Regional story

Growth in the Bay of Plenty region is once again occurring at a slow pace despite the recent limitations on the labour market, higher inflation, and concerns about lower economic activity as interest rates increase.

Image of persons hands holding green lipped mussels

Aquaculture New Zealand

While increased activity points to good economic foundations, it also underscores the difficulty of taming inflation in a growing economy. The border reopening is supporting some sectors in the region, such as Tourism and Horticulture, that benefit from being connected to the world. However, the local construction and infrastructure sector is facing challenges in obtaining building materials, which drives up the cost of doing business.

One example of forward progress in the region is in Aquaculture. The sector is on track to establish a new primary industry, with the potential to:

  • develop 10,000ha to 20,000ha in seawater area
  • create as much GDP and employment opportunities as Farming or Forestry.

The harbour development at Ōpōtiki, the Whakatōhea Mussel’s nearly 5,000ha of open ocean farms, and supporting processing facility, which employs approximately 180 people in total, are 2 examples.

Several other initiatives are also underway, such as the development of Te Huata’s Mussel Spat Hatchery and a resource consent application for the development of a 10,000ha Marine Farm located 4.8km off the coastline near Ohiwa Harbour. This activity generates significant economic activity, including increased employment in the region [3].

The region’s successes, challenges and priorities for the next 12 months are outlined on the following pages.


[3] Bay of Plenty Aquaculture Strategy Stocktake for Bay of Plenty Aquaculture Group August 2022.