A $36.8 million funding injection from central government will enable transformational change throughout the Whakatane District.

The Whakatāne Regeneration Programme, which consists of partnerships between Te Rāhui Lands Trust, Ngāti Awa Group Holdings Limited, Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa and Whakatāne District Council, submitted two applications to the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) in September 2019. An announcement made on 13 March 2020 confirmed all three applications were successful, securing $19.6 million for a boat harbour development, $9.6 million for the riverfront revitalisation project and $7.8m for Ngāti Awa’s Kāinga development at the Whakatāne Army Hall.

The Whakatāne Regeneration Programme aims to reinvigorate Whakatāne’s Central Business District, re-establish connections to the riverfront and provide fit-for-purpose infrastructure to support development for the District’s marine and tourism economies. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will accelerate economic development in the Whakatāne District by creating new jobs, more training opportunities and attracting private investment.

It is estimated that, through these two projects, a total of 930 jobs could be created by 2050 with at least 450 of those roles operational within the next decade.

The funding announcement recognises the commitment of the partners to work together for inter-generational social, economic, environmental and cultural benefits for all communities within the Whakatāne District.