The Dunedin-based New Zealand Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE) has appointed locally-based industry leader, Tim Ponting, as its Establishment Director.
Mr Ponting, a CODE Working Group and NZGDA Board member, has been appointed to the role for 12 months to lead and support the ongoing development of Dunedin’s video game development ecosystem and initiatives aimed at supporting the industry’s growth in Dunedin and New Zealand.
Dunedin City Mayor, Aaron Hawkins, welcomed Mr Ponting’s appointment and commended the overall progress made to date in establishing CODE in Dunedin, including the recently announced CODE Funding programme for local game developers.
“This is a real boost for Dunedin at a time when we are experiencing, like the rest of the country, some very real economic challenges. CODE’s establishment further strengthens Dunedin’s reputation as a hub for creativity and innovation and I’m confident Mr Ponting will do an excellent job of further progressing CODE’s establishment over the coming year.”
Mr Ponting is a Dunedin resident with over 30 years’ experience nationally and internationally in the video games and interactive entertainment industry, including an extensive background in marketing, communications, branding and business development.
He said he is particularly looking forward to working with local, national and international stakeholders during the establishment phase.
“I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to be able to roll my sleeves up and work alongside stakeholders to continue building on the strong foundations already laid for CODE by Enterprise Dunedin and the CODE Working Group. The industry here is poised to enter a new chapter in its development, and I look forward to CODE fostering a sustainable, thriving ecosystem that supports diversity, creative and technical innovation, educational excellence and positive outcomes for the local economy," Mr Ponting said.
Murray Strong, Chair of the CODE Working Group, said they had been impressed by Mr Ponting’s genuine enthusiasm for supporting development of the local game development industry.
“Tim has a comprehensive understanding of the local and international game development context and an outstanding ability to build networks and positive relationships with multiple, diverse stakeholders. We’re looking forward to working with Tim to continue bringing CODE into being.”
Mr Ponting’s work over the next 12 months will include leading or supporting delivery of specific workstreams and outcomes, progressing development of funding opportunities for local game developers, curriculum development with local tertiary providers and international experts, bringing Māori participation into the centre of CODE’s establishment, and the creation of CODE’s legal entity.
The CODE establishment programme is currently being facilitated by Dunedin City Council’s economic development unit, Enterprise Dunedin, in collaboration with Dunedin Economic Development Strategy partners and industry representatives.
Dunedin was confirmed as the New Zealand Centre of Digital Excellence in October last year and is being backed by $10 million from the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund. Its purpose is to support the development of a $1 billion video game industry in New Zealand over the next decade.