The district of Whanganui has been going through an exciting growth period in recent times with confidence building, houses selling like hotcakes, spending on the up and loads of positive energy on the streets.
Whanganui & Partners actually have two roles, along with being an EDA driving and facilitating growth in the Whanganui district, they are also a Regional Tourism Organisation, promoting Whanganui to national and international visitors.
Over the first half of this year, a new team has been building, with greater focus on areas including but not limited to agribusiness, capability, tourism and business growth. Their vision is for Whanganui to be vibrant, prosperous and rich with opportunity. They are doing this by taking a collaborative approach, building up partnerships and maximising resources.
Strategic Lead for Brand, Events & i-SITE, Jonathan Sykes sees huge opportunities for Whanganui.
“Whanganui has been growing quickly in recent years, with new residents moving in, new businesses starting up and new events popping up. It’s important that we build awareness of Whanganui and all its attributes outside of the city, for people to visit, to do business with and to live here,” he says.
“One of the challenges we face is ensuring people understand the opportunities Whanganui offers. It’s a different place to what it was ten years ago. We need to shift the way we think too.”
“That shift is already happening, the number of residents has grown over the past five years leading to surging house prices, our GDP growth is above the national average, and we are building our own unique identity.”
The Whanganui & Partners team are flat out at the moment, with a number of activities and events planned for the next few months.
Just recently, they held a Farming for Change expo, which was split into two themes to help get people in the agribusiness sector thinking and talking about what the future might hold for them and their end customers.
“The expo was a great opportunity to encourage landowners to identify their key drivers for the next 20 years,” says Strategic Lead for Agribusiness, Colleen Sheldon.
“We wanted people to take away new ideas, ponder things they might not have thought of and consider approaching Whanganui & Partners if unsure of the next step.”
From a visitor and tourism perspective, the New Zealand Coastal Arts Trail is being developed, a Destination Management Plan for the Whanganui District has been created and a digital marketing campaign to attract visitors set up.
Within the realm of manufacturing, commercial and retail, Whanganui & Partners will be working alongside the Whanganui District Council’s infrastructure team on land surveys identifying residential and industrial opportunities, while also facilitating consents and compliance for commercial expansions and new builds.
The team are also working with Massey University to develop a Post Graduate Qualification in Regional Innovation which would be based in Whanganui. Alongside which, the 2019 Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) was delivered in Whanganui, and will be again in 2020. Whanganui & Partners are also supporting the development of the Port Employment Precinct, which will focus on training and employment requirements for the Whanganui Port revitalisation. In addition, they are supporting UCOL throughout the ROVE review and leading the Local Skills and Talent working group as part of the Accelerate25 enabler.
Whanganui & Partners have a great team on board, and with renewed enthusiasm they are going from strength to strength. They have a packed schedule ahead, however if any of these activities resonate with you, email Whanganui & Partners or subscribe to their newsletter to find out more.