Passionate people affect and are often drivers of positive change. Sitting in a monthly meeting last week with the Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan (TTNEAP) working group, this notion had never rung truer for me.
Across the Zoom call was a collection of people representing central government agencies, local government bodies, community, iwi and hapū organisations and representatives of industry.
Since the inception of the TTNEAP plan five years ago, this group has met on a monthly basis to help support and champion projects, which from an economic development perspective will be and have been transformational for our region. Their passion for affecting positive change and seeing the economic outcomes of the region improve is inspiring.
My job here at Northland Inc is supporting economic development projects and opportunities in Tai Tokerau, some of which are projects in the TTNEAP, to become investment ready and securing the investment required to bring the project to life.
I work across all sectors and industries and with a wide range of organisations, but the one commonality is that they are all led and supported by people who have a desire to create positive change for not only their organisations but also for the betterment of the region. They are clear about what they want to achieve and are willing to dedicate the time and effort required to get there.
As a result, you do not need to look too hard to discover a plethora of projects that are currently in the planning or execution phase here in Northland. Once implemented, these projects will have a transformational impact on key sectors within our economy, bringing with them opportunities for further investment, employment, and positive social outcomes.
Take the development of the Ngāwhā Innovation and Enterprise Park as an example of this. A project within the Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan, in 2020 the project received a significant amount of funding from central government to bring the opportunity to life.
Its development is currently being supported by a range of organisations including Far North Holdings Limited, Far North District Council, Ngati Rangi, Northland Inc and the Ministry of Social Development, which are all united in achieving the goals of the park - to generate employment opportunities in the Kaikohe area, to boost the productivity and GDP of the district and the region, to encourage and enable the use of Māori land for the benefit of iwi and hapū, and to protect land and water resources.
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Without the vision and the persistence of the early supporters of this project, Ngāwhā Innovation and Enterprise Park would not currently be in development or have some of the cornerstone tenants already operational on the park, creating employment opportunities for the mid-North.
For me, projects like this fill my cup and provide me with confidence for the economic future of our region. With passionate people who have big ideas and a drive to see them to fruition already plentiful in the region, I believe there are no limitations on what can be achieved for Te Tai Tokerau Northland.
• Codie McIntyre is a business analyst at Northland Inc, the regional economic development agency.