Taranaki gets nearly $20mil from Provincial Growth Fund

By Talisa Kupenga

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced nearly $20mil for Taranaki from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF).

Shifting away from oil and gas, the key focus areas include the Māori economy, energy, food and tourism sectors.

Taranaki Tapuae Roa Action Plan iwi representative, Wharehoka Wano says, "It's great.  It's been nearly two years in the making".

The eight local iwi look to benefit from a $13.3mil investment into a 41 kilometre Taranaki Crossing experience and a $150,000 Māori enterprise and education stocktake to develop future pathways.

Minister for Regional Economic Development Shane Jones says, "The $100,000 Māori enterprise funding will further support Māori businesses- but what I really want is to work alongside the eight iwi here".

Wano says, "there are many opportunities before us.  Iwi are now working together with the same mindset of achieving our common goals".

Other grants include $5mil to draw tourists to Taranaki's cathedral, $250,000 towards a digital tool for tree planting potential, $400,000 to research the tourism value of SH43, $100,000 to support entrepreneurs, $150,000 for clean energy research and $175,000 to investigate major-food related opportunities.

Wano says, "Each iwi has its own aspirations, and that will be the main starting point".

Taranaki's economy has traditionally relied on the oil, gas, dairy and energy industries which account for around 40 percent of the region's GDP.

Jones says, "There are many opportunities for iwi.  Once local iwi and Pākeha come together we will have a better picture of how much work will come from this".

The first round of grants from the annual $1bil Provincial Growth Fund were announced in February.