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Source: New Zealand Government

The Government is backing rural communities in the Waikato, Otago and the West Coast to develop and drive solutions to local challenges, Minister for Rural Communities Damien O’Connor announced today.

Grants totalling $154,000 are being provided to the Wairamarama, Teviot Valley and Whare Manaaki O Te Tai Poutini rural community hubs as part of a $1.1 million programme. 

The Government has funded 23 rural community hubs since December 2019. 

“Our Fit for a Better World roadmap aims to boost productivity, sustainability and jobs over 10 years and we can’t reach this without thriving rural communities,” Damien O’Connor said.  

“Rural community hubs bring rural people together to tackle local challenges.

“Whether it’s running farm safety workshops, connecting with newcomers, linking up services to the rural area, regular community dinners or after-school activities, the focus of each hub is based on what’s important to local people. 

“While each hub has a local flavour, taken as a whole they’re about strengthening the resilience, connectedness and wellbeing of communities.

“The Wairamarama rural community hub, which straddles the border between Waikato and Auckland, has received a $30,000 grant to employ a part-time coordinator to support and strengthen community resilience and wellbeing.  

“They’re planning a mix of education workshops, catchment-focused environment planning, and opportunities for people to get together.”

“The Teviot Valley rural community hub in Central Otago will use its $40,000 grant to run a mix of events and wellbeing-related initiatives focusing initially on horticultural growers and staff, along with employing a part-time coordinator to drive local efforts.”

“Whare Manaaki O Te Poutini has been granted $84,400 to expand its services throughout the West Coast.

“This funding builds on an initial $30,000 grant to establish the Whare Manaaki O Te Poutini community hub.  This hub has shown the value of providing services and support for whānau Māori and the wider West Coast community.  The new grant will enable its community hub to stay open six days a week, and continue promoting access to health and whānau services.”

Damien O’Connor said people are the heart of New Zealand’s rural communities, and it’s important they have access to support, particularly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“This new funding will go a long way towards helping these rural communities boost their wellbeing activities, lift spirits, promote resilience, and improve linkages with government services,” Damien O’Connor said.