When people think of the Eastern Bay of Plenty they often think about the best sunshine hours in the country shining down on the official “Best Beach in New Zealand”, Ōhope Beach.
However, as the local residents know, there is so much more to the region than beaches alone. Spanning from the Northern tip of the stunning East Cape beaches, to Te Urewera’s rich native bush, to Kawerau’s deep rooted technology and heavy engineering knowledge, the Eastern Bay is a region grounded in cultural history and a booming economy.
With approximately $240 million being invested into catalytic infrastructure by the Provincial Growth Fund, alongside similar values being invested through their project partners, the EBOP is poised for significant growth.
Post-Covid New Zealand has woken up to the fact that the Eastern Bay is one of the best places to live, invest and study.
Many people are returning home and finding an abundance of skilled work available that still allows them a wonderful and affordable lifestyle. In short – New Zealand’s best kept secret is now longer a secret.
What’s causing the buzz in the Eastern Bay?
The significant catalytic investments, in partnerships with public and private entities, largely fall into four key areas:
- Aquaculture off Ōpōtiki;
- High value horticulture to move Maori land up the value chain;
- Kawerau’s Industrial Development and inland port;
- Whakatāne’s Tourism and Marine sectors.
The funding approved for these projects has been amongst the highest in the country with the objective of creating up to 4000 jobs. With a population of only 50,000 people this is creating job opportunities for locals and those that want to move to the region.
Ōpōtiki is the future of New Zealand aquaculture, with both Whakatōhea and Te Whānau-ā-Apanui iwi investing into this area, taking advantage of their significant marine resources.
Mussel farms, established by Whakatōhea Mussels, are to land in the new Ōpōtiki Harbour and be locally processed in the brand-new mussel factory to preserve freshness and quality. The export markets will soon be receiving these delicious locally processed mussels that have proven to be of the highest quality.
As you drive through the Eastern Bay you will notice significant developments in horticulture. With kiwifruit orchardists looking for improved quality and earlier harvests there has been a push towards the Eastern end of the Ōpōtiki District and onto the Rangitaiki plains, where even large dairy farms have transitioned to horticulture – mainly into kiwifruit and blue berries.
With much of the Eastern Bay land still remaining in Maori ownership,the investments are important for creating generational wealth in a sustainable way, as well as creating jobs for locals in remote areas.
By Karl Gradon, GM of Strategy and Ian Morton, GM Operations, at Toi EDA