Richard White is under no illusions that his job will be easy.

On 1 July, the former Trade Commissioner to India from 2012-2015 took on the challenge of managing and operating Whangamata Information Centre - the third to do so in the past two years.

Supported by wife Lynne White and daughter-in-law Rachel Forbes, the new management comes with international visitors a scarcity, and competition between tourism destinations for domestic visitors.

"Things are going to be very quiet obviously initially," Richard told the Whangamata Community Board at its June 30 meeting. "But town's been buzzy, Kiwis are all out there."


Richard has an extensive business background working with high-growth start-ups, SMEs and exporters, and was previously employed by NZ Trade and Enterprise. Prior to that he worked in the commercial and corporate banking field.

Rachel knows the inside out of project and event management, marketing and sponsorship and has worked in London, travelled extensively and is passionate about tourism.

She believes the information centre has the potential to play a significantly more pivotal role in the Whangamata community.

Addressing the board, Richard said ratepayer funding will be important initially, but his goal was to turn the centre into a self-sustaining and commercially viable model over the next four year term.

Digitisation of Whangamata's offerings was a key priority, as was working with local businesses to promote the town.

"The digital age has been with us for some time and we'd like to extend our reach, embrace perhaps some of the younger generations that do things differently to what we're used to," says Richard.

He told the board he and Lynne took a roadie around the Coromandel region to promote themselves and see what's out there.

"When we got back here we realised in this special region just how special Whangamata is. We're passionate advocates and really want that to come through and work with the businesses to get people to stay longer and spend more."