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Region Launches Comprehensive Recovery Plan For The Future

An action plan to guide the region’s post-COVID-19 recovery, Rau Tipu Rau Ora, was launched by Mayor Rehette Stoltz today. Mayor Stoltz is co-chair of the regional forum that oversaw the plan’s development, which includes chairs of the local iwi authorities as well as Trust Tairāwhiti, Eastland Group, Eastland Institute of Technology and Hauora Tairāwhiti. The plan is a combined effort of many organisations and stakeholders.

“We are pleased to launch Rau Tipu Rau Ora, which lays out our key recovery challenges and opportunities,” Mayor Stoltz said.

“It also reaffirms our long-term aspirations as a region socially, economically and environmentally. The plan also builds on the many good things we did, especially through Alert Level 4, to assist our people and communities.”

Rau Tipu Rau Ora identifies crucial issues such as housing, employment, health – including the isolation caused by COVID-19 and the risk of future pandemics – stimulating the economy, and education and training. The Plan also sets out actions to support local industries, businesses and locals who lost work because of the pandemic’s impact. Those actions include fast-tracking infrastructure projects already underway, rapid roll-out of ‘green’ training and employment initiatives across local catchments and reserves, and high value projects from the Tairāwhiti Economic Action Plan.

Dr Paul Reynolds, chair of Trust Tairāwhiti, said the Trust would continue to offer strong support to important local industries.

“Our backbone sectors: agriculture, horticulture and forestry, are bouncing back quickly, and crucially, they are keeping our local people in local jobs,” he said.

“We will support our region’s Buy Local campaign, prepare for a domestic tourism campaign and fast-track high employment business opportunities in tourism and other sectors.”

Matanuku Mahuika, Chair of Eastland Group Ltd, said his Board and company are ready to play a strong part in the recovery.

“Our long-term view has not changed through COVID-19 and lock down,” Mr Mahuika said.

“In fact, COVID-19’s impact reaffirms the need for utilities and transport infrastructure that give us greater resilience and agility as a region. We’ll be looking to government to support some major proposals on that front, which will also generate construction work and permanent jobs.”

While economic recovery is critical to our future, the regional forum was mindful of COVID-19’s ongoing health and social impact. Hauora Tairāwhiti chair, Kim Ngarimu said that local health and social services would need to be ready to help families cope with the emotional and physical toll, as well as the financial stresses many will be shouldering.

“Hauora Tairāwhiti and our iwi and community partners are gearing up for the longer-term response to COVID-19, while our hospital-based services are catching up with a host of other procedures for local people that couldn’t be done while we were at Alert Levels 3 and 4,” Ms Ngarimu said.

The new plan puts our local industries, employers and workforce squarely at the centre of its economic recovery actions. Selwyn Parata, chair of Te Runanganui o Ngati Porou and co-chair of the Rau Tipu Rau Ora forum, said the plan made the connection between the wellbeing of whānau and our business sector.

“Well families and communities, well and productive whenua and a well economy all go hand in hand,” he said.

“We can achieve that, and in doing so, be even better kaitiaki of our natural resources.”

The forum agreed that Rau Tipu Rau Ora is a living document that will be reported on and refined as progress is made and Tairāwhiti’s recovery priorities evolve.

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