MP Megan Wood
Kaikoura Mayor Winston gray
Selwyn Mayor Sam Broughton
Mohammed Hikmet and the team from HMI Technologies
Malcolm Johns & the team from CIAL
Councillors and other guests
I would like to begin by thanking HMI Technologies and CIAL for enabling our city to become an early adopter of innovative technology. And I would like to acknowledge Vick Buck in particular who has been at the forefront of supporting innovative and disruptive technology.
This event more than any other speaks to who we are as a city. We were New Zealand’s first city established by Royal Charter in 1856. So we are New Zealand’s oldest city and we are becoming its newest city.
Christchurch is well known as New Zealand’s Garden City. What that means in the 21st century is more about sustainability than gardens. Today is about that sustainability and who we are. We are the home of innovation and creativity.
Our university can claim some of the great minds of the 19th and 20th Century starting with Ernest Rutherford.
The Hamilton jet was designed here, as was the Montgomery mooring system, the Brittan superbike, Dynamic Controls, the Yike Bike, the Martin jet pack – the list goes on.
I remember when our electricity lines company went looking for the best radio technology in the world to make itself more resilient in a post disaster environment, they found it across the road - Tait electronics.
I went to a 100th birthday party on Sunday and talked about the changes the gentleman concerned had seen in a century and how the rate of progress he would have observed had increased exponentially over the past two decades. That rate of increase will continue on that exponential curve.
And that’s what today is all about. Being at the front end of the curve. Not being a fast follower, but being a leader.
Autonomous electric vehicles are part of the future and they are coming ready or not; I’d rather be ready.
Christchurch has become a city of opportunity. We are open to new ideas, to new people and new ways of doing things. A place where anything is possible.
But as I’ve highlighted it is our history too. It is who we have always been.
The significance of attracting this project to Christchurch at this time cannot be over-stated.
We have invited central government and the private sector to partner with us and our communities on trialling anything that will better prepare our city and our nation for the future.
It’s no longer about whether we succeed or fail; it’s what we learn along the way and what we can see as the next opportunity on the horizon that makes this an incredibly exciting time in our history.
Welcome aboard – it’s going to be a crazy ride