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New WEDS Duo on the Job!

The potential of Wairarapa will be unleashed through a new Wairarapa Economic Development Strategy. WellingtonNZ, the region’s economic development agency, have combined forces with all three Wairarapa councils to govern and fund the economic development agency for Wairarapa on a long-term basis.

The WEDS was first developed in 2018 under the umbrella of the now disbanded Provincial Growth Fund. A refresh is currently underway driven by WellingtonNZ and the three local Councils. It will result in a focused new action plan to drive positive outcomes including areas such as water resilience, a value added food and fibre strategy, an enhanced tourism offer, addressing the availability and affordability of housing, business and skills development , digital connectivity, and the development of the Maori economy.

The WEDS sits under the management umbrella of WellingtonNZ, while being jointly funded with the three Wairarapa Councils. This ensures local-level ownership, whilst maintaining a cohesive link with the wider Wellington strategy.

The CEO of WellingtonNZ, John Allen, is excited with the sharper-focused strategy and the way it will be delivered. “We partnered with local councils to ensure they are on board with the new action plan and we will listen carefully to what stakeholders tell us via their feedback. Collaboration is at the heart of this initiative, and the unified vision it creates will foster an environment of success to benefit Wairarapa’s businesses and residents as well as visitors to the region.”

Mayor Greg Lang has been a long-term advocate of economic development and says it’s an exciting time, with Wairarapa humming despite Covid challenges.

‘’The Wairarapa Mayors agree it’s so important we get it right…hit the sweet spot to get the best economic outcomes while being conscious of the environmental, social and cultural factors”.

Image Left to right: Jacinda Johnston (Programme Manager) and Natasha Kyd (Programme Coordinator) under the Gladstone community signpost.

Jacinda grew up in rural Masterton and graduated from Wairarapa College before seeking a military career. She is retiring her Lieutenant Commander Rankslides to take on a new challenge after 18 years’ service. With a home base in Gladstone, she is already heavily invested in the local community.

Jacinda notes that the NZDF has prepared her well for running effective operations on a tight budget with limited personnel. “My job is to keep the plan on track, keep people connected and maximise results within our budget. WEDS is unique because we can go ‘outside the wire’ to advocate for the Wairarapa and connect innovation with funding”.

Tash, originally a Waikato girl, moved to the Wairarapa in 2020 to join the Wairarapa Water project team following time in Canterbury working with water infrastructure in environmental compliance and project coordination. Tash is excited to share her time in this role with the workforce development groups to build the skills of our people.

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