An investment in a multi-purpose development, with a library at its heart, is important to Nelsonians’ and our smart city’s future. It has a crucial role in transforming Whakatū Nelson and enriching our lives.

Our aspiration is it will become our ‘third place’, with home being our ‘first place’, and work or school being our ‘second place’. It will therefore be a crucial connector, bringing us together, connecting us and inspiring us.

Being a more connected community will lift us up to overcome the social and economic challenges we face, such as, but not limited to, income disparities, youth disillusionment, older residents being undervalued, a lack of people of working age, social isolation, and people moving out of the city.

With Nelsonians’ visions and imaginations informing its design and function, our multi-purpose development, with a library at its heart, has the potential to nurture our knowledge economy, stimulate our youth, enable our experienced residents, improve the attractiveness of our city as a place to live, work and play, lift people out of social isolation and make our city centre a place to be proud of.

Read more about the opportunity this development offers our smart city to overcome challenges we face.

In Whakatū Nelson we are poised to grow our knowledge economy. By acting on our opportunities we won’t get left behind and stuck with low wages and low productivity.

Our current economic strengths are tourism, seafood and horticulture. These sectors serve our city well, but their long-time domination means we remain in a low-wage economic cycle. We need a rebalance to lift our people up. By nurturing our knowledge economy and increasing our intellectual capital, we can increase our minimum wages and gain more space for higher-paid knowledge workers.

A multi-purpose development, with a library at its heart, will honour and build on our heritage of pioneering iwi, scientists, entrepreneurs and smart businesses, and provide a place to bring today's leaders together with each other, and our community.

It will provide a place for industry clusters to form. Around the world, clusters have become a key goal for regional economic development, with business academics like Michael Porter reporting they strengthen competitiveness by increasing productivity, stimulating innovative new partnerships, even among competitors, and presenting opportunities for entrepreneurial activity. Seminar rooms, lecture theatres, innovation spaces, research labs, VR suites, CAD printers… All these spaces help create greater knowledge and enable people to collaborate.

The development will open the door for all our community, so they can access services and tools not readily available to them before. By providing a place with the tools and resources people need, they can upskill into smarter jobs where they use technology and smart systems rather than only elbow grease, to help lift wages all-round.

It will be a place to enable highly-paid smart workers, and self-employed people working in the digital economy to access information and other bright people, to help them reach their potential.

It will be where people can become those smart workers. The minds that work out how to shift our production focus from volume, to value, through research and development.

This is an opportunity to create a place where people can work, research and collaborate, and be included in an economic development success story.

  • The Whakatū Nelson and Tasman region is 24% less productive than the New Zealand average. This creates a $1.67 billion gap, each year. At the current growth rate it will take our region 145 years to catch up and close the gap. (MBIE, March 2022)
  • The majority of our jobs are low wage; only 35% of jobs were classified as highly-skilled in 2021. (NRDA)
  • Our innovation ecosystem is starting to expand with the establishment of initiatives such as the NRDA CoStarters programmes and Te Tauihu Māori Business Network (Toiere) in recent years. (NRDA)
  • High achievers and smart businesses thrive here, so we can extend our clever economy. We are home to leaders in aquaculture, marine engineering, education, medicine, food technology and nutraceuticals. (NRDA)
  • We have a proven record in creating value-added products from raw commodities – premium-priced spreads from peanuts, award-winning beverages and snacks from our orchard fruits, engineered wood products from pine and ready meals from our kaimoana. We make products that are in demand both here and overseas. (NRDA)
  • We have some essential infrastructure in place to support a knowledge economy. For example, we are on track to have 98% regional coverage of Ultra-Fast Broadband by 2023. (NRDA)

Creating a vibrant city centre and providing places that stimulate and entertain young people, means Whakatū Nelson is their place of choice.

Growing up in Whakatū Nelson is advantageous in many ways. We have stunning outdoors and nature experiences to be enjoyed all year around. It can be a pretty extraordinary lifestyle.

While it is a wonderful place to play, as children grow up there is less for them to do and their options narrow. Apart from the outdoors, there is not much fun to be had, potentially seeing some youth finding fun in less than safe ways, or finding themselves socially isolated.

Creating a vibrant city centre and providing safe places that enrich and enable young people will stimulate them. Inspired young people will choose to stay, move here or come back home – bringing their education, start-ups, bright ideas and skills with them. Youth are preparing to fledge and participate and contribute more to economy and society. Let’s make it our city they choose to do this in.

A multi-purpose development, with a library at its heart, will be a place of opportunity and entertainment for youth. It will provide spaces to engage with information and technology outside of home. It will be a safe place where young people meet, collaborate, create, perform, study and network. Listen to music, dance, laugh, and support each other. Our new development can be a cool place for young people to explore on their own, or with others, to make things happen for themselves, and for our society and economy. It will help improve literacy levels by exposing more young people to information that supports their passions and ideas. All else aside, it will be a place for our young people to gather and have fun.

  • We offer great sporting opportunities for young people and invest in our sports facilities. However, the known gap is in providing equitable access to opportunities outside of mainstream sport. (NRDA)
  • The smallest group in our general population is 20-24 year olds, with a similarly small percentage of 25-29 year olds (NZ Census, 2018)
  • We have a higher-than-average rate of people not in education or employment (NEET) and these tend to be younger people. A multi-purpose development with a library at its heart can be a stepping-stone to success for our young people. (Nelson Tasman Regeneration Action Plan 2021 to 2031, Project Kōkiri)

Enabling our experienced residents to come together with people of all ages, will reduce their loneliness and enable them to share their value and participate more fully towards better individual, social, cultural and economic outcomes.

The number of people in Whakatū Nelson who are 65 or older is increasing. Do they have the places in our city so they can truly be part of our community? Are we honouring and harnessing their potential?

Whakatū Nelson is extremely lucky to have such a wealth of experienced residents. This is an opportunity for our city – older people have great knowledge and vast experiences to share.

A multi-purpose development, with a library at its heart, will be a welcoming place to come together so sharing can happen; where people are respected, choosing from a variety of spaces that are age-friendly, welcoming and inspiring. Where people are enabled to be strong grandparents, volunteers, writers, teachers, learners, entrepreneurs and artists. Where people are more included and feel valued.

A multi-purpose development, with a library at its heart, will be at the centre of a more interesting, functional and supportive city. This in turn will inspire people to work and volunteer a little longer, enriching their lives, an others’. Honouring and harnessing the potential of our experienced residents will benefit all of us in Whakatū Nelson.

  • By 2040 approximately one-third of Whakatū Nelson’s population is predicted to be over 65 years old. (City for All Ages Strategy, Nelson)
  • The percentage of the Māori community in Whakatū Nelson who are aged 65 and older, our kaumātua, is projected to more than triple by 2038. (City for All Ages Strategy, Nelson)
  • People in Whakatū Nelson have some of the highest lifespans in New Zealand – the average is 86 years old for women and 81 for men. (City for All Ages Strategy, Nelson)
  • New Zealanders value older people. Eight of 10 people said they have respect for older adults. (Office for Seniors’ survey, 2016)
  • Senior entrepreneurship is a fast-growing sector in Australia and overseas. (City for All Ages Strategy, Nelson)
  • In Whakatū Nelson 89% of 65-69 year-olds have internet access, dropping to 52% for the over-85 groups. (City for All Ages Strategy, Nelson)
  • The volunteer sector, to which older people contribute so much, has huge economic value. People give their time and services for free. (City for All Ages Strategy, Nelson)

Transforming our city as a place that people of working age, knowledge workers in particular, want to live, work and raise a family will improve economic outcomes.

The number of working-aged people (18 to 64) in Whakatū Nelson is shrinking. It is critical that we have the workforce we need to boost our productivity, incomes and opportunities.

Whakatū Nelson is at a crossroads – we either invest in a modern city now, and make this a place that younger working adults want to be, or we allow other regions to seize that opportunity.

With our Māori population being younger and growing faster than average, our city places also need to be culturally-appropriate and welcoming.

A multi-purpose development, with a library at its heart, will be the pulse of a welcoming, modern city, where more workers will choose to converge.

Even if work is elsewhere, we can attract and retain younger workers, who bring their work with them, working remotely with a multi-purpose development close by to access and contribute to.

We know young workers love the lifestyle here, but it is not enough to keep them here. They get to an age where they are bored and uninspired by what there is to do in Whakatū Nelson’s city. They want places in the city that are exciting, fun and interesting, and open when they need them to be. They want places to meet their friends to talk, listen to music, watch performances or make and create things. If we create a city with buzz, we will keep these valuable young workers stimulated, and they will stay, helping boost our share of a high-value economy.

  • Recent figures reflect the lack of working age people; people aged 65+ – on the edge of working age comprised 50 per cent of population growth in our region. (MBIE, March 2022)
  • Our Māori economy, led by iwi and whānau-owned enterprises, is growing, in part boosted by a comparatively younger workforce -- our Māori population in Whakatū Nelson is younger and growing faster than average. (Nelson Tasman Regeneration Action Plan 2021 to 2031, Project Kōkiri)

Provide welcoming, accessible and useful places for people to connect with other people will lift them out of social isolation.

When people do not spend enough meaningful time with friends, whānau and their community they can become socially isolated.

Social isolation is the unhealthy state of being alone, leading to loneliness and potentially having physical and mental health problems. It is different to being alone; you can live alone and not feel lonely or socially isolated.

We have the opportunity in Whakatū Nelson to lift people out of social isolation, giving them a better chance of staying physically and mentally well.

A multi-purpose development, with a library at its heart, will provide safe, welcoming, and inclusive spaces where we can all see and meet a diversity of people from our community. Watching dance, sharing food, listening to music, joining group discussions over coffee, exploring ideas, or just hanging and being part of things in a warm and buzzy space. All these things are possible! It will be a place where people can access services they are lacking, and stay in touch with community news and opportunities, and with their own whānau and friends well into the evening.

By offering a diversity of inclusive spaces, such as culturally appropriate, LGBTIQ+ friendly, physically accessible, dementia-friendly, or low-stimulus design, people can have equitable opportunity to be lifted out of social isolation.

  • Thirty six percent of New Zealanders say they feel lonely often, sometimes or occasionally. (NZ General Social Survey, 2018)
  • People with the worst social and health outcomes are those who say they experience High Loneliness (6%) and the Superficially Connected (7%). The 29% who say they are Appreciated Outsiders have slightly better social and health outcomes. The 58% experiencing Low Loneliness have the best outcomes of the four loneliness categories. (Victory University of Wellington research, 2021)
  • It is not just older people who are at risk of social isolation. Although the over-65 age group has historically been perceived to be at particular risk of loneliness, recent research suggests that the situation is more complex. For example, a 2020 New Zealand study showed that Māori people, and people with disabilities, face great risk of social isolation. (City for All Ages Strategy, Nelson)
  • The current Elma Turner Library has proven its worth in reducing social isolation for some people. Those people come to enjoy human connection, where they are with other people, even if they are their own. They also use library resources such as newspapers to stay in touch with community news and opportunities, and computers to stay in touch with whānau and friends. (NCC Long Term Plan, 2021-2031)

Improving our city’s liveability by providing places where people want to live, work, visit, play, spend and invest in, will make Whakatū Nelson a city centre we are proud of.

We love Te Tauihu, the Top of the South, and have a choice of urban centres to build our lives around. However, through public feedback on Te Ara ō Whakatū Spatial Plan, Whakatū Nelson’s city centre is a place people have told us needs significant improvements, so it can be somewhere they are proud of.

To be people’s first choice the city centre needs to be an exciting, appealing and highly-functional place where people want to work, visit, play, spend and invest in. Without this, more people will choose to invest in, and move to, rural housing developments or other regions.

In Whakatū Nelson we welcome people to our region. From the eight iwi of Te Tauihu to past and recent migrants, people have always found a home here. Our multi-purpose development, with a library at its heart, is a cornerstone of our Te Ara ō Whakatū Spatial Plan investments, to help bring the CBD alive, make us proud and be a catalyst for more investment.

The development will support the remote workers leading a booming digital economy – more of us might work from home, but we also need a thriving city centre to participate in.

It will be a place for families and groups. We have schools and clubs, but we need places in our city to gather and make things happen, with other essential infrastructure close by.

  • Consumer spending in Whakatū Nelson grew 3.6% over the year to March 2022, well behind consumer price inflation of 6.9%, suggesting a decrease in real terms. (Nelson Tasman quarterly economic monitor, March 2022)
  • Spending in Tasman grew much stronger at 6.9%, suggesting that Whakatū Nelson has lost out with Nelson workers choosing to work more from their homes in Tasman, and spend more there too. (Nelson Tasman quarterly economic monitor, March 2022)
  • We have a higher-than-average net migration to the region – 96% compared to the national average of 62%. This illustrates that the majority of our population growth is from new migration rather than natural increase (babies being born). But the benefit of this migration is not being felt in our city centre. (Nelson Tasman Regeneration Action Plan 2021 to 2031, Project Kōkiri. Statistics New Zealand, April 2022).