Cloud on Queens Wharf prompts rethink on NZ

By Michael Dickison

The Cloud on Queens Wharf. Photo / Richard Robinson
The Cloud on Queens Wharf. Photo / Richard Robinson

Most visitors arriving for the Rugby World Cup expected New Zealand to be a bit technologically backward - particularly many of our Australian neighbours.

But a Nielsen report written for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise says showcases at the Cloud on Queens Wharf changed international visitors' impressions of the country, convincing them that New Zealand could be innovative.

Before seeing the Martin Jetpack, YikeBike, Sealegs and other research on display, two-thirds of the Australian visitors surveyed did not rate New Zealand as technologically advanced.

Less than half considered New Zealand to be innovative.

Overall, the survey respondents saw New Zealanders as friendly, straightforward and hard-working - but rural and not particularly creative.

After a visit to the Cloud, the ratings increased - for creativity by 72 per cent, innovation by 66 per cent and technologically advanced by 59 per cent.

The visitors also became less inclined to see New Zealand as behind the times.

One Australian respondent told the survey: "I used to just think of New Zealand [as] food and beverage."

The report said the visitors had left "with a sense of surprise at the level of innovation and technological nous".

"The Cloud provided tangible evidence of innovation, and shifted New Zealand from not just a wonderful place to live, but also to a nation producing high-end, edgy, aspirational products and services."

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise projects director Peter Bull said the Cloud had achieved its goals.

"New Zealand Trade and Enterprise [NZTE] viewed the Rugby World Cup as an opportunity to leverage the resulting international attention, including changing the way New Zealand is viewed around the world," Mr Bull said.

"New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and other organisations invested heavily in the Cloud and from NZTE's perspective it was a great success."

The organisation's Rugby World Cup activities, such as hosting international businesspeople, had so far generated about 100 international business leads, Mr Bull said. More than 250 international business introductions had also been made..

Nielsen interviewed 302 visitors to the Cloud - 210 from overseas, mostly the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States.

More than a million visits were made to Queens Wharf, though not all would have gone through the Cloud.


Perceptions of NZ as "technologically advanced", before and after a visit to the Cloud

* Americans: 43 per cent --> 59 per cent
* Asians: 18 per cent --> 36 per cent
* Australians: 34 per cent --> 58 per cent
* Europeans: 35 per cent --> 55 per cent
* South Africans: 50 per cent --> 75 per cent

- NZ Herald

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