Te Waka: Waikato's regional economic development agency

Te Waka: Waikato's economic development agency

Join us at TechFest - Waikato’s Festival of Technology and Innovation

On 3 March 2020, TechFest kicks off for another year bringing together technology leaders, business and the wider community from around the Waikato to see, touch and experience innovative technology products and solutions.

TechFest celebrates the regions technology sector strength and supports the building of networks and opportunities to continue to build on this strength with upcoming talent, businesses that are confident and capable of undertaking their own digital journey, a thriving innovation ecosystem, access to capital for growth, and an overall approach that fosters inclusion in underpinning economic growth and community wellbeing.

Kia ora and welcome to Te Waka: Anga whakamua Waikato

Formally established on 6 July 2018, Te Waka is a business-led and governed organisation established to drive economic growth in the Waikato.

Te Waka is all about helping the Waikato reach its full potential. Our objectives are to:

  • Lift economic performance across the Waikato region.
  • Attract, retain and grow investment, talent and business across the region.
  • Champion and lead the region’s collective voices for economic and business needs and opportunities.

We work in partnership with existing economic development, iwi, business, government and community organisations to get things done and to unearth opportunities that will lead to jobs, prosperity and sustainable economic growth for everybody, thereby improving well-being for all communities.

He aha te mea nui o te ao...he tangata, he tangata, he tangata. 

What is the most important thing in the world?

It is the people, it is the people, it is the people.

Why do we need Te Waka?

Many different parties have already done a lot of work to help move the Waikato region to the next level of economic prosperity. They paved the way for the formation of Te Waka: an organisation designed to put our region more firmly on the radar of central government and provide a vehicle for taking the many voices, with one message, to the rest of the world. 

Waikato people believe our region is a mighty one. We’ve used the resources, skills and innovation at hand to create a relatively prosperous economy, although we acknowledge we are not at the same level as other regions for growth and employment. 

It’s therefore time to take the next steps to create even greater economic outcomes for our communities.

Waikato people are at the heart of everything we do. The economic development goals we set and outcomes we achieve are all about making a difference for them. 

We are making a difference by working alongside the strong, existing business growth networks that already operate successfully within the region. Plus, we are enabling some new, major projects to lift the region’s economic performance – again, with the singular focus of creating prosperity benefits for our people.

Te Waka is helping to solve complex regional problems and tackle the hurdles that might prove too big for individual organisations to overcome on their own. Te Waka acts as a front door to the Waikato region and works hard to ensure we get our fair share of Government economic development funding for the benefit of our communities.

It’s time to take the next steps towards even greater economic outcomes for the Waikato

How does Te Waka work?

  • Waikato's regional economic development agency, Te Waka, is a limited liability company and is owned by the Waikato Regional Economic Development Trust. This means we are able to be nimble, act independently and move with pace. We have a skills-based Board of Directors, none of whom are elected representatives.
  • Te Waka was born from the economic development ambitions of our region’s councils and businesses.  However, it is not a Council Controlled Organisation.
  • Te Waka's offices are based at Waikato Innovation Park, allowing the team to build on the existing community approach of this highly successful economic development initiative. We are also out among the Waikato’s business community on a regular basis, connecting with businesses and business leadership groups right across the region.

Te Waka Board of Directors

Dallas Fisher (Chairperson)
Kiri Goulter (Deputy Chairperson)
Chris Joblin
Kim Hill
Les Roa
Hamish Bell
Craig Barrett


Advisory Board Members
Blair Bowcott
Rob Williams 
Tame Pokaia - Kaumatua