Investment and Growth Reserve

We established the Investment and Growth Reserve (IGR) in 2011/12 to help fund economic projects that will increase jobs and economic performance in Northland. The reserve is financed by income from the council's various investments and potential projects are scoped and assessed by Northland Inc.

The initial criteria for the use of the reserve was published in our Long Term Plan 2012-2022. It was subsequently updated in February 2014, February 2018 and again in August 2018. The latest version is available below. Enquiries into obtaining funding from the Investment and Growth Reserve should be directed to Northland Inc.

Investment and Growth Reserve Criteria (PDF, 48KB)

Since 2013/14, council has invested almost $7 million on projects that, when combined with other sources of funding, are worth more than $35 million. These projects will ultimately benefit the Northland community. Some key projects include:

Waitangi Mountain Bike Park

Council contributed $400,000 towards the development of Stage 2 of the Waitangi Mountain Bike Park. This project has been developed by Focus Paihia, a local community trust, in collaboration with local hapu, the Department of Conservation (the land owners) and the Waitangi National Trust. The park includes a mix of trails for all abilities, from beginner to experienced. The Northland economic benefits are estimated to be $6.4m after 3 years and $21.2m after 10-15 years of operation. The project is expected to help create over 50 jobs after 3 years and 168 jobs after 10-15 years of operation. 

Find more information on the Waitangi Mountain Bike Park website:

Extension 350

Council has allocated a total of $832,600 in funding over a six-year period to lift the on-farm performance and profitability of 350 Northland farms through sharing knowledge to improve farm systems.  Funding is also being contributed from central government and industry bodies as well the target farmers of the project themselves. Longer term, the project will help secure over 140 new permanent off-farm jobs and 60 on-farm jobs along with a predicted boost to business of $2.4 million per year.

Find out more about the Extension 350 project on the NorthlandNZ website:  

The Orchard

The Orchard is a business and event hub located in central Whangārei for the growing community of entrepreneurs, start-ups and already established business professionals in Northland. Council contributed $70,000 to this project which was match funded by a contribution from central government.

Visit the Orchard website:

Twin Coast Cycle Trail (Pou Herenga Tai)

This nationally significant cycle trail – constructed and managed by Far North District Council – connects the east and west coasts of the mid-north, from Ōpua to Horeke. The regional council contributed $900,000 to help complete the trail which was fully opened to the public in 2017. Other funding contributors included Far North District Council and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. 

Visit the Twin Coast Cycle Trail website:

Hundertwasser Art Centre and Wairau Māori Art Gallery

This key project, expected to open by mid-2020, will receive up to $1.5 million of IGR funding from Council. Other funding contributors include Whangarei District Council, Central Government, the Lotteries Commission, Foundation North, the Lottery Grants Board as well as charitable trusts, pledges and donations.  Located in the town basin in the heart of Whangārei, it will showcase works by the artist Friedrich Hundertwasser as well as contemporary Maori art.

Find out more at

Kawakawa Hundertwasser Park Centre

Council have allocated $500,000 to support the construction of a Hundertwasser Park Centre in Kawakawa.  The project, led by the Kawakawa Hundertwasser Park Community Trust with the support of Far North District Council, Far North Holdings Limited and Te Rūnga o Ngāti Hine, involves the construction of a multi-use facility (incorporating an art gallery, district council library and service centre, workshop area, café and public amenities) seeks to build on the tourism opportunity created by the world famous Hundertwasser designed and built public toilets. There is still a considerable portion of the funds that need to be raised.

Northland Strategic Irrigation Infrastructure Study

In late 2014, council allocated $75,000 from the IGR to undertake a 'Northland Strategic Irrigation Infrastructure Study', with a matching contribution from the Ministry for Primary Industries Irrigation Acceleration Fund. The purpose of the study was to undertake a high-level, region-wide study to identify the opportunity for irrigated agriculture to contribute to Northland's economic development. This work was also included in the Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan given the potential of irrigation infrastructure to lift the region's performance.

A key finding of the study was that further detailed work should focus on two 'clusters' – one in the region's mid-North (containing the Kaikohe, Kerikeri and Waimate North areas) and the other to the south in Kaipara (containing North Kaipara and Ruawai). Another important conclusion reached in the report was that other uses, such as public drinking supply and industrial demand, may be key to making a community based water storage scheme economically viable.

The study, completed in 2016, is available to download in three parts below.

Northland Strategic Irrigation Infrastructure Study - Exec Summary - References (PDF, 4.1MB)

Northland Strategic Irrigation Infrastructure Study - Appendix A - Appendix H (part) (PDF, 3.2MB)

Northland Strategic Irrigation Infrastructure Study - Appendix H (part) - End (PDF, 4.1MB)

Scoping of Irrigation Scheme Options in Northland

Following on from the Northland Strategic Irrigation Infrastructure Study, council commissioned a consortium led by Opus International to scope up some irrigation scheme options in the Kaipara and Mid-North cluster areas. This project was funded by a $165,000 contribution from council's IGR, with a matching contribution from Crown Irrigation Investments Limited.

The study, completed in July 2017, developed four scheme options: one in Kaipara and three in the mid-North area. At this stage none of the options appear overly attractive for private sector investment alone and would likely require public investment. Should any of the schemes proceed, the likely outcome will be a change in land use to horticultural crops such as kiwifruit and avocados rather than conversion to dairy.

The report is available to download in three parts below. (Please note the large file size of these documents).

Scoping of Irrigation Scheme Options in Northland – Final Report (PDF, 4.4MB)

Scoping of Irrigation Scheme Options in Northland – Appendices (PDF, 6.83MB)

Scoping of Irrigation Scheme Options in Northland – Summary Report (PDF, 3.1MB)