2019 02 14 Pakihi Maori workshop

A free workshop is coming to the West Coast for Māori businesses looking to move forward, flourish and succeed.

Pakihi is a series of workshops and mentoring designed to help Māori businesses. Crowe Horwath, in partnership with Te Wananga o Aotearoa, will be holding the first workshop on business innovation next month in Hokitika.

The three-hour workshop will provide participants with new skills, a growth plan, mentoring and connections with other business support organisations and networking with other Māori businesses.

The workshop is ideally suited for those who have been in business for two to five years and are looking to grow.

Participants will learn how to scan their industry for opportunities and challenges, apply a structured framework to generate innovative ideas, and prioritise their ideas for the best chance of success.

Jeffrey Broughton from Crowe Horwath says: “the content is great, but the real gold is seeing the whanaungatanga being created by the group.”

DWC business development manager Fiona Hill is keen to see Māori businesses on the West Coast take advantage of this opportunity and tap into the business support ecosystem available to them.

For more information about the workshop check out www.pakihi.co.nz and register under the Whānaua – Business Growth workshops.

DWC is pleased to be bringing the nationally syndicated West Coast Ambassador Programme to Franz Josef, Hokitika, Greymouth and Westport.

The West Coast Ambassador Programme explores what makes our region such a unique and genuine experience for our visitors’ stay with us. It is about consistently exceeding our visitors’ expectations, enabling more intimate connections through the telling of compelling stories, and the delivery of outstanding customer service.

Visitor numbers are constantly growing with 870,000 people visiting the region in 2017. Tourism is now the second biggest industry on the West Coast, contributing $522 million to our economy.

DWC chief executive Chris Mackenzie says to encourage these visitors to stay longer and spend more it is important the West Coast positions itself as a world-class centre for service excellence.

“Visitor spending supports local businesses and in turn the local community. We are all in this together, so everyone should get behind this and become an Ambassador for the West Coast,” says Mr Mackenzie.

Ian Johnson from Sustainable Tourism and Thematic Interpretation NZ says: “during the programme we share information visitors will find both interesting and helpful, explore the history of the region, and highlight some simple customer service and communication tools with which to create meaningful connections with people from all over the world.

“Starting with our amazing geography, the first Māori settlers and guardians of the pounamu to the first European explorers and fortune seekers, through to present day and beyond, you will be immersed into the history and legends of the West Coast,” Mr Johnson says.

Tourism West Coast CEO Jim Little recommends the Ambassador Programme to anyone in the tourism and hospitality industries.

“It helps teach participants not just about the amazing sites our untamed natural wilderness is famous for, but it goes deeper by looking into the history of the West Coast. If you are looking for a region rich in interesting stories, and quirky characters, you cannot beat the Coast,” Mr Little says.

“Sharing these stories helps give visitors a better experience and appreciation of our region.”

The West Coast Ambassador Programme is a three-hour workshop and costs $30 per person to attend.


Registrations and more info:

Greymouth (1 March, 9:30am-12:30pm)

Hokitika (8 March, 9:30am-12:30pm)

Westport (15 March, 9:30am-12:30pm)

Franz Josef (22 March, 9:30am-12:30pm)


Business pitches full of innovation and inspiration marked the recent graduation night for the nine participants of DWC’s Co.Starters programme.

Delivered in Westport by BullerREAP and EPIC Westport, Co.Starters is a nine-week programme that equips aspiring entrepreneurs with the insights, relationships and tools needed to turn business ideas into action.

DWC trustee Brent Oldham, who has been to all six graduations in Westport, was impressed with the innovative business ideas on display.

“Every time I think we’ve emptied the barrel and exhausted the number of local business ideas, yet each time I keep getting surprised with the number of participants and the quality of business ideas coming through Co.Starters,” he said.

The most recent participants represented a wide range of start-up and developing businesses throughout the Buller district, including an artist, professional supervision services, graphic design, a self-publishing author, bitcoin mining, wedding planning and erosion protection solutions.

Toni O’Keefe took home the ‘best pitch’ award for her presentation on Westlock Concrete Solutions Ltd. Toni, along with her three other business partners, have all been directly affected by coastal erosion, and have developed a unique, interlocking concrete block solution that can be poured on site.

This innovative, locally developed solution to a major issue has a lot of potential, and was reflective of the inspiring ideas on display during the graduation night.

2018 12 19 Co.Starters

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 January 2019)

The Tai Poutini West Coast Economic Update for the year to March 2018 is now available to download.

Since 2012 the West Coast has been in the grip of an economic downturn. However, the latest data provides a clear indication the economy is now on the road to recovery. It is very encouraging to see the positive trends emerging within the region’s economic indicators.

Download a copy of the Economic Update to gain detailed insights on the region’s economy.

2019 04 04 Econ Update cover