Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern
Hon Shane Jones
Minister for Regional Economic Development
3 February 2019 MEDIA STATEMENT
Investment to deliver better connected marae and communities in the regions
MONDAY FEB 4
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today that the Government will invest $21 million to ensure even more New
Zealanders in the regions can access modern and reliable digital services in their community.
The funding package announced today will connect marae to the internet and establish Regional Digital Hubs (RDHs) in
towns enabling local people and businesses to access digital services.
“Digital connectivity is a key enabler for regional economic development, however it’s clear that many rural communities
are lagging behind in terms of access to internet and digital services. Our Government is committed to bridging that
digital divide,” Jacinda Ardern said.
“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
“In remote communities there are not always locations where local business people can access the internet or where local
and visiting business people can come together or where tourists can access the internet. All New Zealanders should be
able to have that access and the knowledge of how to use it regardless of where they live,” Jacinda Ardern said.
The RDHs will offer services such as free WiFi connectivity, co-working spaces and guidance on use of the internet for
business purposes. The first RDHs will open in Northland with the next regional locations to follow within the funding
Regional Economic Minister Shane Jones said while many of us take digital services for granted, the reality for people
based in the regions is that these services are not universally available.
“The PGF funding for boosting marae connectivity will include physically connecting marae to broadband networks and
providing technical support and training.
“The first marae to receive PGF funding for digital connectivity are Oromahoe (Te Tai Tokerau), Te Houhanga (Te Tai
Tokerau) and Raupunga Te Huki (Heretaunga).
“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,” Shane Jones said.
Te Puni Kōkiri and the Provincial Development Unit will run a process to select further marae and RDHs to receive the
available PGF funding.
“Māori in particular are materially under-represented in information and communications technology so this investment
will provide an alternative way for rangitahi to learn the skills a modern workforce needs.
“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,” said Shane Jones.
• The Provincial Growth Fund will contribute $20m towards today’s announcement, with the remaining $1 million funded
from Crown Infrastructure Partners’ Ultra-Fast Broadband rollout budget.