A symposium next month will examine the challenges and potential for the Bay of Plenty of the 60-years-plus "silver economy", which the event's organisers say is now the third-biggest economy in the world after the USA and China.

The Silver Economy Symposium, to be held at Mills Reef Winery, Tauranga, on August 11, is co-organised by SUPA-NZ - an entrepreneurial not-for-profit focused on the impact of population ageing - and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

"It is a leading edge event to stimulate thinking and innovation on the potential for growing a silver economy, which is an upside to ageing," says SUPA-NZ national convenor Carole Gordon. The source for the silver economy being the third-biggest in the world is a report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Michael Hodin, executive director of the Global Coalition on Ageing, will be the key presenter at the symposium, with NZ economist and columnist Bernard Hickey as key speaker. They will be joined by a panel of experts.


"The power of the silver economy is likely to become an influential market force in New Zealand as people over 60 become the fastest-growing sector of the population," said Ms Gordon.

The New Zealand population over 65 years is growing faster than the traditional working age population, she said.

And the Western Bay of Plenty sub-region is super-ageing, with the number of boomer mature and older people expected to double, and grow to more than 73,000 by 2030 to exceed 30 per cent of the population.

"They are valuable consumers and contributors to the region," she said. "Many businesses now realise that that it is their loyal, mature customer that is the key to sustaining business."

The event organisers said the 60-plus generation presented an opportunity for entrepreneurs, innovators, investors and policy makers to respond to the ageing needs of an influential, wealthy, well-educated, socially conscious, green, globalised, brand-conscious, loyal and internet adept generation.

The New Zealand Business of Ageing report 2015 projected a silver economy value of $65billion by 2051.

"There is a new and growing silver marketplace that meets the quality of life challenges and demands of increased longevity," said Ms Gordon.