Poverty and rangatahi major concerns in Tairāwhiti

By Jessica Tyson
Eastern Central Community Trust member Whiti Timutimu.  Photo/File

Combating poverty and supporting rangatahi are two areas community leaders in Te Tairāwhiti want to see better supported, and a community trust is hoping to help make this happen by providing funding assistance.

The Eastern Central Community Trust provides financial grants of up to $1.1 million per year in Tairāwhiti, general manager Jonathan Bell says.

On Friday, Bell and trust member Whiti Timutimu met with prominent community leaders from Māori organisations in the region to hear about the areas in which they want more support.

Director of Kia Ora Consulting, Cain Kerehoma, was one of the community members at the hui and says there are many issues affecting families, hāpu and iwi around the East Coast.

"We know the ongoing statistics of the tribes in this region around financial hardship, education and health," he says.

Recent statistics show the Gisborne-Hawkes Bay region has the second-highest unemployment rate in New Zealand. Māori also earn considerably less than non-Māori.

“There are many solutions to this. Some are growing our children, giving strength to our children and youth,” Kerehoma says.

The trust has four main target audiences; Māori, rangatahi, elderly and disadvantaged families.

“I think it's important to listen to our communities because the communities are the ones that are in this space all the time, Bell says.

“So you've really got to come to the communities and listen to their voice.”

One obstacle putting Māori off applying for funding is the time that applications take to process. Kerehoma thinks funders need to have more trust in people applying.

Bell says, “That is an area that is of concern and if that's happening then that's not good because we want people to be able to access funds or make grants in a very timely manner, and some of the smaller grants we make should happen very quickly.”

Applications can be made online for anyone needing support in this region.