Trade Me Innovator of the Year Award

As a company built by innovators we know what Kiwis are capable of, so we’re proud to be backing the New Zealand Innovator of the Year Award for the first time in 2020.

The Award recognises inspiring Kiwis whose game-changing discoveries, research or inventions are driving our country forward.

Trade Me is invested in building the very best Aotearoa and we know that supporting and growing Kiwis’ innovation is an essential part of this. 

Meet our three finalists.

Aliesha Staples
Staples VR

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Aliesha is highly sought after, both locally and abroad, as a producer of AR/VR and emerging technology content, and has worked on projects for Warner Brothers, Paramount Pictures, Disney, and TVNZ.

She has a particular passion for using emerging technology, not only for entertainment, but also for healthcare. She recently produced VRemedies, a Virtual Reality exposure therapy software for children to lower the need for drug use for non-invasive procedures in hospitals.

What does innovation mean to you?

It's about having an idea and testing the idea to the point of validation or failure. Failure of an idea is just as important as the success of one.

Who inspired you when you were younger?

My mum was a key driver for me. When I look back on some of the ideas I had she always supported them. When you suggest an idea to someone you consider wiser than you and they don't push back, it gives you the confidence to take it further. If you are questioned you doubt yourself. 

What inspires you to continue to push boundaries? 

How far everyone else is pushing things, if you look at the other people both in New Zealand and the world and hear about their goals for this decade, things colonise Mars, it makes you look at your own goals and think bigger. 

What advice would you offer to the younger generation?

It's not enough to just do what everyone else is doing, to be successful you need to work harder and push things further than the person next to you. Do what you love and sometimes that can be the opposite of what everyone around you is telling you to do.

Bill Buckley
Buckley Systems Ltd

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Buckley Systems Ltd is the world’s leading supplier of precision electromagnets – used in the manufacture of silicon chips, flat-panel screens, high-end medical machinery and particle accelerators.

Now, Bill and his company, Neutron Therapeutics, have designed and built a Boron Neutron Capture Therapy machine which treats cancer.

It is considered a significant breakthrough in cancer treatment – drastically reducing the amount of radiation and physical side effects for patients while treating much more accurately.

What does innovation mean to you?

The idea of an innovator is to keep ahead of the rest of the world in what you’re doing.

Who inspired you when you were younger?

My father was a great innovator and I learned quite young that innovation would help you get your job done faster.

What inspires you to continue to push boundaries? 

I have always found pushing the boundaries was the only way to make sure you keep up with the constant changes in technology

What advice would you offer to the younger generation?

Try and make clear decisions on your future, and don’t look for a “quick buck”.  It’s a long, hard grind but stick with it, and you will get there.

Fady Mishriki

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Fady Mishriki is the founder and former CEO of PowerbyProxi. The company was established in 2007, with a mission to design and develop safe, high-efficiency and high-density wireless power. PowerbyProxi technology enables the charging of everyday devices such as smartphones and cars without having to plug them in.

The company quickly grew to become a world leader, with over 500 patents to its name. In 2017 Apple acquired the company.

Fady is also committed to fostering the next generation of Kiwi innovators and is involved in a number of initiatives.

What does innovation mean to you?

One of our values at PowerbyProxi was ‘we are innovators, not just inventors’. Innovation flows from invention, it adds a dimension of commercialisation. It’s about things like what we do with the invention and how we get it out there.

Who inspired you when you were younger?

My father and mother. They were always encouraging of my business endeavours and aspirations in technology. They also inspired me to work hard, make sacrifices and strive for the best education possible. 

What inspires you to continue to push boundaries?

Working with strong teams of people that have aligned values and a clear goal.

What advice would you offer to the younger generation?

Persistence in innovation is really important, but you need to figure out the right things to focus on first. Persistence directed at the right things is very powerful. Take some time up front to figure out what those right things are.