We all know New Zealand for the All Black and agriculture. But the best performing ASX small caps based in New Zealand show tech and health are becoming increasingly important.

Tech

Technology is the third largest contributor to the UnZed economy and by 2025 they aim for it to be the second.

New Zealand Green MP Gareth Hughes said last year: “There is a limit to how many cows we can have in our paddocks. There is no limit to the export of software, services and intellectual property in creative industries.”

When the time comes to list, the Australian market is more attractive considering its higher pool of funds and investment activity. The NZX has seen only one IPO in two years and has only 14 tech stocks.

When you think of New Zealand tech, Xero comes to mind. It began by listing on the NZX then moved to the ASX and has since delisted from the NZX. But two other stocks stand out this year.

One was travel management software Serko (ASX: SKO). The stock, whose clients include Flight Centre, Telstra and Microsoft, is up 47 per cent this year.

Last month Stockhead spoke with 80-20 Investments investments manager Angie Ellis who tipped Serko for further growth.

“There is huge scale potential through their partnerships and they are making a serious push into the US and European markets,” she said.

Banking software stock 9 Spokes (ASX: 9SP) is another Kiwi tech story. It stands 42 per cent higher this year thanks to client wins including Visa, Bank of New Zealand and Microsoft.

Health

AFT Pharmaceuticals (ASX: AFT) is the best performer, up 52 per cent this year. Among the pharmaceutical brands it sells are Crystaderm, Coco-Scalp and Maxigesic.

It wants to be “the leading company in Southeast Asia providing access to orphan medicines from patients suffering from rare diseases”.

Orphan medicines are medicines that are uneconomic to develop without government assistance.

Volpara Health Technologies (ASX: VHT) has gained 42 per cent in 2019. This company targets breast cancer providing imaging services, density assessments and data support to doctors undertaking mammographs.

And finally, Zoonoo (ASX: ZNO) have gained 33 per cent. This has come off the back of the anti-microbial company’s sales, including one order that was $9 million more than its then market cap.