VT Chief Executive Stuart Trundle has received recognition from his peers with the receipt of a Distinguished Service Award (DSA) for his services to regional economic development in New Zealand.

Press release: Economic Development New Zealand

Stuart Trundle, the Chief Executive of Venture Taranaki Trust, has received recognition from his peers across the country at the Inaugural Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Awards, with the receipt of a Distinguished Service Award (DSA) for his services to regional economic development in New Zealand.
Nominated by peers for the industry’s first DSA, Stuart’s nomination won the attention of the Awards panel because of his strong and tangible commitment to facilitating economic development in New Zealand through his role with Venture Taranaki and through his leadership role with Economic Development New Zealand.
“Stuart’s intellect, understanding of the profession, and passionate commitment for the ‘People’s Republic of Taranaki’ is legendary within the industry, and the difference he has made to both the region’s economy and the economic development profession are commendable,” said EDNZ Chair Dr David Wilson.
Stuart has been actively involved in Taranaki’s economic development since 1997, and founded Venture Taranaki, New Zealand’s first combined economic development agency and regional tourism office, in 2004. Since then he has steadily grown both the scale of the organisation and the impact it has had on the Taranaki region. The Venture Taranaki model has been progressively adopted by many other regions, including Auckland and Wellington.
Stuart is a past board member for the Economic Development Centre at AUT, a past chair of Economic Development New Zealand, in 2012 was awarded the New Plymouth District Mayoral Award for Business, and is also a winner of the Vero Excellence in Business Support award. Prior to forming Venture Taranaki, Stuart was managing director of the largest Chamber of Commerce in the United Kingdom, and his work in the formation of regional economic development agencies in Poland and Romania was supported by the British Government and European Commission. 
“Over two decades Stuart has built one of the country’s foremost economic development agencies and made an immensely valuable contribution to the growth and standing of the economic development sector in New Zealand” David said. “In looking for the Inaugural DSA, Stuart was an obvious recipient.”
In accepting the award, Stuart pointed to the positive changes that have impacted on regional economic development over recent years, such as the greater strategic frameworks and wider understanding of the potential of local, smart economic development interventions.
“Economic development is much greater and more diverse than simply attracting inward investment, and Venture Taranaki has shown the value of a strategic and long-term approach to regional growth,” Stuart said.
“Fostering business clusters is something that we been able to do very effectively in Taranaki, and it has been very heartening that the Team Taranaki approach to regional development has been acknowledged by our peers.”
“The economic development profession is an exciting career for those wishing to make an intergenerational impact on their communities, and its practitioners are experts in making positive contributions in wealth creation,” said Stuart.
“Jobs and GDP are important outcomes, but real economic development can transform lives. I have been blessed to have worked with an amazingly creative executive and governance team over the years, and it is on their behalf that I accept this award.”
The DSA was presented on the evening of the 31st August, at the Gala Awards Dinner at the Rydges Hotel, Wellington. The Awards are sponsored by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and hosted by Economic Development New Zealand.