110,000 Kiwis in tech jobs; more expected in 2019

   Graeme Muller

Graeme Muller

New Zealand, rated by the World Bank as the best country in the world to do business with, is still seeing massive and unprecedented growth in the high-paid tech sector. 

The number of tech sector jobs continues to grow rapidly, with 2830 new jobs created in 2017 and an estimated additional 3200 in 2018, making the tech sector easily the fastest growing in New Zealand, NZTech head Graeme Muller says. 

The employment growth has been fastest in computer system design firms like Xero, Push Pay and others who have added close to 15,000 new jobs in the past decade, Muller says.   

“A growing tech sector in 2018 is something for all New Zealanders to celebrate for many reasons. The growth is not limited to one part of the country. New tech roles are highly paid generating new wealth for regional New Zealand and research has found that for every new tech role created 4.9 other support roles are created in a community,” he says. 

“There are growing examples of globally successful tech firms operating out of the regions such as Animation Research in Dunedin, GPS-IT in Tauranga and TracMap in Mosgiel. 

“The regions are now looking more attractive for successful tech exporters. We saw The Straker Group, an internationally successful Kiwi translation software firm, begin the process of moving up to 20 of their staff from Auckland to Gisborne during 2018.  

“This growth in digital workers is not limited to the tech sector with most large organisations also trying to employ from the same limited talent pool which is driving up salaries to more than twice the New Zealand average. 

“The growing digital skills shortage was highlighted in an analysis of the market last year by the Digital Skills Forum and is the focus of a Digital Skills Hui at Wellington in March, bringing together all the relevant government agencies, leading tech employers, education facilities and NGOs to develop policy and programmes to enable New Zealand to respond quickly. 

“The exponential growth of the tech sector is expected to increasingly impact regional development in a positive way and New Zealand is well placed to benefit from a quick response to digital skills demand and future of work opportunities,” Muller says.   

NZTech works closely with government and is encouraged by the investment in teachers’ skills to support the introduction of the new digital technology curriculum in class rooms throughout New Zealand.

-Make Lemonade

Defence Force photographer finishes on a high at Ara

Sean Spivey.jpg

Army sniper turned photographer Sean Spivey is the first recipient of the Advertising and Illustrative Photographers Association (AIPA) Assistant Scholarship.

Awarded to a final year Bachelor of Design (Photography) student at Ara, the scholarship recipient is one Ara photography tutors believe most likely to become a professional commercial photographer in the future.

Sean has already ticked that box. He started taking photos during his eight years with the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) Infantry and, realising that he wanted to take photos full time, he made a case for the army to enroll him at Ara.

“I thought I could do more as a photographer for the army than I could as a grunt,” he said. “When I was crawling around in the dirt, I thought ‘someone should be photographing this’. It is such an important job. We work so hard. It is really important that general public sees the behind-the-scenes hard work that goes into it for New Zealand, otherwise you only see the bad stuff in the media.”

Sean was originally inspired by the great war photographers. “That’s where it all started – seeing those images and knowing I could be that person.”

However, his inside knowledge of NZDF will gave him a distinct advantage. “Because I went through the infantry ranks I can provide a fresh look, and a new point of view, and get right in there amongst it all, without compromising safety.”

The military life made Sean a disciplined student at Ara. Now a graduate of the degree, Sean has no student debt and a bright future ahead.

Based in Rolleston, Sean will transfer to the Air Force next year and continue to travel around the world; “where ever the guys go, a photographer will need to go with them, even to Antarctica, anywhere they are deployed”.

AIPA Executive Director Aaron K awarded the scholarship to Sean this week at Lightworkx Studio. Sean now has three months of mentoring with an AIPA member, camera equipment and access to the AIPA Assistant Training Workshop.

“Provides me an opportunity to further my skills, that’s the way I look at it, and provide more to Defence as a photographer, plus all the valuable stuff you get from being with other photographers.”


Financial Independence, Retire Early


It seems millennials don’t wish to get sucked into the rat race the way their parents did. The FIRE movement (Financial Independence, Retire Early) is literally setting the world alight.

FIRE is allowing people to retire as early as their mid-thirties. So how does it work? Early retirement is achieved by living life frugally, permanently. This does two things. Firstly, it enables you to pay off debt quicker and save more. Secondly, the fact that you have cut your living costs to the bone means you need less capital to retire. It’s all about living life in a very simple way rather than with all the luxuries and costs of modern living. The internet is clogged with bloggers extolling the virtues of FIRE and young people are avidly reading their posts, learning from those who have ‘FIRED’ successfully.

Being financially independent brings a huge sense of freedom but it doesn’t necessarily bring happiness. It’s important to define what happiness means for you and how much money you need to do or have the things that make you happy. Giving up your job can mean a loss of identity and of a sense of purpose. Think carefully about how you would fill your day if you weren’t working. Early retirees sometimes find the ‘honeymoon’ period of retirement quickly wears off, and boredom sets in if there is nothing meaningful to replace work. For couples or singles looking for a partner, the FIRE mindset needs to be shared, or it can destroy a relationship. Friends and others in society can find it hard to relate to someone who doesn’t fit the norm. Unexpected expenses from the likes of divorce, ill-health and natural disaster can derail someone who has FIRED.

Early retirement is great but it doesn’t solve everything. Think before you FIRE!

 LIz Koh

LIz Koh

Liz Koh is an Authorised Financial Adviser. The advice given here is general and does not constitute specific advice to any person. A disclosure statement can be obtained free of charge by calling 0800 273 847.  For free eBooks, go to www.moneymax.co.nz and www.moneymaxcoach.com

Kiwis starting to embrace digital identity

   Andrew Weave

Andrew Weave

NZTech will launch New Zealand’s first formal digital identity organisation in Auckland on Monday. 

Digital Identity NZ, a group of organisations and government agencies, has been set up to connect everyone in New Zealand that cares about digital identity. 

NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says the organisation, which will be part of the NZ Tech Alliance, will promote the importance and potential of digital identity to Kiwis. It will work in partnership to promote open standards and policy that will allow innovation to thrive.   

Andrew Weaver, executive director of Digital Identity NZ, says that while we are using digital identity now in our everyday transactions, there is incredible potential in how it can be used in the future.  

“Whether it is signing onto a website to buy something, visiting a hospital, paying a bill or getting a tax refund there are now hundreds of times a week people need some form of digital identity and there are so many ways of providing it. 

“That complexity can be challenging for us as customers or users of that technology, and there are also questions of security, privacy and consent that are becoming increasingly important for us all to consider.  

“Some banks now allow customers to use selfie-ID, a form of facial recognition, to open accounts without having to visit a branch while other organisations use finger prints or voice recognition. 

“One example of being at the cutting-edge of digital identity is Single Source, a blockchain startup which recently partnered with Delta Insurance to provide a decentralized blockchain identity system. 

“We are the country’s newest not-for-profit organisation, bringing together private and government organisations working to make digital identity easier and more secure for everyone in New Zealand. 

“We are driven by a purpose of ensuring New Zealand is a country where everyone can fully participate in society by confidently expressing their digital identity,” Weaver says. 

Different countries are taking different approaches, many of them centralized around a single government ID number. Estonia has issued every citizen a digital ID card since 2001, Japan and India also require you to use a single government number to access government services.  

“While we have had RealMe in New Zealand for many years it is time to relook at whether a single centralised ID is the best approach in a world where people want ease of use and mobility at the same time as privacy and security.   

“It's important for all New Zealanders, companies and organisations to know exactly what digital identity is. It not only prevents fraud; it's also about asserting who we are in this society. As we do more and more online, it is necessary to adapt how we enable people to claim who they are,” he says.

-Make Lemonade


Warriors Nicholl.jpg

The Vodafone Warriors’ commitment to encouraging people with physical disabilities to get involved in rugby league has been underlined with Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad’s appointment as an ambassador for Physical Disability Rugby League New Zealand. 

The role will see Nicoll-Klokstad attend PDRLNZ team trainings to help players prepare for upcoming tournaments as well as promoting more interest in rugby league among people with physical disabilities. 

He said he was proud to be asked to be an ambassador and says encouraging people with physical disabilities to give rugby league a go is a cause that has special meaning for him. His older brother Tyson had muscular dystrophy and died from the condition in 2010 when he was only 19. 

“Because of my personal experience with supporting my brother and seeing the challenges he went through, this is something that’s really close to my heart and I guess this is my way of giving back,” said Nicoll-Klokstad. 

“I’m looking forward to encouraging people with physical disabilities that they can give anything a go, and that rugby league is such an awesome sport to be involved in. I also think I will learn so much from them, too. I just want to be able to help in whatever way I can. Physical disability doesn’t need to be something that holds you back from taking part, and I want to help spread that message across our communities.” 

PDRLNZ organiser Sandra Michelle Hickey welcomed Nicoll-Klokstad’s appointment.

“We are thrilled to bits to have Charnze join our whanau as ambassador,” she said.

“As a young man with a close relationship to disability through his brother there couldn’t be a better choice than Charnze.  

“His amazing talent and passion for the game and for the development of Physical Disability Rugby League will help us reach even more people with a physical disability and encourage them to get involved.” 

The Vodafone Warriors and Physical Disability Rugby League’s partnership began in 2017. As well as providing the organisation with the ongoing support of a player ambassador, the club has supplied kit for the national team and staged a physical disabilities match as a curtain-raiser before the Vodafone Warriors’ NRL home game against Cronulla this year. 

Nicoll-Klokstad made headlines last year when, in a random act of kindness, he purchased a pair of sneakers for a young boy - Takiri Wikitera - who has cerebral palsy.

-NZ Warriors