NZBusiness Magazine on Coast

Stories of West Coast business success

NZBusiness Magazine editor, Glenn Baker, was on the West Coast again interviewing local businesses.

Glenn attended DWC’s recent ‘Celebration of Women in Business’ event in Westport and then spent the following day in Reefton, where he had the opportunity to meet and interview a range of inspiring West Coast entrepreneurs.

“The day was certainly a real eye-opener. Reefton is undergoing a remarkable transformation and that's great news for all the local businesses,” says Glenn. “Stand by for some insights on the town's business journey in upcoming issues of the magazine!”

DWC marketing and communications officer Aaron Rees says there are so many positive business stories around our region.

“It was a privilege to have Glenn on the Coast - championing our region and sharing stories of West Coast business success.”

Women in Business - Westport Event

Inspiring West Coast Entrepreneurs

Around 50 people attended a recent ‘Celebration of Women in Business’ event at EPIC Westport.

The event was hosted by DWC trustee, Dame Julie Christie, and included presentations from local businesswomen Emily Miazga (Em's Power Cookies), Andrea Rogers (The Crafty Chook) and Patsy Bass (Reefton Distilling Co).

"The audience were treated to passionate talks from these inspirational female entrepreneurs who are all making the Coast proud with their achievements," Development West Coast events coordinator Rachel Doolan said.

The event provided a great opportunity for local businesspeople to network and be inspired.

“We are really grateful to the Westport community for getting behind the event. From Love Kawatiri and the Buller District Council to all the amazing businesswomen who donated spot prizes for the evening – so many people helped make the event such a success,” Rachel said.  

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Women in Business - Westport Event

Women in Business - Westport Event



Former West Coaster and current GM of ANZCO Foods UK, Heath Milne, is to return home to become Chief Executive of Development West Coast.

Heath was selected from a high-calibre field of more than 30 applicants and will bring extensive commercial business experience and proven leadership skills to the role.

Heath’s career with food giant ANZCO started here on the West Coast but since 2007 he has been based in London, most recently heading up the business in the United Kingdom and Europe.

“I feel very privileged to take on the leadership of Development West Coast. The role will be a huge challenge and tremendous responsibility. I relish the opportunity to bring a new perspective and add my energy for the betterment of all West Coasters. The Coast has been through some tough economic times and there are undoubtedly more complex challenges ahead. With the help of the Trustees and DWC staff, I look forward to tackling those challenges head on when I arrive in the New Year”, Mr Milne says.

DWC Chair Renee Rooney is delighted that Heath has accepted the role. “Trustees were impressed with Heath’s extensive commercial skills, his leadership acumen and his experience in growing businesses”, she said. “We also prioritised an affinity with the West Coast and an intention to live here within the community. Heath’s deep knowledge of the Coast and his business capability are vital to DWC’s role as an economic development organisation”.

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

(24 September 2019)

Andy Wright International StorytellerInternational storyteller finds perfect base on the Coast

From his base in Greymouth, international storyteller Andrew Wright reaches the world while enjoying the lifestyle benefits of living on the West Coast.

Under the banner of his company International Storytelling Ltd., Andrew will share his stories throughout this year with tens of thousands of listeners from countries as diverse and widespread as – Spain, Turkey, Poland, Ukraine, China, Italy, Germany, Austria, Malaysia and Singapore.

Andrew and his wife, Liz, relocated from Perth, Australia to Greymouth five years ago. He says the West Coast is the perfect base for his storytelling company.

“I spend much of my performance time in large cities like Madrid, Shanghai or Warsaw, so returning to the beauty and lifestyle of the West Coast is always an uplifting experience.

“With excellent internet connections and an international airport just over the hill, I am able to reach anywhere in the world whilst enjoying all the benefits of a West Coast lifestyle.”

Having spent over 25 years telling stories to audiences in schools, theatres and festivals across the world, Andrew is renowned for his lively style of storytelling that includes personal narratives of his New Zealand childhood. He also performs folktales and horror stories suitable for all ages.

“Many of my stories have grown out of the exceptional experience of growing up in New Zealand with a blind mother.

“Today I tell these stories all around the world and they are a fabulous reminder that no matter what culture we come from or what generation we belong to – the joys and tribulations of childhood are universal.

“All of us can remember the excitement of scoring the winning try, or the embarrassment of wetting our pants. Stories help us to transcend cultural differences and to share our joint humanity.”

Through his company, Andrew takes stories from New Zealand’s wider history and the history of the West Coast out to the world.

“Other countries are fascinated by this rather unique country at the bottom of the world. Our struggles and our triumphs, the difficulties we have faced and an honest appraisal of our history – the good, the bad and the ugly.”

Woven through his stories of New Zealand life and history are folktales drawn from all corners of the planet that Andrew believes reinforce the messages of our past, celebrate our common humanity, and pass on the wisdom of our ancestors.

Andrew’s world of story is a world inhabited by characters both real and imagined.

“From grandfathers with terribly scared legs, to strict catholic nuns, from patupaiarehe to taniwha, with dragons, hippos, tigers, rabbits and the occasional phoenix. These characters leap into the hearts and minds of the listeners.”

Andrew says he couldn't ask for a better place to create stories than from living on the West Coast.

“The West Coast provides an ideal locale for the development of the artistic and the imaginary.

“The icy breath of the ‘Barber’ is like some somnolent beast breathing down the river. The rolling, dancing mist creeping through the bush – harbouring the hidden patupaiarehe. The crashing waves of the ocean and the playful seals that could be selkies.

“All of these images of my daily life on the Coast feed my stories that I tell around the world.”

Find out more:

Andy Wright


See more Coast stories 

More Coast stories

Media Release (2 September 2019)

The tourism marketing functions of Tourism West Coast (TWC) migrated into Development West Coast (DWC) on 1 April 2019, with TWC winding up. The former board members of TWC have subsequently been appointed as the initial members of DWC’s new Tourism Strategy Group.

The Tourism Strategy Group acts in an advisory role to DWC’s chief executive, providing advice and insight on the West Coast tourism sector through the West Coast Tourism Strategy. The Group met recently for the first time and elected Dame Julie Christie as the interim chair.

Chair of the former Tourism West Coast Board, Richard Benton, has also announced his resignation from the new Strategy Group, noting it was now timely to stand down with the winding up of TWC and the transition to the strategy group now complete.

Mr Benton said, “On reflection as a Board member and Chair of Tourism West Coast over the last six years, I am particularly proud of the significant growth achieved in tourism numbers and GDP over my period of time, and the leadership shown in initiating and developing an award winning brand and strategy that should now hold the West Coast in really good stead for many years to come.”

DWC chief executive Chris Mackenzie wished to thank Richard for his contribution to tourism on the West Coast and the TWC Board over the past six years, and particularly for his commitment to the organisation and seeing through the significant and difficult changes to wind down TWC and merge its functions into DWC.
The membership and Terms of Reference for the new Tourism Strategy Group will be reviewed at the end of the year.

The Tourism Strategy Group consists of Dame Julie Christie (Chair), Margaret Montgomery, Stephen Roberts and Alexander Tschampel, with a replacement to be appointed in place of Richard Benton.