Bank­ing on our vi­sion

The Northland Age - - Local Life / Opinion -

I was priv­i­leged to at­tend the launch of the Nga¯ Ma¯huri o Nga¯ti Hine ma¯nuka plan­ta­tion train­ing pro­gramme at Otiria Marae this week. The ‘Saplings of Nga¯ti Hine’ pro­gramme will see 20 men earn as they learn over the next two years while they plant ma¯nuka seedlings across hun­dreds of hectares of Nga¯ti Hine land, much of it cur­rently in scrub.

The plan­ta­tions will earn car­bon credits, be­come a source of valu­able ma¯nuka honey and ma¯nuka oil, and help re­turn tribal lands to na­tive veg­e­ta­tion.

For the 20 men at Mon­day’s event, there was a strong sense that this course, part of the gov­ern­ment’s Bil­lion Trees pro­gramme, will make a real dif­fer­ence to their lives and the lives of their wha¯nau. It will pro­vide jobs, make the land pro­duc­tive, and help pro­tect it for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

This was the sec­ond an­nounce­ment in as many weeks that will im­pact pos­i­tively on fu­ture gen­er­a­tions in the Far North. On Fe­bru­ary 27 Tourism Min­is­ter and Te Tai Tok­erau MP Kelvin Davis an­nounced $8.2 mil­lion from the Pro­vin­cial Growth Fund for five Far North projects at an event in Kaitaia.

I am par­tic­u­larly pleased to see $3m com­mit­ted to the multi-use Te Hiku Sports Hub in Kaitaia. The com­mu­nity strongly sup­ports this project, and it is one the coun­cil has long been in­volved with. We com­mit­ted $2.56 mil­lion in the long-term plan 2015 — 25 for de­sign, plan­ning and phys­i­cal works, and fur­ther fund­ing in the 2018-28 LTP.

Like many in Te Hiku, I strongly be­lieve the sports hub will sup­port youth de­vel­op­ment and build healthy, vi­brant, re­silient com­mu­ni­ties. This view is backed by the North­land Re­gional Coun­cil, Sport North­land, iwi, schools, the po­lice, so­cial wel­fare agen­cies and or­gan­i­sa­tions, sports codes and clubs.

Also an­nounced last week was $4.6m in fund­ing for Sir Hekenuku­mai Ngaiwi Puhipi Busby’s Kupe Waka Cen­tre, to be built in Aurere, at the south­ern end of Doubt­less Bay. As well as pro­vid­ing jobs for skilled crafts­peo­ple and teach­ers, the cen­tre prom­ises to be­come a key tourist des­ti­na­tion for New Zealand and over­seas tourists ea­ger to learn about Sir Hek’s knowl­edge of ce­les­tial nav­i­ga­tion and wak­abuild­ing.

To com­plete the pack­age, the Min­is­ter said fund­ing will be pro­vided for three iwi projects promising to open up new busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties in the Far North for Aupouri, Nga¯ti Kahu and Te Rarawa. He pledged $257,000 to study the fea­si­bil­ity of a barge op­er­a­tion car­ry­ing logs from Te Mingi, on Paren­garenga Har­bour, to Whanga¯rei Port, and an­other $250,000 to the ANT Trust to scope three key de­vel­op­ment projects.

Fi­nally, he an­nounced $99,500 in fund­ing to in­ves­ti­gate a water stor­age scheme to sup­port high-value hor­ti­cul­tural pro­duc­tion.

These an­nounce­ments demon­strate very clearly the be­lief cen­tral gov­ern­ment has in the po­ten­tial, vi­sion and skills our peo­ple have in the Far North. It is faith well placed. With this type of back­ing, I know we can make our dis­trict an even bet­ter place to live.

"I am par­tic­u­larly pleased to see $3m com­mit­ted to the multi-use Te Hiku Sports Hub in Kaitaia. The com­mu­nity strongly sup­ports this project . . . "

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