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Great region, great story – let’s tell it!

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce has today launched The Waikato Story, a toolkit of resources to help drive economic growth by building a strong, consistent profile of the mighty Waikato.

The Minister also launched the Waikato International Education Strategy at the event in Hamilton to celebrate the release of The Waikato Story. The Waikato Story defines what’s unique about the Waikato and provides a framework to help better communicate the region’s value to potential business investors, workers, visitors, students and families, in New Zealand and around the world. It is a key priority of the Waikato Means Business strategy designed to lift regional performance.

“The mighty Waikato region has a really great story to tell,” says Parekawhia McLean, acting chair of the Waikato Means Business steering group.

“We have one of New Zealand’s largest and most diverse regional economies, location advantage, a stunning natural environment, relatively affordable housing, high quality education and strong community networks that are good for business,” said Ms McLean.

“Those who live here know we have a great quality of life – some 84 per cent of us rate our quality of life as good or extremely good. But we know we could be louder and prouder about the distinct and unique attributes of the place we call home – and that’s where the Waikato Story fits in.”

The Waikato Story was developed with the help of hundreds of Waikato people who shared their ideas, feedback and pride in the region. Funded and coordinated by Waikato Regional Council with support from WEL Energy Trust, the Waikato Story builds on the success of the New Zealand Story launched in 2013.

The story highlights the region’s competitive advantage and supports the region’s growth aspirations by making available free marketing resources. The images, videos, data and stories can be used by people to promote their businesses to potential investors, workers, visitors, students and families, within New Zealand and around the world.

Ms McLean says that currently when people think of the Waikato they often think of fields and cows, a reflection of the strong local dairy sector.

“But the Waikato is far more than that. It’s home to innovative thinkers who share the attitude of mahia te mahi – getting the job done – and it’s that philosophy that has led to the creation of great Waikato-manufactured products and services to sell here and around the world. Getting that story out is crucial.”

Besides launching the Waikato Story, the event also launched the Waikato International Education Strategy, another key plank of Waikato Means Business.

International education is one of the top 10 industries in the Waikato and its economic impact is over $150 million yearly to the local economy, a significant contribution to the region and New Zealand.

“Waikato’s educational institutions are one of the region’s strengths. Through the Waikato Story and the new Waikato International Education Strategy even more people will learn about the strength of education in the region,” said Ms McLean.

To access the full Waikato Story go to www.waikatostory.nz.

To find out more about Waikato Means Business visit www.waikatomeansbusiness.nz

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