Blazing global trails in the multi-million dollar car modification market


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EKanoo racing's world record-breaking Porsche 911 Turbo tuned by ESMotor. It did the 1/4 mile in 8.99 sec at 160mph using a Dodson Motorsport PDK clutch.

For the average person a car is an object, a mode of transport, something to be used, admired but not modified. For motor enthusiasts (a unique subset of society) - a car is more like a child, something to be developed, a passion, a project, a piece of ‘you’ the owner.

Much like how parents will spend thousands of dollars to fulfill their child's potential, the multi-million dollar aftermarket car modification industry is based on a simple question, "How can we make it better?”

Dodson Motorsport has established itself as a world leader in the production of dual clutch transmission systems by providing answers to that very question.

Based in Auckland’s Grow North Innovation District in Wairau Valley on the North Shore, Dodson Motorsport was founded in 2000 by automotive engineer Glenn Cupit and Harry Dodson of Dodson Autospares.

Having built a name for themselves in motorsport tuning, fabrication and development, the company now offers a wide range of transmission upgrades for high performance and high-end vehicles.

The company is now one of New Zealand’s top exporters. With a global network of over 200 dealers in 50 countries, enthusiasts can access performance parts worldwide.

Dodson’s patented components are renowned for handling higher horsepower and torque, reducing heat, and improving grip and reliability.

“As the car manufacturers rolled out dual clutches more than ten years ago, Dodson found unique ways to redesign and modify the transmission," says Dodson Motorsport General Manager, Steven Parker.

“We concentrated on high strength and high performance and developed a niche market. We were not driven by reducing cost but providing the best possible outcome.”

One may wonder how you improve on parts that have been meticulously designed by large car companies? Where do you begin to redesign and upgrade?

Design Process

When designing aftermarket parts, Dodson engineers start by focusing on the weakest points and providing strengthening to withstand higher loads.

Through careful analysis, designers can modify the structure and select manufacturing processes and materials to cope with high performance loads.

Products are prototyped and then undergo meticulous testing before being released to the market. The end result is that car owners can push their vehicles to the limits and utilise the extra power developed from aftermarket modifications.

To promote their products, Dodson sponsors some of the fastest cars in the world including the fastest BMW FX8, Porshce PDK, Nissan GT-R and MK7 VW Golf drag racing cars.

Their products are regularly tested in track and time trial racing environments as well, to ensure reliability and durability.
Dodson’s accolades and achievements are growing.

In their quest to further develop manufacturing technologies, the company has partnered with Auckland University of Technology’s Faculty of Engineering to develop advanced induction hardening methods for complex steel parts.

Dodson has been awarded a three to five year Callaghan Growth Grant for Research and Development. It’s recently been named a Finalist in Westpac Business Awards 2016 and 2017 – International Trade. The New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) has also provided backing recently to promote Dodson in the 2017 PRI (Performance Racing Industry) trade show in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Where to next

Having upgraded the clutch systems on a range of high performance vehicles including Nissan, Mitsubishi, VW, Audi, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Porsche and Lamborghini, Parker is confident about the company’s future;

“We are releasing more products, we have a design pipeline running for the next five years and we are diversifying into other brands of vehicles and new markets.”

In the race to push limits in performance and innovation, Dodson Motorsport is only just gearing up.

Designing ‘eyes’ for electronic products puts Teknique at the forefront of a new global industry.


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Technology is increasingly helpful, however technology limitations constantly remind us that it never fully understands what we want to achieve. That's going to change.

Technology can’t predict what we want to do until it can learn, and it learns when it can ‘see’ what’s happening. An image contains thousands of pieces of information, a video millions – millions of clues about who the lens is looking at - their habits, what’s going right and what’s going wrong, even picking up people’s moods.

Giving technology ‘sight’ is enabling a new level of benefits without the user continually giving instructions. Example: Not long ago car-reversing cameras were novel, then multiple car cameras began making highway driving a lot safer - and now cars that can ‘see’ can find their way to a destination and park with one push of a button.

Our world is evolving into one where smart appliances, intelligent personal assistants and automated vehicles will remember our preferences, make smart decisions and become a lot more intuitive to use. This could mean 45 billion connected cameras in use in five years and this provides a big opportunity for Albany based Teknique which is already a leader in this field.

Teknique creates better ways to view, interpret and understand the world by integrating smart camera platform technology into electronic products. Teknique’s team of designers, thinkers, engineers and prototypers are dedicated to intelligent product development that creates better ways to view, interpret, understand and interact with what’s going on in the world.

Since he founded Albany-based Teknique with his brother 14 years ago, Teknique CEO Ben Bodley and his team has grown Teknique to the point where over 95 per cent of their customers are offshore primarily in the United States, and Teknique recently celebrated an annual growth rate of 607% ranking 8th in the Deloitte Fast50.

Talk to the Teknique team and they say what they enjoy most is seeing their technology in some of the worlds most successful commercial and consumer products. Being able to say “Hey I was part of that” gives the team the motivation to continue breaking new ground and inventing what the world hasn’t seen yet. “There is no limit to how cameras, computer vision, and AI are going to change user experience across the world” says Bodley.
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Student designed robots provide eyes and ears for electricity providers meaning a lot less time with the lights out


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When there is a power outage in remote areas it can take hours for technicians to travel, find and fix the problem. Technicians often have to return to base to pick up gear or send a second technician.

Transpower New Zealand has 174 substations nationwide and 25 of those are in remote locations. On average, a Transpower technician travels 90 minutes to reach a remote site.

Transpower and Massey University have been working together on a built-for-purpose robot that can quickly diagnose remote substation problems. The project began as a final year student ‘capstone’ project at Massey’s School of Engineering in Albany. Robotics student engineers worked under Professor Johan Potgieter and with Transpower’s Mark Ryallto come up with two robots they have named Wall-E and Eve.

The robots feature a hydraulic neck and wheels that allow them to travel both inside and outside substations to observe the state of vital power equipment. They can be remotely controlled by a Transpower operator or engineer anywhere in New Zealand using a modified Xbox 360 controller or a laptop, says Transpower's Mark Ryall. These robots have the potential to be our eyes on the ground.”

Transpower and Massey have recently begun a four-week trial at their Albany substation in the Grow North Innovation District. The trial will see the robots put through their paces to test their capabilities, then all going well the robots will then live in charging sheds at some of Transpower's most remote substations.

Manapouri is one of the first sites Transpower have in mind given its significance to the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter and it can take a technician six hours to organise a boat trip across the to the site.

Looking towards the future, Transpower and Massey can see potential for these robots to learn and carry out other tasks such as making regular inspections around each site to identify the progression of terrain erosion. Robots like Wall-E and Eve don’t replace employees, instead they enable Transpower’s people to solve problems quickly and restore power a lot faster to their customers across the country. Massey School of Engineering
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The B:HIVE has been designed from the ground up for one purpose - to provide a place from which to grow lots of innovative Kiwi b


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Walk into any shared-work space building in any modern city and you’ll find yourself in a high-energy environment as entrepreneurs go about commercialising their business start-ups.

In New Zealand shared-work space tenants are likely to be ambitious technology enterprises with export aspirations. Even small amounts of success can see staff numbers grow, requiring more desks and space. Moving is expensive and disrupts businesses so fixed-space fixed-term rental contracts bring challenges that entrepreneurs would rather avoid.

What makes much better sense is a flexible environment that allows businesses to evolve and grow in one location without disruption. Research shows that co-located businesses become more goal-focused when they rub shoulders with similar businesses. When owners hear the lessons learned from others who are ahead of them, it helps keep them on-track and focused, speeding up their journey which helps reduce business risk.

The B:HIVE is a purpose-built ecosystem that actively encourages the cross-pollination of ideas and collaboration with complimentary fast-growing pioneering businesses.

Inspired by an altruistic vision for a human-centered work environment, B:HIVE developers visited many of the world’s successful innovation districts before developing a vision for a building that stimulates innovation, delivers the benefits of co-locating, and also incorporates many latest technologies that create a very healthy and productive place to work.

Award winning architects BVN and Jasmax, together with builders Leighs Construction have created a new sort of building within which to innovate and productively build businesses and the occupation rates at the B:HIVE and feedback from tenants would suggest that they were right.

While it’s still possible to work within an exclusive business environment, the co-working premises are tenanted by business people keen to explore the synergies of working alongside others. Companies aren’t locked in to traditional leasing arrangements. The rental includes fit-out, furniture, power, high-speed internet, cleaning, security, a concierge service, kitchen and the use of any of the shared meeting spaces on any of the floors.

Home to more than 1,000 people the B:HIVE is NZ’s largest co-working space. It offers unparalleled flexibility for tenants with the adjustable partitioning systems developed specifically for the B:HIVE allowing space to expand or contract based on business ‘flex’ creating a building that keeps adapting to future demands.

By the end of 2018 5,000 employees will work on Smales Farm. This will make Smales Farm a critical mass business centre and a hub of innovation at the heart of the Grow North Innovation District, able to positively impact the future New Zealand economy. The B:HIVE
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Turning up the heat on sustainable cooling technology around the world


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Wellington Drive Technologies is doing its part to reduce greenhouse emissions worldwide through innovative new energy management systems.

Sales of electric vehicles are on the increase and the electric motors that power these vehicles can run for years with little attention. Electric motors have been used in commercial refrigeration and cooling systems for decades, and today these systems are the world’s largest single consumer of electrical power.

It means that worldwide, hundred’s of thousands of old refrigeration systems keep running - still providing cooling, but operating very inefficiently. It has been suggested that the single most effective action to fight climate change is widespread smart refrigerant management. Rising energy prices, concern over greenhouse emissions and government regulations bring challenges, and new government incentives are expected to fuel strong growth of energy-efficient cooling management systems.

Albany based Wellington Drive Technologies is a leading global provider of energy-efficient electronic motors and refrigeration control solutions for commercial refrigeration. With a global footprint, Wellington Drive serves some of the world’s leading food and beverage brands and refrigerator manufacturers, with products and solutions that reduce energy consumption and improve product sales.

Whilst electrical motors still remain as an integral part of Wellington Drive’s business, it is no longer simply a motor company. Wellington Drive are developing and acquiring technologies that help food and beverage brands better manage their point of sale equipment (including coolers) and help them grow their sales by enabling direct connection with the consumer.

Through proprietary smart refrigeration controllers and management software, customers move into the Internet of Things (IoT) where there is increased opportunity to add value, create higher energy savings and bank government power saving incentives.

Wellington Drive has always valued research and innovation. Since beginning in 1986 as a patent licensing organization it has retained a strong culture of innovation. CEO, Greg Allen explains, “Our priority is our customer; we take customer innovation, continuous improvement and service excellence seriously. It is also the foundation of our future growth.”

Wellington Drive is headquartered in the Grow North Innovation District from where it manages supply chain, logistics and R&D. It is listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange. Wellington Drive Technologies
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What it takes to create a school-to-global pipeline – what business can learn from sport


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Just as the athlete with a highly skilled and knowledgeable team is steered to international success at AUT Millennium – so too can businesses be guided to excel and become global players in the international arena.

Today, dominance in sport runs much deeper than the fortuitous combination of talent and a good coach. It’s not just about training harder than everyone else.

It’s about training smarter…

At AUT Millennium, the game for New Zealand’s elite athletes has changed - with world-class facilities and services grounded in the latest sport science research. Athletes are supported and guided by a highly skilled and knowledgeable team from school age through to the world stage.

In the past, the expert support network for athletes was spread across a wide range personnel and venues, which wasn’t optimal

That’s not the case now, according to CEO of AUT Millennium and President of the New Zealand Olympic Committee, Mike Stanley., With High Performance Sport NZ we have been able to provide an environment where experts including trainers, nutritionists, physiologists, coaches and medics all collaborate and focus jointly on an athlete’s success quickly. Athletes are getting the very best people 100% focused on them, their achievements and how to optimise their performance. It’s accelerated the rate of improvement and were seeing the results in international competition”

Located on the North Shore in the Grow North District, AUT Millennium is home to a diverse range of organisations, from sports clubs and national sporting associations, to medical services and programmes for the community, local schools and sports groups.

AUT’s Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand’s (SPRINZ) is also located at AUT Millennium. Their team of internationally-renowned experts gather and use sport science and health information from high performance athletes and the wider community.

Mike Stanley describes AUT Millennium as, “a community of expertise and athletes at various stages of their development, from children who are learning to swim, to some of New Zealand’s very best athletes.”

In addition to preparing athletes for international competition, AUT Millennium addresses national, regional and local needs in sport, physical activity and community health, with the aim that New Zealanders may live healthier lives by excelling in sport and fitness.

Mike Stanley believes that although training for a sport at an elite level is very specific to that particular sport, there is a lot athletes can learn from other disciplines.

For example, rowing is renowned for its gruelling endurance training while shot put is explosive in nature. Both sports and their athletes can take elements of the other’s training into their own discipline with great results.

How does this relate to business?

In today’s competitive economic climate, businesses can face similar hurdles and challenges.

If experts can meet regularly, establish trust and share knowledge from their own business disciplines, Mike Stanley believes that it is possible to move beyond the current level of difficulties. Similar teething problems and the same costly time-consuming mistakes can be avoided.

Just as the athlete with a highly skilled and knowledgeable team is steered to international success, so too can businesses be guided to excel and become global players in the international arena.

The Grow North Innovation District ethos is to translate what AUT Millennium has done for the sport ecosystem into the innovative business ecosystem; to build an escalator that nurtures companies from start-up to scale-up faster and build sustainable businesses on the world stage.

If you’re an innovative tech business located on the North Shore and want to benefit from shared knowledge from peers and those who have successfully built global businesses - join our community portal - go to to find out more.