Innovative partnerships

Our innovative partnerships programme is dedicated to helping research and development intensive businesses connect, collaborate and innovate in New Zealand.

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The Innovative Partnership programme

Our Innovative Partnerships programme is run by a small team of experts dedicated to helping research and development intensive businesses connect, collaborate and innovate in New Zealand.

We engage with innovative companies that are pushing the boundaries of technology and solving the world’s big problems, and assist them in finding their New Zealand opportunity.

We can help connect you with the right people, businesses, agencies, research organisations and universities.

A collaborative approach

While the programme is led by us, Callaghan Innovation and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, as well as multiple agencies across local and central governments, all work together to support and facilitate the elements that influence a decision to undertake R&D in New Zealand.

New Zealand has clear competitive advantages in agritech, digital technologies, health technologies, high-value nutrition and space. However Innovative Partnerships isn’t restricted to just these areas.

We are keen to discuss transformative technology areas and emerging sectors, as well as emerging challenges for the economy, environment and society. 

Why New Zealand?

Our business-friendly environment and future-focused policy and regulatory settings make New Zealand an attractive choice to research and develop new ideas and products.

With unique expertise, talent and technology, coupled with our size and location, New Zealand offers surprising advantages when it comes to making things happen.

Our advantages for R&D activities

There are many factors that make New Zealand an attractive destination to undertake R&D including:

  • New Zealand is ranked among the best and easiest places to do business. We have a straightforward, business-friendly taxation system that supports capital development, R&D and international investment.
  • We have a stable and globally competitive economy powered by a highly skilled workforce with niche expertise in energy, engineering and computer science research.
  • New Zealand is the gateway to the Asia-Pacific region. We have free trade agreements (FTA) with 15 Asian countries with access to over 2 billion consumers. We were the world’s first country to negotiate an FTA with China.
  • Finally, we have a proud culture of innovation, from splitting the atom to reaching space. We are nimble and ready to respond to new opportunities. We welcome you to explore your New Zealand advantage.

How our Government supports innovation

The Government has committed to raising economy-wide research and development (R&D) to 2% of GDP by 2027. It has set aside $1 billion over the next 4 years through Budget 2018 to support businesses in growing their R&D activity to achieve this ambitious goal.

The Government supports innovation through a number of mechanisms, including:

  • contestable investment funds that support scientific research and R&D in New Zealand
  • a dedicated innovation agency, Callaghan Innovation, which provides innovation advice, services and grants to businesses to support their R&D activities
  • a 15% R&D tax incentive for businesses investing in R&D in New Zealand
  • a Pre-Seed Accelerator that supports publicly funded research to reach commercialisation.

Innovative Partnerships can connect you with our vibrant innovation network and help you navigate the system of support.

Government support for investors

Investors who wish to gain residence in New Zealand may apply for an Investor Visa.

Currently there are 2 visa categories:

  • investors who wish to invest at least NZD 1.5 million in New Zealand over 4 years
  • investors who wish to invest NZD 10 million in New Zealand over 3 years.

The latter may apply for an Investor Plus Visa.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) is the Government’s international business development agency. It has 46 offices worldwide. Its primary function is to work with New Zealand companies to grow their exports. NZTE’s Capital Team helps investors find and capitalize on investment opportunities in New Zealand.

The New Zealand Government established the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF) to build a vibrant early stage investment market in New Zealand. International partners are actively encouraged to co-invest with this fund.

Success stories

Zephyr Airworks

In March 2018, American innovator Kitty Hawk Corporation, operating in New Zealand as Zephyr Airworks, credited the Innovative Partnerships programme as part of the reason it is testing its revolutionary air taxi technology in New Zealand.

Cora is an air taxi which combines electric power, self-piloting software and vertical take-off to pioneer an entirely new way to fly.

We are proud that Kitty Hawk has chosen New Zealand to undertake this exciting R&D work and is 1 of our flagship companies for the programme.

Find out more in the Cora video.

Meet Cora


In September 2018, American space innovator LeoLabs announced it will establish a phased-array radar in New Zealand to track small satellites and space debris – the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

The radar will be able to track objects as small as 2 centimetres in low Earth orbit and will be 1 of only 3 currently operating in the world.

LeoLabs’ pioneering technology provides high resolution mapping data and services to mitigate the risks of collisions that could potentially create thousands of new particles of space debris and damage expensive equipment.

LeoLabs announces expansion of its Space Network to New Zealand


In October 2018, Europe’s largest aeronautics and space company, Airbus, signed a new agreement with us committing to work together to develop capability in New Zealand’s emerging Unmanned Aircraft (UA) and space data technology sectors.

The Letter of Intent, enabled through the Innovative Partnerships programme, sets out a commitment to seek opportunities for Airbus to test and trial its UA technologies in New Zealand, and to work together to support the development and adoption of new and innovative space data technologies and applications.

Contact us

If you would like to discuss how to connect, collaborate and innovate in New Zealand, contact