National | Digital project

Regional digital hubs to benefit rural marae

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that $21mil will be invested in modern and reliable digital services for regional and rural communities.

She says digital connectivity is a key enabler for regional economic development and that rural communities tend to lag behind when it comes to internet and digital connectivity.

“Connectivity is an essential part of doing business while also enabling education opportunities and enriching community and family relationships. Today’s investment will mean more communities will be able to enjoy the benefits of a digitally-enabled economy.”

Marae in remote communities will also benefit from today’s funding announcement as Regional Digital Hubs (RDHs) that will be established in townships will enable marae to access digital services.

The RDHs will offer services such as free wifi connectivity, co-working spaces, and guidance on the use of the internet for business purposes.

Regional Economic Minister Shane Jones says, “Marae are meeting places for whānau, hapū, and iwi, and are central to many rural communities. Improving connectivity will support communities to undertake economic activity and enhance their capability.”

Oromahoe (Te Tai Tokerau), Te Houhanga (Te Tai Tokerau) and Raupunga Te Huki (Heretaunga) will be the first set of marae to receive PGF funding for digital connectivity and Te Puni Kōkiri and the Provincial Development Unit will run a process to select further marae and RDHs.

“This government is committed to providing regional New Zealanders with the tools to drive their own economic success and access to the internet is a critical part of that,” says Jones.