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A Regional Gisborne Brand

Creating and articulating a Gisborne regional purpose is the first step and the second is to create a brand that reflects the purpose of Gisborne and the East Coast. I am putting forward the following as a candidate for a brand. While this is a little of the “cart before the horse”, we will get the stage of the purpose having being created and then a brand is next. So rather than start from ground zero at that point we need to build up possible candidates, ideas and resources that can be drawn from.

The Concept

The Edge, The Edge of New Zealand, The Edge of the World.

Edge theory comes from biology, the most important of today's sciences. A change in a species always comes from the edge. Biology explains the Internet and exponential growth and increasing returns to scale we will see from a networked world. This positions locations such as ours at a leading edge, where we can maintain the dream lifestyle while still competing and contributing to the NZ and global economy.

Edge promises thrilling achievement. Competitive edge. Leading edge. Cutting edge. At the edge of your seat.

Our Right to this concept?

What right do we have to this concept? Do we have the secret ingredients that will enable us to tell an edge story?

In order for our region (from Opotiki around the cape to Wairoa) to say yes, we are the EDGE, and we have the EDGE, we need to have the ability to own it. Here are some of the unique ways we can take ownership of the EDGE concept for our region. You will have more, I would love to hear them and add them to the edgeNZ resource. The key… as you read this information, is… can you imagine you, your organisation, your whanau, your iwi, saying “yeh, we have these attributes, we CAN see ourselves having the “edge”.

Edge Attributes

These are the attributes that give us the “edge”. The following list is only a sample of the potential of our Edge-ness. If you have an edge attribute, I would love to hear it.Location The Edge of the World

The Edge metaphor comes from our extreme physical location on the globe. New Zealand is the country on that edge; we are the region that lays claim to the sharp, extreme of that edge Gisborne is first to see the light of the new day.

Edge comes from our position relative to the dateline, on the leading edge of time, first to the future everyday.

Believe it! We are the edge. The edge of the planet. Where the world starts, everyday. New Zealand and in particular Gisborne is so edgy we often get left off the map.

The Gisborne region is like an island with an island, at the edge of New Zealand and the world.


The following sample areas have outstanding people who are or were at the leading edge of their fields in New Zealand and Worldwide. We only have to look at the current museum display. Here are just small sample from the top of my consciousness: There are countless others

of today’s most compelling intellectual devices. It’s based on the biological metaphor...

Basically stated, this metaphor says that our modern networked economy, and our culture, operates like a biological organism - guided by the same processes and influences that determine change in nature.

Changes in species almost always occur first at the fringe of a species’ range, where the population is most sparse and where the orthodox ways of the center are weakest. Isolated New Zealand has been a social laboratory, which gave women the vote first, introduced a cradle to the grave social welfare system and then made itself one of the most open economies in the world. “ Kevin Roberts


“Countries articulate their ideas about themselves through art and architecture, through cuisine, through dress, through diplomacy, through economic policy, through sport, through literature, through design, through personal style, through revolution and, tragically, war. Through every public and private, code of behaviour, and across every wrinkle of that culture’s history.

Instinctively we know why the flamenco wasn’t invented in Germany. It doesn’t fit the narrative. We know why Sophia Loren isn’t a Pom and Franz Kafka wasn’t an Aussie. Wrong types. We know why Nashville is the home of country music and not Prague. We know why the Taj Mahal is in Agra, Northern India and Ceasar’s Palace is in Las Vegas, Nevada.

We haven’t yet fully articulated our own national story. Offered a set of cultural co-ordinates so we can be mapped. Kiwi Attitude. Point of view. Like a great brand that you instinctively know what it stands for.” Kevin Roberts

How do we map ourselves?

We have the historical cultural co-ordinates, which have been re-energised by leaders, events and attitudes of the last 30 years. These unique cultural attributes’ of this region, together with our unique position/location in the world, creates a hugely powerful and compelling story to map us on the world scene.

Let’s create our position in the world…

Let’s distinguish ourselves, the people of this region, on the world map through edgeNZ.
A brand isn’t enough, we need a LOVEMARK?

Saatchi and Saatchi have created the following checklist to determine whether a brand has what it takes to make it a “Lovemark”. Yep, it sounds a little left field, touchy feely but its on the money. They state a Lovemark is the future beyond branding where the “Lovemark” is at the emotional heart of the relationship between the organization, in our case the region, and its customers/visitors. Some great examples and analysis like Disney, All Blacks, Italy, and others are given at

Let’s see if applying this criteria to EdgeNZ we’ve got it. This is just my attack on this and I know with some insight from others this list will be phenomenal!


Great Stories:

We have the best New-Zealand stories to tell the world. The first-isms are numerous, first Maori landing, first Cook landing, first City in the world to see the sun, light, and future each day. First to grow truffles in NZ.

The true and compelling stories of Te Kooti, the mystical stories of Maui,

Past, present, and future together:

Our region is strong in traditional marae based communities, which link the past and present and influence the future.
Our lifestyle touches the past, lets us really live in the present and strive for the ultimate future.

Taps into dreams:

We have the ultimate lifestyle, why do we have so many foreigners coming here to buy our land and houses. There are some great stories of recent land and house purchasers for exactly that reason. The yanks see us as California was in the 60’s... A lifestyle they can only dream about. Or how about the “Pom” who found his house in SurfCity-Gisborne on the net from the UK, and is now resident here with his family. Why lifestyle.

Creating a successful, global business from a lifestyle paradise using todays technologies. Edge thinking from the edge

Large trout from crisp, clean rivers
12 pointer deer
Countless uncrowded waves



Beautiful beaches, coastline, clear blue skies, lush wilderness areas, native bush hugging glistening rivers. First to SEE the future each day. Uninhibited vision and innovation which can only come from the edge.


Crashing Waves, waiatas, kapa haka, river water babbling over rocks,


BBQs’ wild food festival, fresh clean sea air,


Hongi, sand between the toes, sun on the skin, cleansing sea and river water


BBQed fresh kai moana, earthy hangi kai, award winning wines and olive oil. Lick the salt from the skin from a refreshing swim at the beach.



How’s the commitment of a Ngati Porou East Coast rugby team supporter. At the away games they out number the home teams supporters.
Do our visitors feel this way about us. From the statistics about the increase in numbers to this region and the frantic level of interest for holiday housing being experienced for this coming summer I would say our region is winning them over and its becoming contagious. They want a holiday for their family that they had as kids, without the rev heads and bustle of thousands of overseas tourists.


The East Coast rugby team gained more empathy from the NZ public than any team outside of the All Blacks. Their inspirational run of success combined with the players and supporters emotional displays at each game captured the hearts of us all. They showed the impossible is possible, with vision and planning. This has come from the smallest rugby union at the edge of the world.

We have a place in the hearts of NZers wanting a great NZ summer holiday… and after this experience they envy us for the year round lifestyle we lead as they traipse back to the cities.