Economic Development News: September 2023

Published on 26 September 2023


Ahead of our peak visitor season from October through to May – and as we continue to build on our road to recovery following Cyclone Gabrielle, here’s our latest economic development update for this quarter.

Help us advocate for business recovery – Business Sentiment Survey now open


We need to hear more about how this year’s weather events and closure of SH25A continue to impact your business.

Our Business Sentiment survey is now open for completion by local businesses throughout our region. It’s a chance for you to tell us how weather events have affected your business activity, sales volumes and employee numbers over the last eight months.

The purpose of this quarterly survey is to collect evidence to support the need for continued central and regional government support for significantly impacted businesses from Cyclone Gabrielle, other major weather events and any other issue impacting the economic climate.

By completing this survey, you will help us continue to strongly advocate for the needs of our business communities. We’re encouraging all business owners to take part so we can work to access the funding and support you need.

You can complete the survey here.

Recovery funding put to work by Business Associations


Photo: Warren Sly, left, and Geoff Furkert underneath the replica of Sir Keith Park’s Hurricane plane at Thames Airfield.

A programme of recovery events to invigorate visitation and business activity is underway as our five business associations around our region put new central government funding to use.

As part of the Cyclone Gabrielle Business Recovery work our Council was successful in securing a total of $330,000 in funding from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment for six business associations within our region. 

The funding is being used by the Thames Business Association, Coromandel-Colville Business Association, Mercury Bay Business Association, Enterprise Whangamatā, Experience Pāuanui and the newly reformed Tairua Business Association, to develop and deploy a programme of work that continues to support and revitalise our business communities.

Work programmes include either running or promoting a range of events through winter and into the 2023/2024 summer period and include business breakfasts, guest speakers to provide mentorship and advice. Some events coming up:

  • The Paradise Coast Golf event to be held in Pāuanui, Tairua and Whangamatā over the first weekend in December
  • Wings ‘n Wheels to be held in Thames over the Thames-Coromandel Anniversary weekend end of January 2024 (formerly known as the Auckland Anniversary Weekend)
  • A Keltic Fair in Coromandel Town on 24 January
  • The Whiti Food Fest to be held on Labour Weekend
  • The Mercury Bay Aeroclub Air Show and a scooter competition in Whitianga, also taking place over Labour weekend.

Business owners can also access additional support from the associations. For more information about what your local business association is doing, or what additional support is available, contact:

Thames Business Association:             

Coromandel Colville Business Association:

Mercury Bay Business Association:     

Enterprise Whangamatā                      

Tairua Business Association                 

Pāuanui Business Association              

Marketview Update

It’s been another sluggish month for visitor spend in the Coromandel showing $11.37 million for electronic card transactions for the month of August, down 8.2 per cent for the same time in August last year.

We’re seeing a small increase in international visitors coming to the Coromandel (around 2.7 per cent increase compared to the previous year). But a 2.7 per cent decline in domestic visitors for the same period.


Our Business Associations and Regional Tourism Agency Destination Hauraki Coromandel are working hard on promoting the district, as is our Council in lobbying government and looking at what levers we can pull to help the local economy bounce back from the ongoing impact of the extreme weather on our roading networks.

Alongside central government agencies, we're leading a workforce planning project, in anticipation of a much larger civil/road construction capability being needed for the Hauraki and Coromandel. We’re also working with government, business and industry, iwi and hapū to identify training and business needs to support the economic recovery.  This includes working with iwi and the Department of Conservation on the future of the visitor experience that can be enjoyed on the Coromandel recognising that Cathedral Cove has experienced severe damage that may be incredibly challenging to recover from.

Destination Hauraki Coromandel tourism campaign

Screenshot 2023-03-08 150812.png Destination Hauraki Coromandel, our Regional Tourism Operator which promotes and markets the Coromandel, is working on an upcoming tourism promotion that will transition away from the “Winter Our Way” campaign into a spring-summer theme. Part of the new campaign brief is the requirement to engage both community and visitors in the activity.

Destination Hauraki Coromandel will be providing an update to the tourism industry, business associations and wider community very soon.

Whangamatā Banking Hub opens

Whangamata Banking Hub Aug 2023 (3).jpg A new banking hub in Whangamatā is now open giving residents access to six different banks under one roof, as part of a nationwide trial to improve access to retail banking.

The trial aims to ease 'digital exclusion' which has seen some customers unable to access services as banks close regional branches and shift online. This has had a particular impact on our older generation.

Whangamatā is one of four regional centres to trial the hubs which Mayor Len Salt says is a big win for our residents who need face-to face support.

“We need thriving and liveable communities in our regions as well as our cities, which means access to basic services like banking,” he says. “I’m delighted Whangamatā is one of the trial locations. I’m encouraging residents to use it and give their bank feedback so we know how the hub is working.”

Services provided at the hub include deposits and withdrawals, phone and internet banking and the ability to meet with a representative from a customer’s bank. The hub has a multi-bank smart ATM and a coin and note change service. A concierge will be available to assist customers access the services, which include an ATM, a tablet for online banking and phone. These services will be available in private and secure areas to help ensure confidentiality.

A banking advice service will enable customers to book a meeting with someone from their own bank. A banker from each participating bank will be available on-site at certain times during the week to assist with customer queries and internet banking.

The Whangamatā branch is located at Shop B, 608 Port Rd, Whangamatā.

Call for employers as young people get work-ready

Mayors Taskforce for Jobs outside VETEL.jpg

Photo: Mayor Len talks to students at VETEL, our new Mayors Taskforce for Jobs partner.

A grassroots employment programme in Thames-Coromandel is prepping young people for the summer employment season.

Now in its second year in the region, the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs Community Employment Programme is a nationwide partnership between Local Government New Zealand and the Ministry of Social Development. It has focused on getting young people into sustainable employment. Mayor Len Salt recently met with three young people who will soon be job-ready after taking part in the programme, which in Thames is delivered through a partnership with Valley Education and Training (VETEL).  

Mayor Len visited VETEL and met students who have successfully completed studies in agriculture and are now adding training in mechanical engineering to their skill-sets.

“It’s heartening to meet young people who have seized this opportunity and are focused on building the foundations for a great future for themselves,” says Mayor Len Salt.

Around the country last year, 1788 people benefited from the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs Community Employment Programme, surpassing the 1,450 outcomes contracted for. 

“The success of the taskforce clearly demonstrates what can be achieved in our communities when central and local government work in partnership,” says Mayor Len Salt.

“The programme gives councils the power and funding to address the challenges in their rohe with tailored solutions, highlighting the magic of taking a locally-led approach.

“I’m proud that with the support of the council, Mayors Taskforce for Jobs’ Community Employment Programme can help rangatahi in our community realise their potential.

“These young people are not only keen but, after they complete the training, they’ll have all the practical skills they need to be a valuable employee.

The students will be looking for work and apprenticeships towards the end of this year. Any employer who may be looking to hire new staff or apprentices should get in touch with VETEL.

“As part of our Mayors Taskforce for Jobs partnership, we’ll be supporting these young people right through to their entry into the workplace,” says Andrea McCartney from VETEL.

“We’ll be working really hard to match them with the right employer and would love to hear from local companies with upcoming vacancies,” Andrea McCartney said.

Thames-Coromandel District Council partners with VETEL and Ngāti Maru ki Hauraki to deliver the youth employment scheme in the region. Sixteen young people were supported into employment across the Peninsula last year. The Council is aiming for over 30 placements this year.

VETEL are also able to support workplaces to train staff in workplace communication processes, such as report writing, computer literacy and company processes. They’re running small group lessons for employees needing extra support in these areas. Get in touch if you would like to know more.

If you’re an interested employer in Thames Coromandel, you can contact : Andrea McCartney, 0272689244,

About Mayors Taskforce for Jobs

Mayors Taskforce for Jobs is a movement of mayors around Aotearoa who advocate for a bottom-up approach to employment solutions to deliver the Community Employment Programme (CEP) along with broader initiatives. In particular, CEP is a nationwide partnership between Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) that’s delivering great outcomes in our rural and provincial communities. It’s championed by mayors who are working together towards the vision of all young people 16-25 engaged in employment, education, or training in their communities.

Kōpū Business and Marine Servicing Precinct project update


The countdown’s on to celebrate a milestone in the construction of the Kōpū precinct, with work very nearly complete on the recreational boat ramp. The top section of concrete boat ramp has been constructed, and the pontoon abutment will be poured next week. This will complete the recreational boat ramp build, with only the floating pontoons left to be installed.

The cofferdam (a watertight enclosure from which water is pumped to expose the seabed to allow the construction of the slipway) is currently being installed. This will take 3-4 weeks, after which the excavations for the commercial slipway can commence.

The piling barge arrives on site next week to continue with the construction of the commercial wharf. The first job is to remove the last row of sheet piles from around the recreational boat ramp.

Earlier this month the Hauraki Gulf Forum members visited the Kōpū site and talked to experts who said that yachties would find the haul-out facilities at Kōpū useful and that the spread of the noxious weed Caulerpa through using the facilities would not be an issue. 


High hopes for Hauraki Rail Trail spring repairs

Hauraki Trail photo to substitute.jpg

The Hauraki Rail Trail team says it’s making great progress on trail upgrades between Kōpū and Hikutaia, thanks to funding from our Council and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

The funding has allowed bridge approaches on the trail to be firmed up with concrete ramps. This means they will no longer deteriorate at the lip, which has made them tricky for beginner riders, wheelchairs and pushchairs. The most dangerous bridge approaches have been fixed first, with more due to be upgraded later. Next up on the team’s workplan is resurfacing sections to offer a more comfortable ride.

Meanwhile, the rail trail team also has fingers crossed for good weather to allow continued cyclone repair progress in spring.

Keep an eye on the website and Facebook for the works programmes. There will be stop/go in place and trail users are asked to make eye contact with the team before progressing through any site actively being worked on.

Give Dive Zone Whitianga your vote


Dive Zone Whitianga is a finalist in the prestigious Waikato Business Awards and needs your vote.

The company has been selected for the Sustainability Award and The Community Contribution Award. This recognition is a testament to the team's dedication, hard work and commitment to our community.

Dive Zone Whitianga plays a huge role in our community, working with students to not only encourage them in their dive training, but to become ambassadors for the ocean, respecting our marine environment and fish life. The team is regularly involved in sea floor and roadside clean-ups and is a major sponsor and supporter of year-round community events and activities.

The Waikato Business Awards are a celebration of outstanding businesses in the Waikato region, highlighting contributions to the local economy and community. The winners will be announced at the Gala Dinner event on the 17 November.

Make sure you cast a vote for Dive Zone Whitianga in the People's Choice award below. You'll find the team under the Community Contribution section. Congratulations to Linda, Darryl and the whole team at Dive Zone Whitianga.

You can vote here