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Microsoft to launch data centre region in New Zealand

06 May 2020

Microsoft is finally bringing its first local data centre region to New Zealand, adding the country to the company’s 59 other regions around the globe – if the Overseas Investment Office gives the green light.

Microsoft is calling the announcement a ‘major milestone’ towards delivering enterprise-grade cloud services locally, and plans to help fuel new digital transformation opportunities for New Zealand businesses.

Microsoft New Zealand general manager Vanessa Sorenson says, “This significant investment in New Zealand’s digital infrastructure is a testament to the remarkable spirit of New Zealand’s innovation and reflects how we’re pushing the boundaries of what is possible as a nation.” 

“The Fletcher School’s Digital Evolution Index characterises New Zealand as a ‘standout nation’ demonstrating to the world what the future might look like. I’m confident this investment will help accelerate our digital evolution.” 

The new region will also deliver local access to cloud services including Microsoft 365, Microsoft Azure, Dynamics 365 and Power Platform, plus additional security and trust with the commitment to store customer data at rest locally in New Zealand.

Minister for Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Kris Faafoi says the announcement boosts confidence for the country's economic recovery. 

“Today’s decision by Microsoft means that the Government, and New Zealand businesses and people, will be able to access the scale and security of cloud services offered by a major global provider in ways we haven’t been able to before."

“Protecting New Zealanders’ data and privacy is critically important. Onshore Ccoud facilities give us stronger control of our data and reduce the concerns relating to storing data offshore."

Faafoi also stresses that Microsoft's investment reflect's the company's own decisions and due diligence, and that it is not a government procurement.

Microsoft partners including Computer Concepts Limited (CCL), Fonterra, and Spark have all praised Microsoft's announcement. 

Fonterra CIO Piers Shore says, “Microsoft is one of our key partners in helping us deliver our digital transformation. This is an exciting announcement — it will bring even more cutting-edge technology to our co-operative and the New Zealand technology ecosystem. This in turn will help us leverage technology to create value for our farmer owners and unit holders, and Fonterra customers around the world.”

CCL CEO Andrew Allan adds that the new venture is a ‘game changer’ that will unlock opportunities for Kiwi businesses. 

“This is an opportunity to fundamentally change the way we consume technology and level the playing field for disruptive Kiwi innovators like never before."

Microsoft will continue to invest in solutions that support New Zealand businesses and the company’s own sustainability goals – particularly as the company plans to become carbon negative by 2030. 

Microsoft recently awarded an AI for Earth grant to the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), which helps the agency to predict future weather patterns. In a world-first project with Microsoft, NIWA is pioneering the use of AI to scan historic weather observations and turn this information into data to help evaluate how our climate is changing over time.

In addition, Microsoft will add support for educational reskilling programmes to bolster employability. Microsoft, Massey University and The Collaborative Studio launched i4 Accelerator, a public-private education programme that addresses skills shortages in primary industries, such as manufacturing and technology. 

Microsoft says the i4 accelerator supports digital skilling efforts by providing access to training for targeted skills, leadership education and workplace-based training programmes to support the adoption of digital technologies. 

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