Te Hiku Community Board has awarded grants of almost $50,000 in support of heritage, sport and conservation fundraising projects in Te Hiku War, including a $20,000 contribution towards the ongoing restoration of St Clement's Anglican Māori Church (Te Whare Tapu o Keremeneta) at Ahipara.
Almost 150 years old, time and the elements had taken their toll on the church, which was now in a state of disrepair, restoration committee chairman John Paitai saying the aim was to restore it to its original 19th Century appearance, and so provide the community with a revived venue and focus point for local faith, history and events.
The initial funding target was $644,000, but the impact of Covid-19 had boosted that to $720,000. So far the committee had raised $255,000.
Paitai said the board's grant would be a huge boost to the project.
"We are very fortunate to secure community board funding that allows us to meet one-third of the total amount that is required before consideration by Lottery Environment and Heritage for funding," he said.
"This funding will enable our dreams and aspirations to grow feathers and fly."
The board also allocated $20,000 to the Houhora Big Game and Sport Fishing Club, towards wharf repair costs. The club wants to replace the wooden wharf, which has rot and broken piles, with a new structure made from sealed steel piles.
Vice-president Brian Bellingham said a new wharf would benefit the whole community, and provide it with a facility that would last another 30 years.
"The wharf is an essential part of the fishing club complex, with the wider community, visitors, families and club members regularly using it for loading and unloading boats, fishing and swimming, with access at any time," he said.
"With the cost of the project in the vicinity of $700,000, additional funding and support the Te Hiku Community Board is really appreciated."
The board also granted $4485 to the Houhora Bowls and Sports Club, towards costs associated with repairing the greenkeeper's accommodation; $2753 to the Kaitaia Sport and Leisure Trust, towards the cost of hosting an annual boxing tournament; and $862.50 to Paula Matthews, towards planting pohutukawa trees at Pukenui, where storm-damaged trees had been felled.
Meanwhile the Bay of Islands-Whangaroa Community Board has granted $12,800 to Bay Sports Inc., towards stadium refurbishment costs. The group plans to install LED lighting, paint the foyer and install carpet on the concrete floor. The Waipapa facilities are used for a number of sports, including badminton, basketball, football, judo, inline hockey and skating, roller derby and tennis.
It also granted $1974 to the Bay of Islands Rotary Club towards the costs of staging duck races at Te Haumi bridge, near Paihia, on April 26. A total of 750 plastic ducks will be released from the footpath as part of a fundraising drive for local schools and groups. To minimise the environmental impact, the ducks are being hired from another club, and will be returned after race day.