We're delighted you've taken the time to discover a little bit more about our town, it's people, it's businesses and the host of experiences that make it a unique place to live, and to visit.
Nestled between the Tasman Bay and 3 national parks, Motueka's natural setting couldn't be more spectacular. And with Nelson, Richmond, Takaka, Golden Bay and St. Arnaud all less than an hours' drive away, Motueka is the perfect place to live and play in Tasman Bay.
Hosting a diverse range of businesses, lifestyle services, clubs, schools, recreational activities, and a relaxed family-friendly environment, Motueka continues to shine as one of the jewels of small town New Zealand (voted Best Town 2010).
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As guest speaker at BNZ Connect's monthly gathering, Damien recounted his experiences trying to develop farming and tourism enterprises on the West Coast in the 1980s before going into politics.
He has seen how fragile such economies can be when a major employer closes a local operation, and believes that unless the Tasman district and Motueka look to a longer term, strategic future we also remain vulnerable.
"Motueka has had its ups and downs, and is widely seen as a great place to holiday," he said. "But the proportion of inbound tourists who come here is still a very small fraction of those coming to New Zealand."
Abel Tasman National Park may soon become "saturated" and unable to absorb many more visitors, so there should be "more focus on Motueka, which needs a point of difference and become a destination in its own right", he said.
In the past Damien has suggested a giant roller coaster or water park as features which would attract more tourists, especially New Zealanders, to come to the town.
Last night he also pondered an idea for adding value to our food production industry through a Tasman-branded scheme whereby small producers (such as cheese makers) would work together to supply premium products to the North Island and the world, under some kind of Tasman label (such as Tasman Taste) and through a central dispatch point.
This would require a large marketing programme to promote the region's products, as well as small producers buying into it and working together instead of just thinking about their own businesses.
He emphasised that commodity food production is the answer. "We're competing with lower waged, subsidised food producers around the world, so we're very vulnerable to external pressures.
"Orchardists are finding it hard to make a regular profit. Timber is vulnerable. Dairy is very fragile, and nowhere near enough thought is going into any strategy for the dairy industry into the medium term future."
Another idea he floated to build a Motueka/Tasman point of difference related to health and retirement. "We have on our doorstep a great, giant venue for health providers and big events such as Masters Games, and we have people retiring to live here in this great environment."
Given the larger than average number of older people moving here, he also suggested some kind of marketing slogan along the lines of 'Come to live, not to retire'. "Don't come here just to sit on your butt, come here to experience a full and healthy life."
These sorts of ideas should be part work on developing a strategic plan for the district and town, Damien said. "There is not enough strategic planning for the country as a whole, for our larg industries (such as dairy), and at a local level.
"Perhaps Motueka needs some kind of task force, or community development company, to develop a strategic plan." Questioned about how this could be created, he said TDC and the Community Board could start a development initiative, but eventually there would need to be a separate development group or company.
Another idea he suggested, based on past experience, could be to hire some professional development experts who are unfamiliar with our district to come with open minds, look around and work up ideas on how the area could be developed and marketed.
They could start without pre-conceptions and "see things that we who are used to our community just don't see".
Spring is here! If you’re looking for something to do on your weekend, you won’t have far to go to find school fairs, markets and other local treats in the Motueka area. The local gardens are bursting with flowers, so take a stroll around one of Motueka’s fantastic walkways and reward yourself with some fresh spring air!
A vibrant, friendly and cosmopolitan town on the western side of the Tasman Bay. The long summer days and mild winters attract many people to the town and a large number then choose to call Motueka home.
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Take some time to explore Riwaka and the Motueka River Valley, and you will be delighted. From picturesque boat sheds to fields of hops and black currents, the scenery is varied and beautiful!
Read More About Riwaka & Motueka River Valley...
Loved for its beautiful golden sand beach, the sunny town of Kaiteriteri is a launching place for trips into the Abel Tasman National Park.
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With its mild and sunny climate, curving beaches of golden sand, large tranquil lagoons, and forested hills stretching down to meet the clear turquoise coastal water, the park is a coastal paradise!
Read More About Abel Tasman National Park...
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So, if you are pondering your next marketing step, consider entering a business award. It may prove to be the perfect solution.