Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis was in Kaitaia yesterday to announce grants of $8.2 million from the government's Provincial Growth Fund for five Far North projects.
The recipients included Kaitaia's Te Hiku Sports Hub, ($3m); before the 2017 election, then Opposition leader Jacinda Ardern promised $2.8m for the project when she campaigned in Kaitaia.
Sir Hekenukumai Busby's Kupe Waka Centre project at Aurere received $4.6m, the Aupouri Ngati Kahu Te Rarawa Trust $250,000 to scope three key development projects, Te Hiku Water Solutions $99,500 to investigate a water storage scheme to support high-value horticultural production, and $257,000 to investigate building and operating a barge site at Te Mingi (Parengarenga) for transporting logs to Whangārei.
Mr Davis said a lot of work was being done in Tai Tokerau to drive economic growth and help improve the lives of local people.
"We know the Far North District faces a range of complex challenges, including high unemployment, an underutilised labour force and comparatively lower GDP than other districts, but we won't rest on our laurels as we turn around the fortunes of the regions," he said.
Mr Davis said the Kupe Waka Centre would preserve Sir Hekenukumai's knowledge, and would bring people from New Zealand and overseas "to this incredible part of our country."
Kaitaia's Te Hiku Sports Hub would have significant benefits in terms of participation in sport, encouraging a healthy lifestyle and improving the wellbeing of individuals, whānau and wider communities. It would also create jobs, attract people to the district and encourage workers, young people and athletes to stay there.
"Taken together, these announcements reaffirm our determination to unlock the full economic potential of the Far North," Mr Davis added.
"It's also an example of the PGF bringing agencies together from across government to make a difference for people on the ground.
"We understand that supporting thriving and sustainable regions requires a holistic approach, ensuring our towns are attractive places for whānau to live, work and play.
"By supporting projects that look to the future, today's investments will bring new people to the region, and keep them here, by creating new jobs and opportunities close to home."