At Amazon Web Services (AWS), we support Aotearoa in becoming a thriving digital nation. Since opening our first office in New Zealand nine years ago, we have continued to make investments to help Kiwi organisations to innovate, grow, and unlock the potential of cloud.

This investment includes our recent plans to invest an estimated NZD $7.5 billion to open an AWS Asia Pacific (Auckland) Region in 2024. This is projected to create 1,000 new jobs and contribute NZD $10.8 billion to Aotearoa’s GDP over the next 15 years[1]. Our investment includes building data centres, buying regional goods and services, operating utilities and facilities, and supporting wages and salaries that contribute to the local economy.

Today, I’m pleased to share that the Overseas Investment Office (OIO), the regulator of overseas investment in New Zealand, has granted consent for AWS to advance with our plans to build the AWS Asia Pacific (Auckland) Region.

The OIO’s decision is an important milestone and brings us another step closer to providing world-class cloud computing services here in Aotearoa. Our AWS Region will enable developers, startups, and enterprises as well as government, education, and non-profit organisations to run their applications and serve customers with low latency from data centres located right here in New Zealand. The AWS Region will also enable local customers with data residency preferences to securely store data on AWS in New Zealand.

Continued investments to bring cloud even closer to customers in New Zealand

I’m proud to say that our AWS Asia Pacific (Auckland) Region is one of several major investments we’ve announced recently to support the ongoing growth, innovation, and digital transformation of our Kiwi customers.

Earlier this year, we announced plans to launch an AWS Local Zone in Auckland, which is a type of infrastructure deployment that extends AWS Regions by placing AWS compute, storage, database, and other services closer to customers – enabling them to build and deploy applications that require single-digit millisecond latency closer to end users or on-premises data centres.

The ultra-low latency that AWS Local Zones provide supports customers with applications such as remote real-time gaming, media and entertainment content creation, live video streaming, engineering simulations, augmented and virtual reality, and more.

The AWS Local Zone will complement our existing infrastructure in New Zealand. In 2020, we launched Amazon CloudFront (a content delivery network service built for high performance, security, and developer convenience), which helps customers like TVNZ access our cloud services faster and provide improved user experiences for their customers. In 2020, we launched AWS Outposts (a fully managed service that extends AWS infrastructure, services, APIs, and tools to customer premises), which is being used by local customers to operate a consistent and seamless hybrid cloud.

The breadth and depth of our services and investments in infrastructure will also help to unlock new opportunities for local AWS Partners such as Consegna, Datacom, and Spark Business Group as they support Kiwi customers in their digital transformation journey.

Helping Kiwis build digital skills and accelerate innovation

Unleashing the full potential of cloud in New Zealand requires organisations and communities to have the right skills in place. According to research commissioned by AWS and conducted by Alpha Beta, one million more New Zealand workers or 35% of the country’s total workforce, will require digital skills training for their jobs in the next year.

We are committed to collaborating with industry and government in New Zealand by bringing programs to help bridge the skills gap. This includes programs like AWS re/Start, which is a free, full-time, 12-week development and training program that prepares unemployed and underemployed individuals for careers in the cloud. In New Zealand, we collaborate with Te Pūkenga, the country’s largest tertiary education provider, to build local talent, including those from Māori and Pasifika communities, by offering AWS Cloud skills development and job opportunities. We also offer more than 500 free digital training courses through initiatives like AWS Skill Builder, which is available to anyone with a desire to learn and an Internet connection, and programs such as AWS Skills Guild, a comprehensive skills enablement program that builds cloud expertise within organisations.

Building a sustainable future

To build a sustainable business for our customers and the planet, Amazon is committed to reducing carbon emissions across our businesses. It’s why, together with Global Optimism, we founded The Climate Pledge and committed to reaching net-zero carbon by 2040, ten years ahead of the Paris Agreement. We’re proud to say that Xero is the first company here in New Zealand to join The Climate Pledge and we look forward to welcoming more local organisations in the future.

To help meet this commitment, Amazon is on a path to power our global operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025. This month, we announced 37 new renewable energy projects around the world. These new projects extend Amazon’s leadership position as the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable energy.

By moving their business to the cloud, organisations can also reduce the carbon footprint of their IT workloads. A report by 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence, found that computing in the cloud is five times more energy efficient than on-premises data centres in the Asia Pacific Region, and moving computing workloads from on-premises data centres to the cloud can reduce organisations’ carbon footprint by more than 78%.

Our commitment to Aotearoa

Today’s announcement and these investments form part of our deep and long-term commitment to Aotearoa. AWS has thousands of active customers across the country using our services each month to innovate quickly, increase operational efficiencies, and take their ideas to the world. These include Air New Zealand, Department of Conservation, Education Perfect, Halter, New Zealand Ministry of Health, Orion Health, Sharesies, The Clinician, TVNZ, UneeQ, University of Auckland, Vector, Vodafone, Xero, and partners such as Consegna, Datacom, Deloitte, Lancom, Spark Business Group, and many more.

To support our local customers and growing workforce, we have AWS offices in Auckland and Wellington, which are staffed by more than 150 Kiwis across roles such as data scientists, cloud engineers, solutions architects, and sales and account managers.

The nation is making tremendous strides on its digital transformation journey, and we are committed to strengthening our presence in the global digital economy by making our world-class infrastructure more easily accessible to all Kiwis.

Ngā mihi

[1] AWS Economic Impact Study: AWS Investment in New Zealand