Eastern Bay of Plenty

The Whakatāne, Kawerau and Ōpōtiki Districts make up the Eastern Bay of Plenty with a current population of 56,370 across urban, coastal and rural areas. The Te Urewera (ancient native forest) makes up 40 per cent of the district’s 4400 square kilometres.

The Eastern Bay of Plenty is known for its expertise across many sectors including dairy, horticulture, forestry, wood processing, and aquaculture – and for regularly topping the most sunshine hours in New Zealand every year. A particular area of development in recent years has been the growth of Māori industry and investment, across all of the above sectors.

Aquaculture has seen extensive growth and advancement in the past ten years, with the development of greenshell mussel farms across 3800ha of open waters 8.5km off the Ōpōtiki coastline. Whakatōhea Mussels,  a kaupapa that started with the establishment of the offshore mussel lines,  now employs hundreds of people directly and indirectly, and has recently completed its new $19m processing plant.

The growing industry has also led to the Ōpōtiki Harbour development, designed to create a safe harbour for the mussel operations as well as future aquaculture operations. The Harbour development is underway and has received significant Government investment, with $79m in PGF funding.

A commercial harbour development in Whakatāne is also underway, and together, these initiatives serve to embed the Eastern Bay of Plenty as one of the fastest growing marine and aquaculture hubs in the country.

Alongside the development of existing and emerging sectors, the Eastern Bay of Plenty has continued to develop its freight and logistics infrastructure network in order to ensure efficient movement of product to and from the region to the Port of Tauranga.

A critical hub in the sub-regional transport network is the Kawerau container terminal and supporting off-highway connection that has been developed by a local iwi trust. The inland container terminal not only supports freight movements in and around the Eastern Bay of Plenty, but importantly, also provides a critical alternative route from Gisborne, Hawkes Bay and Taupō, via Kawerau, and to the Port.

Geothermal resources in Kawerau offer opportunities for low emission baseload energy and process heat, with fully consented brownfields suitable for heavy industry, as well as greenfields that cater for light-to-medium industry. These options will only become more important as Aotearoa New Zealand progresses towards a low carbon economy to meet future emissions targets.

For further information about opportunities in Eastern Bay of Plenty contact Toi EDA, the sub-region’s Economic Development Agency.

Key contacts:

Donna Perese
Chief Executive
(07) 922 3316