Hamilton mayor Paula Southgate says the city can "take a bow" at last week's announcement that the country's biggest training institution will have its headquarters here.
The Government has confirmed the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (NZIST) – the new national institute made up of 16 polytechnics plus the country's training organisations – will be based in Hamilton.
Southgate said the council and its partners had turned themselves inside out to put Hamilton ahead of at least five other centres also pitching their case. She acknowledged the role of the city's bid partners, particularly Waikato-Tainui, Te Waka and the Waikato Chamber of Commerce.
She also paid tribute to council staff who had done much of the heavy lifting to showcase all the city and wider region had to offer.
"It was a huge amount of work but we had rock-solid support from different sectors and political parties as well as from the wider education and training sector. Nobody wanted this more than our city. The Government has made the right decision, for Hamilton, the wider region and for New Zealand."
The decision was an endorsement of Hamilton's education sector strength and highlighted the city's strategic importance to New Zealand, Southgate said. She also noted Hamilton has had the fast growing tech sector in New Zealand for the past two years.
Company-X, a Hamilton based IT company, is part of that growing IT sector, ranking on the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Asia Pacific for three consecutive years. The company also wrote a submission in support of the NZIST
"Company-X supported the joint registration of interest because it made sense," said Company-X co-founder and director David Hallett.
"We have always seen the Waikato, with Hamilton at its heart, as the Silicon Valley of New Zealand, resplendent with a diverse array of growing businesses in the technology sector."
Company-X co-founder and director Jeremy Hughes welcomed the formation of a national skill and technology institute and was excited to hear Hamilton's bid was successful.
"We've been sponsoring the education and development of students in the Waikato for some time and it's fantastic to see Hamilton chosen as the location for NZIST. We rely on highly skilled graduates coming from our tertiary institutions to compete in the global technology market, helping increase our weightless exports.
Southgate noted the city has benefited from a number of recent Wellington-led decisions. In December plans were announced to fund a new Alcohol and Drug Treatment Court in Hamilton. In late February, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) would also be based in the city.
"Those investment and location decisions are not made lightly. I know the due diligence involved and the effort needed to get them across the line. It shows a real confidence in our city which is well-placed."
NZIST chairman Murray Strong said Hamilton clearly demonstrated it understood the Government's vision for tertiary education.
"They also demonstrated their strong relationships between local government, iwi and central government and a commitment to learners. The strength of Māori business networks was evident as was their commitment to equity for Māori and under-served learners. Their proposal included a warm and sincere welcome and offer of partnership from the Kīngitanga and Waikato-Tainui," Strong said.
"Hamilton is also highly accessible with six NZIST subsidiaries in the vicinity. It has a wide reach to learners and businesses and reflects the diversity of the New Zealand economy."
Te Waka CEO Michael Bassett-Foss said the news is a huge boost for the city and the region at just the right time.
"Winning this competitive bid for NZIST headquarters is a testament to how the Mighty Waikato rallies together when it counts, and we want to thank everyone who helped make it happen, especially our industry leaders who supported the bid.
"The outcome plays to the strong natural attributes that support growth in Waikato with its deep connectivity with Māori and Pasifika population bases and importantly, builds off the strong centres of educational excellence already existing in the region.
"This is another big win that proves our city and region offers significant benefits that continue to attract new business, investment and talent even during the current economic climate," said Bassett-Foss.
Waikato Chamber of Commerce executive director Don Good said he is proud of the cohesive way the bid was put together.
"It was refreshing and inspiring to see so many key organisations and talented individuals come together to secure Hamilton as the NZIST headquarters. Working together on projects such as this demonstrates our collective strength."