JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
13 March 2020
Iwi and Council
successfully attract funding for major Whakatāne Regeneration projects
Lands Trust, Ngāti Awa Group Holdings Limited, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and Whakatāne District Council are excited to
announce their successful applications to the Provincial Growth Fund
Minister Shane Jones announced today that a contribution of more
than $36 million will be made towards three significant projects with
wide-reaching benefits for the Whakatāne District.
of a new boat harbour, the revitalisation of the town centre and riverfront and
the transformation of the Whakatāne Army Hall will go ahead as part of a suite
of joint applications under the Whakatāne Regeneration Programme.
Government’s Provincial Growth Fund has committed a total of $19.6 million to the boat harbour
development, $9.6m to the Riverfront Revitalisation project and $7.6 million to
Kāinga, (home, village, residence) the transformation of the Whakatāne Army
Hall into a vibrant destination for local, national and international visitors.
Group Holdings Limited (NAGHL) Chair Paul Quinn says the community is still
recovering from the impact of the Whakaari tragedy and so this announcement is gratefully
“This is an
important opportunity for NAGHL to work with the Trust and the Council as we
find ways to contribute, lift productivity and participate in the regional
economy together,” he says.
Whakatāne District Mayor Judy Turner agrees,
saying the collaboration represents a defining moment for the region and
signals an incredible opportunity for economic development and transformational uplift across the whole District.
“The benefits of both projects to
local business and the community are huge. This is about working in partnership
and identifying ways we can realise our long-term aspirations for our people,”
says Mayor Turner.
“Whakatāne is home to two of the
three largest aluminium boat builders in the country. The investment in a new
boat harbour will allow us to deliver the fit-for-purpose infrastructure to
drive more growth and employment in the marine and tourism sectors.”
“Transforming the town and riverfront areas will increase private sector investment and create a
vibrant town centre for our community to enjoy, as well as supporting Whakatāne
on the journey to become a world-class small-town destination for tourists,”
It is estimated that through
these two projects a total of 930 jobs could be created by 2050 with at least
450 of those roles operational in the next decade.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa Chair Joe Harawira says
the Kāinga project will provide a physical ‘heart’ to the
Whakatāne town centre and complement the riverside regeneration aspirations.
“Kāinga will promote and celebrate our unique
heritage, culture and stories. This new destination will support iwi, wider
community, recreational and commercial activities and create a gathering place
for manuhiri (visitors) and locals.”
Te Rāhui Lands Trust Chair Brian Simpson says the Trust will play a
lead role in the boat harbour development.
“This is a historical
moment for us as we undertake this work in partnership to realise our
collective goals,” says Mr Simpson.
“For us, it’s about taking a balanced approach. As kaitiaki we
will ensure that the mauri of our whenua and the river will be enhanced by the
project while also creating a development that will provide a sustainable
solution for the marine sector. The
project will deliver intergenerational outcomes for our owners, hapū and the
wider Whakatāne community.”
This announcement secures funding to key catalytic
infrastructure projects that are seen as essential to unlocking the Eastern Bay
of Plenty’s economic future, says Mayor Judy.
“It’s an exciting
time for the whole Eastern Bay. We are delighted at the opportunity to
co-invest with Central Government to accelerate these investment opportunities
and the benefits they will bring to our region,” she says.
The project partners look forward to engaging the wider
community and seeking specific feedback that will go towards shaping the
Whakatāne Regeneration projects within the scope of the funding programme.
Benefits from boat
harbour and riverfront revitalisation projects by numbers:
- More than 450 jobs by 2030 (direct and indirect)
- More than 930 new jobs by 2050 (direct and
- More than $80m local GDP growth per annum
- Opportunity to attract $100m private investment
- $111m additional GDP contribution by 2050