Hi NZVRARA members,

As our Association activities for 2017 ease off, it’s timely to look back over the year and consider the progress of our local cross reality community.

It’s been a productive year of growth for the Association. As we wrap for a well-deserved summer break, I can announce that DATACOM (sponsoring our Student Chapter) and MASSEY UNIVERSITY have both signed on as Strategic Partners. We now have 116 paid-up members and 44 members in our Student Chapter. We are on track to reach 100 student members by April ’18 and we are progressing discussions with other prospective Strategic Partners.

Our searchable member directory of Organisations and Individuals is looking very healthy. If you have not yet added your details or uploaded a selfie, please add this to your pre-Xmas To-Do list. It is a heavily visited part of our website.

Thanks to all of our Members for your support and involvement this year, and a particular shout out to the (now) six Strategic Partners: Datacom, Massey University, the AR/VR Garage in Auckland, PROJECTR® Wellington, M-Theory and Blackeye for your collective investment and commitment to our sector.

We ran 31 events this calendar year in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington – a phenomenal effort. As the NZVRARA, we sponsored a VR/IoT/AI industry event at Tech Week, represented the sector at ad:tech Auckland, and launched our NZVRARA ‘Virtual Gets Real’ Report One. The well-executed inaugural Student Exhibition was a huge success and I hope you made it to one of the three tech sector end-of-year parties that we were part of.

Congratulations to all our members for the many achievements and positive milestones that you’ve hit, only some of which we’ve managed to report on during the year. I encourage you to use our Association Slack channel to share any good news – a rising tide lifts all ships.

Pleasingly, earlier this year we also united the members from the other sector association that was formed late last year into our New Zealand VR/AR Association. It’s great to now have a single clear voice from our community.

I would personally like to thank our NZVRARA Executive Committee who have diligently met monthly to advance our collective vision. Thank you all for your input and leadership. A special mention to Amy Nally, our fabulous treasurer, who deserves a big thank you on behalf of the membership for her consistent effort in carefully managing and reporting on our funds this year. Thanks, Amy.

On behalf of all our members and the Executive Committee, I’d like to especially thank Courteney Lomas, who came on as our first paid Executive Director mid-year and immediately threw herself into wrangling our membership register, building partnerships, event management, crafting board reports, driving the Student Chapter, and the many other responsibilities that come with this wide-ranging role. Thank you for everything you’ve achieved in 2017, Courteney. You’ve helped make us real!

A considered decision we took in recent months was to cancel our membership of the VRARA in order to deliver greater benefits to our members onshore and by using our limited resources to build deeper, meaningful relationships with other offshore groups. Internationally, we remain the New Zealand voice of the global cross reality sector. We will announce the first significant steps in our international outreach activities in early 2018.

Next year we have plans in place for ‘VR in Architecture’ and ‘3D Asset/Environment Acquisition’ sessions in February and March 2018, across all three main centres, plus the launch of our second NZVRARA Report: Going Next Level, in Christchurch in mid-February. Look out for invitations to these events in January.

Further out, we’re now planning for our first independently-run industry survey in May 2018 to collect some annual data that will help inform our planning for the sector’s continued growth.

I hope you’re able to enjoy a relaxing summer break and return safely for a fantastic new year of rewarding opportunities in our dynamic, fast-growing cross reality space.

Take care,

Michael Gregg,
Chair, New Zealand VR/AR Association Inc.

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