University of Canterbury proud to sponsor Kiwi Game Starter 2022
28 January 2022

The University of Canterbury (UC) continues to respond to the needs of the digital screen industries with sponsorship of the NZGDA Kiwi Game Starter 2022, a business start-up competition supporting the best of Aotearoa New Zealand’s up-and-coming game development talent.


The news comes hot on the heels of the announcement of the University’s Digital Screen Campus (DSC), an innovative programme with a unique point of difference that will provide training for future leaders in film production, game development and cross reality, helping Aotearoa New Zealand play a key role in the future of digital screen convergence.

DSC Programme Director, Professor Andrew Phelps says that the University’s support of the gaming sector is critical to help New Zealand’s content creation and digital media production capability grow.

He says, “I’m proud to see the University of Canterbury continuing to support creativity and innovation in the gaming sector, as this is a key pillar of our larger effort centred on the creation of our Digital Screen Campus and associated efforts on economic growth in these sectors. I wish the very best to everyone that enters the competition and, regardless of who wins, I hope to see many great game ideas produced, expanded upon, and ultimately brought to market.”

Talent shortage is one of the biggest issues facing both the digital screen industries and the tech sector and in addition to the competition itself, the Kiwi Game Starter provides game developers the opportunity to gain recognition, industry mentorship and strengthen their skills, supporting them in pursuing a career within the industry.

Executive Director of Planning, Finance and ITS, Keith Longden says, “digital screen industries within Aotearoa New Zealand can only grow and develop as long as we encourage, educate and develop talent for all critical roles, which is why it is important for the University to create and support opportunities like our Digital Screen Campus, and the Kiwi Game Starter competition.”

Aspiring to become a true anchor institution in the community, aiding in the growth of our local economy, the University is already dedicated to supporting the digital screen industries, from the applied game development and design programmes available through its School of Product Design and the world-leading research centre in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), applied immersive game design and human robot interaction available through the HIT Lab NZ (Human Interface Technology Laboratory).

Run by the New Zealand Game Developers Association (NZGDA), Kiwi Game Starter 2022 aims to improve the commercial outcomes for New Zealand developers working towards completing their games.

“One of the biggest issues facing not just the interactive development industry, but the tech sector overall, is talent shortage,” says NZGDA Chairperson Chelsea Rapp.

“The University of Canterbury have long been dedicated to supporting industry in this space, from their applied game development and design programmes through to HIT Lab NZ (Human Interface Technology), their world-leading research centre in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), applied immersive game design and human robot interaction.”

Now in its 8th year, the Kiwi Game Starter Competition’s first place prize includes a $25,000, mentorship, with ongoing development and strategy support.

NZGDA represents over 3,000 members and 50+ studios in the New Zealand game development industry.