Marae becomes the 500th completed regional economic development project

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: Te Arawhiti and Regional Economic Development say the $500,000 renovation of the 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 with government investment. The marae are the focal point for local Maori – for whānau, hapū and iwi – and reflect and represent identity, language, matauranga and Maori 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 through 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 businesses, contractors and workers, 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 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 a area with several challenges and is a priority objective of our regional development program.

“The momentum of regional economic development is accelerating. We support communities across the country and give them the 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 along 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 improved air cargo and terminal facilities .

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

(With contributions from the New Zealand government press release)