Kiwi Innovations (TVNZ Breakfast 23 September 2009)

Each week on the TVNZ gadget segment we look at technological developments from around the world. Now, it almost seems like stating the obvious to admit that most of these products are developed in Japan or America.

But the question is, what about New Zealand products?  Are we doing anything of note that can foot it on the world stage?

Today I looked at three products developed here in New Zealand that prove Kiwi Ingenuity is alive and well.

Kiwi Gadgets

Dell Studio One 19 Desktop PC with multi-touch

The Dell Studio One 19 has 18.5″ display with optional multi-touch screen functionality developed by Palmerston North company Fingertapps. It sports a Crystal clear 16:9 widescreen flat panel HD display with powerful NVIDIA® graphics and an Intel® Quad-Core processor.


Fingertapps is a Palmerston North based Software Company with 23 staff. They design touch screen software for different types of businesses like luxury car company Lexus and banks.

What did we show today?

The Dell all-in-one PC, the Studio One 19, which comes bundled with Fingertapps touch software.  Fingertapps spent six months developing the multi-touch user interface, which allows users to move photos around the screen with their hands, or tap out a beat on a virtual drum kit.
Another Kiwi company, Auckland touch-screen manufacturer NextWindow, lent its technology to the computer’s screen.
The Dell TouchZone includes:
o True multi-touch gestures
o photos (find, edit, upload to Flickr)
o music
o notes
o video

Recommended retail price: $2,249.00

Product Website

Rating: 4 out of 5

Orca Alpha Wetsuit

The Orca Alpha offers wetsuit swimming like you’ve never experienced before. The Nano SCS coating generates increased speed and buoyancy. Panels of Yamamoto AeroDome neoprene have been placed on the front and rear of the torso, generating 30% more buoyancy.

About Orca

Orca is a NZ business, solely owned by Scott Unsworth and his wife Hildegard
Scott started making wetsuits in 1992 – he was a champion triathlete, but was forced out of the sport through chronic back injury. He looked at what he could do and decided to try and make the world’s fastest wetsuit
He launched the Orca brand in 1995, and Orca is now sold in over 50 countries around the world.

What have we got today?

The Orca Alpha wetsuit Orca’s top of the range wetsuit – NZRRP$850.  The Alpha was launched globally at Ironman NZ in March 2009. It uses panels of Aerodome – a world-first neoprene technology developed by Orca. In triathlon the maximum thickness of neoprene allowed is 5mm. Aerodome uses air cavities in the neoprene to provide around 30% more buoyancy than normal 5mm neoprene. You can see the Aerodome panels as the texture almost looks like a golf ball.

One of the major advances with the Alpha is the use of 40 cell neoprene over the majority of the wetsuit. This is a super flexible and supple neoprene, which helps make the wetsuit more flexible and comfortable. Feedback from the pros who use the Alpha is that it is unlike any other wetsuit they’ve ever worn.

Recommended retail price: $850.00

Available from: Retailers listed at

Product Website

Rating: 5 out of 5

Masport Series 19 MSV 4N1 Lawn Mower with Chipper Chute
The Masport Chipperchute is an innovative development in lawn mowing that means your mower can do more than cut the grass. The Chipperchute shreds branches to 35mm in diameter and turns them into useful mulch.

About Masport

The Masport mower is a kiwi icon. The company formed in 1910 so they about to celebrate a century in Business.  It has changed owners many times over the years, it is now an Australasian company owned by Nelson based investor Tom Sturgess.
Masports biggest challenge would have been facing deregulated markets from the 1980’s.  To survive, the company had to expand into overseas markets and develop its product range to match those markets

What did we show today?

A 190cc Masport lawnmower with a chipperchute. The Masport Chipperchute is an innovation that means your mower can do more than cut the grass. The Chipperchute actually shreds branches to 35mm in diameter and turns them into useful mulch.  As branches are chipped they are fed back into the catcher so you can put the mulch back on your garden.  Masport exports to over 30 countries worldwide and this feature is adopted on approximately 10% of high end featured range. The technology was developed a number of years ago by Masport engineers.

John demonstrates the chipperchute function:

Recommended retail price: $1,249

Available from: Various lawn mowing retailers nationwide (see website for details)

Product Website

Rating: 4 out of 5