Business development within the district sits within a Ruapehu District Council led matrix, personnel are appointed to manage economic development, business development, the regional tourism organisation and the I-sites. Each part of the matrix has a demanding work load, as they cover a diverse community over a large geographical area.
Peggy Veen manages business development. Her role is incredibly diverse, ranging from strategic through to operational. Her primary role is to navigate businesses, individuals and organisations through processes and departments, promoting the business friendly policy.
“I very much view my function as a lobbying, advocacy and facilitation role,” says Peggy.
”I work with the customer to achieve the best outcome, advise on which direction they could head and maintain strong and productive relationships.”
The Ruapehu district has a very clear vision for business development and growth, which she outlines.
“It is to have existing businesses thrive and be as productive as they can be. To lift the quality of business and product in our district and to support and encourage new investment.”
In order to achieve this, a key priority is for the district to work as a whole, where businesses are well networked, supported and able to have a strong voice in their district. Collaboration is absolutely key and a Ruapehu Business Council has been set up to encourage a voice from the sector. Other steps include facilitating events and training to benefit business.
Tourism is a booming sector in the district. It is a big focus for the district council and there are a number of opportunities as the sector grows. The Sky Waka is up and running, with the expectation that 300,000 people will ride up the mountain by the end of this year, rising to 500,000 next year. A significant project is also happening in Ohakune, with the redevelopment of the old movie theatre in to the Big Mountain Meadery, an exciting new venture that will be a café and brewery using local honey and creating upwards of 15 jobs.
There are also massive opportunities for businesses who can meet growing demands, particularly in the trades, such as electricians, builder and plumbers.
The other significant opportunity lies with Māori Economic Development, in particular around land optimisation, housing and tourism. Peggy sees this as something she could really grab onto and enhance.
“This is one area which is already happening, but to see that opportunity flourish would be a significant game changer,” she says.
Peggy is also a member of Accelerate25’s Regional Skills and Talent Steering group, from which she has set up a group with a local focus – the Ruapehu Skills and Talent Working Group.
“Our group has excellent dialogue and strong relationships and we have pulled together key stakeholders from the north to the south, including related ministries and schools where possible” says Peggy.
The group are involved in advising on Te Ara Mahi and He Poutama Rangitahi projects in the district and where possible, progressing those projects. They are also looking to develop sector based workforce plans, and getting industry on board is the next step.
As Ruapehu is one of the smaller districts within the Manawatū-Whanganui region, Peggy works to develop relationships with CEDA and Whanganui & Partners, attending Regional Collaboration Group meetings on a regular basis. It keeps Peggy connected and she is now actively working with neighbouring Te Waka and Enterprise Great Lakes Taupō to build those connections outside of the region.
The Ruapehu district attracts a large amount of events due to its central location, stunning scenery and unique recreational activities. In addition to the usual fare, Tour Aotearoa will be coming through the district again via the Timber Trail as well as the Cape to Cape. Taumarunui will also be hosting the International Trout Fishing Competition thanks to its world class fishing rivers.
It is all happening and there is much to look forward to! If you would like to get in touch the Peggy and the Ruapehu District Council about your business, event or activity, contact her on 07 895 8188.