Chrissy conducting wedding

Weddings West Coast

Up and down the West Coast, in offices and warehouses, home offices and kitchen tables, small businesses are flourishing. Development West Coast runs a nine-week programme called Co.Starters to equip aspiring entrepreneurs so they can turn ideas into action. Many of the businesses do not have a traditional store front, so in this series of Open for Business, the Greymouth Star and Development West Coast sample some of the emerging small enterprises that are helping shape the future.

With an abundance of stunning, dramatic and unique locations, the West Coast is a wedding destination like no other. Co.Starters graduate, Chrissy Freitas, wants to share this amazing part of the world with couples on their special day. Through her business Weddings West Coast, she provides affordable wedding packages on the West Coast.

Chrissy had her first taste of entrepreneurship when she helped open the Stationhouse Café in Moana in 1993. She fell in love with the area after visiting it on a regular basis for boating and water-skiing, which led to the crazy idea of starting the business.

The opening day turned out to be on the anniversary weekend for Moana, which they were completely unaware of and unplanned for.

“The day we opened the steam train rolled into Moana loaded with passengers. Being our first Café, we had very little experience, so it turned into quite a hilarious experience,” Chrissy says.

“We called anyone and everyone we knew to help, and our lack of waitressing skills led to orders being made like: ‘sandwich for the guy in the red hat’ or ‘coffee for the lady in the blue jacket’. By the end of the day we were beginning to wonder what we had done.”

The experience of running a Café in such a beautiful location led Chrissy to consider becoming a marriage celebrant. With the recommendation of the Greymouth Business Association at the time she went for it.

“Several Weddings were held over that time and at one stage we had the most amazing picture gallery of all the happy couples gracing our walls,” Chrissy says.

“It was a truly amazing privilege and experience for us, especially as time went by and the couples returned with children of their own.”
Lynda and Tony Le Brun’s wedding was one of the first Chrissy conducted. In a roundabout way, Lynda has now joined Chrissy at Weddings West Coast as a photographer – adding a new dimension to the business.

Chrissy says Weddings West Coast is dedicated to crafting exceptional, original occasions that truly embrace the meaning of love, with the West Coast’s scenic untamed natural wilderness as a backdrop.

“We now have Shantytown on board providing another unique location particularly for train and history buffs.

“Our aim is to provide affordable wedding packages and take out the stress of planning your amazing day. We want to showcase the West Coast as an amazing wedding destination,” she says.

To help develop her business Chrissy signed up for DWC’s Co.Starters programme being run by WestREAP in Greymouth.

“I decided to take the course to increase my knowledge and gather any ideas and information that could help move my business forward,” Chrissy says.

“I really enjoyed the course. It was great meeting such an amazing group of people and watching their incredible business ventures develop. Seeing all the amazing talent we have on the West Coast was one of the highlights.”

Weddings West Coast specializes in elopements, pop up weddings, registry style weddings, commitment ceremonies, renewal of vows, same sex weddings, for either small intimate or larger groups.

Wedding packages start from $500 for a registry style wedding or $5699 for a pop-up lakeside garden wedding with 30 guests. For more details see their website:

If you would like to register an expression of interest in the Co.Starters business start-up and development programme for the new year, please contact Development West Coast at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Weddings West Coast

Weddings West Coast

2019 10 10 Farewell

Development West Coast’s Chief Executive, Chris Mackenzie, is finishing his tenure with the Trust on 18 October.

Chris has had a long involvement with DWC, firstly as the negotiator for setting up the Trust and then as the Government Appointed Trustee of the interim Trust in 2001.

DWC chair Renee Rooney says Chris will be missed after his three-plus years in the CEO role.

“He not only brought an immense skill-set to the position; he also brought a unique knowledge of the organisation.

“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.

“On behalf of the Board and the staff at DWC, I sincerely thank Chris for the substantial contribution he has made to DWC and to the West Coast. I wish him a well-earned and enjoyable retirement with his wife Rosie,” Renee said.

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

“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.

“With the local body elections and the current review of DWC taking place, I felt it was an appropriate time to step aside to enable my successor to induct any new Trustees and add some fresh direction to the organisation,” Chris said.

Former West Coaster and current General Manager of ANZCO Foods UK, Heath Milne, is set to replace Chris as the new CEO.

Heath will commence his role in January 2020. Chief Financial Officer, Mark Dawson, will take on the interim CEO role when Chris finishes at DWC.

2019 10 10 Jeff Evans
Businesses looking for assistance are encouraged to approach DWC as their first point of contact.

DWC Business Development Manager Fiona Hill looks after the Regional Business Partner Programme (RBP) for the West Coast Region.

She says the programme, administered by New Zealand Trade & Enterprise (NZTE) and Callaghan Innovation, opens businesses up to business development and innovation support, funding services and business mentoring services in association with Business Mentors New Zealand.

“Linking West Coast businesses with this support is one of the many services DWC offers, aiming to provide local industry with as many opportunities for growth and innovation as possible.”

Jeff Evans Ltd is one of the many local businesses that has benefited from NZTE Capability Development vouchers through the RBP Network.

The Hokitika, Greymouth and Westport-based family business has over 30 years’ experience providing plumbing, drain-laying, gas fitting, light engineering and rural services.

Moreen and Jeff Evans received capability development vouchers to engage a business coach, Dr Dominic Moran of Advantage Business, to review staff performance, determine ways of empowering staff to improve productivity and ensure the future sustainability of the business. A company restructure has been completed (with no loss of jobs, but a reallocation of people to more suited roles) and additional staff have since been employed.

“We are grateful and appreciative of the support and opportunities provided by DWC, Advantage Business and the RBP Network. DWC’s business development manager Fiona Hill has been great, providing access to the available resources to assist in driving the change we were struggling to achieve on our own,” Moreen says.

“So many people don’t realise what support is available for businesses here on the Coast. We highly recommend other local businesses take advantage of the many forms of assistance available through DWC. We’ve always had amazing communication and support when dealing with them.”

If you're looking for business support, please contact DWC on 03 769 7000 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2019 10 10 Te Radar
The tourism team recently launched phase one of our domestic visitor brand campaign, featuring videos and imagery of New Zealand comedian, Te Radar.

"The campaign aims to reiterate our Untamed Natural Wilderness slogan into the minds of customers, while going into greater detail around the paid activities and accommodation available across the region," says regional tourism manager Jim Little.

Phase one of the campaign is running across print, social media, digital platforms and outdoor advertising until the end of October. The campaign targets Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

We are also running a promotion with Air New Zealand during October to market their flights into Hokitika.

This promotion includes regional content updates on, in-flight entertainment updates, native content generation, newsletter distribution and a geotargeted campaign across Air New Zealand channels.


Te Radar on the Coast:

2019 10 Google Specialist Workshop

Building digital capabilities

A series of workshops are being run this month to help boost the digital capabilities of local businesses.

DWC’s Events Coordinator Rachel Doolan says the West Coast is geographically isolated so local businesses must be creative and innovative about how they operate.

“Advances in digital technologies are overcoming many barriers enabling Coast businesses to carve out online niches and be competitive in wider markets."

To help build digital capabilities, DWC, in partnership with NZME, is hosting a series of Google specialist workshops in Greymouth and Westport. These workshops focus on what Google does and how you can use it to grow and develop your business.

Techspace in Greymouth is also running two hands-on digital-skills workshops. Eric Martini, from Techspace, says their website workshop will take you through the process of creating a website that is easy to update, great for search engines, and does not require special webmaster skills. Their digital graphics workshop focuses on creating images for your website, social media and newsletters.



Google Specialist Workshop | DWC & NZME
DATE: 22 October 2019
TIME: 5:30pm-6:30pm
LOCATION: DWC boardroom, Greymouth

Tech for Sports Clubs & Community Groups | Techspace
DATE: 22 October 2019
TIME: 6pm-7pm
LOCATION: Techspace, Greymouth

Google Specialist Workshop | DWC & NZME
DATE: 23 October 2019
TIME: 10:00am-11:00am

Website – introduction into creating your website and brand | Techspace
DATE: 23 October 2019
TIME: 5:30pm-7:30pm
LOCATION: Techspace, Greymouth
COST: $50

Graphics – Creating images for your Website, Social Media or Newsletter | Techspace
DATE: 30 October 2019
TIME: 5:30pm-7:30pm
LOCATION: Techspace, Greymouth
COST: $50