Amazon Web Services (AWS) CEO Adam Selipsky met with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to discuss AWS’s work in the country.
Ms. Ardern visited Amazon’s Seattle campus as part of her US trade visit.
Selipsky says it was a pleasure to welcome the Prime Minister.
“We had a great discussion about digital transformation, skills development, sustainability, and how we are helping organizations across Aotearoa, New Zealand, to scale and grow internationally,” he says.
“We are investing NZD 7.5 billion to build an AWS region in the country, which aspired to be 100% powered by renewable energy at launch. In the coming years, we will add more than 200 employees to our AWS Kiwi team to help our customers and partners in Aotearoa achieve great things.”
In her US travel overview, Ms. Ardern said she would meet top technology executives from Amazon, among others, to discuss investment, skills development for New Zealanders in the tech industry, digital collaboration, and advancing the goals of Christchurch Call (safer online spaces) after the live streaming of the Christchurch terror attacks).
Last September, AWS announced its plans to invest NZD 7.5 billion in constructing an AWS Asia Pacific Region in New Zealand. The company estimates this will contribute $10.8 billion to Aotearoa’s GDP over the next 15 years.
This investment includes building data centers, purchasing regional goods and services, operating facilities, and supporting wages and salaries contributing to the local economy.
AWS says the Overseas Investment Office (OIO), the regulator of New Zealand’s foreign investment, authorized AWS in April 2022 to continue its plans to build the new region.
The company says an AWS region is a cluster of data centers that enable developers, startups, enterprises, government, education, and nonprofit organizations to run their applications and serve low-latency customers using infrastructure directly in New Zealand. AWS says this means local customers with data residency preferences can store data securely on AWS in New Zealand.
The company says it is also working on educating New Zealanders in digital literacy. It says it offers programs such as AWS re/Start, a 12-week free development and training program that prepares the unemployed and underpaid for careers in the cloud.
AWS re/Start has partnered with Tertiary education provider Te Pūkenga in NZ to build local talent, including that of the Māori and Pasifika communities.
AWS also says it offers over 500 free digital training courses through initiatives such as AWS Skill Builder, available to anyone who wants to learn and has an Internet connection and programs. One is AWS Skills Guild, a comprehensive skills enablement program that leverages cloud expertise, Within organizations.