Govt’s $20mil to help connect marae to internet

By Talisa Kupenga

Three rural marae will be connected to the outside world for the first time via the internet. Government has allocated a further $100million from its Provincial Growth Fund to boost employment in the regions and establish digital hubs in rural communities.

The internet is the way of the future - even for Marae.

And a $20million boost from government will soon see marae better connected than ever, as well as the establishment of regional digital hubs in towns enabling locals and businesses digital service access.

Kahungunu's Raupunga marae, Ngāti Whātua's Te Houhanga marae and Waitangi's Oromahoe marae are first on the list.

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says “we want all marae to benefit from this initiative so they can be connected to the internet and helps youth return to their marae knowing that they’re glued to their cell phones."

Te Kura Kaupapa o Kaikohe Teacher MokoTepania says Matihetihe marae in Mitimiti is already reaping the benefits of beign connected.

"It is great news for the families and the communities because they don't have deep pockets, but it will be easy to go to the marae and work there.

“I also want to take my students there to do their assessments.”

Local youth are excited.

Linda Johnston (Ngāpuhi) says "there's a lot of kids out at Panguru and there's no internet out there and you can't really connect with anyone out of your community and there is some amazing talent out there."

Te Kura Kaupapa o Kaikohe student Nia Kare "most of our school work involves the internet so it will make doing our school work easier."

Where as student Annay Kara is on the fence "If there is the internet and there is a funeral the kids won’t be helping in the kitchen."

The government also annoucned $82-million to boost skills and employment in Northland, Bay of Plenty, Tairāwhiti, Hawke's Bay and Manawatū-Whanganui.

Minister Jones says "it builds on the $120 million that the PM and I announced yesterday in Otamatea a sum of about $220 million which shows the government fought, and was elected to deliver positive outcomes."

Kowhai Tohu who is upskilling at Matatoa Station’s nursery as part of the He Poutama Rangatahi Programme says she would still be unemployed without the initiative.

“I would still be on the couch I reckon. There is not much opportunity up here for our age."

The second Government package delivered in the lead-up to Waitangi; a sure sweetener for voters in what government has described as it's year of delivery.