Venture Southland

Venture Southland is a joint initiative of the Invercargill City, Southland District and Gore District Councils, and is the agency responsible for the region’s economic and community development initiatives. It promotes the benefits of an integrated approach and community organisations working together and leveraging support and resources.  Venture Southland is funded through contributions from the Invercargill City, Southland District and Gore District Councils and the Community Trust of Southland.

Venture Southland’s Mission is to actively work with groups and organisations to identify opportunities and facilitate the development of projects and initiatives that will enhance the prosperity and quality of life of Southland communities. 

The Southland Energy Strategy was developed by Venture Southland in 2005 and updated in 2011. It has been endorsed by Invercargill City, Southland District and Gore District Councils. Following an approach by EECA to establish a wood energy cluster, Venture Southland held a forum and subsequently developed a wood energy demand assessment which was funded by EECA, Venture Southland and industry partners. This study indicated there was substantial potential demand for wood energy in the region.


(Past partner 2014-2017)

The Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) promotes energy efficiency, energy conservation and the use of energy from renewable sources. EECA focuses on actions that will deliver the greatest net benefits to all of New Zealand.

Energy conservation seeks to avoid wasting energy. Energy efficiency is about using less energy to achieve the same result, or greater results from the same amount of energy. Both result in energy savings. Renewable energy is energy that is naturally replenished at a useful rate, such as wind or hydro.

EECA provides people in business and at home with the information, tools, and support they need to make knowledgeable decisions about their energy use. We work with many partners to do this - with the private sector, community groups, industry associations, and central and local government.


Project Governance

Steering Group

The role of the Steering Group is to represent key partners and stakeholder’s interests throughout the planning process, assist in receiving and reviewing reports and reviewing the effectiveness of the project and provide guidance to the project team. Venture Southland will be responsible for delivering the project, and a technical advisory group will provide technical support and develop work streams in consultation with Venture Southland the project Steering Group.

Steering Group members are expected to be willing and able to represent the needs of stakeholders throughout the planning process. Skills and attributes of relevance may have been derived from business experience, work experience, community involvement, involvement in energy programmes/practices/initiatives and an interest in the biomass or energy industry.

Steering Group Members

  • Grant Smith - Pioneer and BANZ rep (Chairman)

  • Steve Chandler - Rayoniers

  • Christine Henderson - Community

  • Owen West - Environment Southland


Advisory Group

The purpose of the Southland Wood Energy Advisory Group is to share knowledge and engage in education. Venture Southland has received expressions of interest from interested stakeholders and has identified personnel for the Wood Energy South Advisory Group. The group has representatives from industry stakeholders including boiler suppliers, wood fuel suppliers, forestry, heat plant users and consultants. This advisory group will work closely with the VS technical advisor to ensure that the project has identified the needs and is enabled to address both supply and demand barriers for wood energy.

Advisory Group Members

  • Graeme Manley - South Wood Export Ltd

  • David Blue – Niagara

  • Wayne McCallum – McCallums Group

  • Iain Macdonald – Forest Management

  • John Faul – CH Faul & Company Ltd

  • Wayne Harpur – Rayners Ltd

  • Rhys Millar – Ahika Consulting

  • Nathan Surendran – Schema Consulting

  • Cameron Smellie - EIS