The Thames Business Association

The Thames Business Association at a Glance

Welcome to Thames, a thriving tourist town, and once a major gold rush centre, located in the ‘golden triangle’ formed by Hamilton, Auckland and Tauranga. This golden triangle contributes to over half of New Zealand’s GDP growth, making Thames a fantastic location for forward-thinking businesses. 

Half of New Zealand’s population lives within 90 minutes’ drive of Thames, which provides quality retail, hospitality and accommodation options for locals and tourists visiting the Coromandel.

Our vision at the Thames Business Association is to cultivate and grow a vibrant and strong business community that collaborates successfully, is connected to opportunities, shares knowledge and is well supported by its local community.

We believe that better businesses build a stronger, more resilient community. 

It’s a vision that’s constantly evolving and responding to arising conditions – like the recent challenges of Covid lockdowns, cyclones, and economic cycles. 

The TBA was borne out of the passion of the Thames Business Association Action Group, which conducted a survey in early 2018 to determine the appetite of the local business community for a business association.

More than 80 responses were received, and in May 2018 the TBA was officially established as an incorporated society and our journey began.

We’re a small organization that consistently punches above its weight in delivery – with currently only one paid employee, our CEO, a governance board of 7 to 9 successful business owners representing all sectors, and a small group of dedicated volunteers. 

Our catchment area is the Thames Ward, which extends along the west side of the Coromandel Peninsula from Hikutaia in the south to Waikawau in the north, an area of approximately 475 square km. 

We welcome all businesses and commercially rated property owners within this area and currently have more than 300 members comprised of corporations, sole proprietorships, NGO and community organisations. We also offer associate memberships to people outside the Ward, however, these members are not accorded voting privileges. 

We have a positive working relationship with the Community Board members of the Thames Ward, and work closely with them, the Mayor and senior Council staff to support their aims and achieve ours. 

Since our incorporation, we have focused on our purpose of developing a cohesive business community that drives positive social and economic outcomes.

The TBA, through its Board (including the CEO), provides leadership around business development, marketing, promotion, events and urban beautification, and is a central coordination point for the business community. 

Successes have included advocating for the Kōpū Marine Precinct Project to proceed as planned, despite a significant budget shortfall, and marshalling all the councillors in the Thames Coromandel District to support this approach.

We’re overseeing the community engagement and fundraising for the  Porritt Park Project –  which will feature a destination playground and changing places facility for those unable to use regular accessible toilets; and we’re supporting the recovery strategy after the severe weather events of late 2022 and early 2022. During Covid, we also ran a very successful Support Local campaign.

Our long-term goal is to build the TBA so it represents the majority of businesses in the Thames Ward and enables them to “speak with one voice”; and to advocate effectively for their interests and success.

We aim to be an association that builds strong and productive partnerships with its stakeholders, such as the Thames-Coromandel District Council, Waka Kotahi, Ngāti Maru, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Ministry of Social Development, and the Waikato Regional Council, as well as the Thames Police.

Our members range from large corporations like Thames Vehicle Operations – Toyota NZ, which has imported and restored tens of thousands of used vehicles since it transitioned from being the assembly plant in 1997, through to sole proprietor businesses like Carson’s Bookshop and everything in between. 

We hold regular events for our members, which have included Business After 5, a monthly event in conjunction with MediaWorks, business breakfasts, and forums. 

We also host/co-host events for our community, including the Santa Parade and Whanau Day, the Santa Dash and Wings and Wheels Thames. This year we’re collaborating on an Advent Adventure, intending to draw people into town to support our local businesses and to get our whole community behind this festive initiative. And we regularly co-produce Beach Hop in Thames.

Plus we’re constantly reviewing our offerings to ensure that we meet the evolving needs of our members. If you would like to become a member and contribute to the Thames Ward community, we would love to have you join us and our mission.