The Central Economic Development Agency is proud to announce the launch of Te Aho Tamaka, a regional growth initiative for Manawatu.

Te Aho Tamaka acknowledges and celebrates Manawatu’s most illustrious leaders across all fields – academia, business, arts, sport, culture, technology, theology and more.

Through highlighting the talent that comes from our region and by sharing their experiences, journeys and stories, Te Aho Tamaka celebrates the success of these leaders and aims to enhance their engagement and connection with the region.

The initiative is about bringing national and international attention to Manawatu, creating curiosity, and drawing a richer picture of our region through the stories of our leaders, among other work that CEDA does. It is also about inspiring future leaders and igniting and growing regional pride.

The leaders’ involvement in Te Aho Tamaka may be through inspiring others with their stories and experiences, mentoring, internships, or investment in projects or initiatives that are of mutual importance.

“Te Aho Tamaka is a unique and exciting project for our region and unlike anything that’s been done before in New Zealand,” says CEDA’s Chief Executive Linda Stewart.

The region’s top leaders and achievers have been identified with the help and guidance of a steering group and are being approached for their support and involvement. Those who have already confirmed include;

  • Linda Jenkinson, one of New Zealand’s most successful business women and serial global entrepreneur
  • Gerard Gillespie founder of EziBuy and local business leader
  • Steve Maharey, former Labour MP for Palmerston North and Vice-Chancellor of Massey University
  • Colonel Helen Cooper, Deputy Chief of Army and President of the International Association of Peace Keeping Training Centres
  • Robin Stalker, Former CFO of Adidas Global
  • Sir Brian Elwood, former lawyer, politician, and mayor of Palmerston North and Chief Ombudsman
  • Sir David Moxon, New Zealand Anglican bishop
  • Simon Moutter, Managing Director of Spark

“The reaction and response we have had from these leaders is fantastic and reinforces the value of an initiative like this. They want to pay tribute to the people, city and region that have helped them get to where they are today and Te Aho Tamaka offers a platform for them to do this.”

What was initially referred to as an Alumni Project, has developed into Te Aho Tamaka. This launch marks the beginning of the programme that will continue to grow and evolve as we build a global network of leaders and advocates whose journeys are connected to Palmerston North and Manawatu.

“Te Aho Tamaka will provide major opportunities for our region. It is about honouring our past, celebrating our present and inspiring our future.

“There are no limits or boundaries to Te Aho Tamaka and as we connect with our leaders and explore the ways in which they may give back to the region, anything is possible.”

Te Aho Tamaka will be led by CEDA, but the inclusion of top leaders and achievers will continue to grow and be shaped by local leaders and experts in their fields.

Note to editors:

Te Aho Tamaka has been designed, developed and will be led by the Central Economic Development Agency, with the help and guidance of the Te Aho Tamaka Steering Group. Te Aho Tamaka is about creating a global network of leaders whose journeys are connected with Manawatu.  The programme has been built through robust research, careful planning and focused implementation.

Please visit for more information on the leaders who are involved.

Headshots of each leader are available on request.

For more information contact:
Jemma Brackebush
Communications Senior
027 253 5393

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