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Our core objectives, programmes and activities are aligned to our three strategic pillars for economic development; People, Business and Place (and Partnerships) and are designed to create the environment, stimulus, outcomes, and impact that will power our economic prosperity and achieve our vision for our region.

Below are some of the current projects CEDA is working on, together with our stakeholders and partners.

Key Projects of Work

CEDA’s Other Wider Areas of Work

Te Utanganui | Central New Zealand Distribution Hub

In response to unprecedented levels of growth fuelled by significant public and private investment, Te Utanganui is expected to support the $8 billion of transport and infrastructure investment planned and under way in the next 10 years.

Te Utanganui draws upon the regions distribution and logistics sector of strength and is a collaborative pillar project for the region. Te Utanganui connects to the regions inward investment strategy to enable us to attract business and investment into the region.

View our microsite for Te Utanganui here

Manawatū Food Strategy

Articulating the strength of Manawatū’s food and agriculture sector, CEDA’s Food Strategy gives life to our strategic goal of positioning the region as a world leading agrifood hub. It aims to define the regions opportunities in the national and global supply chain enabling Manawatū to attract, private and public sector investment and partnerships.

The outcome will be a pipeline of inward investment that increases economic development, creates jobs, while retaining the necessary skills and talent, to highlight the regions strength in food science innovation.

View the Manawatū Agritech Strategy overview here

Destination Management Plan

Being more than two years into a pandemic that has systematically changed our tourism ecosystem, impacted businesses, highlighted talent shortages, and generally changed our way of life, CEDA has focused on refreshing the regions Destination Management Plan to create a strategic road map of where we want the visitor sector to go, and how to sustainably grow visitor activity and value for the benefit of our community.

The resulting Plan provides clear focus areas for CEDA and our partners and will enable us to leverage and target investment into the region through central government and commercial investors.

Rangitāne o Manawatū Strategy

The Rangitāne o Manawatū Strategy was established as part of the Manawatū Destination Management Plan Development. CEDA has partnered with the TWG in the development of a Three-Year Rangitāne o Manawatū Tourism Strategy, with clear action plans set for the period July 2021 – July 2024. The strategy is made up of Ngā Whenu, strands that intertwine. The strands represent the values of the strategy. Intersecting these aho are the five key ways Iwi aspire to engage to ensure positive outcomes for mana whenua in the tourism space.

Implementation of the actions plans is now underway.

Business Attraction, Retention and Expansion Strategy

CEDA’s Business Attraction, Retention, and Expansion Strategy aims to attract and keep businesses and jobs within the local economy, while supporting companies to expand, grow and become more productive. The strategy focuses on understanding business needs looking to establish in the region; supporting existing businesses to grow, while attracting new ones and addressing barriers such as housing and transport that detract from a healthy business climate in which local businesses can prosper.

More information on this Strategy here

He Ara Kotahi, Hei Ara Kōrero – Partnering with iwi to share stories of the Awa

CEDA joined forces with Rangitāne o Manawatū Tourism Working Group to secure project funding through the Ministry for Culture and Heritage Te Urungi Innovation Fund for an innovative, new project for the Manawatū Awa.

This project will see the development a digital platform that will share the mātauranga Rangitāne o Manawatū of the Manawatū Awa through an interactive map and virtual guide, creating a platform for the Awa and other partners into the future. Behind this project, a private and secure repository will be built by iwi for iwi to preserve and digitize their stories, and to upskill rangatahi to capture this digitally. This project aims to inspire and connect whānau, nga kura (schools) and hapori (community).


Profiling the region to highlight our strengths, our people and our places through a shared regional identity, targeted storytelling and partnerships, ensures Palmerston North city and Manawatū district is renowned for its exceptional lifestyle, competitive advantages and is a magnet for talent. This regional platform is the  ‘shop window’ to the city and district to attract visitors, investors, new residents and business. In late 2021, it underwent a significant refresh to incorporate the new Manawatū Regional Identity.

View ManawatūNZ here

Regional Business Partner Programme

CEDA’s Regional Business Partner (RBP) Network is a central government initiative designed to support small and medium-sized businesses looking to grow and innovate. CEDA is the agency that supports the Manawatū-Whanganui regions businesses through RBP.

Working across the Manawatū-Whanganui region in collaboration with local authorities and economic development partners, CEDA brings support to businesses to help them grow and develop sustainably, invest in research and development, connect to the right experts, tools and information, and give access to capability development via shared funding with key service providers.

CEDA also provides general business advice and support; from those looking to start up a business, develop an action plan, networking opportunities and connections to a Business Mentor through to more established businesses across all sectors of our economy including opportunities for Māori business.

Learn more about the RBP Network here

Regional Identity

CEDA has developed a regional identity to strategically position the region in a compelling and consistent way to ensure we get the best return on investment across all that we do by reinforcing our strategic positioning, increasing recognition and pride, and taking charge of our narrative and image as a region.

Across CEDA’s projects and areas of work, we are marketing and profiling the region nationally and globally to investors, talent, business and visitors, all inextricably linked therefore the underpinning essence must remain strong and consistent across all that we do.

We know that to market a region – be it to talent, investors, visitors – that while they all have different needs, they are all interlinked. For example, you wouldn’t consider moving to somewhere that you wouldn’t spend a weekend in, and you wouldn’t consider investing or setting up a business somewhere if you couldn’t attract good talent, but you can’t attract talent without compelling things to do and so on! Therefore, having consistency and ownership across all our work makes sense, it ties everything back to something real and compelling and gets cut through in a crowded market.

Keep an eye out for the regional identity on and across CEDA’s key collateral and assets.

Regional Tourism Organisation

CEDA is the Regional Tourism Organisation for Manawatū, responsible for driving and supporting the growth of our visitor sector by working closely with national organisations including Tourism New Zealand, Air New Zealand and tourism businesses in the region. With a fast-growing visitor sector in Manawatū, our role is to ensure relationships and opportunities are maximised, drive domestic visitation and deliver high value programmes and support.

Specific programmes of our current work in this area include the Manawatū Destination Management product development such as The Country Road and Coastal Arts Trail, capability development to support our visitor sector businesses to upskill and increase digital enablement, facilitation of the Rangitāne o Manawatū Tourism Working Group, and domestic marketing to sustainably drive visitation from our core markets.

Talent Development and Attraction

Talent and skills are essential to the competitiveness, productivity, and wellbeing of our region. Businesses require access to skilled workers to operate, grow, be productive, and innovate, while individuals need skills and experience to secure jobs, progress their careers, and increase their incomes.

Key workstreams underway include our talent attraction marketing campaign focused on our sectors of strength, highlighting job opportunities along with the fantastic lifestyle on offer.

Other projects include leading the creation of a series of regional micro-credentials for people and workplaces including partnering with iwi to develop training tools on Te Tiriti o Waitangi and enabling, connecting and facilitating people and employers to Pathways to Employment and Career Development activities.

Employer and Workplace Hub

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