The Hawke’s Bay region’s brand is ‘Great Things Grow Here’. And following the Pacific Business Trust’s visit to the Bay in mid-May, locals are looking to a growing number of Pacific people to make the region their home.
Over a two-day visit, the Pacific Business Trust cemented relationships and connections with the likes of Hastings District Council, Ports of Napier and local iwi.
Exploring opportunities for working together to foster economic growth in the region, the Trust was represented by CEO Kim Tuaine, Operations Manager Murphy Su’a, and Business Growth Managers Richard Taurima (based in Auckland) and Dave Wilson (Wellington).
According to Richard Taurima, recent business growth is evident in the region, which is approximately 3.5 hours’ drive from Wellington and 4.5 hours from Auckland.
“Companies are already moving to the Hawke’s Bay because the cost of living is so much lower than Auckland, traffic is minimal, the Wifi’s faster and what you need is basically here,” he says.
CEO Kim Tuaine is impressed with the drive and initiative shown by locals.
“They were keen to push opportunities for Pacific enterprises throughout the region,” says Kim.
“We also brought along an Auckland-based Chinese delegation, who were very impressed with the region’s beauty and the opportunities for business.”
“We had a great meeting with the Hastings District Council including Mayor Lawrence Yule, Deputy Mayor Sandra Hazelhurst, the region’s economic development and marketing team, the Port of Napier and Shayne Walker, General Manager the Maungaharuru-Tangitū Trust.
The Maungaharuru-Tangitū Trust Trust represents the local hapu of Marangatūhetaua (also known as Ngāti Tū), Ngāti Whakaari, Ngāi Tauira, Ngāti Kurumōkihi (formerly known as Ngāi Tatara), Ngāi Te Ruruku (ki Tangoio) and Ngāi Tahu in the region.
Shayne says the Bay has had a strong, established Pacific population. He says Maori regard them as Whanaungatanga (relations), with a kinship that goes back generations.
“And that relationship is growing, mainly due to the RSE (Recognised Seasonal Employer) scheme, where our related whanau are coming from the islands,” he says.
“The Hawke’s Bay is an important and significant horticultural food bowl for our region and it’s only going to get bigger.”
His goal is for everyone to benefit.
“I want to see everybody gain from it, including those from the islands and local Maori and Pacific,” says Shayne.
“An organisation like ours is more about creating and supporting networking opportunities to help connect with the right people.”
Shayne sees opportunities for Pacific in a number of industries, including construction, as the Hawke’s Bay region continues to grow.
Napier’s Port is an increasing asset, with the capacity to bring in bigger ships than other regions because of the depth of its harbour and cheaper costs compared to Auckland and Tauranga.
In the last summer season, it was welcoming two cruise liners a week.
For Kim, the growth of businesses and the population provide ideal selling opportunities for the growing local arts and craft scene, along with the produce from the horticulture and viticulture industries which the region is renowned for.
“From our visit, it’s apparent there’s a real drive to promote and grow the Hawke’s Bay region,” she says.
On the last day in the Bay, the Pacific Business Trust team also met Caren Rangi, current Deputy Chair of Creative New Zealand, Pasifika leader and Hawke’s Bay local.
Caren appreciates the efforts the Trust is making to connect with the regions.
“There are lots of opportunities here and plenty of potential, and it’s great to see the Trust recognises that by coming here.”