A tidal wave of technology firms are basing themselves in Auckland and across the country, says CBRE New Zealand. Global mobile working, wellness and lifestyle trends, as well as the city's proximity to Australia's major cities, are driving office demand and opening opportunities for companies to restructure how and where they work within New Zealand.
The inaugural Tech Pioneers Report, launched recently by Investec and venture capital firm H2 Ventures, lists 10 of the 50 most significant technology companies Down Under as based in the North Island.
They include Auckland-based Vend, Harmoney, Rocket Lab, Unleashed Software, Booktrack, Vigil Monitoring, Power by Proxi, Equitise and 90 Seconds. New Zealand's biggest tech company Xero, based in Wellington, and Martin Jetpack of Christchurch also made the list.
Ross Bolton, CBRE's Occupier Advisory and Transaction Services Director, says this is the latest piece of evidence to cement Auckland's place as an attractive and maturing Australasian workplace.
"The report is just the tip of the iceberg," he says. "You only need to spend a minute on rabble.co.nz to see hundreds of Auckland-based tech firms such as Cityinsidr, AlphaCrowd, Snowball Effect, YQ, Pushpay, fulQrum and many more taking up office space in the city.
"The likes of Datacom's future move to Wynyard Quarter and the rapid expansion of 9 Spokes are great examples of companies that are seeking larger premises in Auckland's CBD."
Bolton says that one of the main reasons is that workforces are becoming more mobile, enabled by technology.
"Technology firms, which are by their nature open to using new technologies to work more efficiently, are changing the occupier dynamic of Auckland's CBD as has happened in major cities globally.
"Google and Apple's presence in central Sydney, plus Netflix and Salesforce, which recently took space in Singapore's CBD, in buildings traditionally targeted at banking and finance occupiers, shows companies see value in providing the best working environment for their staff."
He adds that New Zealand provides companies with an opportunity to grow through easy access to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
"Auckland is becoming more relevant to Australia's East Coast cities as a location for operations and staff than perhaps some cities within Australia, such as Adelaide or Perth," he says.
"Auckland has become an effective gateway location for future Australasian growth and finance. Recent IPOs of 9 Spokes and Powerhouse Ventures on the ASX demonstrate you can have access to the Australian market while being based in New Zealand."
Contrasted with Perth's location and historic reliance on the resource industry, Auckland is a step ahead for up-and-coming sectors such as technology, he says.
"As the global trend towards staff wellness and wellbeing rises in importance all the time, companies looking to create a great environment for their people know that it is now time to consider how their office locations support their aspirations to be people-centric organisations.
"This is leading to a re-examination of their property requirements, increasing Auckland's popularity within an Australasian context, and having a knock-on effect of spreading interest across New Zealand cities at the same time."
CBRE is working with a number of companies to examine their needs for an Auckland base as well as satellite locations outside the CBD and elsewhere in the country.
"Using the latest analytical software, we examine a combination of factors to determine the most effective locations for individual companies," says Bolton.
"They include future population projections, mapping commute times and proximity to lifestyle options and amenities.
"We are suggesting that companies should re-evaluate how they operate. Auckland is now a global city, and the reality is that its relevance to Australia is creating pressure and opportunity in equal measure.
"The question we're therefore asking companies is: 'Are your operations in the most competitive locations for your organisation, and do they offer your people the most attractive places to live and work?'"