I’ll tell you what doesn’t work: getting on a plane,
going knocking on doors, trying to sell something. Cold calling.
It doesn’t matter how good it is—whatever it may be
we have to sell—that’s just not how the world works.

Relationships and reputation: that’s how the world works. ENZTEC—my company—started when I was introduced to a well-known orthopaedic surgeon here in Christchurch. He was doing some leading-edge knee reconstructions and we were able to develop the innovative instruments and devices he needed. Our break came when the international equipment manufacturers—who were keeping an eye on the surgical advances here in Christchurch—started talking to us. That led to us manufacturing for them and our products are now sold all around the world. We work really hard on those relationships; in fact, our reputation today is probably built on the quality of our communication with our customers as much as it is on the quality of our products.

That, to me, is what the Health Precinct is about: relationships and reputation. It’s about doing more with what we have here in Christchurch that will make us more competitive and so create more jobs, and enable a higher standard of living. The successful places around the world are those that build on their existing strengths. They don’t just say “Wow, let’s get into aerospace, that looks cool,” they look at what they have and they leverage that. Christchurch has a reputation in health, already: in orthopaedics, which is our field, but in others as well. We can, and must, take advantage of that, and expand it.

I can also see that the Health Precinct will enable the relationships. It’ll make it easier for this person to talk to that person and for that person to introduce them to someone they know who can help. And that, in turn, will help with the reputation, because the word will get out that there is some cool stuff going on in Christchurch.

Relationships and reputation: you don’t succeed in business without them and Christchurch won’t succeed in the global economy without them. I know it all sounds great in theory, but here is a real-life recent example. I was meeting with one of our customers and I happened to mention Dr. Rod Maxwell, who is an orthopaedic surgeon in Christchurch who is known for his work on what are called Oxford knees (a partial knee replacement technique). Suddenly, the room was full of people. They had read about Rod and when they discovered I know him personally, they wanted to talk to me. It reminded me of the old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

There’s been a lot of talk in New Zealand about flags, just recently. Well, for me, the Health Precinct will be like having a flag. Flags—it seems to me—serve two purposes. The first thing they do is help us find others like us: they make it easy to spot the Kiwis in the crowd. And the other thing they do is say “this is who we are. This is us.” The Health Precinct is going to be my flag. It will help me connect with others in the industry here. “Talk to me, I’m interested in the same things you are.” And—when I go out into the world—my flag will say, “You know this man, he’s from Christchurch, that tribe with the awesome reputation for innovation in healthcare.”

Paul Morrison, General Manager, ENZTEC.