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Source: Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED)

Three years ago, a young Auckland business renting out VR equipment became one of the first tenants in the AR/VR Garage, a facility set up by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) to grow talent, capability and innovation in our local mixed reality sector.

Fast-forward and that business, Staples VR, is working at the cutting-edge of live action VR content, with offices in Australia and the United Kingdom, and its founder Aliesha Staples, has gone on to win the Hi-Tech Young Achiever Award two years running.  Staples VR is one example of the future ATEED hopes to foster for Auckland and its people as we work to support the generation of quality jobs for the region, to help create a future of inclusive prosperity and opportunity.

In an era of rapid workplace change, where major forces are shaping the future of work, we need to help future-proof Auckland.  For ATEED, that means focusing on sectors with potential to provide high-skills jobs like tech and creative industries. 

The tech sector drives the region’s economic growth; Auckland is home to almost half of New Zealand’s tech firms and labour force, contributes over $9 billion a year in gross domestic product (GDP) and supports more than 65,000 jobs.  ATEED is working to stimulate tech entrepreneurship, as the city strives to become a major innovation hub of the Asia-Pacific.

We’re also focused on the creative industries, with their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent, creating wealth and jobs by generating and commercialising intellectual property.  Auckland’s creative industries play a key role in the local economy.

Like tech, Auckland is home to half of all New Zealand’s creative sector businesses and workforce.  There are over 10,000 creative businesses in the city, with 84 per cent of these in the design (advertising, architecture and software), screen, visual and performing arts subsectors.  More than 85 per cent of the nation’s television jobs are here.

Our prominence in the national and international screen production landscape often surprises people outside the industry.  With production companies like Warner Bros. Pictures, Netflix and Disney filming at the ATEED-operated Kumeu Film Studios and the screen expertise and innovation here, Auckland is on the world map as a production location.

Auckland’s strengths in the tech and creative sectors present exciting opportunities for our people, particularly our young Maori, Pasifika and Asian population and their working future.  We’re working to leverage these strengths, like supporting the Hi-Tech Creative Technology Solution Award, helping showcase Auckland’s world-leading creative technology and the people behind it.

It’s just one of the ways we work with public and private sector partners, to support a wide variety of creative tech programmes, education and training initiatives, provide business support across innovation hubs, and manage business innovation grants alongside agencies such as Callaghan Innovation.

Other examples of our work to date includes working with the nationwide WeCreate Alliance to accelerate the creative sector for greater and more sustainable prosperity; and aligning the 2019 Tripartite Economic Alliance with Techweek19, to showcase Auckland’s tech sector to Los Angeles and Guangzhou businesses and investors.

It’s a busy and exciting time for the tech and creative sectors in Auckland and ATEED looks forward to continuing our work in this space.  By leveraging the city’s existing strengths in these areas, ATEED hopes to help foster a vibrant and future ready city, where Aucklanders can benefit from innovation and creativity, and the opportunities for inclusive prosperity these bring.