Construction has begun on a multi-million dollar harbour project in the Bay of Plenty.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash travelled to Ōpōtiki to mark the occasion with Whakatōhea iwi, the local council and representatives of the aquaculture and marine industry.
Nash said the government was investing more than $112 million through the Provincial Growth Fund for three major infrastructure projects as part of the development of Ōpōtiki Harbour.
"The investments are in partnership with iwi, local government and the commercial sector which are all co-funding or contributing to the developments.
"The community can now celebrate progress on a project that has been a priority for this region for twenty years yet failed to win support in the past," he said.
Some $79.4m in funding will go towards the Ōpōtiki Harbour development, $24.85m will go to aquaculture development and a mussel processing factory, and $8.8m for new marine and industrial infrastructure.
Nash said the harbour and aquaculture development would "unlock the region's potential and drive the local economic recovery".
"The combination of community-led development and government support is building the infrastructure and workforce needed to make sustainable change to the region's economic fortunes.
"Ōpōtiki has high levels of deprivation and around 44 percent of people have incomes under $20,000."