The MoU provides a foundation for long-term collaboration between AWS and the New Zealand government in areas of cloud adoption, innovation, advanced digital skills, sustainability, and cyber security. It builds on AWS’s long commitment to New Zealand, and its investments in local infrastructure to support the country’s digital transformation and economic growth. These include a NZ$7.5 billion investment to build data centres in Aotearoa, an Auckland-based AWS Local Zone, and the launch of AWS CloudFront and AWS Outposts in 2020, placing AWS services closer to customers. The AWS Asia Pacific (Auckland) Region is estimated to create 1,000 new jobs and generate NZ$10.8 billion in GDP over 15 years from 2021.

Upskilling Aotearoa

A major focus of the MoU is helping Kiwis upskill to support current and future workforce needs. As cloud technologies continue to help organisations rapidly transform, employees with cloud skills are in high demand. To foster more talent, AWS intends to provide cloud training opportunities for 100,000 people in New Zealand in the next five years through a range of programs such as AWS Skill Builder, which provides over 600 free on-demand cloud courses online. AWS and the New Zealand government is also collaborating to drive greater diversity in the technology sector by training underrepresented communities such as woman, Māori, and Pasifika through free programs such as AWS Hāpori Wahine, a 4-week initiative for women to build cloud skills, and AWS re/Start, a 12-week program run by Te Pūkenga, to prepare individuals for cloud jobs. There is also collaboration to improve digital literacy and cybersecurity capabilities, with the recent launch of Cyber Skills Aotearoa, and a commitment to explore how cloud certifications can be recognised as part of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) and Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) framework.

Supporting a more sustainable New Zealand

Amazon is committed to building a sustainable business for its customers and the planet, and co-founded The Climate Pledge in 2019 to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 – 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement. AWS has already committed to powering its new AWS Asia Pacific (Auckland) Region with 100% renewable energy at launch, and recently announced a global commitment to be water positive by 2030, returning more water than it uses to the communities it operates in. Under the MoU, AWS intends to work with the government to identify ways cloud technology can reduce carbon emissions and contribute to Aotearoa’s sustainability goals. Studies already show that moving from on-premises data centres to the cloud can reduce an organisation’s energy use and carbon footprint by 78%[1]. Additionally, AWS and the government jointly commit to identifying investment opportunities for renewable energy and water initiatives that support New Zealand’s transition to more sustainable energy sources, and developing technology tools for carbon emissions measurement, reporting, and reduction.

“This MoU is another milestone in our long-term commitment to supporting economic and social outcomes across Aotearoa,” said Tim Dacombe-Bird, Country Manager, Public Sector, AWS New Zealand. “AWS began operating in New Zealand in 2013 with a goal to support the country’s digital transformation and transition to a digital economy, and since then we have made significant investments in infrastructure, people, and skills to support this goal. We remain 100% committed to supporting New Zealand’s success by collaborating with the government to accelerate innovation and digitise citizen services through our deep set of tools and services, and highest standards of security. We have great hopes for our country’s digital future and we’re honoured to help our Kiwi customers and partners grow domestically and globally.”

Enabling cloud uptake and innovation to support a digital economy

To support New Zealand’s digital transformation, AWS and the New Zealand government will work to increase adoption of cloud services within the public sector in-line with the government’s Cloud First Policy. This will include strategic dialogue with the public sector on new technologies, future trends, and global best practices, and educational sessions with regulated industries such as financial services, energy, and telecommunications. AWS will also work with the Digital Boost program and Digital Boost Alliance to help small businesses in New Zealand discover the benefits of cloud technology.

AWS has long supported New Zealand’s public sector digital transformation. In July 2022, AWS announced a new all of government Cloud Services Agreement with the Department of Internal Affairs to provide cloud services to government departments, agencies, councils, universities, tertiary institutions, and schools. The Cloud Services Agreement replaced an older agreement and will enable government agencies to save costs, boost digital skills across public organisations, deliver digital services for citizens, and provide local AWS Partners such as Consegna, Datacom, Deloitte, and Spark with opportunities to work with government customers as they migrate to the cloud.

Boosting cybersecurity cooperation

Keeping critical data and infrastructure secure is a top priority for the New Zealand government, public sector, and businesses of all sizes. The AWS Asia Pacific (Auckland) Region will provide a secure cloud computing environment, and give customers complete control over their data including the ability to encrypt it, move it, and manage retention at any time. To continue raising the bar on security and resilience, AWS and the New Zealand government will collaborate on national cybersecurity priorities and cybersecurity capability development, including exploring activities that support small and medium-sized businesses. These MoU initiatives build on a number of security projects AWS has already implemented, including working with the New Zealand Government Chief Information Security Officer to develop resources for government agencies to securely adopt AWS cloud technology. 

AWS began operating in New Zealand in 2013, and has steadily increased its investments and presence. Today, it employs more than 150 staff across Auckland and Wellington to support thousands of active customers across the country including 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 AWS partners such as Consegna, Datacom, Deloitte, Lancom, Spark Business Group, and many more.

[1] The Carbon Reduction Opportunity of Moving to the Cloud for APAC by 451 Research