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Guest Lecture: Sue Dobbie - The Great Cat Muster: experiences in regional economic development 2007-2017

Page updated Sep 29, 2017

Event Details


Presentation material for Sue Dobbie's lecture presented at the Treasury.


A presentation and discussion on systems, people, challenges and success factors in New Zealand’s regional economic development 2007-2017.

About Sue Dobbie

Sue grew up in South Canterbury, the youngest of four children with hardworking parents who were variously (and sometimes concurrently) a teacher, accountant, and chicken, sheep and crop farmers.

She thought she would become a teacher because “those who can, do, and those that can’t, teach”. Inspired by listening to pirate radio station Hauraki at night when the signal strength from the Hauraki Gulf was clearest, she dreamed of moving to Auckland. After completing a degree in medieval English literature and linguistics and a Post-Graduate Business Diploma at Canterbury University, she made it as far as Wellington.

Sue has had two 9-year stints in the Public Service (never quite making it to long service leave). She commenced her career as a graduate analyst at the Department of Trade and Industry and worked in the State Services Commission, followed by three years in the Strategic Policy Group at the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research before the department was restructured into the contestable science system in 1992.

After 15 years working in the unpaid, voluntary, not-for-profit and early childhood education roles (being licensee of one and managing another centre), and local government consulting, Sue joined the regional economic development team at the Ministry of Economic Development in 2007.

Over her time at MED/MBIE Sue has worked intensively in regions in regional and sector development roles and supporting Māori economic development. Sue lead the implementation of the NZ Food Innovation Network and the establishment of the Regional Growth Programme in 2013/14 (in partnership with colleagues from MPI). She has worked with most regions in NZ but more intensively in Northland, Bay of Plenty and West Coast. In December 2016, Sue stepped down from her role as a Principal Advisor at MBIE and is working free-lance, currently with NZ Māori Tourism.

Note: Papers, presentation slides and any other material provided by the Guest Lecturer will be made available some time after the lecture at Publications > Media & Speeches > Guest Lectures by Visiting Academics.