For the past month DWC has had a roving Wikipedian working on the Coast to improve the region’s profile in the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.

“Wikipedia is increasingly the first port of call for those looking up facts or planning travel. Wikipedia has over six million articles in English, but the volunteer community in New Zealand is quite small so our coverage is often second-rate,” says Dr Mike Dickison.

Recent research has shown that improving an area's presence in Wikipedia can increase tourist stays by 9%, so it is in everyone's interest for the West Coast to have good accurate information and photos available.

Dr Dickison, who previously spent a year as NZ Wikipedian at Large, has spent four weeks working in Westport, Greymouth, and Hokitika, and is about to spend a fortnight in the Glacier Country. He has given presentations for tourism operators explaining what they can and can't do with Wikipedia, and run workshops for heritage organisations like Hokitika Museum and History House to help them make their photo collections available under an open licence. Dr Dickison has also run public Wikipedia trainings to build a base of local volunteers who can keep working on articles independently.

The project has been helped by over a dozen volunteers all over New Zealand and Australia working remotely on West Coast topics. Every day they report on their progress, and every week get a virtual "Postcard from the Coast" in their inbox with ideas and tasks for the weeks to come. The volunteers have created numerous West Coast articles, including articles on the Hokitika Gorge, Hokitika Museum, the Rūnunga Miners' Hall, and Ōkārito Lagoon. An article about the Hokitika Town Clock was featured on Wikipedia's home page for a day attracting thousands of readers.

A major part of the project has been trying to make a good photo gallery available for every West Coast place, person, or institution covered in Wikipedia. The Wikipedian at Large has been taking photographs of every historic building, and working with professional photographers who have generously donated some of their work to the public domain. Stewart Nimmo, Jase Blair, and Charlie Bruning have all supplied photos, and over 725 have been added to the free photo library Wikimedia Commons so far.

Over the next two weeks, the project will improve coverage of the Glacier Country, with Dr Dickison then heading to Reefton.

2020 10 12 Wikipedian at Large 2

Participants of the Editing Wikipedia workshop help recently in Hokitika.

Showcasing West Coast food & beverages.

November will see a celebration of West Coast food and beverages, with the DWC led event Naturally West Coast Food 2020.

The month-long event will showcase gastronomic delights created with the region’s finest food and beverages. Participating restaurants and cafés will offer a signature dish using a key ingredient sourced locally. This could be anything from West Coast wild game, whitebait, fresh produce to salmon from South Westland.

DWC Chief Executive Heath Milne says: "with the dishes all featuring some of our best produce and ingredients, November is set to raise awareness of the Coast as a place for foodies.”

“Our region produces some of New Zealand’s top food. We have award-winning bacon from Harihari and salami from Blackball. Westgold is recognised as the country’s best butter, beer brewed here is the best in the world, and Reefton Distilling Co. is winning award after award on both the national and international stage.

“As a region we have a lot to celebrate about our food and beverage sector. We look forward to seeing the innovative dishes our local chefs come up with.”

Mr Milne is calling on the community to get involved and enjoy the delicious array of dishes that will be on offer.

“With Naturally West Coast Food we are also reaching out to the rest of the country, inviting them to come and enjoy some amazing cuisine. Our untamed natural wilderness is the perfect environment to produce healthy, sustainable food."

The DWC run event will be supported by the Restaurant Association of New Zealand, Monteith’s and NZME. It will be part of a big regional marketing drive by DWC aligned with Tourism New Zealand’s national marketing push throughout the month of November.

Enjoy the West Coast, a Foodies Paradise! https://westcoast.co.nz/food/

Restaurants and cafés wishing to participate can contact DWC for more information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Naturally West Coast Food 2020 logo

Wellbeing workshops.

Around 30 people attended the workshop facilitated by Hannah Fitzgibbon (Hannah Fitzgibbon Facilitation) and Astiana Trouland (Hauora Coaching).

DWC capability and growth advisor Ian Johnson said the workshop demonstrated that we need to be more forward in looking after ourselves and bringing our communities closer in times of doubt and crisis.

“The day that Hannah and Asti put together was extraordinary. The energy was contagious. Everything was practical and implementable. The statements on the value of the day from the attendees were profound and moving.

“Thank you Hannah and Asti for doing exactly the right thing at the right time,” said Ian.

Kimmy Nolan from HeliServices.NZ attended the workshop.

“It was brilliant. It actually made me stop and have a moment of time to myself. It made me appreciate more of what I do with myself, and it was really enjoyable.

“The girls presented in such a way that is understandable and relatable. And Ian tops it up with some really good life experiences. If it’s a course that you’re thinking about, I highly recommend that you go along, you won’t be disappointed,” said Kimmy.

As a result of the overwhelmingly positive attendance and feedback DWC have agreed to support another full day, Wellbeing Workshop at Shantytown on Wednesday November 4th.

The event is free to all owners, business managers and nominated staff who believe there is some real value to be had in ‘looking after yourself’ so you can in turn look after and support the people you feel responsible for. The content and strategies delivered are fact-based, robust, practical, and designed to be implemented.



2020 09 15 Wellbeing Workshop

The Institute of Directors New Zealand (IoD) are currently receiving applications for their “First Steps in Governance Award’.

The award provides the opportunity for a West Coast young professional to gain governance experience in the not-for-profit sector with an internship on the Development West Coast board.

The recipient of the award will also receive:

  • one year’s complimentary membership with IoD.
  • one year’s complimentary attendance at all Canterbury branch members’ events.
  • $850 towards an IoD director development course.
  • mentoring from an experienced director.

Applications are sought from individuals who:

  • reside in the West Coast region.
  • are able to demonstrate leadership, integrity and enterprise in their careers.
  • have a range of experience and skills (commercial, community, public service).
  • are able to commit the time to prepare for and attend meetings and associated events.
  • have not held a significant governance role to date (this does not include a role in a local sports, school or community organisation or club).


Development West Coast chair Renee Rooney says DWC are excited to be partnering with IoD on this initiative.

“It provides a fantastic opportunity for a young professional on the Coast to further their business experience, gain insight into good governance practice and learn about the dynamics of sitting on a board.”

Since 2001, DWC has provided development opportunities to aspiring leaders in the region through the West Coast Leadership and Governance programme. Renee views the First Steps in Governance Award as another great opportunity to build capabilities.

“Having more people in our communities with strong governance capabilities is of immense importance to our region for its growth, success and sustainability into the future.”

View more information or contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Media Release: 6 October 2020

DWC’s Co.Starters business start-up and development programme is set to begin in Greymouth on 22 September.

The 9-week course is designed to help you find the best approach to starting and growing a business and collaborate with others who share your entrepreneurial spirit as you work through your business model.

Hannah Fitzgibbon attended the previous programme in Greymouth.

"Co.Starters is such an incredible opportunity. It helped me learn a process to work through business ideas eventually leading me to build Hannah Fitzgibbon Facilitation.
"I gained valuable connections, heard stories from business owners in the community and built the belief that running a business was possible for me too. My first clients even came from Co.Starters connections. My business wouldn't be here without the support of this program," she said.

Pana Leontiadu from Wavewise attended the programme in Westport.

“Co.Starters was so helpful in bringing Wavewise to life. The idea was in my head, but I was unsure about how to make my surf therapy programme happen. I didn't know about legal structures to start a social enterprise, how the financial side of things worked and what it takes to present a good pitch to get more support.

"Co.Starters is a great programme, I absolutely recommend it to everyone," Pana said.

If you would like to start your own business, develop your existing business, or explore and develop an idea or project then the Co.Starters programme is for you.

Wavewise