Two important events were staged in Kerikeri during Waitangi week that will have long lasting effects across the communities of Northland. Those events were the breakfast launch of the Tai Tokerau Maori Growth Strategy and the release by the Hon. Steven Joyce, Minister for Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE), of the Northland Regional Growth Study.
“This is the most comprehensive report written on the Northland economy in many years,” Mr Joyce says. “It clearly lays out the investment opportunities available in the region, the significant employment opportunities, and the crucial role that Maori, iwi and hapū can play in its growth.”
The release of the Northland Regional Growth Study (RGS) marks the culmination of several months’ work for Northland Inc staff as the lead agency for the region partnering with MBIE and the Ministry for Primary Industries in the design, commissioning and conduct of the report. Intensive stakeholder engagement and data analysis was undertaken by consultants Martin Jenkins guided by an advisory group made up of regional stakeholders.
The real ‘value add’ of the study for Northland however will be generated through conversion of the findings into actions. The RGS goes on to say that ‘The next step is for Northland Inc, in consultation with industry representatives, Māori/iwi/hapū, local and central government agencies, to develop a full action plan to determine how each of the opportunities identified in this study will be implemented, how they will be resourced, the major tasks and milestones involved, and the roles of different organisations.’
This is a huge undertaking for a small agency like Northland Inc, one that will require support from business, Maori, local and central government and academia. At the launch of the RGS Minister Joyce supported by ministerial colleagues Nathan Guy and Te Ururoa Flavell committed their support the implementation of the RGS. Northland’s endorsement of the RGS at the launch was provided by Ngati Wai Chairman Haydn Edmonds and NEAG Chair Graham Dawson.
Additional to their input to the Regional Growth Strategy, Northland Inc have a developing relationship with the Iwi Chief Executive Consortium, who produced the Tai Tokerau Maori Growth Strategy called ‘He Tangata He Whenua He Oranga’.
David Wilson CEO Northland Inc says “this is an exciting time for Northland, both the Regional Growth Study and He Tangata He Whenua He Oranga provide platforms for the region to come together and realise the potential in the region. We must now look to put the mechanisms in place that will do just that.”