Our background

Bay of Connections was established in 2008 after the region’s Triennial Group – the Mayors, Chairs and CEOs of the region’s councils – found a need for a single organisation to connect the subregions, regional agencies and local and central government.

Developed and funded by Bay of Plenty Regional Council, the Bay of Connections also received funding from NZTE.

Over the ensuing ten years, Bay of Connections developed regional strategies and action plans, and has served as a voice to increase interest and investment by central government.

A major turning point for regional economic development came in 2017 with the new coalition government’s launch of the $3 billion Provincial Growth Fund (PGF). The PGF has enabled regions across New Zealand, including those in the wider Bay of Plenty, to directly unlock exciting growth opportunities and has changed the landscape of regional economic development.

Examples of PGF funding for the wider Bay of Plenty region include support for the Lakefront and Whakarewarewa Forest developments in Rotorua, the Opotiki Harbour development in Eastern Bay of Plenty, the Taupō Airport upgrade and funding for the Rangiuru Business Park that will provide a vital link between the eastern and western Bay of Plenty.

These developments, combined with our ten-year milestone, prompted a refresh of the form and function of the Bay of Connections to ensure our support continued to align with the changing needs of the region. A small working group led an engagement programme with councils, economic development agencies (EDAs), business and iwi representatives to gain further perspectives and insights about the regional development support required.

This led to a set of recommendations regarding the future and focus of Bay of Connections, which were approved by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council in mid-2019.

An independent leadership group was established and is working with stakeholders across the region to progress key projects and focus areas.

Bay of Connections continues to be funded by Bay of Plenty Regional Council, reporting to the BOPRC Strategy and Policy Committee.

You can check out the latest developments here.