The government’s Provincial Growth Fund continues to support economic development projects across Hawke’s Bay with nearly $9 million announced in January.
Wairoa has been given up to $6.1m to rebuild the heart of its CBD with three initiatives while Central Hawke’s Bay has been given $2.8m for a proposed project to turn Waipukurau pā sites into a cultural tourism attraction.
Wairoa’s money will go into a Wairoa Integrated Business and Tourism Facility (up to 4.8m), a Wairoa Digital Employment Programme, funded through Te Ara Mahi (up to $960,000) and $400,000 for the Wairoa Regional Digital Hub.
In Waipukurau, the project, Ngā Ara Tipuna, will see six pā sites developed with the fund, with the hope 16 jobs will be created.
Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau says the projects will encourage more businesses and visitors into both areas and create better employment opportunities for local people.
The Wairoa District Council will develop the Wairoa Integrated Business and Tourism Facility and the Wairoa Regional Digital Hub. The Korua Digital Agency, set up by the Korou Digital Charitable Trust, will deliver the Wairoa Digital Employment Programme.
The business and tourism facility will include an education centre for Rocket Lab as well as be a showcase for local food and beverages in a prime location, while the digital employment programme will develop digital capability through training programmes for locals who want a future career in the digital sector.
It will help grow better opportunities within the high-skilled, high-waged sector.
The programmes will provide 12 weeks of paid digital and technology-based industry training, including software engineering, programming application and game development followed by 40 weeks employment as a digital apprentice with at least 48 participants expected to enrol in the first two years.
The Waipukurau project, Ngā Ara Tipuna, will see the creation of carvings, digital storytelling, displays and the use of audio and smartphone technology to share the history of the pā sites surrounding Waipukurau.
The sites will tell the story of how iwi came to the area and what pā sites were used for.
Pukekaihau pā will be the first of the sites to be developed this year and the project aims at telling the history of the area while acting as a “catalyst to develop tourism business”, says Mayor Alex Walker.
The project is a collaboration between the Central Hawke’s Bay District Council and Te Taiwhenua o Tamatea.
Te Taiwhenua o Tamatea Roger Maaka chairman said Waipukurau, and NZ’s, history had not been well acknowledged.
“This is a chance to make our history real so the younger generations can come onto the hill, see these things, and understand their part.”