DWC Wins AUT Excellence in Business Support Award

Development West Coast is delighted to have won the Not for Profit category at the prestigious AUT Excellence in Business Support Awards.

DWC Chairman John Sturgeon, CEO John Chang and COO Warren Gilbertson last night accepted the award at a gala dinner at Auckland's Langham Hotel in front of over 700 business leaders.

Mr Sturgeon says the team at DWC including Trustees, management and staff should be very proud of the achievement.

"This prestigious award is recognition not just for the team at DWC but all West Coasters from Karamea to Haast. The Coast has had a few knocks in the last couple of years and being recognised by the rest of the country for all DWC's hard work helps us get up off our knees and continue," he says.

DWC CEO John Chang says being publically acknowledged for DWC's contribution to the wellbeing of the West Coast economy is wonderful.

"I am sure this award will be appreciated by many on the Coast and DWC has received it on behalf of the region. It was humbling to win in such esteemed company and I know this recognition will give further courage, conviction and determination to all of us to continue trying to stimulate social and economic growth on the Coast," says Dr Chang.

DWC was part of a strong group of finalists including the Sustainable Business Network, Leadership NZ, Beef & Lamb NZ and the Onehunga High Business School.

Dean of AUT Business School Dr Geoff Perry says all 47 finalists have shown tremendous dedication to business support across New Zealand.

"Every finalist has had to demonstrate their successful leadership and planning, customer and market focus, provision of business support, evaluation, improvement and business results. All entries go through a thorough evaluation process that is overseen by the New Zealand Business Excellence Foundation, as well as evaluators from our own Management Department at AUT Business School, and assessed using the international Baldrige criteria. With this in mind, the winners really have demonstrated they are top of their game," he says.

(8 November 2012)


TV Campaign to Promote the West Coast

The stunning scenery of the West Coast will be centre stage in October with the launch of a national television campaign to encourage Kiwis to experience all the Coast has to offer.

The campaign will highlight the wide variety of activities available on the Coast and will remind visitors that if they want more fun "just add water", something the West Coast has in abundance.

Tourism West Coast CEO Jim Little says the campaign will specifically target domestic tourists and as well as highlighting iconic tourist spots like Punakaiki and the Glaciers will also focus on lesser known destinations and activities.

"This will put the West Coast back on the radar as a holiday destination for Kiwis. So many New Zealanders don't realise the incredible variety of activities that are available on the Coast and what a stunning part of the country it is," he says.

The $100 thousand tourism campaign has been funded by Development West Coast (DWC). The television advertising will be complimented by an online presence, outdoor billboards in Christchurch and Wellington and a website upgrade.

DWC CEO John Chang says the campaign is positive news for the region.

"Water isn't just about rain, although it is very important. The campaign will show how much Coasters enjoy our water and what fun and enjoyment we get from it," he says.

Like other regions in the South Island the global economic downturn and Christchurch earthquake has had an effect on visitor numbers to the Coast. Coupled with the Pike River disaster Dr Chang says it is a good time to embark on a campaign like this.

"While there have been recent set-backs we wanted to show our confidence in the Coast and the strength of its economy. This tourism initiative will remind the rest of the country we are still open for business and how wonderful and dynamic the West Coast is," says Dr Chang.

The four week campaign begins on TV One on 18 October. Viewers will be directed to a website www.visitwestcoast.co.nz which will have a number of offers and packages they can book.

(15 October 2012)


Development West Coast – Finalist AUT Excellence in Business Support Awards, Not for Profit category.

They're growing cranberries on the West Coast

Having to face the disappearance of its traditional native timber industry and now the effects of the precarious international commodities market on the mining sector, Development West Coast (DWC) is grabbing the challenge of future proofing the local West Coast economy. Through careful investment they have delivered proof of concept that the West Coast can be the first place in New Zealand to grow cranberries commercially.

Fostering new industries is something the organisation sees as critical in reducing the reliance on traditional sources of employment. Investing in a pilot cranberry growing programme, DWC has been integral in getting the project to a stage where the opportunity has been verified with the help of Ocean Spray, global leaders in cranberry products. Today six local growers are putting the region on the map as the country's first manufacturing base for cranberry jams, juices and sauces.

"Development West Coast is a trust set up in 2001 to manage, invest and distribute income from a $92 million fund received from the Government for the loss of our indigenous forestry industry," explains Dr John Chang, the trust's CEO. "Initially we were seen as a lender of last resort, the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. We needed to change this perception and convey the need to invest this money not just for the benefit of the local community today, but for its future generations. Developing new and emerging industries is key to this"

It is these sorts of achievements that have resulted in DWC being recognised as a finalist in the 2012 AUT Excellence in Business Support Awards, Not for Profit category. "We are proud to have been recognised as a finalist. It's the hard work of the DWC team that has resulted in us getting to where we are today. This is the sort of recognition the team deserves", Dr Chang proudly declares.

"After a period of defining ourselves we are now very focused on developing the local economy through hands on initiatives to support existing and emerging businesses in the region. At the same time we are using our resources to help the local councils invest in projects that will make the Coast an attractive place for skilled people to come and live – that's essential if you want to attract the talent the local economy needs." says Dr Chang.

The original $92 million has now grown to a total asset base of $118 million. This is in addition to the total $105 million DWC has generated in revenue over the last 11 years, a solid result given the $49 million of the accumulated revenue was used as grants for big infrastructure projects such as Buller's multi-sport centre and Greymouth's aquatic centre.

"If the Trust had simply split the money up between the local community, everyone would have come out with around $3,000 each. That doesn't go far. We have a greater responsibility to build the value of the trust and ensure our future generations prosper from it just as much as today's." explains Dr Chang

Seeing an opportunity to leverage existing resources in the business support sector, the DWC team has developed strategic partnerships with the likes of New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, the New Zealand Institute of Management and most recently the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce. "On the Coast we feel a little out of sight, out of mind. It is necessary for us to proactively seek these partnerships so we can avoid reinventing the wheel in delivering locally what these great organisations already deliver in other areas. Our role is to provide an easily accessible hub for local businesses to engage these services" explains Dr Chang.

One example of a partnership in action is the West Coast Business Leadership and Governance programme developed in partnership with the Westland Milk Products and NZIM (Southern). "Our economy has long been supported by primary industries driven by big companies. When these began to disappear we had to act quickly to improve the leadership abilities within business ownership. This programme has been very effective," reflects Dr Chang.

Tourism is also a sector Dr Chang sees as having huge potential to lift the local economy. DWC engaged with the Government's Major Regional Initiative programme stumping up $2.5 million which was almost matched by the Government who contributed $2 million. "Everyone knows the glaciers and the beautiful drive you have down the West Coast. We have worked hard to expand on this and give more tourists reasons to stay for great activities." Dr Chang provides some compelling examples including the development of the Oparara Basin walks not far from Karamea and two new cycle way trails.

But Dr Chang's excitement brims as he explains the potential of the game fishing industry for the Coast. "Big money people come to fish the Tuna off the back of the Hoki boats. It's growing in popularity. Developing this high end tourism activity could really help us attract investment from these visitors who discover the beauty of our Coast."

So next time you are venturing down the West Coast, look out for a fresh cranberry juice and take some time to experience the wondrous natural environment on your way.

(10 October 2012)


DWC Releases 2011/2012 Annual Report

Development West Coast has released its annual report for the year ended March 2012. It shows the Trust has ended the financial year with total assets of $118m, down from $121m the previous financial year.

Despite the world financial crisis DWC generated $9.01m in cash income compared to $6.58m the year before.

The Trust also made its largest ever community distribution of $7.44m and committed to funding $12 million MDI funding to the West Coast's three district councils over the next ten years to build and pay for major community assets.

Taking into account the commitment of $12m MDI funding (valued at $9.8m presently), coupled with the $6m Extraordinary Distribution Fund to the three district councils and $5.2m 'unrealised' losses from weakened share markets DWC is left with total equity of $97.86m, compared to $115.9 million the previous year. As the entire committed distributions have been accounted for in a single year it contributes to a total operational loss of $18m.

DWC CEO John Chang says whilst on the surface these results may appear to be of concern to the public the majority of these losses are mainly "accounting losses", rather than a loss of actual cash.

"I can confirm that Trustees are firmly in control of a well-balanced and operated business," says Dr Chang.

"DWC is bound by financial reporting standards and as we have now committed to 10 years of MDI funding it must be treated as a liability and come off our bottom-line. However it is important to note DWC will not be paying out the MDI funding any sooner and it will continue to earn income for DWC and our total assets remain strong at $118m," he says.

During the 2011/12 financial year DWC made its largest ever community distribution of $7.44m. This is comprised of a $6 million extraordinary distribution to the three district councils and the balance to various community projects and assets. Since 2001 DWC has distributed $49m to the West Coast community.

"Trustees are confident the substantial community grants made during the year will have a positive stimulus effect on the local economy and contribute to improving the quality of life on the West Coast," says DWC Chairman John Sturgeon.

"Committing to the next ten years of MDI funding does have an impact on our bottom-line but the Trustees decided it also gives tremendous security and assurance to the councils. Whilst we have recorded a drop, Trustees would like to assure the community and DWC's stakeholders that they are, under the circumstances, comfortable with the situation," he says.

The MDI funding was started in 2005 and until now the $400,000 per annum has been dependent on DWC meeting specific financial targets. However Trustees wanted to provide some certainty to the district councils so have decided to commit to funding $400,000 per year to each council until 2022.

At its conclusion in 2022 each district will have received an accumulated amount of $7m over the 17 years of MDI funding. Funding already distributed has been used to build the Solid Energy Sports Centre in Westport, the Aquatic Centre in Greymouth and the i-Site refurbishment and community library relocation in Hokitika.

(29 August 2012)


CECC and DWC partnership

The Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce (CECC) and Development West Coast (DWC) announce a close cooperation to increase resources for West Coast businesses.

From August onwards, the CECC and DWC will share a member of staff to provide a one-stop-shop for business support services on the West Coast.

"Our long historical association with many businesses on the West Coast will be re-energised and reinforced by this new relationship" said Peter Townsend, Chief Executive of the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce.

"This provides the opportunity to increase our commitment and resource on the West Coast ensuring that our members receive service delivery at a local level. We also recognise that the business dynamics are different in every region and delivery of CECC services on the West Coast requires a different approach and a local presence, which is the commitment that we have made" said Anna Johnstone, External Relationship Manager, Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce.

"We are very pleased to be part of this new partnership, which provides benefits for businesses on the West Coast and both organisations" said John Chang, CEO of DWC. "Combining resources and building our local services can only be a good thing for the local business community" said Dr Chang.

Nelia Heersink who will be located at the Development West Coast office in Greymouth is actively involved in engaging with businesses on the West Coast working on things such as The Regional Business Partner programme. This new activity will add even more value to the businesses Ms Heersink is interfacing with.

The focus of the partnership will also ensure the CECC are kept well informed of relevant issues and trends on the West Coast which will play a key role in the future delivery of resources, events and training to respond to those needs.

Both organisations are looking forward to building a strong and healthy relationship with businesses on the West Coast.

(27 August 2012)


Computers in Schools Project Improves Student Performance

An independent review of the first year of the Computers in Schools project has found students are more engaged in learning and in some schools behavioural problems have dropped.

Nine West Coast primary schools this week received a final instalment of ICT equipment after an $80,000 funding injection from the second year of DWC's computers in schools programme. Last year 11 primary schools received
$100,000 worth of equipment.

DWC Chairman John Sturgeon was at St Patrick's School in Greymouth to see the new delivery of 24 iPads.

"The kids that were demonstrating the new equipment impressed me with how much they already knew, even six and seven year olds. The Trustees are right behind this project, our kids on the Coast were behind other regions in terms of access to computers, it's only fair that they get the same opportunities as other areas," he says.

The Computers in Schools project came about after an audit found 74% of West Coast schools had computers that were four to six years old, compared to the national average of three years.

A review of the first year of the project, conducted by Karoro Learning, has found students have shown increased motivation and engagement since the introduction of the new ICT equipment including netbooks, iPads, digital cameras and interactive whiteboards.

Principals say students are using the new equipment in many ways including to support inquiry learning, play online maths games and record events. Kokatahi School reported a large gain in maths achievement, other schools reported children were more engaged and one said behavioural problems had dropped, especially amongst the boys.

West Coast ICT Facilitator Eric Martini says the project has been a great success.

"Students want to be in class and are more engaged and enthusiastic about learning, as a result there have been gains in achievement. There has been a similar result with teachers, now that they have reliable ICT equipment they are much keener to use technology," he says.

DWC required schools who received grants to also plan for their future ICT needs and the review found principals believed they were now in a better position to fund and maintain their ICT requirements.

Schools which received funding in Year Two of the project are :

St Patricks School, GreymouthPaparoa Range School, DobsonParoa School, GreymouthRunanga School ,RunangaSouth Westland Area School, HarihariAwahono School, AhauraFox Glacier School,Fox GlacierKaramea Area School, KarameaRoss School, Ross

(28 June 2012)


Development West Coast Selected as Finalist in 2012 AUT Excellence in Business Support Awards

Development West Coast has been selected as a finalist in the 2012 AUT Excellence in Business Support Awards.

Recognised for excellence in the "Not for profit" category, Development West Coast will join 48 other finalists in this years' AUT Excellence in Business Support Awards – a record number in the awards seven year history.

Sarah Trotman, Founder of the Excellence in Business Support Awards and Director of Business Relations at AUT Business School says the high level of interest this year is highly encouraging for New Zealand business.

"The Excellence in Business Support Awards were established in 2005, and never before have we had 49 finalists. It's a true reflection of the quality of applicants we have had this year.

"Such interest in recognising quality in the field of business support indicates an understanding that, with world-class business support, New Zealand can build world-class business," says Trotman.

DWC CEO John Chang says DWC is delighted to be selected as a finalist amongst such a first-rate group of not for profit organisations.

"This is a recognition of not just DWC but the West Coast business community. Through its activities and initiatives DWC is not only supporting businesses but also trying to bring the business community closer together and highlight the excellence of businesses on the West Coast. It is also an acknowledgment of the huge effort by Chief Operating Officer Warren Gilbertson and the DWC team," says Dr Chang.

For Dean of AUT Business School Geoff Perry, being aligned with the awards provides an important opportunity to build on the Schools existing engagement with industry.

"The Excellence in Business Support Awards are regarded highly among industry, providing organisations the chance to benchmark their performance alongside others in their field," says Dr Perry.

The robust entry and evaluation process of the awards enables finalists to reflect on how effectively their organisation achieves business excellence in all key areas including leadership and planning, customer and market focus, provision of business support, evaluation and improvement, and business results.

Finalists now have until 6 July to submit their final applications. The winners will then be announced in October at a black-tie gala dinner in Auckland. The Supreme Award will be chosen from the category winners.

Evaluation of all nominations will be overseen by The New Zealand Business Excellence Foundation, including evaluators for the management department of AUT Business School. Excellence will be assessed using the international Baldridge criteria.

A full list of the 2012 Finalists of the AUT Excellence in Business Support Awards can be seen below:

Not for Profit

• Sustainable Business Network
• Leadership NZ
• Beef & Lamb NZ
• Development West Coast
• Onehunga High Business School

Business under $5m turnover – Management Services

• Optimal Usability Limited
• Otago Innovation Limited
• Rotorua Chamber of Commerce
• The Small Business Company
• Valentine Addis Ltd

Business under $5m turnover – Sales & Marketing

• The Research Agency
• Plato Design Agency
• Verve – The Event Agency
• Terabyte Interactive

Business under $5m turnover – Technology

• Vadacom
• Optimal Usability
• Intergen

Business under $5m turnover – Accounting and Finance

• Debtworks
• GoFi8ure

Business $5m - $10m turnover

• Plan-b Ltd
• Provoke Solutions
• Advanced Security
• Laser Plus Ltd

Large Business Specific Initiative

• Deloitte Fast 50
• ASB Bank Ltd Business Focus Account
• BNZ Finance

Large Business $10m-$50m turnover

• Teradata
• Banklink
• Telecom Rentals
• Fusion5

Large Business $50m-$200m turnover

• Kordia Networks
• 2degrees
• Minter Ellison Rudd Watts

Large Business $200m plus

• Gen-i
• GE Capital
• Bidvest
• Bartercard NZ
• ANZ Banking Group NZ


• CarboNZero Holdings
• Dunedin City Council – EDU
• Business.govt.nz (Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment)
• Dispute Resolution Services
• Work & Income


• Dr Ann Smith – CarboNZero Holdings
• Chris Quin – CEO Gen-i Australasia
• Rachel Brown – CEO Sustainable Business Network
• Glen Senior – CEO The Small Business Company
• Michael Barnett – CEO Auckland Chamber of Commerce

(14 June 2012)