West Coast tech firms and iwi get Provincial Growth Fund cash boost

Pounamou and technology industries in the West Coast region are set to receive more than $2 million in Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) funding.

This was announced by the Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau during Waitangi Day commemorations in Hokitika. He said $800,000 would be given to Development West Coast for a Grey District Regional Digital Hub and an Outreach Hub in Westland.

The PGF fund would also be giving $400,000 to Epic Westport for a Buller District Regional Digital Hub. A further $995,500 would be going to Ngāti Waewae from the fund's Whenua Māori allocation.

"PGF support for these hubs will connect Westport, Greymouth and the Westland district to online services to benefit business owners and entrepreneurs. Westland's hub will be mobile, and can be moved to different locations through the year," Mr. Tabuteau said.

The fund has already provided $100m for getting communities online, including $32m for ultra-fast broadband and to fix mobile blackspots on the West Coast.

Meanwhile, the $995,500 allocation to Ngāti Waewae would allow the iwi to source and manage pounamu on their land and grow their carving and tourism ventures, according to Mr Tabuteau.

"While Māori own pounamu, it is currently sourced as a by-product from gold and coal mining, and iwi pay a significant fee to recover it. This PGF-funded project will assist in purchasing equipment to secure a direct supply, as these products are in huge demand,” the Under-Secretary said.

The PGF has funded projects worth more than $150m in the past two years, and Mr. Tabuteau said this latest tranche of funding “is not the end of it".




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