The first release of the provincial growth fund is worth $61.7 million, $17 million of that will go towards Te Tai Tokerau. Funds for the Northland will focus on tourism and logistics. They are one of five regions to receive the first round of funding along with Te Tairāwhiti-East Coast, Hawke’s Bay and Manawatū-Whanganui and the West Coast of the South Island.
The Chair of the Economic Development Agency of Northland, Karleen Everitt says, "It covers 6 specific projects, and these are projects that really do span economic opportunity for Te Tai Tokerau."
$1million of the funds will go towards the Hihiaua Cultural Centre in Whāngārei that will involve constructing a waka launching gantry to allow direct access in and out of the Waiarohia River and Whāngārei Harbour. Meanwhile, Kawakawa is preparing for a $2.3 million dollar tourism hub creating new jobs and boosting economic development opportunities.
“Kawakawa is the gateway to the Bay of Islands and Far North District and has the potential to leverage off well-established tourism offerings in the area like the Twin Coast Cycle Trail and discovery route, and cruise ship market,” says Shane Jones, Minister of Regional Development.
Another project to enhance economic development will be the Manea Footprints of Kupe Cultural Heritage and Education Centre that will create up to 14 full-time jobs. Opononi will also gain from the growth fund taking $4.6 million towards a new cultural tourism experience in the small township.
Outside of tourism, the Northland funds will contribute towards fixing the Northland roads that are in much need of some attention. $9 million will also help to upgrade a busy Northland intersection on State Highway 10 at Waipapa to improve safety and traffic efficiency.
"If you we think about some of our roads up home, it's pretty difficult and particularly in extreme events and weather, we've just experienced those of late, that makes a huge demand on the movement of stock and product," says Everitt.
$450,000 will go towards a two-year pilot to test the validity of establishing an indigenous tōtara wood industry in Northland - an industry that has faced a number of barriers preventing its establishment as a market to date. The next announcement of funds will be released this Friday.