Minginui local Winiata Tamaki says cell phone access has changed their world.
The small town, which received a $5.8mil boost to support their nursery from the government's Provincial Growth Fund in March has utilised part of it to establish cellular services in the area.
New technology is enabling whānau to engage.
“I think it's brilliant in terms of our kainga moving into technology. So we started off with the internet, now we have mobile connectivity via Vodafone. I think it's perfect,” says Tamaki.
The cell phone coverage was made possible after Ngāti Whare Holdings received $5.8mil to develop their nursery.
Holdings Manager Mere George says they have used some of it to purchase devices.
“Cell phone reception in Minginui, I think, is just one more step on the journey that we are on, one more step closer to restoring our community to its former lustre.”
Tamaki says, “It allows our people to have that extra connection to the outside world and especial around emergency for our whānau, many of our whānau don't have landlines.”
Under 200 people live in Minginui. For 30 years the town has struggled, but now barriers are slowly coming down and having cell phone coverage is opening up opportunities.
“Our intent is to try to ensure that both our marae will have cell phone reception as well, so we are wanting to install devices near the marae,” says George.
Currently there are two devices set up, one in the centre of the village and another at the nursery.