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,” Shane Jones said.
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,” Shane Jones said.
Nanaia Mahuta said 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,” Nanaia Mahuta said.
“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,” Nanaia Mahuta said.
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.
“The Provincial Development Unit and Te Puni Kōkiri have done an amazing job to get these marae projects identified, quoted, assessed and set up to be contracted in such a short timeframe. Applicants are also working closely with the Ministry of Social Development to identify workers who need redeployment due to the economic effects of COVID-19 to carry out this work,” Shane Jones said.
The money for the renovation of marae, town halls and other community facilities, war memorials and Pasifika churches was earmarked in May as part of around $600 million PGF funding refocused on projects with immediate jobs and economic benefits as part of the Government’s COVID-19 response.
“The high number of marae applications we received not only met the criteria for the renovations programme but also met the Government’s $100 million Worker Redeployment allocation so were funded from both,” Shane Jones said.