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Anderton - Support for Tairawhiti Voyaging Centre

Hon Jim Anderton Minister for Industry and Regional Development

Announcement of RIF support for Tairawhiti Voyaging Centre

Tairawhiti Museum, Gisborne

23 March 2005

No one needs to be reminded how urgent our job is here in Tairawhiti.

With all of our natural resources and advantages in this beautiful region, there should be opportunities here for any young person.

So we have an urgent challenge to make those opportunities into realities.

We have a lot to do to ensure there are enough good jobs for everyone here, and that the potential of this region is truly harnessed.

I know the people of Tairawhiti are committed to realising a more prosperous future.

And I want you to know that the government remians committed to working with you in partnership to achieve it.

We’ve achieved a lot already.

The economy here grew by three percent last year, and that’s a considerable improvement over the times in the nineties when the economy was actually shrinking.

But we can’t be complacent.

It’s crucial that we get on with developing the potential of this region as fast as we can.

Last year I was able to come to Tairawhiti to launch a new Major Regional Initiative.

It’s a far-sighted plan that brings together the potential of underutilised land in the region and its food processing strengths.

Bringing these advanatges together will help to create new jobs and grow exports.

It will help to bring about ventures between Maori landowners, food marketing and processing businesses.

Projects being set up involve lamb finishing, sustainable farm management, natural foods and development of kiwifruit orchards.

We have food businesses in the region looking for land to expand capacity.

We have Maori land in need of investment.

This Major Regional Initiative will enable Tairawhiti communities and businesses to work together and take advantage of commercial opportunities offshore.

It is examples of partnerships, like this, that can improve the wellbeing of all our regions.

The Voyaging Centre is another great example of partnerships in action.

It is urgent for this region and for New Zealand as a whole to make these ideas into a reality.

The people behind the Tairawhiti Museum are to be commended.

You undertook initial consultations with the Tairawhiti Development Task Force, Gisborne District Council, local iwi, heritage agencies and Eastland Port.

You have also enlisted the support of business through the Gisborne Chamber of Commerce.

So this has been an example of including eveyrone with a stake in the development of the region.

All those who see a future here know how critical the job ahead of us is.

And if we roll up our sleeves and get on with it, we can realise the opportunities that will offer a future for our young people.

In this Voyaging Centre you have recognised an opportunity to create a culturally significant asset for all New Zealanders.

It will also produce economic benefits for the Tairawhiti region.

The ‘economy’ is not an abstract.

It is jobs for people.

It is money in the wallets of people who live here.

It is the opportunities and security that allows young families here to prosper and succeed.

This centre will be the gateway to some of the most significant places in New Zealand’s cultural heritage.

It will be a gateway for visitors to explore the rich heritage of Tairawhiti.

Stories will be told here of voyages from the landing place of the Horouta canoe in the great migration, to the site of Captain James Cook’s first landing in New Zealand,

It will tell the story of the first greeting between Maori and a European.

These are stories we need to know and understand in order to understand our New Zealand heritage.

They are stories people will come from far and near to listen to and to see.

Your vision for this centre will link it to a network of other heritage trails throughout Tairawhiti.

I am delighted to be able to use the Regional Initiatives Fund to get you through the next stage.

It will comprise an economic and tourism impact study and detailed concept design work.

It’s crucial to enlist private sector support to complete the project.

But the partnerships that I have seen established in Tairawhiti over the last five years will stand you in good stead for bringing this project to fruition.

I wish you good luck and I look forward to continuing to work closely with this region.

ENDS

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