Opportunities in the Eastern Bay

Since 2019 there has been considerable investment in the aquaculture, horticulture, tourism, retail, logistics and manufacturing sectors. Inward investment is both public, funded through the government’s “Provincial Growth Fund,” and private.

There are numerous opportunities within Eastern Bay of Plenty for new business and investment. Several of the most significant opportunities are outlined below:

Manufacturing

There are many machinery manufacturing, engineering and repair businesses in the area, which support the local primary sector. Boatbuilding is also a growing industry, with several companies clustering around a marine precinct.
There are opportunities for manufacturing companies to relocate to the area for the skilled workforce, high-quality transport and logistics infrastructure and low cost of doing business.

Timber Processing and Fibre

Kawerau was established specifically for the timber industry, and today there are still numerous opportunities in the area for timber processing. Currently, companies are producing processed timber for construction, paper and tissues. There are also identified opportunities in cross-laminated timber, furniture manufacturing and kit-set housing.

Horticulture

The Eastern Bay of Plenty has abundant horticultural land and water. The main crop in the area is kiwifruit. However, there are also opportunities in other crops or their processing. Some of the more niche crops found in the Eastern Bay of Plenty include truffles and ginseng.

Aquaculture

Aquaculture is a rapidly growing sector thanks to Eastern Seafarms and their 3800ha marine farm. The sea farm currently produces mussels, with the vision of growing fin-fish. There are many opportunities for businesses involved in the aquaculture sector, including processing mussel products or partnering with Eastern Seafarms to farm other species.

Property Development

As with most towns in New Zealand, Opotiki requires more affordable housing. There are opportunities for investment in housing, medium-density housing and town centre redevelopment.

Tourism

The region has world-class natural scenery and rich local culture. In 2020 the economic value of tourism to the area was $70 million. There are numerous opportunities for investment in the tourism sector, including accommodation, hospitality and activities businesses.

Aged Care

The Eastern Bay of Plenty has a high percentage of retirees compared with the rest of New Zealand. Many New Zealanders choose to retire in the area due to its climate, natural environment, good provision of services and affordable cost of living. The Eastern Bay of Plenty’s Age Care services are struggling to keep up with demand, meaning there are good opportunities for businesses to invest in the Aged Care sector.

Enabling Infrastructure

The Eastern Bay of Plenty has high-quality infrastructure which can support small or large businesses.

Roading: The region has well-maintained roading networks connecting each of the major centres. By road, you have direct access to Rotorua, Tauranga, Taupō, Gisborne, Hamilton and Auckland, putting you within easy reach of 65% of New Zealand’s population. These networks make the region an ideal location for those who need to access the North Island’s major centres.

Air: Whakatāne airport has direct daily flights between Whakatāne and Auckland. Further flight options are available an easy drive away in Rotorua and Tauranga.

Rail: The area has a direct rail freight link to the Port of Tauranga from Murupara and Kawerau. Rail plays a significant freight role transporting logs, wood pulp, paper and cardboard. Whakatāne and Kawerau Councils are currently working together to open up more industrial land around Kawerau. The long term plan is to establish Kawerau as the Eastern Bay of Plenty’s leading manufacturing centre.

Energy: Bay of Plenty Energy supplies gas and electricity to residential, business and agricultural customers. The region’s primary energy production comes from renewable hydro and geothermal generation. In 2008 Mighty River Power opened a new, state-of-the-art geothermal power station at Kawerau, capable of generating at a capacity of 100 MW. The $300 million project was the largest single geothermal development in New Zealand in more than 20 years. Its output significantly increases national generation capacity.

Port: An inland port is under construction in Kawerau. This major infrastructure project aims to position Kawerau as a leading New Zealand manufacturing centre.

Internet: There is excellent broadband connectivity in each of the urban centres of the Eastern Bay of Plenty, and the local government is working to further extend it into the rural areas. Several thriving ventures based on information technology supply world-class services to an international clientele. They have the freedom to operate either from the owners’ homes or from the main centres, where infrastructure and overhead costs are relatively low, and there is none of the traffic congestion and other problems associated with working in the larger cities.