Matariki tourism plan takes flight

Wairoa proving integral to plan.

Wairoa proving integral to plan.

LIFT OFF: The Rocket Lab project is an important strand of our regions's developing tourism industry. Picture supplied

A YEAR after the launch of the Hawke’s Bay economic development action plan (Matariki), the people behind it say Gisborne will benefit from Wairoa’s location, straddling two regional action plan areas.

The Matariki programme was launched in July last year, incorporating an economic development strategy backed by an action plan, and Matariki programme manager Dr Alister King said there had been activity across all Matariki’s seven work areas, throughout the region and in diverse industry sectors.

“Some specific examples include a well advanced feasibility study looking at the option of a Wellington and regional joint-funded expanded national aquarium (Action 5.3) and a discovery phase project is in progress, assessing the viability, interest and concept for a Food Innovation Park (Action 2.10)," Dr King said.

“In addition to this, collaboration with the Wairoa District Council has seen rapid progress on aiding the development of a number of business cases surrounding tourism and infrastructure projects, leveraging off the relationship with Rocket Lab (Action 6.1).”

Wairoa District Council economic development and engagement manager Kitea Tipuna said the big focus for the council had been around promoting tourism opportunities, supporting tourism operators in the district and attracting operators from outside the district.

Temporary viewing area

Mr Tipuna said immediate work already done included a temporary viewing area at Nuhaka for Rocket Lab’s first test launch, with the help of a $50,000 grant from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

On the day of the successful launch, 75 people turned up to the viewing site, two charter busses from Tauranga and Auckland came through to Mahia, and an unexpected charter flight from Whangarei also arrived at Wairoa Airport.

“We realised that given that was the first test launch, we were probably not quite ready," Mr Tipuna said.

"Rocket Lab are planning two more test launches this year and hopefully the commercial phase will start next year.

“We are still trying to manage expectations but we are ramping up our efforts to ensure that any visitor that comes to our district has a great and positive experience.”

He pointed out that the Matariki plan linked a range of about 15 economic development ideas, “all inextricably intertwined”.

“So we are thinking about Rocket Lab and what it needs in terms of bringing additional infrastructure and investment into the community.”

The digital enablement strategy part of the plan was an example of that.

Mr Kitea said the council was able to “leverage” off Rocket Lab’s presence in Mahia and lobby the government to begin installing rural broadband internet three years earlier than planned.

It was also important for Wairoa to ensure the plan linked to the Tairawhiti economic development action plan, released in February.

“Wairoa sits on the cusp of both areas, so we find ourselves in a fortunate situation. We’re looking at it as linking the entire east coast, Potaka to Mohaka.”

Mr Kitea said that also meant improvements to the whole corridor of state highway 2 were important.

A YEAR after the launch of the Hawke’s Bay economic development action plan (Matariki), the people behind it say Gisborne will benefit from Wairoa’s location, straddling two regional action plan areas.

The Matariki programme was launched in July last year, incorporating an economic development strategy backed by an action plan, and Matariki programme manager Dr Alister King said there had been activity across all Matariki’s seven work areas, throughout the region and in diverse industry sectors.

“Some specific examples include a well advanced feasibility study looking at the option of a Wellington and regional joint-funded expanded national aquarium (Action 5.3) and a discovery phase project is in progress, assessing the viability, interest and concept for a Food Innovation Park (Action 2.10)," Dr King said.

“In addition to this, collaboration with the Wairoa District Council has seen rapid progress on aiding the development of a number of business cases surrounding tourism and infrastructure projects, leveraging off the relationship with Rocket Lab (Action 6.1).”

Wairoa District Council economic development and engagement manager Kitea Tipuna said the big focus for the council had been around promoting tourism opportunities, supporting tourism operators in the district and attracting operators from outside the district.

Temporary viewing area

Mr Tipuna said immediate work already done included a temporary viewing area at Nuhaka for Rocket Lab’s first test launch, with the help of a $50,000 grant from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

On the day of the successful launch, 75 people turned up to the viewing site, two charter busses from Tauranga and Auckland came through to Mahia, and an unexpected charter flight from Whangarei also arrived at Wairoa Airport.

“We realised that given that was the first test launch, we were probably not quite ready," Mr Tipuna said.

"Rocket Lab are planning two more test launches this year and hopefully the commercial phase will start next year.

“We are still trying to manage expectations but we are ramping up our efforts to ensure that any visitor that comes to our district has a great and positive experience.”

He pointed out that the Matariki plan linked a range of about 15 economic development ideas, “all inextricably intertwined”.

“So we are thinking about Rocket Lab and what it needs in terms of bringing additional infrastructure and investment into the community.”

The digital enablement strategy part of the plan was an example of that.

Mr Kitea said the council was able to “leverage” off Rocket Lab’s presence in Mahia and lobby the government to begin installing rural broadband internet three years earlier than planned.

It was also important for Wairoa to ensure the plan linked to the Tairawhiti economic development action plan, released in February.

“Wairoa sits on the cusp of both areas, so we find ourselves in a fortunate situation. We’re looking at it as linking the entire east coast, Potaka to Mohaka.”

Mr Kitea said that also meant improvements to the whole corridor of state highway 2 were important.

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winston moreton - 20 days ago
Wonder who was on "the unexpected charter flight from Whangarei".

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