd been 250,000 new jobs in the past 3 years with the NZ economy doing very well. From an IT recruitment standpoint the IT job market here in Christchurch is buoyant & continues to be so.


Sir Ray Avery kicked off the Summit as the Keynote speaker with some very salient points, delivered in a hilarious manner…


‘Forget 'product' - focus on customer centric solutions & you'll have a great business’ - Sir Ray Avery


Being an ex-pat Brit, he talked about some of the cultural things he’d noticed coming over to New Zealand and about the Kiwi psyche that we’re ‘Not fond of rules, don't like status quo & we dare to dream..but we don't like to tell the world and we need to get better at this!'


Sir Ray Avery keynote speaker photo by sunstone

Sir Ray Avery keynote speaker photo by sunstone


The Canterbury Tech Summit was all about the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ with a panel of experts debating & answering questions on this theme. We heard some interesting comments......


'We'll look back and laugh at how people used to collect stories from around the world, put them on some paper, then drive a van around the neighbourhood throwing these 'papers' into peoples' driveways'


'People are lazy, something 'good enough' and 'convenient' will always replace something that is merely 'excellent'!


'If someone cracks an artificial milk substitute, 25% of NZ's economy disappears.'


Some food for thought indeed......


The Summit has a bunch of different technical talks from entrepreneurs, software developers, testers, security architects and so on.

We were privileged to hear Craig Davies, The Security Director from Atlassian, Sydney who was a brilliant speaker talking about how he manages over 200,000 servers, a team of 23 security engineers and time to go sailing.

Craig Davies, Security Director of Atlassian, photo by sunstone

Craig Davies, Security Director of Atlassian, photo by sunstone


He kicked off with their company values (as above) that include:


'Open Company no bullshit'

'Build with heart & balance'

'Don't @#$% the customer'

'Play as a team'

'Be the change you seek'


'Don't $%#@ the Customer'...most brilliant...they don't have casual Fridays they have 'Formal Fridays'!

When he came into the role he instilled short project times - 90 day maximum project days so his teams can deliver & are always feeling a sense of achievement. Another new concept they'd started in the past 6 weeks were having two project teams in the planning phase 'Project team A' & 'Project team B' to predict how the project looked if it was successful and how the project looked if it went off the rails and what the 'pivot points' were to get it back on track.


All in all this was my 6th software summit first attending at Hotel So, in the center of Christchurch before the earthquakes back in 2010 and they’ve really grown from strength-to-strength (full credit to Canterbury Tech for superb organisation), getting bigger with more diverse streams and some Master Classes also thrown into the mix. It really does highlight some of the fantastic IT companies that are operating in Christchurch, New Zealand in which you wouldn’t normally hear of - why would you? These companies develop software products for often very niche global markets. Once you open up the IT industry in Christchurch there is A LOT going on.

Again it was inspiring and great to see a bunch of our IT clients, candidates, & friends of Sunstone getting pumped on the fantastic IT industry we have in Christchurch, New Zealand. Thanks again to Canterbury tech for organising, all the speakers & participants another truly epic IT conference in Christchurch.


See you there next year!


Paul is founder of Sunstone, an IT Recruitment company based in Christchurch, New Zealand