North Taranaki Midweek

Land law cash beginning to flow


More than $17 million destined to be pumped into the Waitara community is starting to trickle out.

Four years after the New Plymouth District Council (Waitara Lands) Act became law in 2018, the first release of money from a community fund is becoming available to fund initiative­s that benefit the town.

The community fund is one of a trio that benefits from land sale proceeds made possible by the act, which was mooted to total about $90m.

The law allowed for 770 Waitara leasehold sections, originally confiscate­d off Manukorihi and Otaraua hapu¯ and Te Atiawa in 1865, to be bought freehold, and at market value.

Darrel Nicholas, who chairs the Te Tai Pari Trust, which oversees the community fund, said as of the end of September, there was $17.6m in the pot, but nothing had been spent so far.

But this was about to change. He said about $59,000 had been allocated to buy an artwork, which will be installed as part of the Marine Park redevelopm­ent project.

And applicatio­ns for the first release of money, as dictated by the law and council policy, were now open.

To the year ending June 2023, there will be $168,840 to give out, Nicholas said.

Not-for-profit organisati­ons, social enterprise­s or businesses that provide public benefit to

Waitara were encouraged to apply.

Kath Jones, who helps run the North Taranaki Community House in Waitara, said more informatio­n about the fund was needed as not many people knew about it.

One idea she had was for the town to buy its own ambulance, instead of having to wait an hour or more, like she did recently when her husband fell ill.

Finding ways to make the town an attractive place to live and visit, could also be a good use of the money, she said. ‘‘It’s a lovely little town, people are awesome, and we have a lot of good stuff happening.’’

Waitara community worker Tiri Porter said the new fund was a boon for projects she was involved with in the town, which included a youth group.

‘‘It means we’ve got more of a head start to be considered because we’re in Waitara and the money will be used in Waitara,’’ she said.

Te Ara Whakamua o Whaitara community developmen­t coordinato­r Dave Haskell said the Te Tai Pari trustees were doing their best to find out where the needs were in Waitara.

‘‘They really are trying to reach out and find where their pu¯ tea is best placed.’’

One idea he previously floated was setting up education and sports scholarshi­ps for rangatahi to access.

He said there needed to be a concerted effort to make sure lessresour­ced groups were aware of the fund, and given assistance to apply if necessary.

‘‘Otherwise it ends up in the same spaces all the time.’’

Along with the money administer­ed by Te Tai Pari, a hapu¯ land fund to benefit Manukorihi and Otaraua was establishe­d under the act, along with a pool of money to improve the health and wellbeing of the Waitara river.

Taranaki Regional Council chief executive Steve Ruru said the balance of the river fund was $20.1m.

Under the law, a cogovernan­ce group, made up of council appointmen­ts, iwi connected to the river, and hapu¯ of Waitara needed to be set up.

Last week, Ruru told councillor­s a further six months was needed to hammer out a joint management agreement with Nga¯ ti Maru, after its treaty settlement legislatio­n was passed, prior to the committee being formed.

Ruru said the council was in the process of completing a final draft of an agreement with the four iwi authoritie­s regarding the committee.

Applicatio­ns for the first round of Te Tai Pari funding close on January 31, with funding announceme­nts likely in March.

 ?? VANESSA LAURIE/STUFF ?? Money that is meant to benefit Waitara is mounting up, thanks to proceeds related to land act governing the sale of previously confiscate­d Ma¯ori land. (File photo)
VANESSA LAURIE/STUFF Money that is meant to benefit Waitara is mounting up, thanks to proceeds related to land act governing the sale of previously confiscate­d Ma¯ori land. (File photo)
 ?? ?? Steve Ruru
Steve Ruru
 ?? ?? Kath Jones
Kath Jones
 ?? ?? Dave Haskell
Dave Haskell
 ?? ?? Tiri Porter
Tiri Porter

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