With 1311km of rural Tararua mapped for Connect Tararua, the results have been a real eye-opener, district councillor Alison Franklin says.

"Of the rural area mapped, 75.5 per cent has no cellphone coverage and 6.1 per cent can access four bars of reception," she said.

Tararua District Mayor Tracey Collis said the statistics were incredibly powerful, even if some weren't good to hear.

"Those statistics don't include Tararua's three biggest towns, but do include Norsewood."


Mrs Franklin said the Connect Tararua group had now realised they needed a case study of one Tararua community.

"The Connect Tararua governance group has circulated 720 surveys out to the community and a group of UCOL students will compile the results.

"We are now preparing an application to seek financial assistance from the Government's Provincial Growth Fund and our project is also going to be the subject of a documentary on rural connectivity."

Connect Tararua is a community-led strategic group which aspires to have Tararua become New Zealand's first giga-region.

"One of the most powerful aspects of this group is that it's community led," Mrs Collis said.

"For Tararua to grow, connectivity is critical so we can go forward and prosper."

The Connect Tararua governance group was working tirelessly and with speed to realise the goal of 100 per cent connectivity throughout the Tararua District and the Tararua District Council was working closely with stakeholders and community groups by providing capital funding towards a robust and fully functioning telecommunications and digital infrastructure, Mrs Collis said.

In its long-term plan TDC is proposing a capital injection of $600,000 spread over years 2018/19 to 2021/22 of the plan, funded by a 20-year loan.


"We think robust telecommunication and digital connectivity are so important that it warrants ratepayer investment," Mrs Collis said.

"Our district isn't well served by connectivity and our geography and low population don't make us an attractive investment proposition for private investment into digital infrastructure."

However, Tararua's four largest towns have now been included in the government-funded ultra-fast broadband rollout, with the current schedule seeing fibre installed in Dannevirke in 2021, followed by Pahiatua, Woodville and Eketahuna by 2022.