The government is supporting rural communities in Waikato, Otago and the West Coast to develop and provide solutions to local challenges, Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor announced today.
Grants totaling $154,000 are being awarded to rural community centers in Wairamarama, Teviot Valley and Whare Manaaki O Te Tai Poutini under a $1.1 million program.
The government has funded 23 rural community hubs since December 2019.
“Our Fit for a Better World roadmap aims to drive productivity, sustainability and jobs over 10 years and we cannot achieve this without thriving rural communities,” said Damien O’Connor.
“Rural community hubs bring rural people together to address local challenges.
“Whether it’s hosting farm safety workshops, connecting with newcomers, connecting services to the rural area, regular community dinners or after-school activities, the Each center’s focus is based on what is important to local people.
“While each hub has a local flavor, taken as a whole it is about building community resilience, connectivity and well-being.
“Wairamarama Rural Community Centre, which straddles the Waikato-Auckland border, has been awarded a $30,000 grant to employ a part-time coordinator to support and build community resilience and wellbeing.
“They plan a mix of educational workshops, watershed-based environmental planning and opportunities for people to come together.”
“The Teviot Valley Rural Community Center in central Otago will use its $40,000 grant to host a combination of events and wellness-related initiatives initially focusing on horticultural growers and staff, while employing a part-time coordinator to lead local efforts.
“Whare Manaaki O Te Poutini has received $84,400 to expand its services across the entire West Coast.
“This funding is in addition to an initial grant of $30,000 to establish the Whare Manaaki O Te Poutini Community Center. This center has shown the value of providing services and support to Whānau Maori and the wider West Coast community. The new grant will allow her community center to remain open six days a week and continue to promote access to health and whānau services.
Damien O’Connor said people are at the heart of New Zealand’s rural communities and it’s important they have access to support, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This new funding will go a long way to helping these rural communities strengthen their wellbeing activities, boost morale, promote resilience and improve connections to government services,” said Damien O’Connor.