Blueprint draws out fresh ideas
Businesspeople and tourism operators were full of ideas after hearing the Marlborough District Council's blueprint for "a smart and connected" region at a forum on Monday.
It was the second of the discussions the council plans for organisations and community groups to share ideas to ensure the region has a strong economic future.
Economic anthropologist Amanda Lynn, who led the discussion, talked about recognising the "constellation of traits" the region has and making the most of them.
Rivers, mountains, the coastline, vineyards and friendly people were only a few of the region's traits, but more cohesion and strategic planning was needed to get the full value from them, she said.
"We need to get away from thinking Blenheim and Picton and Havelock, and think Marlborough. That is the strongest brand we have, and no-one else has it."
Marlborough had a strong production economy in wine and aquaculture, with a developing innovation economy, which came from people developing revenue opportunities after the economic downturn.
A natural progression would follow with a small but powerful creative economy, she said.
There was no magic pill to improve Marlborough's fortunes, but the more people got together and started sharing ideas, learning from one another and making connections nationally and internationally, the easier it would become, Ms Lynn said.
Wilderness Guides co-owner Juliet Gibbons suggested a forum of like-minded people with the relevant skills, experience and connections to draw inspiration.
Marlborough Chamber of Commerce general manager Brian Dawson said council blueprints needed champions to engage, motivate and mentor people to direct their thinking differently.
"People need direction and support to get them started – ideas of what other people are doing to give them the confidence they are going in the right direction."
Ms Lynn was impressed with the ideas and encouraged people to "think positively" about the region and its future.
- The Marlborough Express