Regional projects

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) invested in a range of regional projects, often supporting community wellbeing while helping drive economic development and creating work and training opportunities.

Regional projects focus on economic development and building capability in the regions.

We also refer to these as Tier 1 investments.

Regional priorities and action plans

Many regions have their own economic action plans which identify regional priorities and outline opportunities for growth. These plans highlight a region’s unique advantages, such as natural and cultural features. 

The PGF ignited collaboration between local and regional councils, sector leaders, iwi and businesses on a scale never seen before in New Zealand. Capacity funding has helped support regional economic development action plans, prioritising those plans and the delivery of PGF-funded projects in the regions.

PGF Position Paper: Economic Development Agencies — MBIE

Following the PGF 2020 refocus in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, regional projects were revised to include:

  • Worker redeployment projects such as road and rail, fencing of waterways and the renovation of marae, town halls, Pasifika Churches and war memorials.
  • Human and social capital projects which looked at the challenges facing individuals and supporting them to overcome any barriers to employment. This includes worker readiness training, apprenticeships and reducing the harm caused by methamphetamine.

The PGF invested in projects which brought local working people and employers together to increase employment and wages, ensure social inclusion and participation, and enable the Māori population to realise their economic aspirations and place in the local economy.

Worker redeployment

In March 2020, the government announced $100 million to help redeploy workers affected by the economic impact of COVID-19. This created immediate short-term employment opportunities for displaced workers, while also supporting regional assets.

Read about the COVID-19 Response – Worker Redeployment Package

Renovations of marae, Pasifika churches, town halls and war memorials

Funding for the renovation of marae, town halls and other community facilities, war memorials and Pasifika churches was earmarked in May 2020 as part of the refocus of $600 million of PGF funding. This refocus was part of the government’s COVID-19 response and concentrated on projects providing immediate jobs and economic benefits.

This move provided work for local contractors. It also supported Māori, Pasifika and other vulnerable workers who had been unable to secure work because of COVID-19.

Importantly, the funding also helped protect hundreds of valuable cultural and community assets around the country.

Kānoa – Regional Economic Development & Investment Unit (Kānoa – RDU) moved quickly to get applications assessed, and projects approved, contracted and underway. As of 30 June 2021, we had contracted 347 marae, 88 town halls and war memorials, and 26 Pasifika Churches projects.

Kānoa – RDU worked with the Ministry of Social Development on this work programme, as well as Te Puni Kōkiri for marae renovations and the Ministry for Pacific Peoples for Pasifika churches.

Maromahue marae is one of six Whakatōhea marae in the Bay of Plenty refurbished as part of the Kānoa – RDU’s marae renovation programme.


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The Provincial Development Unit have really assisted our project in terms of pulling together an iwi, a council, a commercial entity, a regional council, and central government.

The wharenui, I suppose in a sense, had ah lost its wairua because whanau weren’t coming back.

Most of our marae, ah, have serious problems.

Right from the start when I come back here that whare was looking sick and tired. Previously, you sort of had to be a little bit careful when you go into the wharenui because the maihi was so rotten. There was some splits and cracks in the walls.

Same with the ceiling.

You could get something falling on your head, you know if you're not careful.

And again a lot of the marae have been fundraising for year on year, I know my own marae have

been doing that We were thinking before the funding come along, how are we gonna. Yeah. Renovate it.

These were (um) proposed long term projects, when we could afford it (cough). 

But this funding has actually helped us skip that forward.

We've got eight marae here and I think we've had funded six.

So those have been huge initiatives for us as an iwi

We've been able to get probably close to 40 people involved in the actual work program. 

The builders, they've attached everything tightened everything up.

Reclad.Roofers have come in reroofed.

The electrician has been rewired the whole wharenui

I do all bits and pieces, I'm not a painter or can see bit blind, the boys will kick me

off the scaffold or go up there because I can't see.

But I didn't me and Barow we do a lot of repairs like building fences

Brought heaps of people back here, just coming to have a look at it, and all who people offered

to help just with the heart and stuff.

It was awesome.

I really do think my tupuna would feel very happy, very proud.

We should be able to get this fence in and get the carpark done.

And we've got the main item, which is the wharenui, we've got that completed.

Workforces being generated to do the work and to move around systematically and tidy everything up.

Visible infrastructure, huge boost, huge boost to the people.

Not only the things that we can see there’s also the unseen things and the practical, the tikanga.

So, my connection here will carry on.

And it's, it's been this way for about 150 years.

My great-grandparents were on the pae.

Because of the work that's been done, like the fellas just finishing off the carpeting, and they said, well, if we have wananga now, we would like to stay.

Whereas, we've had wananga, and everybody go home.

And to feel that sort of wairua coming through, not just from the building, but from the marae itself.

I am and the boys all proud of being involved in this project.

Now that they’ve seen what’s happening, they are wanting to stay at the marae. 

The investment into Whakatohea has been exceptional.

And I must say that, and has been, hugely helpful for us as a small iwi.

There aren't many projects where you work in a local regional, iwi, Central Government partnership, and it's been fantastic.

It’s here for ever and a day.

And for our children and grandchildren to come here to see what this place is, to bring families together.

Fencing of waterways

$100m was committed to fencing waterways, riparian planting along the banks of waterways and stock water reticulation.  This funding provided jobs, protected the environment and promoted sustainability.

The initial focus was on surge regions, at-risk areas and on projects which could benefit multiple landowners, Māori and the wider community. 

Kānoa – RDU collaborated with Te Uru Rakau, the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Ministry for the Environment. It also worked with the Ministry of Social Development so that people needing redeployment opportunities were supported to work on these projects. 

Read about a PGF-supported fencing project: 

PGF funding for Jobs for Nature programme —

Human and social capital

Kānoa – RDU administers the ‘work readiness training’ projects driven by local employers, encouraging opportunities for economic activity in our regions.

This helps address the challenges people face, supporting them to overcome the barriers they face trying to secure long-term sustainable employment.

The projects included industry-specific training and qualifications in sectors such as horticulture, aquaculture, trades, hospitality and tourism. Some projects also developed basic work ready skills, first-aid, driver licencing, career pathway development and interview and CV writing skills.

In July 2020, the government announced that the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) would invest up to $20 million in programmes focused on reducing the damage of methamphetamine addiction.  These programmes addressed the harm this drug is causing on an individual level, right through to the detrimental effect it has on whānau, businesses, communities and economies.

Kānoa – RDU partnered with the Police and the Ministry of Health (MOH) to identify capable regional providers who could expand existing programmes designed to eliminate the drug from the regions.

Read more about the investment to reduce methamphetamine use in the regions: 

Fighting meth harm in the regions —

For help, advice, and support with applying for funding, get in touch with our advisors. Email Kā Call us on 0508 743 473