Over the past two years the four local councils (Invercargill City, Southland District, Gore District and Environment Southland) have funded the development of the Southland Regional Development Strategy.  

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 the Southland region by 2025.

The first part of the Strategy identified future challenges faced by the Southland region and the second part put action plans together that aim to mitigate the identified challenges and contribute to the goal of attracting 10,000 more people. 

In developing action plans for the Strategy several economic, social, cultural, educational and environmental initiatives were identified. Together these initiatives form an overall programme that aims to provide a clear new direction for regional development. 

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



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.
Southland Story Development  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 Proud Project The Southland Proud Project has been fully funded and is awaiting more information about how it aligns with ‘Welcoming Communities’ and the wider ‘Southland Story’ development.   Venture Southland will proceed with implementation in the near future alongside stakeholders SIT and others.  
i-SITE Migrant Visitor Attraction Pilot Venture Southland, alongside the Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is running the visitor attraction pilot which uses the Invercargill i-SITE to encourage visitors to the region to move to, and live in Southland. 
"Gap Filler" Workshops Venture Southland partnered with the Invercargill City Council to facilitate 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.

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. Initial consultations with MBIE and SoRDs staff are underway. An advisory group will be established for the strategy who will  outline a proposal for an external consultant to undertake the associated work.
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. 
Invercargill Inner City Development Venture Southland is providing support to gather retail data and electronic transactional data for the inner city. Facilitated workshops, perception data and the relevant retail business data from the regional business survey are all being analysed to contribute to the Inner city development.
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 Venture Southland has 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

Venture Southland is initiating the review of the events strategy which will involve consultation.

Venture Southland works alongside key stakeholders to develop key events for the region also carrying out economic assessments for events held. Work has also began in promoting a new online events platform.

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 an maxmise the benefits of their visit to the region/
Youth Futures Initiative  Venture Southland has developed the Southland Youth Futures which encourages young people to connect with career pathways in primary Southland industries. 
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.
Stewart Island Rakiura Heritage Centre Venture Southland has provided support for the local community and Trust to investigate the concept, source funding and explore how the facility fits as a tourism offering. 
Sealing of the Catlins Southern Scenic Route Venture Southland provided support to the Southland District Council by preparing funding applications and analysing traffic count and Geozone data that support local tourism infrastructure investment.