An Integrated Economy
The district’s economy is interconnected with that of the Eastern Bay of Plenty. While all three Eastern Bay districts maintain their capability in local economic development, they choose to work collaboratively. Whakatane, Opotiki and Kawerau collectively fund a regional Economic Development Agency to oversee the region’s economic development goals.
While there is a lot of overlap, simplistically, Whakatane is the area’s main service and tourism centre. Kawerau is a major manufacturing hub, and Opotiki focuses on farming, especially horticulture and aquaculture.
The regional airport services the Eastern Bay of Plenty with flights from Whakatane to Auckland. There are also rail links north, connecting the Eastern Bay of Plenty with the Port of Tauranga and onto Hamilton and Auckland. By road, it takes approximately 40 minutes to Rotorua and Tauranga.
GDP per capita, 2020
The Eastern Bay of Plenty has approximately 10,500 businesses employing around 29,000 people. The largest employer is the farming sector, with over 1,500 companies. Real estate services, manufacturing and construction, are also significant contributors to the local economy.
The area is a significant exporter, particularly logs and timber products, kiwifruit, aquaculture products, dairy and honey. The area’s main export markets are China, Australia, Japan and South Korea.