Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella has urged New Zealand to build its own world-class tech.

The global technology boss is in the country for Microsoft's Envision forum in Auckland where he canvassed technological issues including diversity, security and change in the world of work.

"Our mission is ultimately to build world-class tech and bring it to New Zealand to see and celebrate how you build your world-class tech around it. That's our measure of success," Nadella said in a keynote address.

"Each and every one of you is building your own digital IP on top of what you brought in," Nadella said, adding that that is the key to every company being a digital company.


The tech boss said technology is so embedded in the world that non-tech companies have to create their own technologies. He said 72 per cent of developer jobs are now outside tech companies and IAG in New Zealand has more than 300 developers using Microsoft's Github to create apps.

"Anyone who can do an excel spreadsheet today should be able to do an application going forward," he said.

During the half-hour address, Nadella gave examples of how Microsoft's kiwi customers, including Manuka Health, Tourism Holdings and Spark New Zealand, were using its programmes.

It was standing-room-only to see Nadella, who is on his second official visit to New Zealand in his role as Microsoft's head, a role he has held since 2014.

About 40 participants had to stand during the address to an audience of about 800. About 200,000 people also watched the keynote live online.

Nadella also commented on how technology meant frontline work was changing, as people on the retail floor or in manufacturing plants could also now collaborate with experts in company headquarters.

Earlier this morning, Nadella visited St Joesph's school in Orakei to meet Minister for Maori Development Nanaia Mahuta and announce Te Reo Maori would now be included in the Microsoft Translator app. Microsoft had been working on adding Maori translations for 15 years.

He leaves this evening after engagements with government officials and customers but has no other ministerial meetings.


Nadella's presentation was followed by Microsoft research lead Lucas Joppa who spoke on the tech firm's commitment to sustainability. The company this week launched a partnership with NIWA to develop technology which will recognise handwriting and enable the "reading" of old weather logs.