In October 2015 the Southland Regional Development strategy was initiated by the Southland Mayoral Forum, with local councils (Invercargill City, Southland District, Gore District and Environment Southland) funding the strategy development.  

The development of the Strategy has involved extensive engagement with community and business sectors, and is based upon the major goal of attracting 10,000 more people to Southland by 2025.

The strategy identifies future challenges for the Southland region and has suggested several action plans,  based on economic, social, cultural, educational and environmental initiatives, that will aim to mitigate the identified challenges.

Venture Southland is providing staff and financial resource to deliver a number of the initiatives detailed in the Southland Regional Development Strategy Action Plan. These initiatives are carried out alongside ‘business as usual’ projects as detailed in the Venture Southland Business Plan. 

Projects undertaken by Venture Southland in support of the Southland Regional Development Strategy



Southland Visitor and Destination Strategy

Venture Southland is facilitating the development of the new destination strategy which involves extensive consultation with the wider tourism industry. An advisory group, which will guide the development process, has been established and will work alongside an external consultant to develop the strategy.

Southland Digital Strategy

Venture Southland has completed a regional mobile signal coverage survey for the region and has also worked with local service providers to make individual submissions to Crown Fibre Holdings to support the roll-out of regional broadband infrastructure. The digital strategy is now compete and available for review.

Campervan Strategy for Invercargill

A project brief has been prepared by Venture Southland for Invercargill City Council to provide feedback on. Geozone and traffic count data has been analysed to support this strategy.

Air New Zealand Partnership

A Memorandum of Understanding has been established with Air New Zealand. This successful partnership helped to secure three chartered aircrafts from Auckland with visitors attending the Bluff Seafood Festival.

Market Insights Project

This project overlaps with the Southland Story project which Venture Southland is providing support to as required.

Southland Story

The Southland Story project is being developed by Venture Southland. An advisory group has been established and the projects terms of reference confirmed.  

i-SITE Migrant Visitor Attraction Pilot

Venture Southland, alongside the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is facilitating a national pilot project to investigate the potential to transition visitors into migrants using the Invercargill i-SITE.

This pilot has been put on hold as a result of the Southland Museum and Art Gallery closure.

"Gap Filler" Workshops

Venture Southland partnered with the Invercargill City Council to facilitate the 'Gap Filler' workshops that looked at how urban spaces and empty buildings could be revitalised.

Andersons Park

Venture Southland presented a final report to the Invercargill City Council on a proposal for Anderson House after options for the iconic Southland facility were investigated and a survey carried out in the community.

Kakaporium and Tuatara Facility at Queens Park

Venture Southland has assessed the feasibility of the project and presented a report to the ICC. Negotiations are underway with the Department of Conservation and potential commercial partners for the development of this project.

Invercargill Inner City Development

Venture Southland is providing support to gather retail data and electronic transactional data for the inner city. This included facilitating workshops and analysing perception data and the relevant retail business data from the regional business survey.

Southland Regional Heritage

Venture Southland is supporting the Southland Regional Heritage Committee and Councils to lead the Southland Museum Network Concept, Design and Development Project including investigation into a regional storage facility; review of the regional heritage agreement and the future development of the Southland Museum. Venture Southland is also supporting the review of the Southland regional Heritage Committee.

Curio Bay Tumu Toka Natural Heritage Centre

Tumu Toka Curioscape opened to the public on the 16th December 2017. Venture Southland provided a range of support in the development of the Curio Bay Tumu Toka Natural Heritage Centre including business, project and infrastructure planning through to securing funding for the project.

Regional Event Strategy and Development

A two-part process to develop this strategy is underway with a consultant appointed to examine frameworks for the strategy and undertake a benchmarking process before consultation is undertaken.

International Education

In conjunction with SIT, Venture Southland has appointed an International Education Manager who works alongside key stakeholders to attract international students to Southland and maximise the benefits of their visit to the region.

Regional Partnership Agreement

A Memorandum of Understanding has been established between Venture Southland and MBIE relating to attraction and retention programmes in Southland. A regional partnership agreement has also been finalised between MBIE and Venture Southland

Welcoming Communities

Venture Southland is facilitating the Welcoming Communities pilot, alongside MBIE and the three local councils. The pilot encourages councils to take leadership in welcoming migrants to the region. 

Motorcycle Mecca

Venture Southland assisted in the preparation of funding application which secured $550,000 for Motorcycle Mecca.

Infrastructure Tourism Planning

Venture Southland is working with local government and other key stakeholders to identify and develop key infrastructural projects.