Tech’s role in Wellington’s future

For a population of around 400,000, Wellington’s punched well above its weight for decades now in the tech space. With DNA in the creative arts, today’s scene is made up of gaming, film and VFX, health and science, fintech and thousands of start up success stories. And that’s not even getting into the smarts of our tech professionals in the public sector.  So what’s in store for New Zealand’s cool capital? After all, Wellington has been referred to specifically as a ‘place of the future’.

New Zealand’s public services of tomorrow

Where better to start than the engine room of the country. Government for the last decade or so has been focused heavily on digital transformation with older systems and processes being migrated into more robust, modern solutions. Technology has also played an integral role in making New Zealand’s interaction with government services much better, with a focus on user experience, accessibility and security. Websites for government are great examples of this, with the design and function leading the pack in many ways – not falling behind the latest and greatest, as was once the case.

New Zealand already enjoys a public sector that prioritises innovation and modern technology, so we can only expect this to continue into the future.

We’d expect to see even more of our user-facing public services to be digital-centric, ensuring that the solutions are catering to all potential users. Part of this will require further work to raise digital equity – meaning that regardless of location or socio-economic background, our public services are helping all who need them.

Infrastructure, too, should continue to benefit from the skills and innovation within the IT and digital sector. While there’s still many challenges to get through before Wellington’s driving, cycling and public transport is considered world-class, we think that tech professionals will play a key role in solving this.

We will also see more regulations around the fast growing AI and machine learning sectors, but we expect it will improve public sector applications including modelling, town planning, automation of schedules and software in new transport technologies.

Another interesting area of public services that we expect technology to play a starring role in is that of privacy and data protection. So much of our lives rely on digital services and technology that stores information about us. Even AI, which is still fairly unregulated across the globe,  presents real challenges around the storage of our information and what’s considered appropriate usage of this. These sorts of questions will continue to come up, and technical expertise in data, cyber security and artificial intelligence will be in high demand to tackle them.

Innovation and research

This is an area that’s not just strong in Wellington, but something that has seen significant Government investment. Callaghan Innovation is a crown entity has been supporting New Zealand business to innovate since 2013. Their work includes connecting entrepreneurs with expertise, funding support and problem solving during R&D phases. This often includes working with technology businesses and professionals. While the institute has locations in Auckland and Christchurch, its Gracefield Innovation Quarter in Lower Hutt is described as its biggest site.

Startups are well supported in Wellington by programmes and incubators like Creative HQ.  Their mission is to transform ideas into real-world solutions by equipping innovators with the necessary energy and skills to deliver. Check out their website to discover some of the agencies and businesses that Creative HQ works with.

We expect that as technology continues to rapidly evolve and expand, there will be more demand for professionals who can support innovation and R&D efforts in the capital to help New Zealand thrive.

Green tech and sustainability

Wellington’s at the forefront of climate change and green initiatives in New Zealand, with many public and private companies putting resources towards improving this. Whether it’s getting B-corp certification as an organisation or working directly on domestic sustainability goals, it’s unlikely that we’ll see a slowdown in technology’s support of environmental initiatives anytime soon.

The reality is that tech professionals can find roles in any discipline with an environmental focus, from developing new software related to renewable energy generation to data analysis and modelling for more sustainable urban planning. The Ministry for the Environment have even recreated Wellington digitally in order to aid future adaptation planning.

Creative arts and VFX

Since Weta’s explosion on the global film and VFX stage, Wellington has unquestionably become a destination city for aspiring creatives and techies alike. WetaFX are a cornerstone of the industry but plenty of other smaller visual effects studios across the region help make the city synonymous with this field. We’d expect this momentum to continue with more film and TV making happening in Wellington. This presents more opportunities for tech professionals to work in the creative field.


Wellington’s gaming industry

It’s not just TV and Film that underpin Wellington’s digital creative arts. Our humble city is also home to world-renowned game development studios such as RiffRaff, PikPok and A44. Finding tech talent in the game development space can be a challenge, and was especially difficult during the lockdowns in the early 2020s. With a gaming industry still yet to have its value truly tapped into, there’s likely a good future career path in Wellington for tech professionals.


Saas Growth

Wellington is the home of huge success stories like Xero’s accounting software, along with hundreds if not thousands of other software as a service businesses. With the support for innovation and new business the capital city offers, we expect that more SaaS products will flourish here as more gaps in the market are identified. The introduction of AI into SaaS development workflows will likely also see faster progress and reduce the gap between concepts and actual delivery.


A digital destination

Digital tourism is about exploring and discovering new places and experiences before you actually visit them – assisting with planning travel, or simply to learn. New Zealand and Wellington’s tourism sector can be greatly supported by bringing some of our country to others across the globe. While virtual reality has had a few stop-starts, the roadmap certainly looks positive – Apple’s Vision Pro headset and Meta’s Quest platforms are two products from tech giants that could start to move AR/VR into the mainstream. With that, digital tourism should become more sophisticated and potentially become a popular way to plan travel. If this is the case, we’d expect more work opportunities in the region for tech skills in app or experiential development.

Powering small-medium business

With more than 500,000 small-medium businesses across New Zealand, it’s safe to say that there’s always going to be work for tech professionals with these smaller employers. There’s never been a better time for small-medium businesses who are short on resources and time to tap into tools and software to make things more streamlined. AI/ML expertise will be highly valued everywhere, but there’s big potential for smaller employers to harness its capability. Tapping into the power of digital tools and AI for specific functions will demand specialist expertise – creating new potential roles for those with the necessary expertise.

Looking for an IT role in Wellington?

If you’re looking for that next exciting role within the Capital’s growing tech sector, we’d love to hear from you.

Get in touch with our team today to chat about Wellington’s IT work opportunities, and feel free to ask us any questions about your CV, market fit, or interview tips.


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