New Tauranga Facility

Community Approach Delivers Big Benefits for Bay of Plenty

Monday, 17 October 2022
By Karen Richter

Set to become one of the largest plasterboard facilities in Australasia, Winstone Wallboards’ new Tauriko, Tauranga development will be on a scale never seen in New Zealand before. 

The expansive 63,000 sqm set of buildings spread across 12.8 hectares of land, will have 50% more capacity than the current Auckland facility, with room for further expansion.

Programme Lead Stewart Vaughan says 'it goes beyond purely increasing product supply, the new plant is a legacy that will take Winstone Wallboards and New Zealand into the future and will enrich the region, creating a wealth of economic benefits and exciting job opportunities. Developing community partnerships and relationships has been pivotal to the project’s success.'

“Engaging the whole community has been an incredible experience. Working alongside councils, hapū and iwi, you get to see the impact this project will have on them and the region.”

“Tauranga City Council and Bay of Plenty Regional Councils were instrumental in supporting us with our project, pulling together dedicated teams to work through the consenting process with us.”

Early in the project the team also began engagement with mana whenua which Stewart says has been a really rewarding experience.

“At our first meeting we stood together with mana whenua representatives on a hill right in the middle of where the site is now and expressed our genuine desire to come into the community and have a positive impact, not just in terms of recruitment but wider support as well.”

Since then, the team has worked hand in hand with hapū and iwi. A dawn blessing with representatives from Ngai Tamarawaho and Ngati Hangarau took place in December 2020 with the nearby Taumata School as Kaitiaki (guardian) of the soil. Pou from each mana whenua hapu will also be a feature of the Tauranga facility main office block.

Stewart says the organisation continues to find more opportunities to work with the community, like engaging with Priority One and Māori training provider Solomon Group to maximise employment opportunities for locals.

“We’ve built relationships around trust and followed through with the things we said we’d do, taking community feedback seriously, respecting the environment and working hard to minimise our environmental footprint”.

“All the passionate people we’ve worked with have come to understand that we’re more than just a manufacturing and distribution business – we want to have a real positive impact in this community.”