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Source: University of Canterbury

29 March 2022

The Food, Fibre & Agritech (FFA) Supernode Challenge captures a multitude of ideas and solutions – from those that are great yet undeveloped, to those that are ready for market – and is back after a successful launch in 2021.

  • Co-founders of MyWineMatcher (left) who participated in the accelerator in 2021 with Enterprise Manager at the University of Canterbury Centre of Entrepreneurship Michelle Polglase (right).

ChristchurchNZ (CNZ) and the University of Canterbury Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE) are collaborating to present the 2022 FFA Supernode Challenge, supporting participants as they bring their innovative ideas to life within Canterbury.

The top 24 ventures have now been selected to move into the Accelerator programme. Participants are developing ideas that will solve problems in the sector, positively impacting the future of Aotearoa New Zealand as they support a cleaner and greener environment and facilitate more efficiency.

The ideas have been developed by both entrepreneurs and researchers, with a number of participants having started their venture at UC, such as Seaweed Plasterboard and Capillaric Platform Replacing Testing in the Wine Industry.

Director of UCE, Gerard Quinn says, “the future of Canterbury’s food, fibre and agritech sector is dependent on identifying new and innovative solutions that support a sustainable future, and this challenge will present pathways to ensure it continues to grow and thrive. UCE is privileged to be the lead delivery partner for the Challenge, and I feel inspired by the diverse and interesting ideas that are present in this year’s top 24 Accelerator participants.”

With a growing global population, a changing climate and shifting consumer preferences, Canterbury has an opportunity to lead the world in becoming more productive, sustainable, and competitive. The participants within the FFA Supernode Challenge exemplify this need in the region and the wider country, as they look to build a better future for our communities and the FFA industry.

ChristchurchNZ’s General Manager of Innovation and Business Growth Boyd Warren says, “the top 24 entrants highlight the abundance of agri innovators, talent and thought leaders here in Canterbury. With the support of KiwiNet and the Canterbury Mayoral Forum, this year’s Challenge brings together industry, research and students to propel their ideas towards successful commercialisation. Many of the innovations will improve production efficiency and environmental outcomes, as well as contribute to the sustainable prosperity of our region.”

About the Challenge

The Food, Fibre & Agritech Challenge is powered by ChristchurchNZ, with the support of KiwiNet and the Canterbury Mayoral Forum, and delivery partners University of Canterbury Centre of Entrepreneurship, ThincLab Canterbury and B.linc Innovation.

The FFA Challenge is a competition that seeks to find the most cutting-edge and innovative ideas in Canterbury and support them to become world-class businesses. Winners will receive a share in over $70,000 in cash and in-kind prizes as well as access to the incubator network.

The Challenge brings together Christchurch and Canterbury’s ecosystem of innovators, investors and industry experts to deliver masterclasses, coaching and mentoring in an eight-week Accelerator programme for the 24 ventures, running 4 April to 3 June.

The top 10 finalists will present at the Showcase and Awards Ceremony hosted in conjunction with E Tipu 2022 – the Boma Agri Summit on 21 June at the Christchurch Town Hall.

Keep up to date with the 2022 Challenge here.


The 24 ventures for the 2022 Food, Fibre & Agritech Supernode Challenge are:

Alps2Ocean Foods NZ – adding value through unique product innovation with environmental focus

Aotearoa has some of the most efficient and environmentally aligned red meat pāmu in the world, with innovative agricultural and environmental technology to prove it. To speed adoption through price signals, this story needs to add value and Alps2Ocean Foods NZ has created a unique meat export product to do just that.

Autonomous Irrigator

Irrigating those hard to reach areas is a problem, centerpivot irrigators only cover 80% of a square, other irrigation systems are typically labour intensive and or are inefficient when it comes to water use. This venture aims to develop an automated irrigator that can be programmed to accurately irrigate any area.

Autonabit – An autonomous robot for bird control, mowing, and spraying in vineyards

Autonabit is building the Avvy Robot, a smaller, more energy efficient vehicle for vineyards that is fully autonomous. Avvy can navigate within a vineyard and help control bird movement to reduce bird damage during the pre-harvest season. In the near future, Avvy will also mow and perform weed control work. Autonabit’s mission is to make vineyards more intelligent and reduce the amount of work that big fossil-fuelled vehicles need to perform.


Bambax has a vision to reduce environmental waste to create a cleaner and greener future. Bambax utilises New Zealand cellulose from wood fibre in combination with biopolymers to create 100% biodegradable packaging with extended shelf-life capabilities as an alternative to single use and non-recyclable plastics.

Capillaric Platform Replacing Testing in the Wine Industry

This venture is creating small, portable, and cheap devices to replace the antiquated testing methods currently used in the wine industry. They are using capillary microfluidics (autonomous small-volume liquid control) to achieve this. The devices would remove the need for a lab entirely, reducing cost and speeding up testing.


Carbonz has developed a revolutionary voluntary carbon trading platform. Carbonz will be selling the first ultra-traceable voluntary native forest carbon credits in New Zealand. Carbonz believes in native forests over pine monocultures, supporting our indigenous forest, biodiversity and water quality.

Chromium hyper-accumulating ryegrass- novel source of bioenergy

Plants are well known for their multi-functional capabilities. Exploiting this skill from plants helps address the challenges in the changing environment. Plants are efficient soil purifiers and a reliable source of biofuels. Borrowing these two different skills from plants in addressing environmental crisis will open new opportunities.

Creating Attractive Urban Environments Using By-Products

Ask anyone in Timaru – the CBD’s slippery tiles need to go! This project proposes a waste-material paver, made from food industry by-products outlined in the ‘Sustainable is Attainable’ initiative. The idea was developed using a community-based design approach to ensure it promotes an attractive, sustainable urban environment in Timaru.

DietDecoder: Advancing animal wellness through pasture insights

Despite advances in farm management, animal health and performance outcomes in the livestock industry are still being held back by traditional analysis methods when the answer could be in the grass beneath their feet. Connecting pasture nutrient insights to animal health and welfare is what makes the difference. The DietDecoder™ software is a novel decision support tool to help consultants and their farmers achieve efficiency and sustainable farm animal performance. This has application on a global scale in pasture based ruminant livestock systems.


Around 50 million tonnes of e-waste is generated annually and Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) contribute up to 6% of this waste. Eco-PCB aims to transform the PCB manufacturing process by creating an environmentally friendly, sustainable PCB. The aim of this venture is to replace traditional fibreglass epoxy substrate materials with a bio-composite alternative.

Electromagnetic tomography system for food quality inspection

The electromagnetic tomography system aims to improve food safety and quality, especially in the dairy industry. The project will achieve this by detecting foreign bodies that may contaminate the food during industrial processing. It may also detect the homogeneity of the food which adds value to the quality of ice cream/cheese and sausages.

Ensilage: Sustainable feed security for livestock

A crucial component of farm-systems is preserving feed for animals. However, the feed-value (quality) of preserved silage is often unknown. By replacing silage wrap with an airtight container and by tracking fermentation, the feed-value can be determined. This reduces farm waste, improves silage quality, and extends silage shelf-life.


The world is heading towards a climate crisis and things need to change. Imagine FoodFuse, technology which converts food waste into energy that drives Aotearoa. By installing their technology throughout homes and buildings, waste heading towards landfills can be limited, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and building a more sustainable Aotearoa.

Highly functional plant proteins

If New Zealand is to provide protein for those who choose to not eat meat, it needs highly functional products, with a clear market advantage. Using NZ dairy industry innovations, this venture believes that they have produced a plant protein powder that could form the basis of a local industry.

KiwiFibre Innovations

KiwiFibre Innovations design sustainable, high performance material solutions for companies looking to achieve sustainability goals and build circular economies. They work alongside companies to implement smarter materials into their products.

Land use optimisation tool for agricultural greenhouse gases

A land use optimisation tool for landowners to determine the area covered by each vegetation type eligible for He Waka Eke Noa and Forestry ETS as well as the offset potential of this in relation to emissions costs. They also determine the area of additional low-producing farmland with potential to be converted to indigenous or exotic vegetation, and the cost benefit of converting this land to indigenous or exotic vegetation.

Mulch Plus

It is in everyone’s best interest to be able to produce more food with minimum environmental pollution. Mulch Plus’s research team is developing a smart product that delivers benefits for food plant production as well as reduced reliance on crop protection chemicals, fertiliser runoff and generation of microplastic.

Plant My Carbon – Planting native trees for our net zero future

Plant My Carbon aims to plant native trees all over New Zealand on land that has no other productive purpose. They aim to regenerate the native forest and wildlife and impact the climate. Restoring biodiversity in a way every New Zealander can get behind.

Production of nutritious 3D printed foods using microgreens

The project aims to build an efficient and self-contained production module that will generate nutritious and palatable 3D printed foods based on microgreens raw material. The proposed module will integrate sensing technologies, artificial intelligence, and food 3D printing to create foods with different nutritional compositions and tastes.

Seaweed Plasterboard

The aim of the research is to develop a fire-resistant and moisture-controlling bio composite wall and ceiling panel that will eventually take the place of traditional plasterboard. Seaweed plasterboard (SWPB) can help lower the carbon impact of building materials while making homes in Aotearoa New Zealand safer and more liveable.

Snap your Pasture Feed (kgDM/Ha) from your smart phone

Imagine you, a dairy or livestock farmer, are able to measure your pasture growth straight from your mobile phone, no internet required. Imagine having that crucial and time critical information ready within seconds whenever, and wherever you need it. Imagine you could save time and money doing it faster, cheaper and easier than ever before.

Stash Cash from Forest Slash

This project points the way for researching and commercialising at scale the native huhu grub Prionoplus Reticularis as a valuable food source and a natural environmental solution for post-harvest forestry debris (known as slash). Gourmet dishes, a huhu hummus and a food ingredient powder can be marketed.

Understanding Medicinal Cannabidiol (CBD) Influence on Cognitive Recovery and Protection

CBD has been proven to have neuroprotective benefits and assists with reducing inflammation, as well as moderating neurochemical and hormone release. They are targeting research into substantiating these claims and identifying the benefit of CBD being administered pre, during and post head injury event.

What Is iNside (WIN)

Counterfeiting of NZ’s premium food products in the international markets is a big problem. WIN have developed a real-time, consumer usable, remotely reconfigurable platform to combat counterfeiting and for quality control of New Zealand products in the international market. With this technology, companies can monitor and safeguard their brands.

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