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December 2020 news update

Kia ora koutou,

As we wrap up the curveball 2020 has been, it’s important to reflect on the achievements we have collectively made amongst the challenges, change, pivots and opportunities.

Bay of Connections has gained momentum since our 2019 review, which included refreshing our Leadership Group and finalising key focus areas following stakeholder engagement.

In recent months we’ve spent a great deal of time and effort developing and refining our work plan for 2021, and we’re looking forward to sharing that and gaining your views in the New Year.

Looking forward, our key focus areas will remain our priority: Championing stimulus projects and future workforce development, tautoko Māori economic development, supporting the region in its transition to New Zealand’s low carbon requirements, and sharing data and insights.

A big change for us in the past few weeks has been the resignation of Andy Blair as our Chair (see the last panui) and I’m pleased to confirm that Tim Hurdle has been appointed as Chairperson of the Leadership Group. More on Tim’s appointment below.


I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a safe and relaxing break over the holiday season. Please note our offices will be closed and our team will be recharging their batteries from Wednesday 23 December, 2020 and will re-open on Monday 11 January, 2021.

While it hasn’t been the year we anticipated, we look forward to a brighter 2021 together, working towards our key focus areas to ultimately connect the region and support it to prosper.

Ngā mihi,
Dean Howie

Leadership Group Chair Appointment

Following calls for Expressions of Interest in September, we are pleased to announce the appointment of Tim Hurdle as the new Chairperson of the Bay of Connections Leadership Group.

Tim Hurdle

Mr Hurdle’s appointment was confirmed by elected members of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council at its meeting on Thursday 17 December, upon the recommendation of an appointment panel.

The panel felt Mr Hurdle was well-informed of the challenges facing the region, has a clear view of local and central government positions (and the challenges that this brings), along with the need to tailor messaging to decision-makers.

His strengths and experience in central government ‘navigation’ will bring immense value to the role, and ultimately the Bay of Connections vision to create long-lasting outcomes for future generations by embracing the principals of kaitiakitanga and kotahitanga.

Mr Hurdle has an extensive background of private and public sector experience and brings both commercial and political savviness to the role.

Mr Hurdle succeeds Andy Blair, who stood down from the Leadership Group in late October to focus on her geothermal business commitments.

The Bay of Connections is planning a series of engagement activities early in 2021 for the new Chair and Leadership Group members to work with key stakeholders across the region to build a greater understanding of local and regional economic development priorities.


CONNECT Bay of Plenty

CONNECT Bay of Plenty brings together representatives of central government agencies, local government, economic development agencies, regional tourism organisations, chambers of commerce and tertiary education providers with the aim of harnessing collective capability and energy to link key organisations and initiatives across the Bay to leverage regional prosperity.

This month, the group met in person for the first time since March to take a deep dive into our region’s rich geothermal resources and the economic, cultural and environmental benefits of geothermal use. Following a mihi from Taparoto Nicholson, Cultural Adviser at Te Puia, attendees were treated to presentations that included the basics of geothermal energy, New Zealand geothermal capability on the world stage and Mātauranga Māori. You can read more here.

The session was followed by a tour of Te Puia and lunch, rounding out an informative and enjoyable morning.

CONNECT Bay of Plenty meets monthly via Zoom, with three in-person meetings each year at locations across our region.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

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