Today's announcement from Regional Economic Development Minister, Shane Jones, means that the Ōpōtiki district will have a digital hub – a place that will allow existing businesses and new entrepreneurs, community groups and students of all ages to share services and a platform to thrive in the digital world.
Ōpōtiki Councillor, Steve Nelson said that the $400,000 funding for a digital hub was another vital piece of infrastructure that would help Ōpōtiki thrive.
"This hub is an exciting opportunity for our community. It means that the best of technology is here in the district and there is no reason we can't join the international marketplace and bring our products to the world.
"This hub is a real boon for the Eastern Bay - it opens doors for local businesses, learning opportunities for students and still-yet-to-be-discovered opportunities for new ideas and products. We are located a long way from bigger cities and New Zealand is a long way from many of our international markets, but technology brings us closer together than ever," Mr Nelson said.
Ōpōtiki Library Manager, Jo Hunt, has been working alongside the Provincial Development Unit in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, preparing and planning the digital hub. She is excited about the opportunities that will arise when the two services co-locate in Te Tāhuhu o Te Rangi.
"Modern library services already do a lot in the digital space and certainly in a place like Ōpōtiki, it is a role that we have picked up more and more. But with the new digital hub comes better technology and better support, more resource and certainly more visibility of this work. We are excited about the eventual move together in the new premises in Te Tāhuhu o Te Rangi," Ms Hunt said.
The digital hub will initially open on a smaller scale in an existing council-owned retail unit on Church Street. This property is in an ideal location being two doors down from the proposed redevelopment site and almost directly opposite the existing library. The full scale digital hub will open in Te Tāhuhu o Te Rangi when the build is complete next year.