City Dispatch: Wellington

Helen Baxter gives us an update from New Zealand’s creative capital, Wellington.

Published:

01.06.2021

Writer:

Helen Baxter

Wellington is the Bristol of the South Pacific with arts, technology and academia condensed into a small but scenic arena. I moved here for the people, the place and the culture of collaboration – one which is fuelled by world-class coffee. We have more bars, cafes and restaurants per capita than New York in a compact, walkable city. And a mayor that cycles and occasionally kayaks to work.

There’s plenty of fresh air in windy Wellington, with a sweeping harbour surrounded by wooden homes nestled on bush-clad hills, and an easy-to-reach city beach at Oriental Bay. It’s a convenient size for doing business, with many a mini-meeting held on Cuba Street in between coffee stops. As the locals say, you can’t beat Wellington on a good day, and a lunchtime stroll along the waterfront may be rewarded with a pod of orcas, or school of stingrays soaking up the sun.

"The High Tech Capital site states that it’s 20% easier and cheaper to do business in Wellington than elsewhere, and almost half of the workforce is involved in knowledge intensive industries."

Wellington is the creative capital of New Zealand with arts and food festivals throughout the year, and where Silicon Valley meets Hollywood. Digital visual effects studio Weta is a magnet for international film talent, and the growing number of local technology and digital media startups has led to the nickname -Silicon Welly’. I enjoy being part of a thriving local tech scene, and am a mentor for Wellington Startup Weekends, the Lightning Lab accelerator and Live the Dream social incubator.

Social enterprise is on the rise here, driven by the Enspiral network developing tools like Loomio for collaborative decision making. Online accounting software company Xero is building a billion dollar business from its Wellington headquarters, and 16 of the 40 New Zealand companies on the 2013 Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Asia Pacific index are in the Wellington region.

The High Tech Capital site states that it’s 20% easier and cheaper to do business in Wellington than elsewhere, and almost half of the workforce is involved in knowledge intensive industries. To me it’s the perfect place to live, work and play.

Helen Baxter is Managing Directrix of Mohawk Media and author of ‘Dance at work: the creative business toolkit.’ She is an advisor to Creative Commons Aotearoa, and judges the Yahoo!NZ Digital Strategy Awards.

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