Published: 20 MAR 2020
Building and Infrastructure

Helped by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), Telstra has opened an office in the innovation precinct at Wynyard Quarter.


“We have been looking for gaps in the market where Telstra can provide solutions – and we believe there are great opportunities for Telstra to support New Zealand organisations, and those that operate trans-Tasman,” says Telstra New Zealand managing director, Rob Lee (pictured to left).

“New Zealand is a small sophisticated market that is well catered with full-service telecommunications companies,” says Lee. “We looked at who we can be in the local market and where we can fit in. Businesses are experiencing significant digital disruption and transformation, and we knew we could bring solutions to the marketplace.”

Telstra NZ’s first commercial move was to strike an exclusive reseller agreement with Vodafone New Zealand for its Open Managed Security Services platform, which offers a 24/7 security service that rapidly detects and notifies customers of security incidents and cyber threats. 

Much of this solution is provided by Telstra’s 30-strong development team in Christchurch – a result of Telstra’s 2016 purchase of advanced security analytics provider Cognevo.
Telstra NZ is exploring similar arrangements in the managed services, cloud and digital services domains, and is talking with customers about not only improving their operations in New Zealand but also reaching global markets through Telstra’s network and capabilities.


I haven’t seen anything else like this Madden St building. Its fresh and you can feel the energy in the building. It’s a stimulating place to work.

Rob Lee
Telstra New Zealand managing director




Telstra previously operated in New Zealand as TelstraClear, the country’s third largest telecommunications company, providing residential line rental, mobile telephone, internet, IT and security, and cable television services.

TelstraClear was sold to Vodafone in October 2012 and the Australian company agreed to withdraw its telecommunications services in New Zealand for five years. 

The former managing director of IBM New Zealand, Lee joined Telstra in July 2017 to research the New Zealand market and moved into the new co-working space at 12 Madden St in the Wynyard Quarter in December 2017. 

Lee had contact with ATEED during that time. “ATEED is a great connector and they know how to bring people together. Every bit helps. You have your own network which you can use – but there’s what you don’t know and ATEED can help.”

ATEED suggested Lee should move into the state-of-the-art Madden St building which is part of the GridAKL innovation precinct. ATEED manages GridAKL which also provides co-working space in the refurbished Lysaght and Mason Bros. Buildings in Pakenham St West.

“I haven’t seen anything else like this Madden St building. Its fresh and you can feel the energy in the building. It’s a stimulating place to work,’’ says Lee.

Madden St, which houses like-minded early stage IT and digital businesses, is designed with collaborative spaces where developers can have conversations and swap ideas.

“The collaboration works well - it’s the way we are increasingly working across Telstra,” says Lee. “It gets you out of working on your own or in your own space. It lifts the whole team to work in an environment shared with other people and companies who are in a similar stage to you. For start-up businesses, the building gives you a level of credibility office to work out of.”