Innovation Beyond the Wheel: speaking at ANZSCoS Scientific Meeting


Philip Bendall from Segway New Zealand was invited to speak at the Australia and New Zealand Spinal Cord Society’s 2014 Annual Scientific Meeting held in Auckland recently.

This year’s them was ‘Innovation Beyond the Wheel’ and sub-themes for the Meeting included Reawakening the Cord, Novel Practices, Weathering Disaster & Contingency Planning, and Innovative Strategies for Lifelong Engagement.

He presented a 15 minute session during the Physiotherapy Discipline Specific Meeting – which had the theme “Technology in Rehab” this year – at the invitation of Jonathan Kwan from the Auckland Spinal Rehabilitation Unit ASRU. He talked about how New Zealanders have adopted Segway Personal Transporters (PTs) for mobility, remarking that one of the earlier adopters in the mid-2000’s had been a member of staff at the Spinal Unit who’d had a spinal injury as a result of a car accident. He discussed the various models, and optional attachments that are popular with mobility users.

His presentation followed a demonstration of the REX Exoskeleton by REX Bionics, which is a world-leading technology developed in New Zealand (see our coverage of MORGO 2010 were Philip Bendall walked in the then-only-just-revealed REX Exoskeleton). REX Bionics listed on the UK stock exchange earlier this year.

REX Bionics 'poster boy' Hayden Allen and REX Bionics founder Richard Little
REX Bionics original ‘poster boy’ Hayden Allen, and REX Bionics founder Richard Little.

Trophy for ‘The Segway Challenge’ Champions

The Segway Challenge is our popular group entertainment activity.

This is the time of year small businesses and corporates book us for their Christmas Parties and staff team building functions. Families and groups book us to be part of the festivities at their BBQs and birthday parties.

We bring along our Segway Personal Transporters (PTs), our decade of experience in running fun, safe and enormously entertaining sessions, and our boisterous enthusiasm to have a really great time.

Read more about our activities here then book us today.

Will your team get to take home The Segway Challenge Champion Trophy?
Will your team get to take home The Segway Challenge Champion Trophy?


Renewables now 79% of NZ electricity generation

New Zealand generates a very high percentage of its electricity from renewable sources. This means Kiwis who choose zero-emission vehicles can make a real contribution to reducing their carbon footprint.

For example, the Segway Personal Transporter (PT) is a great ‘last mile’ commuting solution and it also offers an exceptional way of increasing efficiency in the workplace. All while keeping emissions at zero.

For longer distances, vehicles like the just-arrived-here Tesla Model S, along with other electric and low-emission hybrid cars have become a very practical option for daily use. Vehicles like the Teslsa are also enormous fun to drive!

In the year to November 2014 generation from renewable sources hit 79%, and the government is targeting to see that rise to 90% by 2025. What is interesting about this new record is that geothermal power has eclipsed natural gas for the first time, to become the second most significant generator, after hydroelectric.

79% of New Zealand's electricity generation now comes from renewable sources (hydro, geothermal, wind, wood).
79% of New Zealand’s electricity generation now comes from renewable sources (hydro, geothermal, wind, wood). Graphic by PM Bendall, data from NZ Herald.

New Zealand is a pioneer and a leader in geothermal power technology. The world’s second large-scale plant was opened in Wairakei in 1958 (the first was in Italy in 1911). Much research and development was performed there over the decades that followed, and today New Zealand has four additional plants operating of similar size to Wairakei (100-160MW), plus half a dozen more in the 25-80 MW range. Together these contributed 16.3% of the electricity generated during the past 12 months.

According to NZ Herald this week, Energy Minister Simon Bridges says:

“I’m very excited about geothermal It’s the single area where New Zealand has most expertise in the world and I have the view that companies with some help from government should be doing more to leverage [that],” he said.

According to Wikipedia, New Zealand is one of only a small number of countries with numerous geothermal fields that could be developed. Most fields are located in the Taupo Volcanic Zone, but there are also fields in Northland, Hauraki Plains, Bay of Plenty, and in the South Island along fault lines. By the 1980s, some 129 fields had been mapped, and it is possible more will be located that do not have surface expression. Wikipedia also says:

Many applications of geothermal energy in New Zealand reinject the cooled steam/fluid back into the underground fields, to extend or infinitely use the fields as power sources.

While geothermal power is thus considered a renewable energy source, it is not a zero-emission source. This is because some greenhouse gases are released during the process of extracting the fluids and extracting the heat to generate electricity, so geothermal is considered a low-emission energy source. Primarily, these gases are carbon dioxide (CO2), with lesser amounts of (stinky) hydrogen sulphide and methane.

Comparing geothermal with other methods of generation using here, according to NZ Geothermal Association the average grams of CO2 released per kiloWatt hour of electricity generated by the seven major plants is 100 g/kWh. Compare this with combined cycle natural gas plants emitting 400 g/kWh, and with coal and oil plants emitting 900-1,000 g/kWh. In summary, geothermal emits one quarter of gas, and just one tenth of coal.

For Segway PT owners who want to charge their machines as greenly as possible, plugging it in for recharging overnight (after 11pm or so) is the time of the day when almost all electricity is being generated from renewable sources.

The electric garage: Tesla Model S, Segway PT, and a pair of Nissan Leafs.
The electric garage: Tesla Model S, Segway PT, and a pair of Nissan Leafs.

‘Campbell Live’ tours Christchurch CBD on Segway PTs (TV3)

Campbell Live – TV3’s primetime news and current affairs show – toured the Christchurch CBD on Segway Personal Transporters (PTs) on Wednesday night (watch it here).

Snatching up three lucky Aucklanders from the streets of Auckland, the show whisked them away and flew them down for a day-trip to Christchurch to discover how the city has been rebuilding and reinventing itself post-earthquake. After punting on the Avon, the visitors exclaimed “Oh my god – Segways!” when they saw what their next treat was going to be, then set off on an afternoon of exploration.


Christchurch Segway Tours provided the show with the fleet of Segway PTs. They’ve just hit #2 on TripAdvisor’s list of the best activities in Christchurch, so be sure to see the city this way next time you’re in town.

Christchurch Segway Tours hits #2 on TripAdvisor

Christchurch Segway Tours has hit #2 on TripAdvisor this week, up from #7 just five months ago in July 2014. Earlier this year they also received a Certificate of Excellence.

Our congratulations go out to Graeme Gordon for achieving this incredible ranking in New Zealand’s second largest city.

Christchurch Segway Tours were the first in the country to begin upgrading their fleet to the new SE models earlier this year. They’ve featured in numerous articles where the writers have praised their tour, including USA Today and NZ Herald.


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