The Waikato story – our story – has always been based on a position of strength. As the tribal domain of Waikato-Tainui, the Waikato has for many years been a prosperous region at the forefront of economic activity.

The Waikato district, with its unique advantages, is now nationally recognised as a place with vast potential.

Our district is an economic powerhouse with a proven ability and the political will to get things done. Much of our untapped potential has been driven by growth and by the initiatives that have been proactively created by the Waikato District Council to manage and exploit that growth.

‘Open Waikato’ is one of those initiatives and we are very proud of it.

The Waikato district has much to offer. It is strategically located in the centre of the North Island’s prosperous ‘golden triangle’. It is linked from north to south, east to west by the Waikato Expressway and major rail links to two major seaports. Our people provide a highly-trained, resident workforce and have easy access to some of the world’s best training and research institutions.

And while the Waikato is just a short drive from two major cities, our residents enjoy idyllic lifestyles in some of New Zealand’s most beautiful and historic locations.

‘Open Waikato’ is our Waikato story. We hope you find the information and tools available on this website and YouTube channel useful in helping you make important decisions to invest, visit or live in our district.

We look forward to sharing the Waikato story with you as you join us on the exciting journey ahead.

Allan Sanson - Mayor Waikato District Council

Waikato Taniwharau

He piko he taniwha, he piko he taniwha

Waikato with countless guardians

On every bend a guardian

At every locality a chief

Welcome to the Waikato, the tribal domain of Waikato-Tainui.

In the days of our tuupuna (ancestors) the Waikato had many villages. It was a wealthy and prosperous region and the local Maaori were entrepreneurs operating Wheat and Flax Mills, as well as running extensive market gardens that fed the emerging populace of Auckland and exported goods to Australia and America.

The Waikato region was renowned as a food basket with its fertile soils rife with crops; its rivers teemed with eels and fish; its forests full with bird life and native flora.

For generations Waikato-Tainui has worked alongside community partners to make the Waikato Region one of promise and prosperity.
Following the Tribe’s settlements of 1995 and 2010, Waikato-Tainui continue to work with the Waikato District Council to make the region a national and international economic powerhouse built on productivity and innovation for the benefit of all who reside within the area.

Today, the Waikato is again a vibrant hub of cultural diversity and economic development. It is truly a region whose residents can be proud of, both now and into the future.

Everyone is welcome here. This is our place. This is your place.

Waikato-Tainui is proud to support the Waikato District Council and the Economic Development Prospectus and welcomes one and all to share the richness and wonders that is Waikato.

Nau mai ki roto o Waikato.

Welcome to the Waikato.

Rahui Papa, Chair, Te Arataura Waikato - Tainui Tribal Executive


‘Explore the Open Waikato District’ is an initiative of Waikato District Council, the local government authority for the Waikato district.

In 2011, the Waikato District Council held a high-profile economic summit to initiate a district-wide conversation with the business sector about how to invigorate the district’s growth, to attract more industry, create jobs and improve its economy.

As a result, in March 2012 the Waikato Economic Development Roadmap was developed.

Delegates to the economic summit were clear:  the Roadmap needed to be an outcome driven  action plan, not a glossy strategy document. The result was a projects-based roadmap organising ideas through four overarching themes intended to advance the Waikato district’s economic performance.

Those four themes were:

Distinctive Waikato

Reinforcing the perception of Waikato as a great place to live, visit and do business

Welcoming Waikato
Becoming a business-friendly Council – enabling and facilitating and being ‘plan-ready’ for development opportunities

Built for business Waikato
Identifying and removing infrastructure constraints to ensure investment decisions are not curtailed by inadequate infrastructure

Connected Waikato
Encouraging and facilitating business to business connectedness, ensuring good two-way communication between Council and business as well as central government and other key stakeholders.

In March 2013 the Waikato District Council, led by Mayor Allan Sanson, made the bold decision to create an online economic development prospectus to provide key information and tell the story of our district. Open Waikato is this prospectus. Open Waikato presents the district in a style and tone that targets investors as well as people who are considering visiting the district or living here.

Waikato District Council actively encourages and welcomes new investment and businesses into the district. It wants to facilitate future development to advance the district's economic growth.
 The Council works with various agencies and neighbouring councils to help establish new commercial, industrial and residential developments locally and regionally.

Every effort is made to promote, accommodate and assist new business, visitors and residents, while remaining conscious of sustaining the district’s clean environment and high yielding productive land.

Waikato District Council

15 Galileo Street,
Ngaruawahia 3720
Private Bag 544,
Ngaruawahia 3742,
New Zealand

Freephone: 0800 492 452
Overseas Calling: +64 7 824 8633
Fax: 07 824 8091

Open Waikato
15 Galileo Street,
Ngaruawahia 3720
Private Bag 544,
Ngaruawahia 3742,
New Zealand

Phone: 0800 252 626
Overseas Calling: +64 7 824 8633
Email: click here

Economic overview

There’s no better place to do business than in the Waikato district. Smart investors and business people are Waikato-based because the district offers everything they need, and more, to make their enterprises successful and well positioned for growth.

Our Lifestyle

Waikato district is, quite simply, an outstanding place to live. Our natural features, location, rich cultural heritage, excellent schooling and huge lifestyle advantages are a magnet for people seeking a high quality of life.

Natural resources

Waikato is rich in natural resources including water, soils, minerals and forestry. Their ease of availability anchor the district’s major industries including agriculture, energy generation and manufacturing. The district takes the management of these resources seriously. At both a district and regional level, councils are active in ensuring the resources are used in an environmentally sustainable way and with respect for cultural traditions and quality of life enjoyed by residents.


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