The pilot groups have been announced, read more here.

Pilot Groups

We are delighted to introduce the three groups we've selected for the Digital Cluster Initiative two-year Pilot. Each group has a strong vision to digitally transform. Through digital, we will support these groups to collaborate and grow, to lift productivity, enhance discoverability, and explore new direct-to-consumer markets online. Together, we will show what's possible when you set digital at the heart of Kiwi business groups. Join us in welcoming these groups, and follow along for an exciting and innovative journey.

Baby product manufacturers, New Zealand

Baby product manufacturers, New Zealand

Iconic New Zealand baby brands Babu and Lamington lead this cluster. Each business within the cluster has earned a reputation for eco-friendly, sustainable, high-quality and high-design products, known and sought after by parents in the know. The group plans to use this digital opportunity to grow into new domestic and global markets, and to strengthen their direct-to-consumer offering. They look forward to formalising an already strong collaborative relationship, leveraging their combined scale and using ecommerce to generate new leads and sales in the B2C arena. The impact of Covid and industry challenges has made this opportunity even more timely for the businesses involved. By clustering, and with expert support and advice as part of the Pilot offer, the group hopes to streamline their combined operations to find efficiencies that increase margins and address logistical barriers. The connections, networks and knowledge available, between both BNZ and Zeald, will be invaluable to the group's direction, growth, and digital transformation journey.

The cluster comprises the following brands: Babu, Lamington, Pretty Brave, Cry Wolf, Made4Baby, Wishbone and Little Belle.

"We are all super excited about the sheer potential of the project, working with like-minded people in our industry, and the learning that will happen through dealing with experts and with each other. We hope to achieve increased group and brand awareness locally, as well as increased sales and exposure in export markets."

Alison Hui Founder of Babu

Ngā Kaitoi o Mataatua i Tauranga Moana - TMT Māori artists

Leading Māori artists and creatives from Mataatua waka in the Tauranga Moana region form a new Pilot cluster, led by an experienced iwi arts development team at Te Tuhi Mareikura Charitable Trust. The cluster includes internationally-renowned multi-disciplinary artist Tracey Tawhiao and esteemed master carver Clive Fugill, alongside many other equally diverse and celebrated Māori artists from the area. Trust chairperson Julie Paama-Pengelly, a tā moko artist, painter, and curator herself, and the project lead, knows ecommerce and digital capability can support artists to cross the digital divide and, more importantly, gain exposure. This Pilot will effectively create an online art gallery space where Mataatua Māori artists can present their story and connections, and sell their work. It's a significant opportunity for the artist community, and for the wider regional area in terms of growth and development. Taking a partnership approach, the Trust will provide philosophical leadership and curatorial expertise to support the artists and help them navigate the art market and economics, as they embark on this digital journey.

Ngā Kaitoi o Mataatua i Tauranga Moana - TMT Māori artists
Together, the Trust and the Digital Cluster Initiative team are committed to ensuring the sovereignty and integrity of artists and their work, and strong representation of their stories. The digital platform will enable Mataatua Māori artists to reach far beyond local, and into new markets online.

"This Pilot will help us fulfil our aspirations as Mataatua regional Māori artists, tangata whenua, and is part of a larger legacy project to cement Māori arts in the Tauranga Moana region. We hope to share the breadth of Māori artistic abilities with wider networks via digital, to uphold the legacy of art by the Mataatua people into the future.

"Our five-year goal as a Trust is to create a Mataatua Māori arts exhibition centre as a focal point for our artists, and this project helps us achieve that in the broader digital space."

Julie Paama-Pengelly Chairperson of Te Tuhi Mareikura Trust

Central Otago Wine

Central Otago Wine

World-renowned for its Pinot Noir and premium, boutique wines, this cluster will be built around more than 30 wineries and wine brands in Central Otago. Using digital capability and tools, the group aims to open up new markets and grow existing ones, encouraging greater discoverability of their wine brands both domestically and internationally. The impact of Covid has put the squeeze on usual industry channels but has also created opportunities, especially in the digital space. The Central Otago Wine cluster is keen to explore new, innovative ways to connect with consumers in a digital environment, in particular direct-to-consumer sales. The Digital Cluster Initiative will support these often small, family-owned businesses to unlock digital opportunities and channels, together. In a competitive market, brand is everything.

The cluster’s goal is not only to grow its brand awareness, but also to increase equity for the region and its members. Digital has the ability to connect winegrowers at the bottom of the globe with consumers worldwide. Beyond New Zealand they hope to expand opportunities abroad in key markets such as Australia, Asia, and beyond.

"After a rocky couple of years the Digital Cluster Initiative brings some much-needed good news to our wine region. The marketplace has excellent potential to boost direct-to-customer sales nationally and internationally, which can help grow brand recognition as well as profit margins. This Pilot gives our members an opportunity to use ecommerce to ensure the long-term viability of their businesses.

"We want to see our great region and all of our members digitally upskill and succeed."

Jake Tipler General Manager of Central Otago Winemakers Association