3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced.
“A total of 351 marae all over the country will receive much-needed upgrades while more than 3100 local jobs will be created through this investment which totals $96.5 million. It is not only the marae that will benefit. It also means close to $100 million will filter into communities, through wages and into local businesses supplying building materials and fittings,” Jones says.
The funding is in addition to $12.4 million announced last month for upgrades of town halls, war memorials and other community facilities around the country and close to $10 million for upgrades and renovations on Pasifika churches.
”This latest government investment in our economic recovery recognises the role of marae which are often the heart of their communities and what they provide. Marae are the centre of faith, sport, and family and community gatherings. They often do double service as accommodation, conference centres, health and welfare hubs and host some of our country’s most important events.
“This once in a lifetime investment will help bring people back into work in the regions and at the same time upgrade this critical wellbeing infrastructure. I would also add that the overwhelmingly positive response from marae to our call for applications has been humbling,” Jones says.
Nanaia Mahuta says marae are the focal point for Māori – for whānau, hapū and iwi.
“Marae reflect and represent Māori identity, language, mātauranga and whānau wellbeing.
“These initiatives will strengthen whānau and communities, not only by investing in the physical restoration and revitalisation of marae buildings, but also through the protection and preservation of the culture and heritage of marae.
“New Zealanders who have spent time at a marae will know the special places they are, will have enjoyed the hospitality offered by their hosts and appreciate the role they play in our shared identity.
“This investment is a game-changer for these marae and their communities. Many marae are in desperate need of repairs and maintenance work, like other community facilities, and this funding is realistically the only financial investment some of them will ever receive. In these uncertain times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, now is the time to provide this vital funding."
The types of upgrades that will be funded include plumbing, carpentry, electrical, painting and landscaping. In practical terms this includes work on covered walkways and shelters, resealed carparks, installation of ramps and safety rails, the repair of water boilers, guttering and spouting, installation of fire sprinklers and the completion of carvings.
Labour MP for Waiariki Tamati Coffey says he is mightily proud to be part of the Coalition Government making this equity finally happen.
“I want to deliver a big mihi to all iwi and Māori organisations that applied, committed to working in partnership with our Government to strengthen protections around the heritage and culture of te ao Māori. Together we are making it happen, we can’t risk slowing down now.
“This is the type of action you get when you have the strong Māori voices, not sitting outside Cabinet as in previous Governments, but inside the Labour Māori Caucus actually sitting at the decision making tables.
“We need to better value who we are as a region and a country. Re-elected, I promise to continue to work hard alongside today’s recipients, to ensure this pūtea creates jobs and delivers for our Waiariki people the more equitable future that we have always deserved.”