Purpose – This study tracked rural network activity among regional stakeholders, including government supported agencies, educational institutes, indigenous business representatives, economic support organizations and rural community groups. It explored the relationships that exist between regional stakeholders in a collaborative rural network environment, offering insights into the relationship dynamic between stakeholder organizations. Methodology/approach – A longitudinal case study method was utilized to identify the component elements of regional stakeholder network engagement. Findings – Communication, resource sharing and prolonged social interaction were found to be key elements in promoting stakeholder trust. Furthermore, proactive stakeholders improve commitment to network relationships over time. A cyclical flow of these criteria is necessary for congruent understanding to develop between the stakeholders resulting in collaborative network engagement. Research limitations – Limitations include stakeholder willingness to participate in the research study, potential participant and researcher bias and the possibility that certain features may be particular to the observed network. Practical/social implications – The current research demonstrated that stakeholder engagement cannot be assumed in a rural network environment, thus the implementation of the network paradigm into national strategic plans for rural regional development is recommended. Originality/value – This research contributes to the under-developed area of regional stakeholder network engagement and provides a basis from which to consider the relationships that exist between regional stakeholders in a rural network. A key outcome is the development of a Framework of Regional Stakeholder Network Engagement, which offers insight into how committed network relationships evolve and highlight the factors that promote and hinder sustainable regional stakeholder engagement.