The government is supporting rural communities in New Zealand by investing in a growing number of rural community centers, said Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor.
“These hubs are an important part of the work we do alongside rural New Zealand, supporting local efforts on the ground to ensure communities are resilient and connected,” said O’Connor
Since the inception of the program, funds have been allocated to 20 poles in rural areas across the country.
“Our hubs program is backed by $ 1.13 million over three years and gives a boost to communities where basic services are out of reach.
“The latest community to benefit is Ruakituri, in northern Hawke’s Bay, where $ 32,000 has been allocated to the Wairoa Community Development Trust.
“By partnering with rural communities facing challenges, these centers help build the resilience and well-being of residents,” says O’Connor.
The first hub was established at Tikitiki on the Eastern Cape in December 2019.
“Since then, we have funded community initiatives from Kaipara District in Northland to Middlemarch in Otago, with three more in the pipeline.
O’Connor says the Norman Kirk Memorial Reserve Committee received $ 40,000 this month to create more opportunities to bring together residents of the Chatham Islands.
“No two hubs are the same. They are set up by local people who respond to local needs, whether it is a mothers’ group or education programs for young farm workers.
The rural community hub program is part of the government program Fit for a better world roadmap, which aims to support strong and sustainable rural communities and grow the food and fiber sector workforce by 10% by 2030.
“In addition to the funding we are providing to the hubs, $ 1.29 million has also been allocated over three years for new wellness initiatives to complement our support to the Rural Support Trusts.
“These initiatives strengthen services that help improve the mental well-being of rural Maori, young agricultural workers, farmer mothers, migrants and remote rural communities facing challenges.
“Access to support, counseling and mental wellness services will help rural communities build their capacity to respond to change, which is vital as we face the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic”, O’Connor said.