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Source: New Zealand Government

Te Tii, the lower marae at Waitangi, is among more than 70 marae now connected to broadband internet thanks to the Provincial Growth Fund’s marae connectivity scheme, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said today.

In February 2019, the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) allocated $21 million to connect rural towns and marae to the internet to give local people and businesses better access to digital services. 

“I’m filled with pride today that Te Tii Marae, an incredibly significant place, is one of more than 70 marae connected to fast-speed internet. This PGF initiative is giving people free and fast access to digital services, along with technical support and equipment,” Shane Jones said.

“The PGF has made huge progress on the marae connectivity package in a year. Whānau and communities around the country tell us this work is needed and valued.

Every week, more marae join up to get online, and we now have more than 200 registered to get connected.

Many rural areas have very slow or no internet, a tool vital in today’s world for education, business and community wellbeing. Marae are often the centre of small communities and their being digitally connected cannot be overstated.

“In the case of Te Tii, the entire Paihia community is benefiting from the connection as the project has sped up the delivery of UFB fibre optic cable in the area. Te Tii marae also has a range of high-tech equipment including a wi fi booster, video camera, and audio-visual gear, along with digital training support. Everyone at the marae can use the equipment for business, education, community engagement and keeping in touch with whānau and friends elsewhere.

“It’s essential that our regions have good infrastructure; from roads, bridges and rail to fast, reliable internet. This is exactly what the PGF is about, giving whānau and hapū have the same access to digital services that people living in urban centres,” said Shane Jones.