Rotorua Innovation Festival announced

Rotorua Innovation Festival announced

Rotorua’s newest business event series will take place at the start of August to help inspire social good and business success.

The Rotorua Innovation Festival Taiopenga Auaha 2019 is a local initiative run in partnership by Firestation, Rotorua Lakes Council, Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust, and Rotorua X. The hope is for this to become an annual feature in the Rotorua business calendar.

Over four days the festival has three high profile keynote speakers plus dozens of other award winning and inspirational speakers.

Event director Darren McGarvie from Firestation Business Growth Centre says he is looking forward to the festival and thinks it will be an awesome event for the business community.

“In creating the Festival our focus was to bring together a wide range of speakers to share knowledge and showcase award-winning initiatives in both the commercial and social enterprise sector.”

“For non-profits some of the sessions include getting sponsorship, running effective boards through to understanding your financial numbers. There is also a Grant Panel Q&A with representatives from the leading grant providers in the Bay of Plenty.”

“For the commercial sector we have sessions on angel investment, workplace lighting, launching eco-friendly brands as well as showcasing a tech business success story.”

“We are excited about the range of speakers we have, especially our keynote speakers Annah Stretton, Mark Lucas and Tiny Deane.”

Annah Stretton is recognised as one of New Zealand’s leading entrepreneurs with her successful fashion label and start-up business in the dog wellness industry. She is also a successful author, blogger, publisher and public speaker.

In additional she has launched a ground-breaking social enterprise RAW (Reclaim Another Woman), for socially disadvantaged women in New Zealand.

Stretton will open the festival with a keynote address sharing her insights to her success. She will also run a clinic talking about how she applied her business nous to set-up her successful social enterprise making a difference to women in prison.

The second keynote speaker is Mark Lucas, CEO and co-founder of Cannasouth, a medical marijuana research company poised for growth. Lucas will share what's happening in this industry, co-founding a company in this ground-breaking industry and listing on the New Zealand Stock Exchange.

Closing the festival will be Rotorua’s very own Tiny Deane. Recognised as a champion and solution provider to help reduce homelessness in Rotorua and Taupo, Deane will talk about how he got funded and the difference he is making to some of New Zealand’s most vulnerable.

Seats will be limited at each session. People are encouraged to register early to avoid disappointment.

The festival runs from 5-8 August. For session times and to register go to

More information:

• The Rotorua Innovation Festival Taiopenga Auaha 2019 has been developed to provide inspiration, knowledge and ideas to:

o Improve our world with a focus on youth, well-being and the environment

o Launch & grow enterprises

o Showcase commercial innovation and success

o Fund new and existing social enterprises.

• Firestation is the only Business Growth Centre in the central North Island with programmes and services covering leadership, sales, brand, governance, marketing and business coaching.

• Rotorua X is a charitable trust with the purpose to connect and inspire Rotorua businesses and social enterprises. Rotorua X holds monthly Connect events and an annual dragon’s den style Pitch Night.



  • 9-10am FESTIVAL OPENING: Keynote Speaker Annah Stretton

  • 10.00-10.45am Empowering Women to Break the Cycle

    Annah Stretton, Reclaim Another Woman

  • 11.00-11.45am Creating life-long connections between tamariki and the environment

    Katherine Maud, Tiaki Early Learning

  • 1.00-2.00pm Overcoming Mental Health & Anxiety

    Liz Wilson, The Thrive Programme

  • 2.15-3.15pm Environmental challenges and their impact on our lives

    Bay of Plenty Regional Council

  • 3.30-5.00pm How to Best Use Your Intellectual Property

    Mark Copeland, Mark Copeland Lawyers


  • 9-10am Introduction to Social Enterprise Darren McGarvie from Firestation

  • 10.15-11.15am Finding Your Motivation (Your Ikigai) Darren McGarvie from Firestation

  • 11.30-1.00pm Online Marketing Essentials Rachael McGarvie from Firestation

  • 1.30-2.30pm Effective Boards Darren McGarvie from Firestation

  • 2.45-3.45pm Developing Your Innovative Edge (Unleashing Innovation) Darren McGarvie from Firestation

  • 4.00-5.00pm Understanding Your Numbers (Raising Finance & Capital/Tax Basics) Darren McGarvie from Firestation


NZ shearers 2-0 up in series against Wales

NZ shearers 2-0 up in series against Wales

NZ’s international tech reputation is growing

NZ’s international tech reputation is growing