NZTA Kaikōura Challenge

Kaikōura has long been dependent on visitors for its economic well-being due to its position as a thoroughfare to and from the Nelson and Marlborough regions, as well as a destination for coastal and marine tourism. However, the devastating earthquakes of 2016 have left the Kaikōura region shaken in more ways than one. Significant road damage, confusion and uncertainty surrounding road access, and concern for safety has resulted in a drastic drop in visitors to the region. Consequently, the livelihoods of Kaikōura business owners and residents are now at risk.

To assist our neighbours, the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and the University of Canterbury Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE) came together to deliver the NZTA Kaikōura Challenge. The challenge aimed to provide much-needed assistance to our Kaikōura neighbours post-quake.

The challenge provided a unique opportunity for UC students to make a positive difference to a community in need. The solutions they developed have the potential to have a real impact on the economic and social well-being of Kaikōura residents both now and in the years to come. The Challenge also provided a platform to build key skills and knowledge that will benefit their careers including teamwork, creative thinking, strategy development, community development, networking, stakeholder engagement, and presenting.

The judging criteria emphasised three main areas: customer, impact, and innovation. Specifically, the judges were asked to consider whether the solutions were customer-driven, were validated by talking with the community, clearly focused on a particular audience, sustainable, had a significant short-term impact, had scope for expansion, creative, used existing concepts creatively or a unique solution, data-driven and whether the team had a prototype.

All teams performed incredibly well and the judges had a difficult job selecting just three places. The results were:

  • First place ($1500): Peak Development
  • Second place ($700): Manawa Ora
  • Third place ($500) and People’s Choice ($300): Koura