Media Release : New Zealand digital leaders must lay the groundwork for continued digital transformation

TUANZ Media Release

Tuesday 4 May, 2021

IT leaders rate Aotearoa as 6.6 out of 10 for technology adoption globally, referencing our ‘pockets of success’

Despite the accelerated digital transformation that has taken place due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, New Zealand digital leaders have more work to do before our country can become a leader of emerging technologies.

A new report released by the Technology Users Association New Zealand (TUANZ) in collaboration with TechLeaders Executive and Vodafone emphasises New Zealand digital leaders and businesses must continue the momentum of the digital transformation and change that occurred last year.

TUANZ realised that many reports released tend to focus on the macro trends of emerging technologies which are unlikely to impact New Zealand organisations in the next 12 months.  

Consequently, the aim of the report: Aotearoa’s digital priorities in 2021 is to provide insight into the actual issues New Zealand digital leaders are facing and their priorities for the year ahead.

Top of the priority list is the future of work, cyber security, supporting digitalisation, the demand for digital skills, getting the most out of our data, and access and inclusion for everyone. 

TUANZ Chair, Tristan Illich says, “While the challenges and priorities within the report may not be surprising, we hope it will inspire readers to take their part in helping ensure all of us in Aotearoa New Zealand makes the most of a digitally connected world.”

The report found New Zealand businesses must prioritise getting their ‘house in order’ quickly for our country to have a shot at becoming a leader in emerging technologies. When asked to rate Aotearoa out of 10 in terms of digital adoption, the average (mean) score given was 6.6.

TechLeaders Executive Chair and Ministry of Education CDO, Stuart Wakefield says, “While the global Covid-19 pandemic accelerated many business’s digital transformation plans, it also highlighted many of the underlying issues and challenges holding them back such as workforce capability, technical debt from legacy systems, and a lack of basic infrastructure.” 

The 2020 TechLeaders Executive manifesto called out five key technology challenges: ensuring trust in our data, growing economic productivity, redefining our workplace, upskilling our nation and enabling access to the best talent.

Wakefield says, “The priorities and concerns highlighted by New Zealand’s digital leaders in the report show the 2020 manifesto focus remains valid. It also reinforces the increased urgency with which we move to support to all New Zealanders and businesses with fast data, mobility, flexibility and digital services.”

Digital leaders agreed that while some sectors in New Zealand may be leading the world in terms of innovation and technology adoption, others are holding us back. 

Vodafone CIO Andrew Haddad says, “For New Zealand to thrive in 2021 and beyond, we need our leaders to be focusing on digital transformation in all sectors of society. It’s both an opportunity and a challenge, but one that digital leaders need to embrace and drive within their organisations.”

A copy of the report is attached and can be downloaded by visiting the TUANZ website:


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