Whanganui is set to benefit from a Government announcement of up to $82.4 million being invested to boost employment in the regions.

Manawatū-Whanganui has been identified as one of five Provincial Growth Fund surge regions that will receive its share of $60m set aside for programmes.

Surge regions are those that face challenges such as high unemployment, low wages and lower productivity compared to the rest of New Zealand.

Strategic lead - education and youth at Whanganui and Partners Hannah Kelly said it was an exciting announcement.


"What being a surge region actually means is that we have a massive potential to grow," Kelly said.

"We have a real strong collaborative of education providers here in Whanganui. That's UCOL, but also all those other foundation providers including secondary schools."

That growth will continue this year with plans to launch an education and training hub, which would build on work done in the community for several years.

Whanganui and Partners chief executive Mark Ward said he was not yet privy to how much of the investment will come to Whanganui.

"It will be based on our vision around the education and training hub. Money always follows the vision, the strategy and the business case," Ward said.

"Given the size of the pie I think there's room for everybody to do what they need to do."

Projects that will benefit from the hub include the town centre regeneration project, port revitalisation, urban shared pathway and welcoming communities.

Ward said the hub will help to rebuild capability in Whanganui as the Manawatū has been doing for decades.


"We've had huge support from the industry telling us that they need it. Everyone's working well together to understand the immediate and the future needs of Whanganui.

"Whanganui is rebuilding some capability, some capacity to have these students and will do it in its own way through its own industries."

Ward said there was strong evidence Whanganui will be a key centre for education, citing the success of places such as the New Zealand International Commercial Pilot Academy.

Other attractions to the region for students included affordability of accommodation, living costs and opportunities to compete in high-level sports.

"We want to engage directly with Government to understand the criteria and to help them understand all of the strengths I've just outlined," Ward said.

"We're going to be very future-focused. We're not going to focus necessarily on today's economy, we're going to play to where the puck is going, not to where the puck is."

The other sure regions to receive funding are Northland, Bay of Plenty, Tairāwhiti and Hawke's Bay.