About Us

Mō Tātou

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Helping to develop and scale national health innovations.

New Zealand’s public health sector is full of creative problem solvers who are brimming with ideas on how to make things better for our patients and clinicians.

At the New Zealand Health Innovation Hub (NZHIH) we are all about helping to develop, accelerate and scale their ideas for the benefit of everyone in New Zealand (and potentially also overseas).

Since we started in 2012, we have helped to roll out projects as diverse as a
new Hepatitis B test, a new shared electronic medical records system and a new vital signs simulation system.

We welcome ideas from anyone working in any district health board as well as private sector entrepreneurs needing health sector input to develop their innovation. We also welcome innovators from universities and Crown Research Institutes who come to us through their own technology transfer office.

If it’s capable of improving health outcomes, is easy to use and reduces the cost of care - then no idea is too big, too small or too obscure for us to consider.

We know how challenging it can be to turn new ideas into reality, and that’s why we’re here to help. We provide advice on how to bring your product or service innovation to reality. We can also give you funding advice, connect you to funders and, in some cases, can also provide funding.

NZHIH is the only Ministry of Health approved funding vehicle for the commercialisation of innovations that improve health outcomes, and which originate from the public health system.

NZHIH is owned by the Canterbury District Health Board and is supported by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment. We’re here for all New Zealanders, so we don’t mind where good ideas come from, we just want to make sure they get put to good use by as many people as possible.

If this means a product can be commercialised outside New Zealand’s public health sector and even be used internationally – then that means generating a return that can be invested in more innovative products and services to help the health outcomes of Kiwis.

Why have a New Zealand Health Innovation Hub?

People working in our health sector know better than anyone else the problems and challenges faced in their everyday work. Identifying a problem or an opportunity is the first step towards creating a solution, and that solution may have potential to help many New Zealanders.

But it can be difficult to fully develop that solution when you are also trying to do your everyday job, and maybe you need to bring in additional skills and resources to develop or test your ideas. It’s hard to know what support is available and whether you are eligible for that support.

That’s where we come in at New Zealand Health Innovation Hub (NZHIH).

Our sole reason for existing is to help develop and accelerate your product or service innovation and to help get it rolled out and scaled up for the benefit of the New Zealand health system.

NZHIH has its own board and management structure. We are owned by the Canterbury District Health Board and are supported by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment. We are the only Ministry of Health approved entity for national commercialisation of public health innovations from district heath boards.

As part of the health and disability system, NZHIH is committed to fulfilling the special relationship between Māori and the Crown under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

We consider Mātauranga Māori is important in health, equity, and the economy, to not only incentivise and encourage more Māori innovators in health (and the need for more Māori-by-Māori solutions) to build broader capacity and capability in the system, but also to educate and encourage non-Māori innovators to take a more active role in ensuring equity when designing new innovations.

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Jon Herries sharing information about the new health information platform

Our role

We warmly welcome approaches from health innovators working in our public system.

Our Getting Started section is a good way for you to start a conversation with us. We will ask you to give us some basic information about who and where you are, what your idea or project is, what sort of help you need at this stage, and how you think we might be able to help you.

We’ll acknowledge your approach and have an initial conversation at our end about how we might be able to support you, before coming back to you about next steps.

There’s no set path from that point, it will depend very much on where you’re at and what you need.

We’re here to help you with our innovation expertise to maximise the likelihood of your project becoming a reality.

We can provide advice and support, connecting you with experts on things like:

  • Product development
  • Intellectual property
  • Business planning
  • Marketing
  • Funding
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DHB staff discussing how digital technology innovations could improve health system outcomes

Our partners

Our partnerships are vital to our success and we are ready to connect you to partner organisations that can help to advance and scale your project.

Our partnerships include:

  • Innovation teams in district health boards around New Zealand
  • Others in the health sector who can provide feedback and input on ideas and projects
  • The Ministry of Health (we are the only Ministry-approved entity for national commercialisation of public health innovations from district heath boards)
  • The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment
  • Callaghan Innovation
  • HealthTech Activator
  • New Zealand Trade and Enterprise
  • Wellington UniVentures, the commercialisation arm of Victoria University Wellington
  • Via Innovations, the Canterbury District Health Board innovation unit

Our People

We have our own board and management structure, but we keep it lean and call on our partners expertise wherever possible.

You are likely to deal directly with at least one of our directors, all of whom were hand-picked because of their commitment and passion for public health and for innovation. They are all hands-on and take a personal interest in each project we work on.

NZHIH Board

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Steve Wakefield, Chair

Steve Wakefield is a professional director with significant experience in health, innovation and start-ups. He has been involved in Canterbury district health board governance for more than eight years and has been a director at NZHIH since 2015.

Steve’s other directorships include Foodstuffs South Island, EVNEX, Cookie Time Group, Paenga Kupenga Limited and Swallowing Technologies Ltd.

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James Allison, Director

James has held a number of senior executive positions in several successful and well-known organisations including ASB Bank, Telecom / Spark, and The Warehouse, and in the health sector with Health Alliance, Mahitahi Hauora Primary Health Entity and The Order of St John. The majority of James’ senior positions have been in IT across several different industries.

With a proven track record of operational stability, programme delivery, and commercial stewardship, James is most proud of developing an autonomous senior leadership team aligned in vision and values. James believes our people strive for continuous success when leaders help them understand how their role contributes to the delivery of products and services and are engaged with the technology that can enable and accelerate their goals.

James leads the Information Services Group (ISG) for Canterbury and West Coast DHBs and in his role as Chief Digital Officer James also holds the Executive Portfolio for Innovation.

Born and bred on Auckland’s North Shore, James whakapapas to Northland (Ngapuhi, Karetu).

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Peter Bramley, Director

Peter has extensive management experience and an interesting career path. His academic career began at the University of Otago where he gained a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and physics. He worked for the Wellcome Medical Research Institute in Dunedin and at the same time completed a PhD in Medicine. Dr Bramley lectured in Biochemistry and Medical Physiology, first in Dunedin and then at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch.

Between 1999 and 2007 Peter held various senior management roles with the accounting software company, MYOB New Zealand Ltd. In 2008 he stepped back into health as Service Manager of Surgical Services at Southland Hospital in Invercargill.

At the end of 2010, Peter moved to Nelson and joined the Nelson Marlborough Health Executive Leadership Team as Service Director Medical and Surgical Services. In 2013 Peter became General Manager Clinical Services and in August 2016 stepped into the role as Acting CE.

Peter was the Chief Executive Officer of Nelson Marlborough Health (NMH) from 2017 to 2021, and has been the Chief Executive of Canterbury and West Coast DHBs since February 2021.

Peter is an energetic and passionate people manager, with a strong focus on the importance of accessing healthcare close to home and growing a compassionate workforce in the health sector.

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Jon Herries, Director

Jon is Group Manager of Emerging Health Technology at the Ministry of Health, where he and his team focus on bringing technology to the health sector faster, ensuring that technology provides impact, and establishing a network of interested and expert people and organisations who are working on new technology solutions in health.

He spent four years in Ireland where he worked in healthcare and technology consulting for EY.

Previously, Jon was involved in project management, technology development and analytics in clinical areas of the Capital & Coast District Health Board. He originally trained and practiced as a physiotherapist.

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Geoff Todd, Director

Geoff Todd was the Innovation Fund Manager at Booster, and before that was Managing Director at VicLink, the Technology Transfer Office of Victoria University of Wellington.

He has had significant experience with the early-stage science and tech commercialisation space, including working in start-up companies.

He also has governance experience as Director or Chair of several start-ups and CreativeHQ and is on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Mātu Fund.

NZHIH Management Team

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Andrew Cameron

Andrew provides operational support to the NZHIH board. He is a Senior Commercialisation Manager at Wellington UniVentures.

Andrew has worked in commercial leadership positions for a wide range of healthcare, pharmaceutical, biotech and consumer healthcare organisations. More recently in an innovation role at TAS, a healthcare services entity owned by the six Central Region district health boards.

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Dr Helen Lunt

Helen provides clinical innovation linkages and support to NZHIH through her role as the Clinical Innovation Director of Via Innovations.

Helen is a Senior Medical Officer at Canterbury DHB and also undertakes clinical, teaching and research activities in diabetes. She is a University of Otago (Christchurch) Clinical Associate Professor.