A priority for Auckland Council is to increase the prosperity of two major areas of our region – the west and south – where a number of communities, particularly Māori and Pacific peoples, have not shared in recent economic growth.

Council’s key delivery vehicle for aspirations in the wider Manukau region is The Southern Initiative (TSI), which includes a number of parts of Council itself along with ATEED and CCO Pānuku Development Auckland.

We have identified some high-impact projects where we can collaborate and help deliver on our own priorities including new quality jobs and business growth, Māori economic development, and Auckland’s overall sustainability. The first priority has been to establish effective collaboration among the many agencies – community, local and central government – which will need to work together to deliver for the people of Auckland’s south.

Projects where we can take a leading role include the development of a jobs and skills hub based on successful models in other parts of Auckland, opportunities to locate automated food and beverage manufacturing in Manukau, encouraging creative entrepreneurs and industry, and establishing clean tech/green tech communities.

We are key partners in a number of other projects including: Te Haa o Manukau; Transform Manukau investment attraction; and social procurement.

Te Haa o Manukau is a great example of progress to date. We worked with TSI and Panuku to co-fund the development of what is the first community led Manukau co-work and ‘makerspace’. Located in the Boehringer Ingelheim Building in the heart of Manukau’s commercial hub, it’s a place where people can gather to work on creative tech projects while sharing ideas, equipment, and knowledge.

Te Haa o Manukau opened last year with the aim of nurturing creativity and innovation in Manukau’s Pasifika and Māori peoples. It is intended to spark innovation, grow businesses and equip young people with the skills they need to reach their full potential.

Local social enterprise, Ngahere Communities Ltd, operates the two-level space partnering with corporate, academic, philanthropic and community based organisations to link creative and budding entrepreneurs with pathways into emerging industries.

The space makes the most of south Auckland’s strengths, including its youthful, creative and connected population, and will help unlock its vast potential and transfer it into economic prosperity for the region.

In November and December, Te Haa o Manukau hosted a highly successful free 10-day PopUp Business School course in partnership with the Mangere-Otahuhu and Otara-Papatoetoe local boards, the Ministry for Social Development, and the PopUp Business School Aotearoa.

Nearly 60 people attended, of which nearly half were unemployed at the time of the event; more than 70 per cent were women; half were Māori and 21 per cent were Pacific peoples.

The successful Pop-Up Business School model has also been delivered in partnership with MSD and local boards in Henderson-Massey, and on the North Shore.

Last month, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern spoke at Ngahere Talks: Creative Futures at Te Haa o Manukau, an event examining the growth and future of creative industries and the role Manukau creative entrepreneurs play. ATEED GM Economic Development Pam Ford also spoke about the opportunities the creative industries present for Auckland’s future and how ATEED is intervening in this space.

We are working to develop a pipeline of ideas exchanges between GridAKL – Council’s innovation precinct in Wynyard Quarter – Te Haa o Manukau, and Auckland’s wider innovation community.