About us

Improving the well-being of New Zealanders living in our regions is the goal of Kānoa – Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit (Kānoa – RDU).

We do this by delivering government funding to nurture each region’s economy so they can grow and develop to reach their full potential.

Originally established as the Provincial Development Unit in 2018, a new name 'Kānoa' was chosen in 2021 to better reflect our goal of helping build sustainable, inclusive and productive regional economies.

This new name coincides with the establishment of a new funding programme, the Regional Strategic Partnership Fund.  This fund, the RSPF, is providing $200 million to invest in projects which the regions themselves identify as priorities.

The RSPF is just one of several funds which Kānoa – RDU manages.

These include the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), COVID-19: Response and Recovery Fund (Infrastructure Reference Group), COVID-19 Response – Worker Redeployment Package, Regional Investment Opportunities (NZ Upgrade Programme) and the Tourism Sector Recovery Fund.

About our name

In te reo, the literal translation of 'kā' is fire and 'noa', without restraint.

Used in proverbs and lore, it also provides a broader meaning in Te Ao Māori. 

Kānoa was guardian of Hawaiki’s Rua-kumara or kumara store house. By distributing kumara to others, he helped his people thrive and develop both their whenua (land) and their capability. The name 'Kānoa' was chosen for the unit by Te Rau Kupenga in recognition of Kānoa as kaitiaki, a guardian who helped grow prosperity through investment.

The phrase "Kei te kā noa te ahi?" – "Is the fire burning?" – is also used by tangata whenua to ask if their home fire is alight and all is well.

This meaning encapsulates the core principle of Kānoa – RDU – the organisation – to enable the development of people and their communities to ensure their wellbeing and prosperity.