Pasifika churches around the country will receive a total of nearly $10 million in government funding for renovations and improvements which will improve facilities for the communities they serve and create jobs, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio have announced.
The funding will go to 27 regional Pasifika churches as part of the Government’s COVID-19 response and recovery plan.
Shane Jones said the funding would provide a helping hand for the churches.
“This money will cover much-needed renovations and improvements, allowing these churches in smaller centres to continue providing facilities to their congregations and communities.
“At the same time, it is estimated this work will provide up to 400 jobs, further helping those communities and hopefully also providing a chance for Pacific youth to gain work experience.”
Shane Jones said the locations of the churches may surprise people.
“The churches that applied for funding are spread throughout the regions – from Balclutha to Oamaru and up to Hamilton. This geographical spread shows how much the Pasifika community is part of New Zealand.
Aupito William Sio said that during COVID-19, Pasifika churches played a leading role in bringing agencies together to provide support, confidence, strength and resilience for Pacific communities in need.
“I’m pleased and I know that Pacific peoples in regional New Zealand will be delighted to see that their church facilities will be supported to make the necessary improvements as they continue to serve their local communities,” Aupito William Sio said.
“Pacific peoples in the regions value their churches and the significant role they play in their local communities. They are places where elders and youth can nurture and strengthen inter-generational bonds through storytelling, songs, dance and arts.
“They are vibrant, active villages in their own right, acting as social hubs and venues, not only for their congregations, but also for others in their communities to gather and celebrate birthdays, weddings and other significant events,” Aupito William Sio said.
The funds for the renovation of town halls, war memorials, Pasifika churches and marae was earmarked in May as part of at least $600 million refocused on projects with more immediate jobs and economic benefits as part of the COVID-19 recovery.
The full list of recipients is attached as a word document