Banking on our vision
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 . . . "