Everyone wants a free trip to NZ: Wellington entices world's top techies and word is spreading fast
Wellington isn't afraid to indulge in a little bribery to lure the world's tech elite to its shores. And the world is sharing the good news.
The city's tech industry has launched what is surely every digitally-minded traveller's dream: a free trip to "the South Pacific's tech and innovation capital" (aka "Silicon Welly").
"Get free flights to New Zealand" Lonely Planet told its readers. "NZ will pay for your holiday if you agree to a job interview in Wellington," The Independent reported. Is this the best job interview EVER? The Daily Mail asked, accompanied by sparkling photos of the capital city at night.
However, wanderlusters around the world are being warned about the catch: participants must take part in pre-arranged job interviews, city tours and other meet-ups during their week-long stay.
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Those who prove their mettle, and that they can acclimatise to the Windy City's unique lifestyle, will score jobs with top tech companies, such as Weta Digital, the visual effects wizards on Avatar and the Lord of the Rings, Deloitte and Xero.
The programme, called Looksee Wellington, is a partnership between the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (WREDA) and Workhere New Zealand, a company focused on global recruitment marketing.
It will offer free flights and accommodation to 100 aspiring Wellington-based tech workers.
"At the end of the week there'll be offers to jobs you never knew existed in a place with a lifestyle you never thought possible," the online platform reads.
Just a week after going live, WREDA said the platform had already received more than 5000 expressions of interest from tech professionals worldwide, including some who work for giants such as Google, Facebook and Amazon, Business Day reported.
"A significant number" hail from the US, UK and Singapore, WREDA noted - perhaps unsurprising given that visits from UK and US citizens to the Immigration New Zealand website soared after Brexit and President Trump's election.
Wellington is touting itself as an "energetic city" that offers an ideal work-life balance.
"Collaborative, innovative, accessible, easy-going, accepting and full of energy, working in Wellington can not only enhance your career, but how you live your life as well," the platform enthuses.
It also boasts about having more bars, cafes and restaurants per capita than New York; a plethora of galleries, museums and walking and biking tracks; and, somewhat surprisingly, its weather.
"Wellington enjoys around 2000 hours of sunshine each year," it proclaims.
Given the capital's so-called bummer summer, with MetService data showing January had the fewest "beach days" in three decades, organisers will be glad that the deadline for applications isn't until March 20, while interviews will not take place until May 8-11.
Programme organisers will be hoping for at least some of the success of Queensland's Best Job in the World campaign in 2009, widely regarded as one of the most successful tourism campaigns of its kind.
Some 35,000 applicants from more than 200 countries applied to become the caretaker for the Great Barrier Reef islands for six months.
For tech pros, Looksee organisers will be hoping that the promise of a new life in the capital of the "incubation nation", will be even more enticing.