With another turbulent year in the rearview mirror, the message from Whanganui and Partners is simple; plenty achieved but plenty more to do.

Whanganui's economic development agency hosted its final public forum of the year on Wednesday as it prepares for a new era when new chief executive Mark Ward begins on January 7.

"We're going to be handing the organisation over in pretty good shape," board chair Myles Fothergill told a smaller-than-usual public forum.

"He's of the calibre that's going to turn this into the rockstar economy that we will be."

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Fothergill said Whanganui's economy was in "pretty good shape but obviously there's a lot to do".

Acting general manager Paul Chaplow said there were positives in that in the year to February there had been 42 new businesses has started up in Whanganui and there were 100 more jobs.

At the other end of the scale, Whanganui's tourism growth was just 2 per cent against a national average of 9 per cent, which was its goal.

Chaplow said a focus for 2019 would be to raise the organisation's profile and make businesses more aware of what it did.