The Ngāwha Innovation & Enterprise Park, including the Innovation Hub, Regent Training and Te Pūkenga buildings under construction.
Focusing on social, environmental and economic wellbeing, capability development, and employment opportunities, the Ngāwha Innovation & Enterprise Park development in Kaikohe seeks to create positive change in the North.
To start to turn the dial
on solving some of the region’s challenges, buy-in and collaboration from central and local government, business and local community, and iwi and hapū is required to create tangible economic benefits.
The park is being developed by the council-owned Far North Holdings, mana whenua Ngāti Rangi, Tinakori Enterprise and the local business community, with support from Northland Inc as the regional economic development agency for Northland. In 2020, the park received funding through the Provincial Growth Fund to open up the site for development, and has also received support from Top Energy through reduced energy costs. These strong roots founded in partnership and collaboration reflect the park’s aspiration of creating a prosperous community where people, business, and innovation grow hand in hand.
In addition to the immediate economic goals, Ngāwha Innovation & Enterprise Park aims to create a collaborative, symbiotic community of businesses, R&D and education and training agencies to support value-added processing and the use of byproducts to extract more value from the region’s raw materials. Putting such a focus on park activity plans for longevity of success, through both an economic and environmental lens.
A development of this magnitude is rarely seen in Kaikohe, let alone Northland, resulting in high interest throughout the development process. Foundation tenants have been secured for the stage one opening, with Regent Training Centre and Te Pūkenga (NorthTec) readying to open doors on two buildings containing workshops and classrooms to support trades and horticulture training, alongside traditional residential construction.
Kaikohe Berries recently began its first harvest on the park from its 3.3ha of growing tunnels, with the first punnets of freshly picked strawberries on the shelves at Kaikohe New World that same day. By next spring the venture will boast 10ha of tunnels with roughly 650,000 plants, making it the biggest hydroponic strawberry growing operation north of the Waikato.
At the heart of Ngāwha Innovation and Enterprise Park is the development of an Innovation Hub. Managed by Northland Inc, the Innovation Hub is designed to bring together organisations and businesses in a space where they can share knowledge, resources and create networks to generate growth. Incorporating collaborative working spaces, offices, a cafe, meeting and conference rooms and laboratory spaces, the Northland Inc team will support businesses through the delivery of the Regional Business Partner Network from the space. With hot-desking options available for entrepreneurs, small businesses and agencies wanting a presence in the area, the Innovation Hub will provide an exciting hub for R&D work and business development across Taitokerau Northland.
Already, the mix of businesses and initiatives readying to get under way at the park build towards creating positive economic change.
From the education precinct providing upskilling opportunities for the community and delivering programmes to help meet the employment needs of businesses on the Ngāwha site, to the horticulture project already increasing employment opportunities for locals, and the Innovation Hub, which will bring together entrepreneurs, businesses and support services. Ngāwha Innovation and Enterprise Park is progressing on its journey to create a prosperous community in the North.
More information on Ngāwha Innovation and Enterprise Park can be found at https://ngawhapark.nz/