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Source: New Zealand Government

The Kāpiti Coast town of Ōtaki will receive $1.4 million in Government funding for two projects providing scores of jobs for locals while improving community facilities, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced.

The Māoriland Charitable Trust will receive a $900,000 Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) grant to upgrade the Māoriland Hub building to house the Centre for Māori and Indigenous Film and Creative Excellence.

“The hub is already well used by the local community, with 85 events hosted there last year alone, including the Māori Film Festival which attracted more than 12,000 people,” Shane Jones said.

“It also helps local rangatahi with the Māoriland Ahi Tech Creative Hub – or MATCH – providing training, mentoring and industry-led opportunities leading to higher value careers.

“The Māoriland hub also has other important roles. It is a home for the indigenous, for the arts, for ideas and conversations – he whare taketake, he whare tapere, he whare kōrero.

“Unfortunately, at the moment it is worn and tired and running at 30 per cent of its capacity.  Today’s funding will see it improved and tidied up so it can properly fulfil its valuable and important role.”

The Ōtaki Civic Theatre will receive a grant of $500,000 for a refurbishment.

“The Civic Theatre is a landmark in the main street of Ōtaki and much used and appreciated by residents. It is the towns cultural and performing arts centre, hosting the Māoriland film festival, musical and concert events and school productions,” Shane Jones said.

“But after decades of use, it needs refurbishment inside and out to keep it as a vibrant part of the community.”

“The work includes partially rebuilding the stage, meeting fire safety requirements, replacing damaged seating and flooring, upgrading the bathrooms and repairing the exterior and gutters.

The theatre funding comes from PGF funding earmarked for the redeployment of workers whose jobs have disappeared because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Refurbishing the Civic Theatre will take about six months and give a decent boost to Ōtaki workers and their whanau by providing between 50 and 70 jobs, with up to another 25 on the Māoriland project,” Shane Jones said.

“These jobs will help a variety of trades, including building, roofing, electrical, plumbing, painting and flooring.

“Once the Māoriland Hub building is finished, there will be 11 fulltime jobs created, while the increased ability to deliver social enterprise programmes will result in up to 20 part-time and fulltime jobs for Ōtaki locals.

“These jobs fit well with the Government’s priority goal of providing meaningful worker redeployment opportunities during the pandemic crisis at the same time as supporting communities and their regional assets.”