Economic Development

“The purpose of economic development is to improve the economic and social wellbeing of the people of the Tararua District.”

The district has five main commercial centres situated along State Highway 2. From the northern boundary with Hawke’s Bay, these are Norsewood, Dannevirke, Woodville, Pahiatua, and Eketahuna, which is near the boundary of Wairarapa to the south. Woodville is well known as the junction where State Highway 2 joins State Highway 3, leading west to Manawatu and Palmerston North City.

Dannevirke and Pahiatua are rural service towns supporting Tararua District’s primary industries. The outstanding pastoral land grows top quality stock producing meat, wool, and dairy products. Tararua District has a range of agricultural processing services within its boundaries that support the rural communities. These two main towns also offer a range of retail and professional services, including banking, legal, accounting, and insurance. Just south of Dannevirke is the Oringi Business Park that is home to a range of manufacturing and service businesses.

Norsewood, Woodville, and Eketahuna serve retail and manufacturing businesses and increasingly cater for a growing visitor market. The smaller coastal settlements of Pongaroa, Akitio, and Herbertville are similarly experiencing growth in visitor numbers. A unique attraction for visitors across the district is the Scandinavian heritage of the settlers that cleared Seventy Mile Bush to establish the farming district of today.


In its 2012-22 Long Term Plan Council states three strategies, one of which is promoting and facilitating economic development through: 


  • supporting and facilitating growth in local business;
  • building district identity;
  • promoting the district by telling our story;
  • providing business friendly and welcoming support for new residents and businesses; and 
  • facilitating the development of key reserves and recreational facilities to attract (and retain) residents and visitors.