Growing Our Region

Growing our Region – December 2021

Since our last update in July, the Accelerate25 refresh recommendations have been formally adopted by the Lead Team, and a comprehensive work programme developed for the next 3 years and beyond.

The refresh carried out in 2020 saw real potential for growth and diversification in our region. Priority investment areas (‘pillars’) and essential enablers (‘bearers’) were identified to assist in focusing our efforts to drive regional economic growth and collaboration.

The Accelerate25 Lead Team takes an advocacy-based approach when addressing these focus areas; enabling others and acting as a catalyst for change. The resulting work programme keeps our focus tight, emphasising integrated leadership in the region to achieve practical results.

It is fantastic to see and share news from some of the important projects and initiatives underway in our area – from the Marton Rail Hub, to the new Te Ahu a Turanga driving simulator at Woodville Library, and Whanganui’s new status as a global City of Design, to name a few.

We are also pleased to welcome Lee Bettles and Tracey Collis as new members of the A25 Lead Team. Lee has held the role of CEO of Scanpower Limited (based in Dannevirke) since 2002, and with a background in new venture creation brings a keen interest in identifying new opportunities for our region. Tracey is well known as the Mayor of Tararua District and joins the Lead Team as a rural local government member representative.

As always if you would like to find out more about Accelerate25, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Transport funding announced

In September 2021, Waka Kotahi announced a $1.3 billion investment in the Manawatū/Whanganui region as part of Ngā Kaupapa Huarahi o Aotearoa | 2021–24 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP).

A regional summary and factsheet is available on the Waka Kotahi website.

Marton rail hub

Rangitīkei District Council has recently released the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) Framework Report for the proposed Marton Rail Hub.

The rail hub will position Rangitīkei and neighbouring districts as a key logistical hub for the forestry industry across the Lower North Island. Read more on the Rangitīkei District Council website.

Whanganui a UNESCO City of Design

Whanganui has joined Dunedin City of Literature, Auckland City of Music, and Wellington City of Film, as part of the global UNESCO Creative Cities Network. Read more from Whanganui & Partners.

Where to from here

The refreshed mission of the A25 Lead Team is to fast-track the major strategic priorities for Manawatū Whanganui that will propel the region forward.

The Accelerate25 Lead Team will focus on implementing the work programme and continuing to provide regional coordination and support to strategic opportunities across the region.