With advocates such as Hawke's Bay Regional Council chairman Fenton Wilson, councillor Rex Graham and Napier MP Stuart Nash, support is being rallied throughout the region for Wairoa District Council's bid to "put Hawke's Bay on the map forever".

The council is trying to secure the manufacturing facility for Auckland-based company Rocket Lab.

The firm has nearly finished construction of New Zealand's first commercial rocket launch site on Mahia Peninsula.

It will be the first launch site of Rocket Lab's Electron launch vehicle, with the first test flight scheduled for mid-2016, followed by flights each month.


Mr Wilson wrote to the region's mayors and Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon before Easter to encourage them to get behind Wairoa.

"It's unchartered territory but it's not beyond the region," he said.

"It's a great chance for leaders of the region to come together and show the East Coast can get things done, can be co-coordinated and it's not a bad place to do business in.

"I think it's time for the regional leaders to come together and show a bit of co-ordinated effort for something that could be good for the whole region."

It was also part of the regional council's long-term plan to focus on the economic development in Wairoa.

A Rocket Lab spokeswoman said the company was evaluating multiple sites for the manufacture and maintenance of its vehicles in New Zealand but at this stage no decision had been made.

Local government support is needed to receive support from central government, with the Wairoa council asking for both moral and financial backing for the completion of its business case to the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment for funding.

Last week Wairoa District Council conducted briefings to show the town was "a serious player".

Wairoa District Mayor Craig Little said in order for the proposal to be successful the council needed "to get the whole region behind us" and it would be a test as to whether or not the region could work together.

"People don't comprehend how big this is.

"It makes Hawke's Bay a focus all around the world. It's the next stage of Cape Canaveral," he said.

"This is a rocket-launching facility. This will put Hawke's Bay on the map forever and for us to be successful, we need the support of the whole region.

"We talk about the region working together but we don't seem to be doing it and this is the best opportunity for anything of this magnitude to come to the Bay."

Wairoa council chief executive Fergus Power said discussions with the ministry were beginning.

"We're putting forward a case to [Minister Steven Joyce], that Crown investiture in infrastructure surrounding space launch tourism is a good investment for the country as a whole, including the East Coast and the Hawke's Bay region," he said.

Mr Little could not say how much money the council was asking for from the ministry but it was "a lot".

He also said he can't talk about what the money would be used for but the proposal for Rocket Lab could be costly to put together and there were other expenses if it was to be successful.

"It will cost initially but the benefit will far outweigh the costs," he said.

If the bid was successful it would not just affect Wairoa but would be huge for Hawke's Bay, Mr Little said.

He understood there would be about 300 jobs involved with the plant and guessed another 300 associated with those jobs.

Mr Power said Rocket Lab needed to come to a decision.

"You could argue there is a social contract at play, where the risk and burden associated with the rocket launch, even though it's small, is being borne by the people of Mahia Peninsula and Wairoa," he said.

"The expectation is there will be the potential for jobs in the future."

The other leaders of the region have said they are behind Wairoa.

Central Hawke's Bay Mayor Peter Butler said his council would back Wairoa the whole way and he would be disappointed if the plant went to another city.

"When an opportunity like that comes up, us smaller towns have to grab it with both hands," Mr Butler said.

"If Wairoa can get that and it works, then other companies could look at smaller towns."

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton said he and his council were 100 per cent in support of Wairoa in its project.

"Wairoa not only can [do it], it deserves this project and I would be absolutely delighted to support every endeavour to make sure it works," he said.

When asked if he thought the different councils could work together, Mr Dalton said he hoped so.

"Napier is more than happy to work alongside Wairoa because it's a great project for the region," he said.

"I think we can all get together and do what's right for Wairoa."

Hastings District Council would be supporting Wairoa and Mayor Lawrence Yule said he was absolutely behind the idea in principle but needed to understand what was being asked of Hastings.

"We need to understand what the Rocket Lab proposal means," Mr Yule said. "Is it letters of support, or do we need to work as a region to provide components for it?

"It's a great concept, great idea. If Wairoa pulls it off it will be a game-changer."

Napier MP Stuart Nash, an advocate for Wairoa's bid, said it was "imperative" the region's leaders work together.

"We need all the support we can get in order to maximise Wairoa's potential around the Rocket Lab opportunity and Mr Fenton is an elected official, so it is good of him to put his support behind this."

"If we can present a united front, then it gives other businesses the confidence to invest in the region," Mr Nash said.

"There's absolutely no downside."