Growing Our Region

CEDA set the strategy for progress

​The Central Economic Development Agency (CEDA) is a council controlled organisation, co-owned by Palmerston North City Council and Manawatū District Council, with a purpose to drive and facilitate the creation and growth of economic wealth for Manawatū and beyond. CEDA was formed three years ago when Vision Manawatū and Destination Manawatū were amalgamated. 
CEDA is the Regional Tourism Organisation for Manawatū and the Regional Business Partner for the Manawatū-Whanganui region. 
CEDA’s team see the importance of building strong partnerships with councils, central government, Māori and business support groups to leverage opportunities and drive success for the region and our communities. Their vision is to build Manawatū to be New Zealand’s most progressive region by 2025, and through key strong partnerships, talented personnel and renewed focus, they are well on the way to achieving this.  

There are three strategic pillars in which CEDA focuses on to achieve their vision; people, place and business.  

CEDA Chief Executive, Linda Stewart, outlines the importance of each pillar. 
“The biggest barrier to business growth is access to people with the right talent and skills. We are in global competition for talent so having a strategic and targeted approach is absolutely key,” she says. 
“An example of this is the workforce required for significant investment and growth projects such as Te Ahu a Tuanga – the Manawatū-Tararua highway. We are working with a number of agencies to ensure people, with the right skills and attributes are ready to take on the roles which will be available.” 
Ensuring we can retain and grow talent in our wider region is a core part of the Sort It Careers Expo, which CEDA delivers each year in May to showcase industry training and educational pathways for young people and connect businesses and industries with their future talent pool.  
CEDA has a core focus on leading the attraction of new residents and an example of this is the Move to Manawatū campaign which was launched earlier this year. The campaign raised awareness of lifestyle and career opportunities in Manawatū to attract more people to the region and to support businesses and industries who are also trying to attract talent here too. The campaign provides ongoing tools for companies to use in their recruitment drives through 
CEDA’s second pillar is place, which is focused on raising the national profile of Palmerston North and Manawatū through targeted storytelling and partnerships to attract people, business and investment.  
“We will lead the narrative on our city and district, which will underpin our work across people, place and business and will enable us to target key audiences,” says Linda. 
Raising the profile of the region to highlight our strengths, our people and our places through targeted storytelling and partnerships will ensure Palmerston North City and Manawatū District are known for their distinctive and compelling proposition and benefits. 
Most recently the team’s work landed Manawatū on the cover of Air New Zealand’s inflight magazine, Kia Ora, alongside a five-page feature article on the city and region. CEDA’s key marketing channel of actively showcases the city and district as a brilliant place to live, work and study and an attractive place to visit and do business. The team’s national relationships with national body organisations such as Tourism New Zealand and Air New Zealand and key media partners ensures our region is consistently reflected in the best light. 
The third pillar is business. Attracting and retaining business and investment is at the core of economic development.  
“We are centrally located, our land and development costs are comparatively affordable, and we have a growing culture of innovation and leadership,” says Linda.  
A key work programme under this pillar is CEDA’s recently launched Manawatū Agritech Strategy, the first regional strategy in New Zealand for this sector, which is aimed at accelerating the sector’s growth in the city and district, for the benefit of New Zealand’s food industry. 
CEDA’s work in this space actively supports our region’s sectors of strength to grow through targeted business development actions, retention initiatives and activities, and investment attraction programme 
When it comes to programmes of work, CEDA’s role can differ between leading, managing, facilitating, supporting or funding programmes and projects. If you would like to find out more about CEDA, visit or get in touch with Marketing and Communications Manager, Janet Reynolds at