The Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan (TEAP)
6 March 2018
Development of the region’s tourism sector is a key focus in the Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan (TEAP), and that effort received a boost from announcements alongside the Government’s recent launch of the $1 billion-a-year Provincial Growth Fund.
The TEAP includes significant regional projects like Te Ha and the Navigations Project, the Makauri Aquifer recharge, reactivation of the former Prime Sawmill and development of a Wood Processing Centre of Excellence.
These high-profile TEAP projects have attracted significant support from within the region and from central government, but there are a number of smaller and equally-important projects — many of which are tourism related.
Efforts to develop tourism in this district are headed by economic development agency Activate Tairawhiti and the i-Site team, in collaboration with iwi, operators and a range of other partners.
One of the key actions is the development of a Tairawhiti Tourism Plan and the identification of opportunities for growth, with a focus on realising Maori aspirations as active members, partners and operators in the sector.
Work 'well under way'
Activate Tairawhiti general manager of tourism Adam Hughes says this work is well under way, with the support of Te Puni Kokiri and iwi. Product development and Maori tourism are the key pillars of strategy.
“Air New Zealand market research identified demand for three core products — the waka hourua, Hikurangi experiences and Chardonnay Express — and these will form the basis of the initial product development programme,” he says.
The Government announced a grant of $60,000 from the Provincial Growth Fund towards developing these three products, alongside Air New Zealand and Activate.
Te Ha has just built the team responsible for delivering the region’s sestercentennial commemorations and has secured significant central government support, including $1 million from the Provincial Growth Fund towards the programme to commemorate 250 years since the first formal encounters between Maori and Europeans here in October 2019.
“Tairawhiti has enormous tourism opportunities but there’s an acknowledged gap in what’s on offer for visitors, as well as some infrastructure constraints,” Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said in making these announcements.
“Supporting Tairawhiti to boost tourism will lift productivity, create new jobs and provide economic development opportunities for the community — of which Maori represent 49 percent.”
Mr Hughes says regional infrastructure projects like the inner harbour upgrade, historical interpretations as part of the Navigations Project and the restoration of Titirangi/Kaiti Hill are all under way, while the Department of Conservation, Ngati Oneone and the council have awarded the design contract for a redevelopment of the Cook Landing Site. They have held stakeholder workshops and will present early concepts this month.
Activate Tairawhiti is also working with the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment and New Zealand Cycle Trails on a full review of the city’s cycleways and mountain bike tracks, with a view to creating a recreational cycling network that services both local and visitor needs.
TEAP Steering Group co-chairman Herewini Te Koha says this collaborative approach to growing our tourism sector is critically important in a sector that is under-developed, but has immense scope for growth.
“Our focus is and must remain on investment in core tourism infrastructure and projects that are uniquely Tairawhiti,” he says.
The Tairawhiti Economic Action Plan was launched last year after being developed in collaboration with local business representatives, the education sector, economic development agencies, the council and iwi. It is the region’s first joined-up economic development plan and represents priorities for the next five years, with a view to creating a strong foundation for our economic well-being.