Partnership: Kāinga Ora and Callaghan Innovation

Kāinga Ora and Callaghan Innovation partner to transform construction through innovation

This article was published on 4 July 2022

Innovative New Zealand construction businesses are set to benefit from a new partnership between Kāinga Ora and Callaghan Innovation.

The agencies recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding and hosted two targeted workshops aimed at enhancing residential construction outcomes for New Zealand through innovative and disruptive construction technology solutions.

These solutions could include manufacturing and advanced automation, decarbonisation of buildings, waste minimisation and digital tools, to help accelerate the Kāinga Ora build programme and meet targets.

Kāinga Ora Chief Executive Andrew McKenzie says innovation and partnerships are two key organisational priorities, and critical to unlocking speed, cost, quality and sustainability outcomes.

“Kāinga Ora is looking for sustainable, fit-for-purpose solutions to help us meet performance targets through areas such as energy and water use, new materials, and climate adaptation and resilience,” said McKenzie.

“This relationship will allow Callaghan Innovation to identify and support emerging, high-impact clients with the technology to help us in these areas, with the end goal of becoming integrated into the Kāinga Ora build programme.

“This accelerated R&D model combined with the scale of our pipeline, means innovators also have a significant opportunity to enter, or increase their market presence.

“Our size offers a real opportunity to embrace more innovative technology to achieve a range of positive outcomes—particularly in the areas of sustainability, time, cost, quality and customer wellbeing.

“For example, increasing our use of modular construction means we can deliver new homes 30-50% quicker than traditional methods, generate less waste and reduce energy consumption,” he said.

Callaghan Innovation Chief Executive Vic Crone says the partnership will leverage Callaghan Innovation’s technical research and development and commercialisation capabilities to help bolster construction innovation in New Zealand.

“Construction across Aotearoa is being disrupted and transformed by both the global pandemic and sustainability challenges, yet only 9% of construction businesses feel confident about the potential opportunities this presents,” said Crone.

“Construction is New Zealand's fifth largest sector, responsible for 20% of the country’s carbon emissions and contributing to 7% of our gross domestic product.

“There’s a clear need, and opportunity, for technology and innovation to make a real, positive impact on the sector.”

William Hubbard co-founder of Formance, enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with industry players at the Auckland workshop.

“It was refreshing to hear the desire from Kāinga Ora to connect with the industry, and to learn more about how they’re working with Callaghan Innovation to support us to innovate,” said Hubbard.

“This gives confidence to suppliers like ourselves that the future of New Zealand housing will be the best it's ever been."

Combining expertise and resources, Kāinga Ora and Callaghan Innovation aim to support commercial success stories for some of the country’s most enterprising construction businesses.

For more information please contact or call the media team on 027 291 9604.



Callaghan Innovation is New Zealand’s innovation agency. It activates innovation and helps businesses grow faster for a better New Zealand.

The government agency partners with ambitious businesses of all sizes, delivering a range of innovation and research and development (R&D) services to suit each stage of their growth. Its staff – including more than 200 of New Zealand’s leading scientists and engineers – empower innovators by connecting people, opportunities and networks, and providing tailored technical solutions, skills and capability development programmes, and grants co-funding.

Callaghan Innovation also enhances the operation of New Zealand’s innovation ecosystem, working closely with MBIE, NZTE, NZGCP, Crown Research Institutes, and other organisations that help increase business investment in R&D and innovation. The agency operates from four locations and fourteen regional partner locations.

Kāinga Ora is responsible for delivering the government’s priorities for housing and urban development in New Zealand. The organisation has two key roles, being a world-class public housing landlord and delivering urban development projects of all sizes.

Kāinga Ora manages over 66,000 residential properties, and provides tenancy services to more than 200,000 New Zealanders. As well as maintaining and developing its public housing stock, Kāinga Ora also provides a range of financial and home ownership products designed to support first home buyers into the market.