West Coast Famils
DWC works closely with local tourism operators to bring international travel sellers and media to the West Coast to familiarise themselves with what our amazing region has to offer.
These familiarisation (famil) programmes help boost the profile and visibility of the Coast within a competitive visitor market. The success of these famils would not be possible without the generous support of our tourism members who sponsor around $400k a year worth of in-kind product towards famils - the second highest amount within New Zealand.
As the year comes to a close, we would like to thank our tourism members for supporting these famils and helping promote our Untamed Natural Wilderness.
Coasters value and respect their region, and are proud to live, work, and operate businesses here. We have diversity in our region, and an inter-dependent economy. Most importantly, what we do, we strive to do it well.
There are many reasons Coasters choose to live, work, play, invest and raise families here.
Just like years gone by, our region is rich with opportunity, but with opportunities come challenges, and this will be the same for future generations of Coasters.
Coasters understand the need to be both economically and environmentally sustainable. At times, balancing that can be a challenge.
Our region needs a strong economy. A strong economy means security of work for small to medium sized businesses supporting large industry. It means thriving communities, with strong school rolls, sports clubs, community facilities, shops and restaurants.
We are fortunate to have such diversity in our business sector. It’s essential we retain this, and also attract new business and innovation to the Coast.
Land-based and primary-sector industries are the backbone of our region. On the Coast, primary industries make up 23 percent of our GDP, compared to only 7 percent for New Zealand.
This shows how dependent on our land and environment we are and why we must operate in a sustainable way.
We know tourism is also a vital economic driver for our region, relying on good infrastructure and products from our land.
Our region is unique. Despite its long geographical spread, only around 16 percent of land is rateable. Add a low population base of 32,600 and it can be a perfect storm.
Access to market is essential for the West Coast – our roading and rail networks, ports, and electricity supply are key to our economic success and resilience.
No matter what the industry, we know Coasters can operate businesses whilst also being good custodians of the land. We are aware of the environment we operate in. We understand our constraints. We are innovative in our thinking, and can adapt and find solutions.
Coasters have always been trailblazers with a real entrepreneurial zeal, and our business community demonstrates this in spades. We may have less than one percent of New Zealand’s population, but that has never stopped Coasters punching above their weight and succeeding on the national and international stage - not just in business, but in sporting success as well.
We have a provenance stories to be proud of. Reefton Distilling Co. has won awards nationally and internationally, and Maruia Hot Springs recently won two awards at the World Luxury Spa Awards. We also have New Zealand’s best butter, New Zealand’s best bacon, and New Zealand’s best toastie sandwiches! The list goes on.
With access to the resources our pristine natural environment offers, our innovative businesses can produce value-add products and services from the purest sources and our industries can continue driving our economy.
Working collaboratively with all stakeholders is essential to achieving good outcomes for our region. Our region is a large footprint with a small population – and while we have it all, we need it all.
(DWC Chair - Renee Rooney)
NZTA working closely with KiwiRail on Omoto Slip Site.
In a meeting on 5 November 2019, NZTA and KiwiRail updated Mayor Tania Gibson, the Grey District BPA and DWC on progress with the Omoto slip site. NZTA is working closely with KiwiRail to ensure long-term security for both the state highway and rail link. A drill rig is on site draining water from the slip surface with drilling expected to be complete by Monday 18 November, weather dependent.
For latest progress updates visit: www.nzta.govt.nz/projects/sh7-omoto-east-landslide/
MEDIA RELEASE: 5 November 2019 3:23 pm | NZ Transport Agency
Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency and KiwiRail say work is progressing on draining the Omoto slip site, with a drill rig now on site to undertake drainage of water from the slip surface.
The rig will be installing boreholes today to monitor groundwater, before starting the drainage drilling later this week.
“Movement at the slip has steadied over the last week, however we continue to regularly monitor ground movement to ensure the safety of our workers,” says Moira Whinham, Maintenance Contract Manager for the Transport Agency on the West Coast.
“We are monitoring the weather forecast over the next 10 days and continually assessing what impact it may have on our work.
“This stage of drilling work is expected to be complete by Monday 18 November, weather dependant, and we will be able to share more details of what our next steps will be after that.
“We appreciate the disruption and inconvenience this is causing, particularly to residents in Kaiata and Dobson, and ask for their continued patience while we work on a robust repair strategy,” Ms Whinham says.
“The Transport Agency is working closely with KiwiRail to ensure that we can provide long-term security for both the state highway and rail link.”
KiwiRail South Island General Operations Manager Jeanine Benson says “KiwiRail knows how important this is for the West Coast and our customers there, and we are determined to resume running the world-class TranzAlpine service all the way to Greymouth, and to get our customers’ freight onto rail.
Until the repairs are completed the TranzAlpine will continue to run between Christchurch and Arthur’s Pass, with passengers bussed between there and Greymouth.
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.
Co.Starters graduate Jan Fraser has turned her passion into a business. Through her business Lomah Felt, she turns raw wool and silk into high-end felted woollen garments, boots and accessories.
“I grew up on a farm in the King Country, so I guess that is where my appreciation for wool started,” she says.
Jan was surrounded by a love of art while she was growing up. Her grandmother was an artist and her mother and aunt were involved with arts and crafts around New Zealand. After leaving school Jan went on to study craft design at Waikato Polytech.
“I then spent the rest of my life raising children and doing work I didn’t really enjoy,” she says.
“Around 20 years ago I had a dream of owning a piece of land and calling it LOMAH – Land of Milk and Honey – from the story of Moses and the Israelites waiting in the wilderness to enter their promised land. It hasn’t quite been their forty years, but I now have my own slice of paradise at Barrytown.”
Jan has fallen in love with the West Coast and the inspiration its untamed natural wilderness provides.
“To express myself as an artist it is important I am somewhere that harmonises with my senses. The Coast is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places on earth. From mist rising off the forest after the rain to glistening snowy mountains, comfortably hot late summer days, native birdsong at the break of day and the smell of the sea - what more could you want?” she says.
“Apart from briefly dabbling with felt-making at Polytech, I only really got into it about two years ago. I made some booties for my grandchildren and it just took off from there. I have done a couple of training workshops with world-class felt-makers in the past year and decided this is what I want to do for work.
“I was still mulling over the idea - ‘could I turn my hobby into an income’. I wanted to give it a go but had zero experience or knowledge about how to make it a reality.”
To help progress her ideas, Jan signed up for DWC’s Co.Starters business start-up and development programme being run by WestREAP in Greymouth.
“This was a great course for me and at the right time. I had the ideas for my business but didn’t know how to develop it. Co.Starters ran me through the whole process from market research to the legal stuff. I left feeling confident with an ‘I can do this’ attitude and was able to figure out the next steps in developing my business.
“I want to take growing Lomah Felt quite slowly. Of more value to me, and my business, is that I gain a name as a felt-maker and artist who produces high quality items. This is not something you can fake. You can’t launch yourself to the world and say - ‘here I am, I am a world class felt-maker’. You have to work to get that recognition. That is my goal.
“The Coast is not a region known for its wool, but I have found some excellent wool grown right here that is perfect for boot making. Others import the right kind of wool from Europe, but this is better. NZ’s merino growing zone is right on our doorstep. This means I can keep my ‘footprint’ low by purchasing one of my principle raw materials locally.
“For other materials I use the internet. I can live in this beautiful quiet place and still have access to the world market. The price of real estate here on the Coast means that my dream of owning a small lifestyle block and running a business from home can be a reality. I couldn’t afford to do this anywhere else.”
Industry Connections Award
Development West Coast's tourism team has won the Industry Connections Award at the 2019 New Zealand Tourism Awards.
DWC picked up the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment Industry Connections Award at the gala dinner held at Christchurch’s Horncastle Arena, attended by more than 430 industry leaders and supporters.
The award was recognition for the ‘Come through for the West Coast’ campaign, which was run following the reopening of the Waiho Bridge.
The loss of the Waiho Bridge in March during an extreme weather event created a major disruption to the tourism sector with the economic impact felt Coast-wide. The financial loss was estimated at $50.4 million.
After the bridge was rebuilt, DWC ran a $47,000 campaign to attract visitors back to the Coast in the lead up to the Easter Holidays.
DWC’s regional tourism manager Jim Little says the campaign successfully recreated visitor demand by bringing together eight regional promotions groups, the Department of Conservation, KiwiRail, Christchurch Airport and 229 tourism businesses from Karamea in the north to Haast in the south.
“It also fostered valuable ongoing connections between all those involved.”
Data from Paymark shows the West Coast had New Zealand’s biggest percentage increase in spending following the reopening of the Waiho Bridge, rising from $7.8m for the week ending 22 April in 2018 to $10m in 2019.