CP: The Marae project takes an important step in regional economic development

PHOTO: Kanoa (RDU)

The renovations at Puketawa Marae in the Hokianga mark an important step in favor of the provincial communities.

A remote Far North marae has become the 500th regional economic development project to be completed with an investment from the Crown of the RMP and other funds.

Ministers for Maori Crown Relations and Regional Economic Development said the $500,000 renovation at Puketawa Marae near Ōkaihau in Hokianga marks an important step in supporting provincial communities.

As Member of Parliament for Te Tai Tokerau, Kelvin Davis said that Puketawa Marae is the turangawaewae of Te Honihoni hapū and that thanks to Crown investments, it has now had a facelift.

“It is only fitting that a vital community center like a marae should mark this milestone as the 500th regional development project to be completed,” said Kelvin Davis.

“Throughout the country, 358 marae are being renovated through public investment. The marae are the focal point of local Maori – for whānau, hapū and iwi – and reflect and represent Maori identity, language, matauranga and whānau welfare. There are 33 marae renovations in Northland, and 19 are now complete.

“It is also appropriate that the official opening of the new Puketawa Marae is scheduled for Waitangi Day, reflecting the continued partnership between Maori and the Crown,” said Kelvin Davis.

“With over 500 projects now delivered, regional economies have received a boost from our broader strategy to support local jobs and businesses and build community resilience,” said Stuart Nash.

“The renovation of Puketawa Marae was carried out by local companies, contractors and laborers, with 22 people employed at various stages. Residents were kept at work during the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and local businesses won contracts for materials and services.

“A total of 364 projects worth $800 million are being managed in the Northland region by Kānoa – RDU, the regional development unit of MBIE. It administers the PGF and several other funds. Te Tai Tokerau is an area with several challenges and is at the center of our regional development programme.

“The dynamic of regional economic development is accelerating. We support communities across the country and give them confidence to keep investing.

“It has been a priority to invest in regional infrastructure that was previously dilapidated. These investments are all the more important as we respond to the economic shock caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“Regional investments help break down barriers to growth and provide a significant boost to our regional economies across a wide variety of industries and sectors.

“For example, the new terminal at Gisborne Airport is a completed project. It is essential to keep our easternmost city connected and to help businesses in Tairāwhiti grow, in a region brimming with innovation and potential. New bike lanes in Hawke’s Bay have also improved flood protection on the banks of the Tuki Tuki River.

“The new Tidal Creek Bridge between Karamea and the Buller District provides a vital connection, enabling local travel, business and tourism on the West Coast. Invercargill Airport has acquired better air cargo and terminal facilities.

“We have protected beloved community assets like the Ōtaki Civic Theater, now restored to the glory of its construction over 80 years ago. In Dunedin, iconic war memorials have been restored as important sites of community pride.

“The investments are also supporting essential community services, including the new St. John Ambulance Station in Rotorua, a new Dementia Unit in Ōtorohanga and the world-class Papamoa Surf Lifesaving Base and Community Facility.

“Government investment through the PGF and other regional development funds not only supports local economies, but also improves public services and facilities,” said Stuart Nash.

By the numbers:

• As of January 24, 2022, 510 projects have been completed with an investment of approximately $438 million from a range of Crown funds, including the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) and Response and Recovery Fund COVID-19.

• In total, MBIE’s Kānoa unit manages 1,714 regional economic development projects worth $4.3 billion across all funds.

• So far, it has invested $2.3 billion from six funds, including the PGF, the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, the COVID-19 Worker Redeployment Program, the New Zealand level and the STAPP Tourism Recovery Fund.

• There are 1,359 PGF projects in total. Over $1.7 billion in progress payments have been made as major delivery milestones are reached and work is completed. The PGF has nearly $3 billion in approved funding.

• In addition to this, the manifesto commitment for a Regional Strategic Partnership Fund was delivered in 2021. The RSPF will provide an additional $200 million as “seed funding” for projects identified by the regions themselves as development priorities.

More details on the 510 completed projects can be found on the Kanoa website here.

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