Andrew Cooke, founder of Rezare Systems and a pioneer in New Zealand agritech software development, has been recognised for his contribution to the sector, receiving the Robin Davidson Memorial Award for agritech excellence.
The award recognises enduring partnerships in the NZ agritech industry, including support for the industry, enthusiasm for building globally competitive businesses, and a willingness to constantly innovate.
Cooke founded Rezare systems 15 years ago, having graduated from Waikato University with a computer science degree and spending 10 years with AgResearch as a software development manager.
Rezare systems has been integral in developing numerous back-end and farmer-facing software solutions in the primary sector over that time. These include the VelTrak velvet tracking system launched last year, and sheep breeding selection software in Beef + Lamb NZ’s nProve project.
Cooke also played an instrumental role in establishing NZ’s farm data code of practice, which he kicked off in 2012; it came into play in 2017.
The code was a world-first effort to ensure farmers’ privacy was maintained, while enabling centralised data collection from multiple farm data sources.
An accreditation process gives farmers peace of mind that the agency dealing with their data is subscribing to the code’s privacy requirements.
Rezare’s DataLinker framework was also developed to help companies share data effectively, and addressed the pet farmer hate of entering data twice.
Two years ago, Rezare was acquired by Map of Agriculture, a United Kingdom-based agri data business linking farmers through the supply chain.
Cooke has retained a position within the new structure as chief technical officer, and a role on the Map of Ag board.
He was also recently acknowledged for his contribution to agricultural data and tech by the International Committee for Animal Recording in Montreal for work that has enhanced NZ’s reputation as a leading agritech centre and contributor to shared codes of practice.
Agritech NZ CEO Brendan O’Connell said Cooke’s generous, knowledgeable and tireless work in the domain of agridata had made him a worthy recipient of the award.
“Andrew’s work enables many to do more with their data and he is an exemplar of truly collaborative behaviour,” O’Connell said.
The Robin Davidson Memorial Award has a history of illustrious agri-innovators behind it sine being established by NZ Trade and Enterprise in 2004.
Past recipients have included Colin Harvey, who founded animal health company Ancare, and Sir William Gallagher of the Gallagher company.