Local insights report: October/November 2023

Hawke's Bay local insights report: October/November 2023.

You are welcome to quote from any report below – please attribute the Hawke's Bay Regional Skills Leadership Group, an independent advisory group on regional skills and workforce development. ​

Cyclone Gabrielle – Regional recovery

The rebuild of the EIT | Te Pūkenga Hawke’s Bay Campus is progressing well

A large percentage of kaimahi (staff) and ākonga (students) due to be welcomed back at the beginning of next year. Cyclone Gabrielle caused extensive damage to the Taradale site in February with up to 90% of the ground-floor buildings - more than 500 rooms - being damaged by flood water and contaminated silt. While the Tairāwhiti Campus in Gisborne was fine, there was widespread damage to infrastructure and communities on the coast that continues to present challenges to delivery from Wairoa to Hicks Bay.

Many kaimahi at EIT | Te Pūkenga faced their own personal challenges as a result of the cyclone, yet still put in a lot of hard mahi to ensure continued delivery of programmes for ākonga. Within 2 weeks of the cyclone, delivery had resumed, much of it online, to all but 8 offerings. EIT kaimahi established a network of temporary locations across Napier and Hastings to support teaching activity and house key services. At its peak there were 45 temporary locations operating in what has been coined the EIT Te Pūkenga ‘extended campus’. About 30% of the Hawke’s Bay campus was able to be reopened for delivery to ākonga in time for the start of Semester 2 in July. EIT | Te Pūkenga Executive Director Glen Harkness says they are currently continuing with delivery largely as planned.

“A lot of hard work has gone in to get us to this point and we are pleased that several of our programmes requiring specialist facilities have been back on campus since July.”

The specialist spaces that have reopened include vet nursing, nursing, viticulture & wine science, some creative disciplines, plumbing, automotive and mechanical engineering.

“Fortunately, most of the buildings used for specialist programmes had limited damage and were easier to repair. It was also hard to find specialist facilities to accommodate these programmes in the community, so it was a priority to get them back on campus.”

While the campus is not fully reopened, EIT | Te Pūkenga believes it is important to get staff and students back.

“We are grateful to those facilities in the community that let us conduct our programmes there, but it is important to bring as many kaimahi and ākonga home to the campus as possible so that they can be close to our support services.” 

2 initiatives are rebuilding fencing across the region

Initiatives in Central Hawke’s Bay and Wairoa are rebuilding thousands of kilometres of fencing across the region, boosting jobs and skill development. ‘Commence the Re-Fence’ is a project managed by JK Fencing and Construction utilising 2 tractors donated by Stevenson and Taylor, Waipukurau and funding from Federated Farmers to pay for the team and materials. Farms, lifestyle blocks and orchards are provided with 3 days of free fencing that would ordinarily cost them in excess of $10,000. Stevenson and Taylor have announced they will be giving the 2 tractors away to nominated winners when the project wraps up in March 2024. In Wairoa a crew of 10 job seekers have been working on various projects, including fencing, under MSDs ‘Enhanced Taskforce Green’ initiative.

The mahi has been life changing for both the workers and the farmers. One of the crew had been struggling to find work due to the tattoos on his face but is now feeling proud to be providing for his family. Government funding for the initiative is expected to end in January and MSD will be working with the crew to find them mahi to build on the new skills and experiences gained during their time on Taskforce Green.

Regional insights

'Share the Knowledge' training initiative

The ‘Share the Knowledge’ training initiative is progressing mahi to deliver their first training programme. The programme is aligned with an international film production coming to the region in 2024 but has faced disruption due to the Screen Actors Guild strike in the United States. The programme has been designed by industry, for industry, to transform industry-led training in the screen sector. It will be trialled and tested in Hawke’s Bay with expectations that if successful, it will be rolled out nationally. Share the Knowledge, with key partners, are now moving to Phase 2, which requires further development of course descriptors, assessor material creation, resource material creation, portal/website research and industry facilitation.

2 new irrigation micro-credentials

Muka Tangata (Workforce Development Council) are developing 2 new irrigation micro-credentials that will allow businesses to gain accreditation in the water measurement space. The new micro-credentials were identified by industry and relate to the commissioning and verification of full pipe measurements. A lack of qualifications in the irrigation industry has been an issue raised with the Hawke’s Bay RSLG and an opportunity to provide a voice for the region was seized by a local business owner who has been part of the WDC’s working group. Muka Tangata aims to implement the micro-credentials in early 2024.

Regional Workforce Plan - Actions update

2022 action 3: Source current local, national, and international best practice resources and advice to enable a distinct regional needs analysis to be published annually, through active engagement with Iwi, the Regional Economic Development Agency (REDA), local government, and relevant providers.

The RSLG commissioned the Food and Fibre Centre of Vocational Excellence (FFCoVE) to produce a report that outlines workforce planning methodologies that would achieve quality regional analysis for the rohe. The report has been published here:

FFCoVE Projects - Hawkes Bay RSLG Actions(external link) — FFCoVE website

In 2023/2024 the group will determine how best to use this information to support workforce planning activities in the rohe and is working on the next phase of this mahi to develop a mātauranga Māori view. For an update on all 2022 actions please head to:

Hawke's Bay actions update [PDF, 193 KB]

A year in review

2023 has been a year Hawke’s Bay will never forget. Cyclone Gabrielle devastated the region causing record levels of damage from Central Hawke’s Bay to Wairoa. The RSLG and the MBIE Secretariat have spent 2023 supporting the community as they recover, and are continuing to work alongside stakeholders to ensure there is a workforce in place to meet the demands of the rebuild programme of works. Some of the key activities undertaken over the year:


  • completion of the Regional Workforce Plan Refresh and progress on 2022/23 actions
  • submission of advice to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC): April (2024) & November (2025)
  • produced 6 local insights reports: Previous local insights reports.

Cyclone Gabrielle:

  • supported Wairoa businesses, including assistance with the business support package and provision of information to the Wairoa Recovery Manager
  • welfare management at Napier City Council, outbound calling campaign and aided in the response to recovery transition planning
  • undertook a review of the cyclone impacts on large businesses in the region
  • membership on the ‘Horticulture Workforce Transition Project’ group
  • HB RSLG and NZAPI joint application to MPI for NIWE funding
  • developed HB and Wairoa Labour Market Snapshots
  • working with TREC Alliance on workforce modelling for the East Coast rebuild and working to establish a training sub-group
  • supporting HB REDA on progressive procurement, provision of background information and key contacts to enable regional hui to occur and with Tairawhiti CARE-RSLG, collaborated with HB REDA and Trust Tairawhiti on a formal request to Waka Kotahi and KiwiRail for broader outcomes from the TREC work programme
  • working with MSD on the development of the regional workforce tool.


  • facilitating a project with Toi Mai, Te Pukenga, Share the Knowledge, Firefly Films and Eastern Screen Alliance on a national screen production training case study
  • ongoing collaboration with Te Whatu Ora on the workforce requirements for the Hawke’s Bay hospital redevelopment and broader health workforce shortages
  • workforce and immigration support for the HB Tourism Network
  • MBIE representation on the Napier Multicultural Strategy Steering Group.


  • met and surveyed 120 secondary school rangatahi and produced a report reflecting the results and key insights
  • ongoing participation on Tēnei Tamaiti Tēnei Whānau, the regional education engagement and attendance group
  • engagement with Tātau Tātau o te Wairoa on future skills training proposals, rangatahi employment, and accommodation projects
  • support for the Graeme Dingle Foundation by assisting with planning for the Futureopoly careers event and work with the SWEP team to secure funding for the 2024 event.

Our focus for the next 2 months

  • Establish a Hawke’s Bay training sub-group in preparation for the arrival in late January of the Training Manager from the Transport Rebuild East Coast (TREC) cyclone recovery project.
  • Researching regional health programmes to deliver the ‘health workforce’ action outlined in the Regional Workforce Plan Refresh 2023.
  • Working with the Matariki Drivers Licencing group to progress the ‘drivers licencing in schools’ action identified in the Regional Workforce Plan Refresh 2023.

Regional Workforce Plan Refresh 2023

Prepared by the regionally led Hawke’s Bay Regional Skills Leadership Group.

For further information, please contact: HawkesbayRSLG@mbie.govt.nz

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Last updated: 07 November 2023