Wellington: Putting New Zealand on the business map

By Laura Mullan

If you’re looking for your next business hub then look no further than the New Zealand capital of Wellington…

Found in the rural heartland of New Zealand’s North Island, Wellington has proven that it’s a thriving hub for business. Around 496,000 people live in the Wellington region — that’s 10.6% of New Zealand's population, according to the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency. This buzzing city not only has a burgeoning population, but they’re also highly-qualified, making them an attractive addition to any business. In fact, according to Statistics New Zealand (2015), Wellington has the most educated workforce in the country with 28% of the city residents holding a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared with the national average of 20%. As New Zealand’s capital, Wellington is home to three universities, three institutes of technology as well as several private training organisations. It also offers a strong quality of life for its citizens with Deutsche Bank naming Wellington as the city with the best quality in life in 2018.


A city on the rise

Importantly, business professionals can be assured that they will be able to set up, startup or expand their business in Wellington with ease. Indeed, New Zealand was ranked the number one country to start a business and number two when it comes to ease of starting a business, according to the World Bank Index Doing Business Report in 2016. Forbes echoed this sentiment ranking the capital number two on its Best Countries for Business ranking in 2018.

This is particularly true if you’re operating in a tech sphere. Although Wellington may be regarded as New Zealand’s ‘cultural capital’, it has quickly earned its stripes as a boundary-pushing tech hub. In fact, in 2015, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise pointed out that Wellington boasts the highest concentration of digital technology companies per capita in New Zealand. Wellington also boasts a nurturing startup community, with events such as Startup Garage, Startup Weekend and Webstock popping up all over the city to nurture ideas and talent.

There are major cost savings to be made in Wellington too. Office spaces in Wellington are 20% cheaper than many other global cities and salaries are roughly around 20-30% lower in New Zealand than Australia, according to the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency.

When you invest time and resources abroad, you need to be confident it will be secure. With a robust yet stable economy, New Zealand has proven to be a strong contender for any business investment. Indeed, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise notes that the country has “experienced positive economic growth for 33 of the last 35 years,” with exports of goods and services making up around 30% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). 

With access to the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region, Wellington has demonstrated that it’s an ideal location for a new business hub. Here are just some companies that are taking advantage of what the New Zealand capital has to offer…



Making a name for itself thanks to its cloud-based accounting software, Xero has been located in the city of Wellington since its genesis. The technology firm was founded in 2006 and fast forward to today, it now has over 2,300 employees and 1.58mn subscribers. Still headquartered in Wellington, Xero now stands as one of the top 20 companies on the New Zealand Stock Exchange and is also listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. Rod Drury, CEO of Xero, praised the city as a thriving business hub, telling the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency that "Wellington is a fantastic place to build a global business with the talent, creativity, passion and diversity the city attracts.”


Weta Workshop and Weta Digital

Wellington is home to a long list of creative businesses such as award-winning screen legends Weta Workshop and Weta Digital. With a 65,0000 sq. ft. multi-disciplinary based in Wellington, facility Weta Workshop is a well-known name for any film buff. The New Zealand-based firm is responsible for the creative development, publishing, weapons, props, creatures, make-up, miniatures, public art, and merchandise for some of the film industry’s biggest hits such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy, King Kong and Avatar. In doing so, it has earned its spot as a five-time Academy Award Winner.

Weta Digital has also helped to put New Zealand on the map as a creative hub. Touting itself as “one of the world’s premier visual effects companies” the firm has helped to create some of the most memorable moments on screen using a computer cluster of over 3,5000 processors. The firm is known for its work on films and TV shows such as Game of Thrones, Avengers: Infinity War - Titan, and War for the Planet of the Apes. In total, the company has earned 6 Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects, 10 Academy Science & Technology Awards, 6 BAFTA Awards for Best Special Visual Effects as well as 7 VES Awards for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature.


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