Thursday, 20 January 2022 07:55

Listen to the land

Written by  Diana Dobson
Sir Ian Taylor will be a keynote speaker at February's East Coast Farming Expo. Sir Ian Taylor will be a keynote speaker at February's East Coast Farming Expo.

Sir Ian Taylor may be a pioneer in technology and animation, but it is from the past he draws his strength and innovation.

A keynote speaker for February's East Coast Farming Expo, the lad from Raupunga brings a fresh perspective to the effect of Covid on our planet, and how to put our country on track for a sustainable future.

Sir Ian's company Animation Research created platforms that give a real-time, 3D, bird's eye view of the America's Cup, among other sports. It is lauded as one of the world's leading sports graphics companies.

During the pandemic, he has constantly pushed the Government on MIQ, their response to Covid and the future of New Zealand.

"We met the challenge of Covid that shut down all of our overseas events by designing a remote studio platform that means we now do all of our sports coverage globally - from our studios here in Dunedin - reducing our carbon footprint from air travel by almost 90%. We approached the pandemic as an opportunity, not a challenge, and it has changed the way we do business globally."

Sir Ian is proud of his Ngāti Kahungunu whakapapa, and while internationally lauded for his work in technology and animation, he is quick to share the credit. He says he's no businessman and wouldn't know what an entrepreneur is. But the tale of the tape tells a different story.

He's connected across so many platforms, but one he is most proud of Mātauranga, an initiative that encourages children to learn from the past to navigate the future. He struggled to raise the $1 million to produce the Mātauranga platform that would be a free tool for schools across Aotearoa to use, build their own regional stories and share with others. That was until Christchurch businessman Dennis Chapman gave him $500,000. "It wouldn't have happened without him," he says.

Sir Ian says farmers have a big part to play in NZ's sustainability story. He worries that not enough people are listening to the land. "Look what happened during Covid - Papatūānuku [mother Earth] is speaking to us but we aren't listening. She showed us what happens when you take cars off the road, planes out of the air, talk to your neighbours... and that as we face the next big challenge of climate change, we need to be working together.

"Farmer listen - they are the closes to Papatūānuku in many ways. We are a very clever, technology-focused country, so we need to encourage farmers to use technology to do the job better."

He says instead of regulating and forcing farmers to do things, how about delving into how New Zealand could be like it once was as farming nation of the world. "We should be leading the way. It doesn't solve the global problem, but for New Zealand the future of farming lies in high value products from a sustainable practice."

Sir Ian will be the keynote speaker on Thursday (February 24) at the East Coast Farming Expo.

Where & When

What: East Coast Farming Expo

When: February 23-24, 2022

Where: Wairoa A&P Showgrounds

More Info: 

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