Latest News & Public Notices

Economic Development quarterly newsletter

08 June 2022

What’s been happening in Economic Development at Thames-Coromandel District Council

Local producers focus of food workshop – with more plans on the way

Coromandel food forum (May 2022)

Eric Pateman, one of the world’s leading consultants and strategists on culinary tourism, led a Coromandel food workshop in May as part of a shared initiative between our Council and Auckland Council’s Economic Development arms.

The purpose of the workshop was to bring together Coromandel food producers and providers to improve collaboration and networking between the local food, hospitality and tourism sector businesses and start to devise an action plan for food tourism opportunities. 

“Auckland is one of our biggest visitor markets, and part of the discussion at the workshop was about how we can balance and manage what the Coromandel food and hospitality sector has to offer with customer expectations and satisfaction,” says Laurna White, the Council's Economic Development and Communications Group Manager.

“It also continues the conversation and planning on what public and private sector action could be made available to help spur innovation in product development, destination development and successful marketing of the Coromandel,” says Mrs White.

Eric Pateman’s work takes him around the world to provide expert advice to the food sector on how to improve and promote local markets better. He also has a focus on seafood and aquaculture, which is why his insights are invaluable to our region.

This workshop is part of our Council’s development of the Coromandel Food Collective work, which is supporting and promoting local food producers and providers. Our role is bringing together the local food and beverage industry to share opportunities and discuss common challenges that could be solved as a collective. We also help put members in touch with organisations and contacts and funding opportunities for food-related businesses and industry on the Coromandel. 

Local and homegrown food is an important part of the Coromandel economy, with mussel farms, organic growers and artisan producers among those helping to establish our district as the pantry of artisan and locally grown food products

In the past we have hosted a stand at the Auckland Food Show, where local producers have been able to showcase their wares to a wider market and allowed them to connect with restaurants and retail outlets from around the country. With the impact of COVID, our approach this year has been to bring food tourism and industry experts to the Coromandel to meet with the sector.

Attending the workshop this week were: 309 Honey, Castle Rock Fine Foods, Opito Bay Salt Co, Espy Café, Gastronomics Restaurant Thames, Blackbeards Mussels, representatives from the aquaculture sector and the food nutrition unit of the Mercury Bay Area School.

“There was some good discussion that has come out of the workshop including the return of the Coromandel Food Trail guide, which we’ll be working on alongside Destination Coromandel, our Regional Tourism Operator,” says Mrs White. 

Opito Bay Salt Co Winners of Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards 2022 

Congratulations to Opito Bay Salt Co, one of the participants at our food producers workshop last month who was awarded five medals for its Coromandel sea salts at the Outstanding NZ Food Producer Awards 2022. The judges commented: “We’re thrilled their hard work and passion has been recognised in this year’s awards.” Opito Bay Salt Co began with a love of sea and food. After a move to the the glorious Opito Bay, Perry and his wife Erin created Opito Bay Salt Co. The first-time entrants impressed 30 judges, comprising top chefs, food writers and retail gurus who blind tasted the best products of New Zealand’s food producers. The company was awarded five medals.

Opito Bay Natural Sea Salt - Gold 
Opito Bay Rosemary Sea Salt - Gold 
Opito Bay Smoked Chilli Sea Salt - Silver 
Opito Bay Black Garlic Sea Salt - Silver 
Opito Bay Furikake - Bronze   

Events on the Calendar 

Event bookings and enquiries are starting to come in for the 2022/2023 summer season.  Our Events Co-ordinator is working with several new event organisers looking to bring large-scale events to our district, which is exciting given the reduced numbers of events over the last two years.   

The summer events season will kick off early this year, with the return of the Whitianga Half Marathon 15 October, Steampunk the Thames on 10-13 November and Repco Beach Hop 23-27 November.  Check out our Events page on our website for further event details.  

NZ Order of Merit Awarded to Whangamatā Local, Noddy Watts 

When it comes to Coromandel events, one of our most iconic people is Noddy Watts, one of the founders and drivers and president of the Whangamatā Beach Hop

Noddy has just been recognised with the Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, plus a "warrant" from the Queen and Governor General, at a ceremony at Government House in Wellington. Noddy was meant to receive the Queen’s Birthday Honours award last year, but the ceremony was postponed twice due to COVID. 

“It was very special and humbling,” says Noddy, who was recognised for his services to the Community and Charity Fundraising. 

Noddy has been a member of the Whangamatā Beach Hop Committee from 2001 and the president since 2016.  The Beach Hop is a classic car, motorcycle and music festival which attracts international participants and is attended by more than 100,000 people each year.  The Beach Hop brings an estimated $8 million to our local economy each year with several hundred thousand dollars donated from the event to local emergency services and charities since 2001. 

The Beach Hop event was awarded New Zealand’s Favourite Event of the year in 2017.  Noddy was also chairman of the establishment committee for the Whangamatā Free Kindergarten from 2003 to 2008, with the kindergarten opening in 2007.  He has organised scooter rides around the Coromandel for charity since 2016, raising $15,000 for prostate cancer, Westpac Rescue Helicopter and Youthline. Noddy was president of the Whangamatā Athletics Club from 2002 to 2010. 

“It’s such an honour to represent the Beach Hop, our community and region, and I wouldn't have been there without the support of many people,” says Noddy. 

Congratulations also to: Dr Miriam Edna Saphira, Denise Messiter, Makareta Mamoa Willow Desai, Walter Ngakoma Ngamane and Ian Wright Carter who also received Queens Birthday Honours this year. 

Winter Campaign - Winter our way 

Our Regional Tourism Organisation  Destination Hauraki Coromandel (DHC)  has just activated its 2022 'Winter our way' marketing campaign which will run through till the end of August. This will be the fourth consecutive year it has engaged in a regional campaign for winter.  

It is our intention to showcase the Coromandel as an ideal destination for people in our drive market (Auckland, Waikato and BOP) and further south in Wellington and Christchurch, to get away and recharge the soul, says Hadley Dryden DHC’s General Manager. 

This campaign will push the Winter our way’’ message and align with the 'Where Kiwis Holiday' campaign which has had great success over the past two summers. We want the Coromandel to be considered by Kiwis as a place to escape, recharge and reward oneself during winter. Through Winter our way we hope to strengthen the substance of good for your soul so its relevant year-round, and not just about summer and beaches. 

The campaign will include all experiences that contribute to the wellness that comes with visiting the Coromandel. In this case, wellness translates to good for your soul'. With a strong message urging people to book a trip now, it is key that we have a wide selection of packages and offers available when people are researching and planning their escape in the Coromandel. 

The campaign will have a digital focus and will be supported with in-region media visits, on-demand footage and social activity. 

How to be included  

While the campaign objective is to increase awareness of the region as a winter getaway destination, we aim to drive as much conversion as possible and secure bookings for your business. Therefore, wed love to include any winter deals, packages and events you and your industry partners may have. 

As you'll be aware, is synced with for all product listings, packages and offers. This is to streamline the processes for operators and ensure you get the best and biggest exposure for your offers. 

To activate an offer log in to and load your details. Make sure you select the winter tag and family tag, if appropriate. 

Operators can combine multi-operator packages for media activity, so please send those directly to Megan 

Help to secure funding for your community work 

If you’re a group or organisation that relies on external funding for your work in the community, we're here to help you become more sustainable.   

We’ve partnered with Jenni Giblin from Funding HQ and will be hosting workshops around the district in July to help you diversify your range of funding options.  

The workshops will run in July, the same month that our Community Board grants round opens. This is so groups can also look at what alternative avenues may be available for funding other than Community Board grants.  

The workshop is packed with practical ideas that can be easily implemented. It will help groups, large or small, demystify the world of fundraising.  

Before we lock-in the workshops, we’d like to hear from you about the best times and places they should be held and what you’d like to get out of them. Let us know by filling out a quick survey. 

 Take the survey here.   

Career and job expo in Thames in August 

Linking businesses and young people to work in the Coromandel is the major purpose of a Careers Expo being held in Thames this August. 

Businesses and organisations from our district and Hauraki and Matamata-Piako areas are invited to be part of this year’s expo, which is being co-produced by CANDO and the Thames Business Association, with support from our Council and the Hauraki District Council.  

Business can hire a stand at the expo to share information about their work with youth to encourage them to stay, train and work here. 

The expo is being held from 9am-6pm Thursday 18 August at the Thames Civic Centre. 

“We’re inviting high school students from Thames, Paeroa and Hauraki Plains Colleges, Mercury Bay and Coromandel Area Schools and Waihi,” says Thames Business Association Chief Executive Sue Lewis-O’Halloran. “We want youth to have an opportunity to learn from employers about apprenticeship programmes or other training/employment opportunities available – this will enable them to visualise a future for themselves beyond school,” she says. 

At the expo, there will be a jobs board where you can post your job vacancies. And, from 2.30pm, the expo is also open to adult job seekers. 

There are 64 spaces available, so we encourage you to register now, as spaces will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. The cost to have a stall is $50 plus GST for local businesses, and $200 plus GST for outside the district. You may also share your space with another business. Each space includes a 1.5m 90cm trestle table. 

You’ll be able to register online from mid-June: or just send an email to Sue at the Thames Business Association: 

iHemp Discovery and Investment Tour

We’re helping NZHIA iHemp Discovery and Investment Association promote its upcoming visit to our district to reach out to farmers, growers, entrepreneurs and businesses who want to discover how to invest, upskill and become part of the growing hemp industry.  

NZHIA will be doing a presentation at the Thames Civic Centre on Tuesday 21 June 7pm–10pm.  

This tour aims to help build a collaborative network to enable scaled growth of the emerging hemp industry across a number of sectors, by providing information and direction that will encourage ‘light bulb’ moments, to show attendees how to incorporate iHemp into their business plans.  

Follow the link to purchase tickets: iHemp Tour Tickets : Thames-Coromandel 

What do you need to know about your business and stormwater?

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