Waitangi Treaty Grounds trust welcomes first government funding

2:26 pm on 18 May 2020

A $4 million government subsidy will help the Waitangi National Trust survive the effects of Covid-19.

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Te Whare Rūnanga, the Māori Meeting House, at Waitangi. Photo: David Steele/ 123rf

The trust is responsible for managing the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds in the Bay of Islands.

It is believed to be the first time the trust has received government funding for its baseline operations since it was established in 1932. The funding comes from the Arts, Culture and Heritage Budget.

Trust chief executive Greg McManus said the funding was a huge relief, because it had relied on tourism revenue.

"With international tourism gone for the foreseeable future, the trust faced some stark choices, including closing to the public and laying off most of our staff," McManus said.

"With this funding, the trust can continue to operate and play a leading role in the recovery of the tourism sector in Northland."

The trust kept permanent staff employed during alert levels 4 and 3, but paid out seasonal staff until the end of April.

The Treaty grounds reopened to the public last Saturday.

Trust chairperson Pita Tipene said he was grateful for the funding.

"Our mission is to demonstrate the ongoing promise of Waitangi to the world and this funding will enable the trust to continue to deliver on that mission," Tipene said.

"I encourage all New Zealanders - Māori, Pākehā and new New Zealanders alike - to visit Waitangi during this time, when the usual crowds of international visitors are absent.

"It is a perfect time to reconnect with Waitangi and with our shared heritage as citizens of Aotearoa."

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