All three digital hubs up and running

Published: 27 January, 2021

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  • News and announcements
  • Manawatū/Whanganui

The launch of the Digital Spaces hub in Woodville marks the opening of three digital hubs for the Manawatū-Whanganui region.

A man at a podium animatedly speaking while three people look on smiling.

Mark Maxwell (right) gives a speech at the opening of the Digital Spaces hub in Woodville on 15 December 2020.

Digital hubs in Woodville, Ohakune and Levin each received $400,000 in funding supported by the Provincial Development Unit (PDU), to help improve digital connectivity.

Tararua District Council hosted the launch of Digital Spaces for the local community on 15 December. At the launch, economic development manager Mark Maxwell spoke about the importance of the hub.

"This is a first for our district and a key business tool for those who access the facility. It’s an exciting innovation and a great support service for growth of business in our district," said Mr Maxwell.

All the digital hubs are free for the public to use, and enable people to connect for business development and support.

Services offered include wi-fi, teleconferencing, shared workspaces, and digital skills development.

Ngā Waihua o Paerangi Trust manages the Waituhi Business Centre at Te Pae Tata Ruapehu Community Learning Hub in Ohakune.

This digital hub was the first to offer services after receiving PDU funding. It aims to help small businesses and self-employed people with free co-working spaces and support.

Programme coordinator Shayna Te Riaki (Ngāti Rangi, Te Ātihaunui-A-Pāpārangi) says the funding helped the trust expand the hub during a challenging time for businesses.

"More now than ever businesses need mentoring, support and advice to grow and thrive – that’s what this funding is adding to the services available at Te Pae Tata," says Shayna.

"Waituhi Business Centre continues to support small to medium businesses across Ruapehu with free monthly workshops, support with technology and help connecting with economic development agencies in our region."

Levin digital hub, The Mahi Space opened in October 2020. Manager Narita Dixon says the hub will be a business incubator for the Horowhenua District.

"We offer training programmes, business advisors, experts and support tailored for small businesses, self-employed entrepreneurs and start-ups. This helps our local people build capacity, minimise risk and reduce the costs of doing business," says Mrs Dixon.

Access to the internet is critical for the regions’ economies and wellbeing, especially as the economy recovers from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.