Eastern Bridge

Services for Councils

Supporting economic development and community well-being

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Services for

Local Government

Our origins started with local government. In 2014, while working at the Opotiki District Council, founder, Simon Appleton saw the disconnect between local government’s desire to be internationally engaged and their ability to do so sustainably.

We provide local governments with an outsourced foreign affairs and migrant support team. We work with you to reach your economic development and social wellbeing goals.

As no two councils are the same the services are customisable. You can choose different options based on your needs, or you can request Eastern Bridge to analyse and identify the opportunities to feed into your strategic planning.

Strategic Planning

We’ll provide a detailed analysis of your community, then we can work alongside your team to identify goals and create a strategy which enables improved engagement with your migrant communities. We’ll also assist you with the implementation.

International Relations Service

Incorporating strategic planning, business cases, Hongi and more, this is a wrap around service for organisations wanting to support social wellbeing and economic development through international relations.

Hongi for Councils

A multi-lingual online news, information and e-commerce portal designed to support your Council engagement with migrant communities. Hongi can also market your city, region or district, promote your business community and create economic development opportunities to an international audience.

If your interested to know more, please contact us and request access to our LGNZ Partner Pages. On our LGNZ Partner Pages you will be provided with additional information about our services, how we work and indicative pricing. Alternatively, you can request a meeting with Simon Appleton or David Fieldedn who can walk you through Eastern Bridge's services.

Request access to the LGNZ Partner page.

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Our goals and values

Why we do what we do

Our Goal

Our goal is to improve the lives of the people who call New Zealand “home.” We believe by connecting our communities to the world, we can support economic development and promote social well-being, in turn making New Zealand a more welcoming and prosperous place.


Economic Enablers

  • Investment and business attraction
  • Trade facilitation
  • Skilled worker attraction
  • International student attraction
  • Tourism attraction
  • Offshore procurement
  • Hongi


Social Well-being Enablers

  • Training
  • Educational exchanges
  • Cultural exchanges
  • Overseas experience programmes
  • Internships
  • Offshore camps
  • Hongi


Our Core Values

Integrity and Honesty | We will not compromise our values and will act in a trustworthy manner at all times. 

Ngakau- tapatahi me te Pononga | Kaore matou a marie i a matou uaratanga a, ka mahi i roto i te huatanga matatika i nga wa katoa.

Achievements Orientated | We will gain results in a timely, innovative and economic manner. 

Whakatutukitanga Whakawaiatanga | Ka whiwhi hua i roto i te auaha me te ngawaritanga.

Respect diversity | We respect and learn from the many cultures found in New Zealand.

Te whakaute i te rereketanga | Ka whakaute, ka ako hoki matou mai i nga ahurea huhua i kitea i Aotearoa.

Satisfying Expectations | We will always look to understand our client community's expectations and try to achieve a high level of community satisfaction. 

Tumanako Manawareka | Ka ahei tonu matou kia mohio ki nga tumanako o to tatou iwi kainga me te whakamatau kia taea te tairanga teitei o te whakanatanga o te iwi whanui.


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A brief introduction to

Our Services

We provide our clients with international relations and migrant engagement services which enhances your economy, supports community cohesion and social well-being. Our international team brings together a range of expertise in language and culture, economic development, business and social work. With more information available on request, here are overviews of our three products for councils:

International Relations Management

Our International Relations Services can assist your organisation engage with customers, clients or partners across cultural and linguistic divides. Many of our existing clients use this service to enhance their economic development capability and promote community well-being.

When a client is interested in our service we can scope the work required and provide a customised offering. Alternatively, a council can choose to pay a monthly retainer and use our services on a need-to basis.  

A full breakdown and explanation of our service components is available upon request. Here is a high level overview of our service components:

Communication | Translation, interpreting and offshore guides

Legal | Business registration (offshore) Contracts

Marketing | Hongi, market research, localisation, marketing plan and offshore marketing and sales support, application development

Strategy | Business cases, investment cases and strategic planning

Diplomacy | Delegation preparation and management, travel planning, relationship management

Intelligence | Due Diligence, background checks, surveys, training and briefings

Strategic Planning

Each community is different, so a ‘one size fits all’ solution cannot be applied when it comes to migrant engagement and international relations.

Eastern Bridge likes to develop strategies based on local data and thorough analysis. We draw information from a range of sources as well as our own Migrant Perceptions Survey.

Our strategies will include a SWOT analysis, as we identify the enablers and opportunities for your communities. These will generally include economic development and community well-being streams.

When we deliver a strategy, we provide manageable actions which keep in mind the capacity of your resources. The strategies will also determine measures for understanding what success looks like. 


Hongi is an exciting news, information and e-commerce portal specifically for New Zealand local and regional councils, government departments, economic development agencies and tourism promotion organisations. Hongi is available in;

English | Chinese | Korean | Japanese | Vietnamese | Russian

We use a combination of machine learning AI and locally based editors to provide up to date news and public information.

Our nationwide Migrant Perceptions Survey told us that few Councils are truly “Asia Ready.” Migrants have told us that their number one concern is the constant frustration of being unable to access information about living in New Zealand in their own language.

Hongi solves this problem. Your council can communicate with your migrant communities in their own languages. And, your council can showcase your cities, towns and districts to visitors, international students, investors and skilled workers.

With Hongi, you can also promote economic and community well-being:


  • Promote locally made products on the e-store
  • Support your business community through the local business directory
  • Attract investment by showcasing your community’s local opportunities
  • Encourage tourism by marketing your local tourism offerings and providers
  • Welcome international students by introducing the local schools and student-friendly environment


  • Create a welcoming front door for Asian migrants and visitors
  • Share your positive news and local information
  • Encourage well-being through community engagement
  • Enhance your council’s ability to engage with your migrant community
  • Collect data on migrant communities to better serve them

Hongi has been custom built by the Eastern Bridge team and incorporates many unique features and applications to enhance the user experience. Further add-ons and enhancements are planned, including the incorporation of a social-media interface for Hongi users, due for completion in the end of 2021.

Hongi is also supported by a robust marketing and promotions strategy which includes special promotions into the migrant communities, advertising, and influencers. As more councils participate in Hongi the promotional activities will also increase.  


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To give you a few ideas

Case studies

Eastern Bridge has worked with over 40 Councils and Council Controlled Organisations since 2014. We pride ourselves on our ability to develop creative and practical solutions to suit any budget. Over the years we have met with Mayors, Prime Ministers and three Presidents along with numerous business leaders in New Zealand and across Asia. We have assisted in attracting foreign direct investment, supported job creation, raised half a million dollars for scholarships and attracted hundreds of international students and tourists into regional New Zealand. Here are a few examples of the work we have done: