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Thomson Butchery was established 16 years ago by Neville and Lynley Thomson following the cessation of native forestry logging in New Zealand. 

“When looking for employment in and around Hari Hari – there was nothing available,” Neville says.

Now Neville and Lynley are creating employment themselves with their award-winning butchery.

Initially starting as a small home-kill service, Thomson Butchery quickly grew into a significant business. Following requests to supply Fresh Choice, SuperValue and New World supermarkets across the South Island, Thomson’s contacted DWC to assist with finance to extend the existing building and employ additional staff to meet the increase in production.

“Having support from DWC has allowed us to grow our business and create new jobs in the area,” Neville says.

Being a fourth-generation butcher, Neville takes pride in the traditional methods of processing that have been passed down through the generations.

Neville and Lynley’s hard work and passion were evident when Thomson Butchery took part in the 2018 New Zealand Pork, Bacon and Ham Awards in Auckland. They were the proud recipients of gold awards for both their manuka smoked honey dew collar bacon and middle bacon.

This adds to their growing trophy cabinet. In 2017 they took home gold for their collar bacon and in 2016 they received silver for their streaky bacon and bronze for their dry cured bacon with cloves.

Despite the growing accolades and ever-increasing customers across New Zealand, Neville and Lynley choose to keep their business on the West Coast.

“Why live anywhere else? We have a million-dollar lifestyle here in Hari Hari and can still do business with the rest of the country. We have freight companies coming to our door, and courier companies who can send anywhere in New Zealand in 24 hours,” Neville says.

Try some of Thomson Butchery’s award-winning bacon from a local supermarket or order online at

Broadway before and after

Paul Thomas, joint-owner of the Broadway Tearooms, shares his insights on Reefton.

The revitalisation of Reefton has actually been a three-decade plus initiative, starting with the Reefton Community Company in the 1980s, then ‘Reefton Revival’ group in the mid 1990s that gave attention to building design and a strategic direction based on the heritage values of the town. 

ITP Reefton Promotions then took over the baton and initiated a town vision that was predominantly based on the town’s main street, Broadway, to bring back the distinctive character of the street’s heritage shop buildings, many of which reflected part of their goldfields character of the 1870s and beyond, but had been modified over time to compromise their appearance. Born from the vision was the Reefton ‘Shop Front’ project.

The idea of the Reefton Shop Front project was to emphasise Reefton’s distinctiveness; make it stand out from other towns, to engender pride from local people in their town, to create a destination town for visitors and to develop the town economically.

The revitalisation of any place is not a sprint, but a marathon. This community-led initiative has met the challenge, it has endured the marathon and produced an inspirational result. Reefton is now renowned as a thriving and vibrant town, which stands out from the crowd in New Zealand.

As a consequence of the revitalisation local people now have great pride in their place. Visitors stream in, people desire to come and live, and people are upbeat about the town’s economy. Further investment into the town is being achieved such as the recent startup Reefton Distilling Co that opened in 2018. This business initiative puts a stamp of confidence on the town and its future.

As part of the shop front project team, I would say, nothing beats community-led initiatives. The investment by DWC into Reefton through the shop front project was an innovative model, a leap of faith at the time for community-led economic development, a leap of faith at the time for the investment made, but it has created immeasurable results that have ensured the strong possibility of the town having long-term sustainability.

That is a fantastic outcome.

Broadway plan

DWC Westland Sports Hub

Development West Coast (DWC) chair Renee Rooney is pleased to announce DWC have secured major naming rights for the DWC Westland Sports Hub.

“The West Coast has a rich history of sporting success, but the importance of sport to our regiongoes far deeper than these achievements. Sport has long brought Coasters together, helping buildthriving communities across our region,” says Mrs Rooney.

“Development West Coast is proud to partner with the Westland Sports Hub to support the majorupgrade of sporting facilities in Hokitika. It will be a big game changer for Westland, benefiting most sporting codes, while importantly providing a venue to bring our communities closer together.”

Development West Coast, through the Westland District Council, has allocated $1.5 million MDI funding for this project.

Westland High School Board Chair, Latham Martin said: “We have negotiated a further financial contribution from Development West Coast to accompany the naming rights. This will help with anyother operational costs, including maintenance and administration of the facility.”

Fundraising Chair, Ange Keenan said that the fundraising efforts for the facility were still underway,and further naming sponsors were being sought for the facility.

“We are in the process of looking for naming sponsors for the courts and gymnasium, as well as individuals to sponsor the DWC Westland Sports Hub. We have plenty of sponsorship options for you, your family or your business to support this forward-thinking community project.”

2019 06 05 DWC support for Westland Sports Hub


Reefton Shop Fronts

From the desk of Helen Wilson - Research and Innovation Manager

Amongst economic development professionals it is accepted that the most successful projects take time to realise measurable benefits. Sixteen years ago, DWC in its very early years became a financial supporter of one such project.

The ‘Reefton Shop Front’ project had its beginnings in 2003 when a delegation from Inangahua Tourism Promotions (ITP) in Reefton came to the then West Coast Development Trust with a proposal to 'do-up' some of the shop fronts in Reefton’s main street, Broadway, to make the town more attractive to, and I quote, “shoppers and stoppers”.

The vision that the then ITP group had when they brought their proposal to the Trustees of the time was gutsy and for the long-term. DWC provided a commercial loan to ITP, who were then able to on lend to shop owners at very reasonable rates, enabling the business owners to renovate their shop fronts in a heritage style. Broadway and Reefton at large as we know it today began its revival.

While only a few took part in the first phase, it very much set the scene for more developments to follow. Other phases enabled more to come on board and some owners wanting to contribute to the town’s revitalisation took their own initiatives to upgrade their buildings. In essence the project was transformational in taking the town forward for long-term sustainability.

Sixteen years down the track and the benefits are evident for both the community and visitors to the town. It was an early economic development project that DWC is proud to have supported.

On re-reading the original application it was interesting to note a quote in support from the well-known international community development leader, Peter Kenyon.

“Nowadays towns are really not so different from businesses, they need to keep recreating themselves. The successful towns are likely to be driven by people who are passionate and creative, who see an opportunity and go for it. Some have it, some don’t. Reefton has it!”

Reefton - Broadway

DWC's regional tourism manager in China meeting travel agents.

Jim Little is currently in China where he attended an event at the Beijing Embassy with tourism minister Hon Kelvin Davis, CEO of Tourism New Zealand Stephen England-Hall, chair of Tourism New Zealand Jamie Tuuta and Rebecca Huang the general manager of China Southern Airlines.

Mr Little has given a presentation showcasing the West Coast to around 200 travel agents at the Beijing Westin Hotel. He will now travel with Christchurch Airport and China Southern Airlines to Shanghai and Guangzhou where he will present to an estimated 720 travel agents and airline sales staff.

Mr Little is armed with a presentation, translated into simplified Chinese, and a translated West Coast activity guide for agents.

The Chinese market is New Zealand's second-largest visitor market and most valuable in terms of holiday visitor spend. From May 2018 to April 2019, Chinese visitors spent $1,744 million in New Zealand, with $22 million spent on the West Coast. The spend on the West Coast was down during this period due to the loss of the Waiho bridge.

2019 07 02 Showcasing our Untamed Natural Wilderness