Manawatu-Whanganui: Accelerate25

Regional Growth Study and Action Plan

In 2015, Horizons Regional Council and Central Government agreed to collaborate to develop an economic development strategy which would enable the Manawatū-Whanganui region to realise its full potential in economic growth. HenleyHutchings was appointed to facilitate this.

Working in collaboration with NZ Institute of Economic Research, we delivered a growth strategy that described the issues facing the region and identified key areas of opportunity.

We then partnered with local consultancy Spearhead to develop an action plan – known as Accelerate25 – to put the strategy into action.

Powered by quantitative and qualitative research and deep engagement with stakeholders, we co-designed a programme that defined the programme of work required, as well as a communications strategy to bring the full community on board. We advised on internal and external communications, established and facilitated a working group of communications experts within the region and managed and designed resources and tools.


Accelerate25 – growing a prosperous Manawatū-Whanganui by 2025 has been an active programme since 2016 to realise the short and long-term vision for a prosperous, strong and vibrant region.


  • Analysis – input from economic data and extensive stakeholder interviews

  • Strategy – Defining opportunities and enablers

  • Communications – design of internal and external communications, facilitation of communications strategy and design and production of resources

  • Facilitation - with business, iwi, local and central government and other key stakeholders

  • Collaboration – with iwi, relevant local and national agencies