Programme details

Panel: Dunedin as NZ’s gaming hub

Tuesday 2:40pm - 3:40pm, (Dunedin 1 Room)

Dunedin has a huge and unique opportunity to grow its reputation as a great gaming hub, with a strong community and excellent initiatives like the CODE – NZ’s Centre of Digital Excellence – based here. But how do we take this one step further?


Kylie Jackson

MD, Ōtepoti Games

Kylie Jackson is a key driver in Dunedin's tech scene. Previously the Deputy Director of the SIGNAL ICT Graduate School overseeing Dunedin's offerings, she's now the Managing Director of Ōtepoti Games Company Ltd, and Sth Island Customer Success Manager for PaySauce.

Amongst other contributions, Kylie also serves on both the TechWomen National Executive and the ITP Dunedin Branch Committee.

Tim Ponting

Establishment Director, Centre for Digital Excellence

A 32-year veteran of the international games industry, Tim was European Comms Director for Activision and co-founder of Renegade PR. He provides business development advice and angel investment to indie teams across New Zealand.

He is currently the Establishment Director of the Centre for Digital Excellence in Dunedin, New Zealand, a $10m PGF-funded initiative to grow the games industry in the region.

Sam Barham

Founder, Balancing Monkey Games

Sam Barham established Balancing Monkey Games in 2017. Sam began working on his first game Before We Leave as a hobby project, while balancing the other demands of full-time work and fatherhood.

As the project grew and gained recognition, the team expanded to include contracted artists, audio experts, a writer, an additional programmer and a community manager.

In May 2020, Before We Leave was released exclusively on the Epic Game Store during the first Covid pandemic lockdown in Aotearoa NZ. The launch was a success, and enabled the studio to hire two of the contractors as permanent staff and to open an office in South Dunedin.

In August 2020, Before We Leave won the New Zealand Games Festival Award for Excellence in Audio, aka The Pav for The Composed Segment.

Lisa Blakie

Community Director, Runaway Play

Lisa (Ngāi Tahu and Waitaha, she/her) is an award winning Narrative Designer for Old Friends Dog Game and an upcoming title for Atawhai Interactive. She is also the Community Director for mobile free-to-play developer Runaway Play.

Lisa is also recipient of the 2020 Te Maunga Kai Kapua Teina award, 20Twenties young alumni awards and has served on the NZ Game Developers Association Board.

Lisa and her three colleagues were also grant recipients for the first round of CODE funding for their project Tōroa, based upon the Southern Royal Albatross, endemic to Otago Peninsula.

Paul Matthews

CEO, IT Professionals NZ

Paul Matthews is Chief Executive of IT Professionals NZ, the professional body of the tech sector.

Originally from Dunedin, Paul founded and led 2 tech startups before heading to Wellington to take on the ITP role.