Whanganui's Putiki and Te Ao Hou marae will get improvements this year through grants from the Provincial Growth Fund.
Putiki will get a new $500,000 wharepaku/ablutions building, and Te Ao Hou's will be upgraded. It will also get painting done, new carpet in the wharepuni, an improved kitchen floor and bigger deck area.
More than $6 million has been granted to marae in the Whanganui region. The total for New Zealand was $96.5 million in post-Covid-19 funding, going to 351 marae with "shovel ready" projects.
Money Whanganui's urban marae will be administered by the 2005 Te Poho o Matapihi Trust. It is expected to create 50 jobs.
Putiki Marae chairman Hone Tamehana said the new ablutions block, designed by Gerald Cogan of BSM Group Architects, will have a roofed connection to Putiki's wharepuni, and to its planned Aotea dining room, for which it has also applied for funding.
Heemi Stevenson will manage the project, and building could begin late next month or early March.
Whanganui people in general regard Putiki as their marae, Tamehana said.
"It is widely used by the community and [Whanganui District Council] regards it as their marae. It was set up to receive people in government positions, and it has always maintained that role."
The upgrade is timely, Tamehana said.
Te Ao Hou is also a busy marae, chairman Geoff Hipango said. It has $129,000 from the fund and has already got quotes for the work to be done.
That could start late this month, and he hopes it will be finished by the end of March. In April Te Ao Hou is to host the Permaculture in New Zealand National Permaculture Hui - if Covid restrictions permit.
It has bigger plans for the future, including a pontoon, jetty or slipway into the Whanganui River. But marae buildings are the first priority, Hipango said, and the funding will speed progress.