Good for re­gion and us

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By JIM CHIPP

De­part­ing Grow Welling­ton chair­man Mur­ray McCaw has no time for parochial at­ti­tudes that re­sent pay­ing to sup­port the cap­i­tal’s de­vel­op­ment agency.

He said Welling­to­nian res­i­dents have a his­tory of say­ing, ‘‘What’s in it for me?’’ rather than, ‘‘What’s good for the re­gion is what’s ac­tu­ally good for me’’.

‘‘You’ve got to get over those parochial bound­aries,’’ he said.

‘‘If you have a strong city en­vi­ron­ment – whether it’s Welling­ton city or Porirua city doesn’t mat­ter – if you have a strong city you’ve got a strong re­gion.’’

The at­ti­tude of Kapiti District Coun­cil changed markedly when a Clean Tech­nol­ogy Cen­tre was estab­lished in Otaki, Mr McCaw said.

The cen­tre pro­vides a host for tech­nol­ogy com­pany start-ups and is in­tended to be­come a tech­nol­ogy park.

Wairarapa is also be­gin­ning to reap the re­wards of Grow Welling­ton’s work, par­tic­u­larly Carter­ton ba­con pro­ducer Premier Bee­hive.

‘‘They have had huge ben­e­fits out of what Grow Welling­ton does.’’

A ma­jor ir­ri­ga­tion de­vel­op­ment, four or five years from fruition, will be of enor­mous ben­e­fit for Wairarapa peo­ple, he said.

Welling­ton on a Plate is a more vis­i­ble part of Grow Welling­ton’s work, in part­ner­ship with Pos­i­tively Tourism Welling­ton.

‘‘That was about get­ting Welling­ton known as a great food city,’’ Mr McCaw said.

The next task is to get some of Welling­ton’s ex­port prod­uct into Aus­tralia.

To that end, a pop-up restau­rant was set up in Syd­ney for two weeks, pur­vey­ing ex­clu­sively Welling­ton food. Dur­ing the day it was a trade show, show­cas­ing Welling­ton prod­ucts, and at night it be­came a restau­rant.

‘‘Even at night the traders were able to bring guests into the restau­rant and see their food be­ing pre­pared and utilised. That’s been very suc­cess­ful from a food and wine and beer per­spec­tive,’’ he said.

Mr McCaw said Grow Welling­ton worked hard to keep the Cor­don Bleu school in New Zealand and the Welling­ton re­gion, once its Mart­in­bor­ough plans had fallen through, and he ex­pects that to pay big div­i­dends to pri­mary pro­duc­ers.

‘‘We are go­ing to start ex­port­ing New Zealand-trained chefs, and if they are used to work­ing with New Zealand prod­uct, wher­ever they may be work­ing around the world, they will be aware of spe­cific New Zealand prod­uct and are go­ing to want to use that prod­uct.’’

Trans­form­ing an econ­omy takes world-class ed­u­ca­tion and re­search, he said.

An­other Grow Welling­ton project has been co-or­di­nat­ing a health cen­tre of ex­cel­lence at Welling­ton Hos­pi­tal, aimed at max­imis­ing the ben­e­fits of re­search go­ing on at Vic­to­ria and Massey uni­ver­si­ties and the Malaghan In­sti­tute. As well as help­ing re­searchers to get their work to the mar­ket, it has in­di­rect ben­e­fits to all Welling­to­ni­ans, he said.

Top schol­ars are at­tracted to the cen­tre to work on their re­search in Welling­ton, and they do their clin­i­cal work lo­cally.

Mr McCaw is go­ing from one chal­lenge to an­other. Next year he plans to take on the Great Wall of China half-marathon section.

Grow Welling­ton di­rec­tor Paul Mersi will take over as chair­man.

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