7 Nov 2018

Govt gives $3m funding for Rātana community land development

4:05 pm on 7 November 2018

The Rātana community near Whanganui is getting a boost of more than $3 million from the government to help them develop their land.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at Rātana

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at Rātana Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Followers all over New Zealand are gathering at Rātana for the centenary celebrations.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is attending the celebrations, which mark 100 years since prophet Tahupōtiki Wiremu Rātana received the vision that began the Rātana movement.

Ms Ardern announced $1.9m of initial funding support the development of 26 sections on Māori freehold land for whānau to build on, and live in new homes.

"Today's announcement is consistent with the government's priority to build strong and healthy communities, not just houses," said Ms Ardern.

Phase two of the investment will see $1.7m invested in the future to develop a further 34 sections, she said.

Te Puni Kōkiri will lead the government's investment with construction work will begin in late 2019.

Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta said this was a very good example of using Māori freehold land to benefit whanau.

"We're excited to be helping realise the goals of the Rātana Housing Strategy that was developed in 2009. This investment will mean the whole community will benefit from the training and employment opportunity it offers.

"This will mean a lot to those whānau that the Rātana Ahuwhenua Trust has been working alongside and is a very good example of using Māori freehold land to benefit whanau."