Development West Coast head resigns

Development West Coast (DWC) chief executive Chris Mackenzie has announced he will resign from his role with DWC on 27 September, after more than three years in the role.

DWC chair Renee Rooney says Mr Mackenzie will be missed.

“Chris not only brought an immense skill-set to his role; he also brought a unique knowledge of the organisation. His involvement with DWC goes back to the very beginning as the Government Appointed Trustee of the Interim West Coast Development Trust in 2001.

“We have been fortunate to have Chris at the helm during a time of significant organisational change. He has been instrumental in improving the provision of economic development on the Coast, leaving a far more coordinated approach to the region’s economic direction and development,” says Mrs Rooney.

Mr Mackenzie said it has been “a privilege to work with the Board of Trustees, and talented colleagues who will continue driving the region forward.”

“With key stakeholders working more closely together for the development of our region, I feel DWC is in a strong position and has a great team in place to continue delivering on the Tai Poutini West Coast Economic Development Strategy”, says Mr Mackenzie

DWC will now begin the process of recruiting a new chief executive.

(14 June 2019)

DWC Westland Sports Hub

Westland Sports Hub major naming rights announced 

Development West Coast (DWC) chair Renee Rooney is pleased to announce DWC have secured major naming rights for the DWC Westland Sports Hub.

“The West Coast has a rich history of sporting success, but the importance of sport to our region goes far deeper than these achievements. Sport has long brought Coasters together, helping build thriving communities across our region,” says Mrs Rooney.

“Development West Coast is proud to partner with the Westland Sports Hub to support the major upgrade of sporting facilities in Hokitika. It will be a big game changer for Westland, benefiting most sporting codes, while importantly providing a venue to bring our communities closer together.”

Development West Coast, through the Westland District Council, has allocated $1.5 million MDI funding for this project.

Westland High School Board Chair, Latham Martin said: “We have negotiated a further financial contribution from Development West Coast to accompany the naming rights. This will help with any other operational costs, ncluding maintenance and administration of the facility.”

Fundraising Chair, Ange Keenan said that the fundraising efforts for the facility were still underway, and further naming sponsors were being sought for the facility.

“We are in the process of looking for naming sponsors for the courts and gymnasium, as well as individuals to sponsor the DWC Westland Sports Hub. We have plenty of sponsorship options for you, your family or your business to support this forward-thinking community project.”

(27 May 2019) 

Marketing campaign to get visitors back to the Coast

Following the reopening of the Waiho Bridge, Development West Coast (DWC) Trustees have allocated a budget of $41,000 for a targeted marketing campaign starting today to ensure visitor numbers get back to their usual thriving levels.

The West Coast has been one of the fastest growing tourism regions in New Zealand with visitors injecting over half a billion dollars directly into the economy each year. Tourism is critical to the West Coast economy, and any major disruptions to visitor numbers will have a significant economic impact on the wider region.

“The loss of the Waiho Bridge seriously impacted businesses right along the Coast, not only those in Fox and Franz townships. Thankfully a new bridge has been built in just 18 days,” says DWC chief executive Chris Mackenzie.

“We are incredibly grateful to the New Zealand Transport Agency, local contractors and members of the Army’s 2nd Engineer Regiment for their tireless work building a new bridge in such a short time, reopening this key touring route.”

DWC’s Regional Tourism Manager Jim Little is overseeing an extensive marketing campaign to get visitors back during the crucial Easter holiday period.

“We need to get the word out that the Waiho Bridge is open, and our Untamed Natural Wilderness is open for business,” says Mr Little.

“Through extensive use of press and radio coupled with social media we will be targeting key markets to ensure visitor numbers are strong during this important holiday period.”

(15 April 2019)

Pounamu Pathway to lead West Coast culture and heritage future

An exciting new strategic view has been identified to lead the way for the future of culture and heritage development for the West Coast.

The West Coast is rich in its natural, built and cultural heritage. To date there has been a real focus on telling the stories about gold, coal and forestry in many locations throughout the region. A number of applications have been made to the Provincial Growth Fund to build on these West Coast stories.

However, research conducted by Tourism West Coast during the development of the Tourism Marketing Strategy, indicated that more than 70% of visitors wanted to find out more about the Māori story for Tai Poutini West Coast.

In addition to this, feedback received to date from the Provincial Development Unit, the investment body of Minister Shane Jones’ $3 billion fund, emphasised the requirement for the West Coast to present applications that are Regional and will bring Regional Economic benefit rather than present applications for individual Districts. This has resulted in applications relating to the development, redevelopment or extension of museum, cultural or heritage experiences being put on hold whilst the Region make decisions on the way forward.

A workshop of 36 participants from Iwi, Councils, Development West Coast, museum, heritage and cultural experiences met on 21 January to determine how to bring these initiatives together, linking the cultural and heritage stories across the region.

Francois Tumahai, Chairman of Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Waewae, said that the history of Maori across the West Coast had been missing from many of the stories of the region, and central to that story was pounamu.

“The workshop attendees felt a real resonance with the Pounamu Pathway concept, recognising the untapped value in this narrative.”

“This is not about throwing the baby out with the bathwater though,” Mr Tumahai pointed out. “The Pounamu Pathway will provide the overarching strategy to link together all of our Tai Poutini West Coast stories and present the collective regional direction for culture and heritage required for investment.”

Pounamu is unique to the West Coast and a key point of difference for the region when exploring Maori history.

“If we can encourage tourists to stay an extra night, or two, as they follow the Pathway, exploring the Maori stories from the first landings, to land battles, trade of pounamu, the discovery of gold, and how these then intertwine with our European settlement past, then this will provide the opportunity to generate significant additional spend throughout our region.”

(22 Janaury 2019)