Heart of the West Coast

Placemaking in the Grey District

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August 4, 2016
by Jiveen MacGillivray

Why social enterprise matters – more than profit seeking and charity!

No community has the money to buy, what it takes to raise children, make the neighbourhood safe, care for the elderly and infirm, make local democracy work or
address social needs. Nor is the non-profit sector able to achieve these goals alone. By enlisting others – clients, consumers and converting them into co-workers can we go further to address the needs of our communities.

“NZ needs to clear the barriers to social enterprise”, http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1607/S00693/nz-needs-to-clear-the-barriers-to-social-enterprise.htm

As well there are often different ways of approaching an objective. Instead of a change to the legal status of social enterprise entities, as the link above supposes, perhaps other ways of managing economic activity could also be of used, for example a Time Bank.

Gross Domestic Product, GDP, is often used as a measure of economic contribution for a range of activities but only in the monetary economy. GDP may exclude much of the contribution from work of home, family, neighbourhood or community, where exchanges are made on obligation and reciprocity, not on price of supply and demand in the monetary economy. Time Banking, means that participants ‘deposit’ their time into the time bank by giving practical help and support to others. They are then able to ‘withdraw’ their time when they need something doing themselves. In this way, everyone in the same bank / ‘West Coast Time Bank’? / is both a giver and receiver of all different types of help. Skills are valued equally with say, one hour of everyone’s time equally one time credit. In this way, Time banks value the contribution made by people that is typically outside the monetary economy.

On the West Coast, it is often acknowledged that our communities are resilient. Compliment? Sure. But how else might the community wish to be described?

How would you want your own community to be described?

More information about Time Banks HERE (PDF download, check out Box 1 on page 6 of the document). And are just one aspect of how models such as co-operatives, credit unions as well as private sector entrepreneurs and small businesses contribute to a better local economy and increased well being for people.

A link to the Grey District Council Economic Development Strategy (check out the options on page 6) HERE.



July 26, 2016
by Jiveen MacGillivray

How #westcoastnz contributes to our local economy

What’s a hashtag?

When the pound character # is placed in front of a word of phrase, it is called a hashtag. You can use a hashtag to associate your social media content with a common theme or topic. This helps people to search for content like yours, by theme or a topic.

What is #westcoastnz used for?

Our popular hashtag is #westcoastnz. Go to google.co.nz and search for this hashtag to get an idea of how its used:

 Why might I use #westcoastnz on my social media?

‘Many hands make light work’ if people, businesses or visitors feel they can use #westcoastnz with their own social media posts then search engines like Google or social media services will start to prioritise the content associated with this hashtag (or any other hashtag that a group of people may use).

Easy, inexpensive, you can make your own hashtag and use these along side #westcoastnz. For example #bestcoffee #westcoastnz and include that photo of the perfect barista made coffee. You may want to time the post for those 10mins before the Transalpine arrives into town and so all those people needing (insert your product or service) know what you’re offering. Especially as they will soon be making use of the free CBD wifi in Greymouth! Details here: http://www.greydc.govt.nz/our-council/news-and-public-notices/Pages/default.aspx?newsItem=id:1t8x02v7h1cxbycph4qq


Whats the context? Why are we talking about hashtags specifically?

We can raise the profile of the West Coast online. If everyone used this hastag in a way they feel is appropriate then it would contribute to an online presence that benefits people and businesses in our region. Either to sell more products and services or make information available to people more easily.

Good for businesses.

A small but important and growing part is the online presence of a business. Anecdotal evidence from digital strategies done in Whanganui, Hawera, South Taranaki and Rangitikei business communities suggest a 25% lift in business income once a website is established and maintained along side good social media behaviour. Given the average age of NZ business owners and managers is mid-30’s and in regional areas typically mid-40’s there’s an understandable need to have business leaders consider how they wish to integrate this new sales tool into existing business practices. because these weren’t tools available to your customers or yourselves when you founded the business. But now, your customers are likely sharing feedback about your product or service online, which in turn influences. When was the last time you searched for your own business online? What was the result? What do social media sites say about your company? How do you know which websites to search about your company? Why would you bother searching for you’re own company? I’ll comment on the last question here: https://aboutus.co.nz/whats-this-all-about/

A personal favourite #saddlebackleather.

I like luggage and a while back I brought an proper leather bag from a fiercely independent small business. I’ll share their hashtag rather than the website but its a great example of a successful small business that has used a range of digital tools to become a memorable brand (I only brought the backpack once and when out, often respond to people asking about where I got the bag from). That word of mouth support for the business is also supported online. Check it out! https://twitter.com/hashtag/saddlebackleather. Disclosure: I wish I could invest in the company, am a genuinely happy customer and don’t get a sniff of payment or inkind support for talking about the product made by Dave and his team.

Come on over.

Got your own hashtag story? Tell me about it. Perhaps you’ve got your own hashtag happening? I’d like to hear how you’ve used it. Perhaps its a hashtag that you think others could use too?

July 22, 2016
by Jiveen MacGillivray

What’s the link between tourism growth and economic development goals?

Food and hospitality have always been at the heart of our way of life. Sharing food is a traditional way of bringing people together in a relaxed atmosphere. We invite you with open arms – to dine, discover and learn about our ways.

Food and hospitality have always been at the heart of our way of life.

Economic development is focused with increasing the well-being and quality of life of people in a community. Typically efforts are directed to creating and or retaining jobs and supporting or growing incomes. Governments see this as a way of increasing the tax base, for example as incomes increase, so do taxes. Not to be confused with business support or business development services.

The environment is the major source of our tourism product. Our urgent need for income and jobs and the rise of numbers of tourists to New Zealand provides opportunities and threats. Tourism income in most countries is a top 5 export earner, New Zealand is no different and relies heavily on tourism services in return for foreign exchange funds. Exports, as a whole, make up a significant proportion of New Zealand’s GDP. Tourism is often put forward as a growth business sector to benefit the economy. While this may be true of business development and profit generating opportunities, it is not likely the panacea for economic development goals. While it will play a part, tourism must be viewed within context of other contributors to economic development goals. Put simply, how does a business providing product and services to visitors, even indirectly,  increase the well being and quality of life of people in the community?

Does tourism directly benefit the local economy?

Yes of course, especially owner managed businesses in the local economy. When a local business draws in tourism dollars this has a great multiplier effect as the business is likely to spend its own earnings again locally and so on if a supplier spends locally. Increasing and extending this multiplier effect is what economic development agents focus on. Building the number of local businesses that can support the products and services demanded by visitors is vital. By focusing on projects that support the multiplier effect we can reduce profit leaking leak out of the local economy.  Out of town investors and multinational businesses provide jobs locally but from an economic perspective may provide little else as their profits are extracted to another place and often their supply chains may be located elsewhere too – a double, triple or worse whammy that extracts even more money from the local economy! How many fast food or chain stores do you see on your street? What locations do they choose and are they clustered together? If you’re a business owner how much to you buy from local producers or other businesses that produce locally? The damage from chain stores, retailers and food businesses (often much of our household and visitor spend) can be irreversible in local economies.
Tourism is no different. Because tourism can support many kinds of business including those that support tourist operators themselves, a local economy can maximise the spend of tourists as it producers more of the visitor experience itself – without relying on out of town interests that will seek a profit (income). Have you got local land owners on board with your development plans? Do you have a vibrant business community? Avoiding just becoming a fuel or toilet stop for visitors is key. Unless your town has the HQ for the gas station franchise or a toilet is the visitor attraction then you’ll want to avoid the leaking profit and additional ratepayer costs associated with scaling up your road accessible services and products if they are owned by out of town interests.
“Make it locally – using resources from local suppliers where possible. Where the more local producers exist the more wealth will exist.”

Diversity: including tourism

The outlook for tourism in New Zealand is bright and it’s not alone – knowledge intensive and ICT industries out pace nearly all other sectors and are fuelled by talented and experience workers. Often commanding higher incomes. The challenges and pains of relying too heavily on one or two key industries are well known to many communities in rural New Zealand. Diversification of types of enterprise in the local and regional economy is assumed to be a sign of economic health. Given the advantages to wage rates from knowledge and ICT businesses, the opportunities to attract and grow these businesses should be of interest to most communities. In an age of internet enablement (fibre in ground) and digital literacy (people skills and experience) knowledge workers are increasingly able to work remotely and use technologies to act as contractor or employees. What does an offer to visitors look like if it also makes use of knowledge and digital services? What tourism products and services can be delivered that make use or ICT and digital and creative skills? Perhaps, models for offering a visitor experience can also address some of the negative impacts of tourism – such as environmental impact, low wage jobs or even the types of activities that can be offered to visitors.
“For coffee enthusiasts that support local money supplies, that big brand coffee shop – ain’t cool! But that local coffee roaster, that supplies the local coffee shop – that’s starting to get to where we want to be.”

Natural environment

Government statements often describe a willingness to support major opportunities for future economic growth relying on natural resources while at the same time maintaining and enhancing the quality of our environment. But what examples can we look to for fulfilling such a statement? Arguably the best approach to maintaining and enhancing the quality of our environment is to leave it alone. Acknowledging that tourism too is an extractive industry means we will be more likely to manage the economic advantage New Zealand has while its got it and mitigate the negative impact tourism does have on the natural environment.
“Pick one: How would you describe the impact to the natural environment from a tourist product and service in your community?”

November 10, 2015
by Erin
1 Comment

Capitalism – the villain or the hero?

Recent years has seen the rise of the term social entrepreneur and social enterprise – but what does that really mean?

Broadly speaking, social enterprises are profit generating businesses that who make their money from selling goods and services in the open market, but they reinvest their profits back into the business or the local community.
So when you think about our community, we have businesses and community organisations that are actually social enterprises!

Social enterprises and entrepreneurs are  community economic development super-chargers; recirculating money through our economy and contributing to social well-being (happy, healthy employees are more productive – creating more wealth still!)

If you think this social enterprise idea sounds like you, the Ākina Foundation is coming to Greymouth and will be hosted by our very own social enterprise The Left Bank Art Gallery.

Learn about social enterprise and meet like-minded people at:

Social Enterprise Workshop
26 November 9:00 – 11:00am
Left Bank Art Gallery, Tainui Street

Registrations are essential. Please phone 04 384 9676, email info@akina.org.nz or sign up online at  Ākina

Preparing for CBD projects – what about the cars?

September 11, 2015 by Erin | 0 comments

Those of you who were keeping up with the CBD Renewal consultation and discussions will know that our community are keen to have improved spaces for pedestrians and cyclists (after all we are the start of the West Coast Wilderness Trail). So what about the cars? We know that sometimes the weather isn’t all that great  and we need to drive to where we want to go. We will be looking carefully at the effects of changing traffic flows in the CBD prior to implementing any projects; this what we refer to as Traffic Modelling – but that can be difficult to imagine. So we found this short video on ‘Road Diets’ by a city planner and urban designer in the U.S – Jeff Speck. Enjoy!

Jeff Speck: Four Road Diets from Cupola Media on Vimeo.

August 19, 2015
by Erin

Our cycle trail success – are you a backer?

West Coast Wilderness TrailDo you know about the Official Partner Programme for the West Coast Wilderness Trail?

The New Zealand Cycle Trail’s Official Partner programme has been created to enable local businesses to partner with cycle trails in their region. It aims to build the profile of the West Coast Wilderness Trail (the Trail), increase the turnover of businesses that provide related goods and services and generate increased economic benefits for the communities of Greymouth and the West Coast.

 Being an Official Partner is an easy way to get behind the Trail and show your support for Greymouth.

So what will you get for your membership fee of $295 plus GST per year?

  • Use of The New Zealand Cycle Trail Official Partner logo at your establishment, on your website and in publications.
  • A business listing on the West Coast Wilderness Trail website and the New Zealand Cycle Trail website (www.nzcycletrail.com).
  • An invitation to promote your business as part of the official New Zealand Cycle Trail product directory that will be updated for TRENZ each year.
  • Regular updates on cycle trail activities and opportunities and invitations to Official Partner meetings.
  • Increased business referrals as cyclists will be encouraged to use businesses that display the Official Partner logo, i.e. “support the businesses that support the Trail”.

Management of the Trail is continuously evolving and it is currently proposed that a Trust is set up to employ a Trail Manager (utilising Official Partnership Programme membership funds) to market and promote the Trail, as well as look for other funding opportunities.

Want to know more?

Download the Official Partnership Programme application form which will tell you everything you need to know. Support your local trail today! And if you are already an Official Partner, thank you!