Te Tairāwhiti Region's Economic Recovery - How can we bounce back better?

Te Tairāwhiti Region's Economic Recovery - How can we bounce back better?

We went live to our Facebook page on June 11 to discuss Tairāwhiti region’s economic recovery and we wanted to answer the few remaining questions!

Brad Olsen from Infometrics led the discussion with panellists - Amohaere Houkamau (Rongowhakaata Iwi Trust), Paul Naske (Gisborne Chamber of Commerce) and Gavin Murphy (Trust Tairāwhiti).

There were a few remaining questions in the Facebook comments that we wanted to address after the webinar ended. So, here are our responses from Gavin, Brad and Paul, and Amohaere who supplied responses on behalf of the Tairāwhiti Iwi.

If you want to watch the panel discussion again here’s the youtube (link)



“There are 50-60 Marae in this region, invisible community assets and resources that are underutilised; Marae are already happening. Rau Tipu Rau Ora needs to catch up and support the innovation and creativity that is already happening in our Ahika Communities.”


Rau Tipu Rau Ora is a ‘live document’ –there is a link on the GDC website for (feedback) on the document.

Efforts will be made to connect with Marae communities to inform future changes to the plan.

Toitu Tairawhiti (Ngati Porou, Rongowhakaata, Te Aitanga a Mahaki and Ngai Tamanuhiri COVID-19 Collective) working in collaboration with 50 plus of the 66 Tairawhiti Marae from Potaka in the north, to Matawai to the west and Rangiwaho to the south have submitted a PGF application to assist the Marae to undertake urgent repairs and maintenance, upgrades and renovations that are ‘shovel ready’.

The Ma Wai Ra E Taurima – Marae training and development initiative, includes funding for capital works, a comprehensive training programme for 100-200 trainees, involving a consortia of Tairawhiti Training Providers and an enterprise programme linking Trainees with existing SME’s and local contractors and Iwi business arms.

All 50 plus Marae had the choice to join the collective or do their own PGF application. It is expected that by the end of tomorrow (June 18, 2020), 60 of the 66 Marae would have joined the coalition.

The Chairs of the four Tairawhiti iwi are members of the Rau Tipu Rau Ora Governance, and sponsored the Ma Wai Ra E Taurima within one week of the release of the region’s Response and Recovery Plan.

The document also recognises and supports:

-        Initiating a range of work experience, training and qualifications projects to support the maintenance and improvement of local marae, churches, halls and other facilities valued by communities, hapu and local interest groups; and creating a pool of talent to pathway into more intensive trades, training and apprenticeships.

-        Food resilience initiatives with local marae and community groups



“Gavin, don't we need far more diversity, particularly in higher value products/services, than relying on tourism as the only new sector?”


Yes! Greater diversity and emphasis on higher value products/services (value over volume) is emphasised in the Tairawhiti Economic Action (Plan) (TEAP), Rau Tipu Rau Ora Recovery Plan and in the work and investments that Trust Tairāwhiti carries out.



“How will these PGF applications support and redeploy Māori into work. What percentage of employers contracted are Māori and are there social procurement requirements in all contracts?”


The Tairāwhiti Economic Action (Plan) (TEAP) contains a target of filling at least 75% of new jobs in the region with local talent of whom 50% are Māori – this target aligns with regional PGF social procurement objectives. 

Toitu Tairāwhiti under the banner Te Papatipu o Horouta have submitted four PGF applications to support the achievement of a number of the Rau Tipu Rau Ora priorities and key actions, including:

  • Ma Wai Ra E Taurima.
    • Support for substantive investment in the upgrade of 50-60 Tairawhiti Marae, establishment of a comprehensive training programme, whereby Marae have the opportunity to nominate 2-4 Trainees, who are unemployed who have been assigned for re-deployment as a consequence of the impact of COVID-19.
    • That will result in training provision for 120 -240 trainees, 25 new FTEs to support the implementation, management and oversight of Ma Wai Ra E Taurima, including, assisting all Trainees to develop their own personal Training and Career Plan, providing intensive pastoral care and liaising with Employers, SME’s to provide on the job training, apprenticeships and inevitably employment.
  • Rauawa
    • Establishing and/or enhancing five Enterprise Hubs - Three on the Coast, including one that has already received PGF funding.

One in the rohe of Te Aitanga a Mahaki, possibly Te Karaka, and one in the rohe of Rongowhakaata and Ngai Tamanuhiri, probably Manutuke.

These hubs will complement the Hub established by Trust Tairawhiti with support from the Ngati Porou Holding Co Ltd.

  • Pataka Kōrero
    • Reset and reboot of a unique Tairawhiti Tourism value proposition, based on Tairāwhiti region’s distinct, anchored cultural heritage and legacy.
  • Mana o Te Wai
    • Catchment work programme involving fencing key rivers across Tairāwhiti and riparian planting
  • Whakaora ai i te Taiao
    • We also developed an Eco-systems Restoration programme to restore sites of significance across Tairawhiti, including pest eradication, planting eco-sourced natives etc.
    • This application did not meet the PGF criteria, albeit that the initiative gained a lot of support so it is now been processed to be redirected to MPI, Uru Rakau, MFE and DOC.
  • All five applications have provisioned for social procurement and are targeting local whanau, hapu, iwi members.

Additionally Tairāwhiti Iwi are working on three initiatives that will result in;

  • 140-150 new whare being built in Tairawhiti over the next 12-24 months
  • Turanga Whenua project led by Te Aitanga a Mahaki resulting in the raised productivity and profitability of a significant number of Māori Land Blocks throughout Tairāwhiti
  • Water Infrastructure – Tairāwhiti Iwi are investigating options for joint investment in water infrastructure, water storage and irrigation to support Māori Land Blocks access water, which is a major barrier to the productivity of Māori land across Tairāwhiti.



“Let’s get houses built. More houses more people to work and live in this region. Without people what’s the point of generating businesses?”


Addressing the region’s housing crisis is a key priority in Rau Tipu Rau Ora – and there is a multiagency approach to delivering more housing in line with the region’s housing strategy.



  • Please also refer to response in Question 3.
    • Toitu Tairawhiti Iwi are progressing, through three housing initiatives, the building of 140-150 new builds over the next 12-24 months.
    • The iwi have the land, capital and partners to expedite these building programmes. Trainees from the Ma Wai Ra E Taurima Marae development initiative who have an interest in the trades and/or scaffolding and prefabrication will have the opportunity to pursue these options as part of the Ma Wai Ra E Taurima training component.
    • Iwi are also investigating a joint programme to ‘retro-fit’ kaumatua houses and the houses of whanau who have chronic health conditions or are living in cold, damp houses.
    • This initiative will be a joint effort between Iwi Authorities, their Commercial Arms and Iwi Health and Social Service Providers.